It’s an odd sensation, to know you’ve brushed up against greatness. My experience of that was to have been in the same History class at University College Dublin (UCD) as Ruth Dudley Edwards in the early-1960s. Ruth then was a frumpy little thing with not much to say for herself other than that her boyfriend was Patrick Cosgrove, fated to go on to admire Maggie Thatcher and write a glowing biography of her, and her father was Owen Dudley Edwards, the Professor of History. I managed to scrape a Second Class Honours Grade 2 in History, which coincidentally was what the better-associated Ruth also got.
Anyway, when I heard her today on RTE radio explaining why the south of Ireland should get itself back into the British Commonwealth at the earliest opportunity, because it would, um, allow them to, er, associate with a whole lot of other countries, some of them in Asia. She didn’t explain what good this would do the people of the twenty-six counties, other than to concede that it wasn’t an economic argument she was advancing.
Maybe this get-thee-to-a-Commonwealth is part of a unionist conspiracy. Former Ulster Unionist grandee John Taylor, aka Lord Kilclooney was piping a similar tune on a discussion panel called ‘Forum’ on PressTV (see www.presstv.com) recently. He also argued that a great number of Catholics in the North of Ireland are in fact unionists. When I asked him to explain why, if that were so, over ninety-five per cent of Catholics have voted for anti-union parties since the inception of the state nearly a century ago, he was uncharacteristically silent.
You have to admire the gall of the Ruth-‘n’-John show, though. Keep the buggers worried about staying out of the Commonwealth and they’ll have less time and energy to devote to working for an end to the Union.