Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Julie Burchill: Irish nationalism about as radical as Islam

I’ve always found the idea that Irish nationalism is somehow radical really cretinous.

With its reverence for the supremely reactionary Catholic Church and its historical opposition to divorce, abortion, homosexuality, feminism and everything else that makes life worth living, it's about as radical as Islam.

Ireland, like Catholicism generally, has a slimy back-beat of anti-Semitism; the prime minister of ‘neutral’ Ireland during the Second World War, Eamon de Valera, famously signed the book of condolences at the German embassy in Dublin on the occasion of Hitler's death.

As a left-wing teenager, I don't know how many times I had to hear the argument that it was okay for the IRA to blow the arms and legs off an English child because they were basically a unit of the British imperialist war machine and, therefore, a legitimate target.

Over the years I've watched the Republic’s tinpot posturing over its alleged Celtic Tiger economy.

It would be almost pleasurable to see the Chancellor handing over £7 bn of UK money to the clowns who run the preposterous place if it wasn't so annoying.

It made me recall the late Irish journalist Stan Gebler Davies, who ran as a unionist candidate in the 1987 elections in the Republic under the slogan, ‘Removing the yoke of freedom from old Ireland's back’.

Anyway, it'll give the keepers of the Celtic flame a chance to update those brain-dead old rebel songs for the better. From The Wearing of the Green to The Begging for the Green? I'll drink to that.

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