Our proudest boast: we paid our way…

Britain's Finance Minister George Osborne delivers his keynote speech during the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England, October 4, 2010.  REUTERS/Darren Staples  (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS)
‘Man, know thyself’ was  the advice Socrates gave us and that’s one of the great strengths we have, here in the north of Ireland. People in the south can go in for all that weasel talk and ach sure aren’t-you-great palaver, but here in the six northern counties, in Northern Ireland, let’s call it by its name, shall we, we call a spade a spade,  NORTHERN IRELAND,  the Province, Ulster, we are a straightforward, sturdy people, we stand on our own two feet and bow the knee to no one. And need I add? We can’t be bought.
Remember some years ago, all that stuff about the money from America, when these big Irish-American philanthropists were trying to make us foreswear our Britishness by dangling big grants in front of us? Hah. We were having none of it. We’d sooner eat grass, we told them, than dilute our British birthright by one iota…Well yes, things changed and true,  we did weigh in behind the concept of US philanthropy and apply for and get the American money like everybody else.  But we did it in a no-nonsense, ruggedly-independent way.  You can take money from people and allow it to compromise you in a pathetic, I’m-a-beggar sort of way, or you can do it the Ulster way and take it without any sniveling or boot-licking. That was us – chins up, forever Ulster.
Which brings us to today.  We’re told that the British Exchequer is going to release far less funds to us this time than it normally does.  Normally, while of course maintaining our self-respect and dignity, we line up outside the British Exchequer each year for them to disgorge £10bn into our orange-lined bag. There are those – usually Catholic-school-educated – who would tell you that this is an undignified procedure, that having to go with even an orange-lined bag to Westminster year after year, getting a chunk of money to prop up our economy, that that’s undignified and pathetic, and that even you had to drop to a lower standard of living, it’d be balanced by the fact that you could stand on your own two feet and look at yourself in the mirror each morning without wanting to throw up with self-loathing. But as I say these are people who’ve been brain-washed by subversive Christian Brothers and child-abusing priests into thinking along those lines. The truth is, we collect that £10bn each year with a dignified smile and chins in the air. True, they don’t let us control our taxation and we have to go along with it if Britain decides that we should be protected from suicide bombers on buses by having very very expensive nuclear submarines in Scotland, and there are 5,000 British soldiers parked here  on land that we could use for far better purposes, but sure, aren’t we supposed to be Ulster of the Welcomes? …That’s Ireland of the Welcomes, is it? OK, scratch that then, but you get the idea . We don’t mind British soldiers here, we don’t want to control taxation, and if Britain says we need nuclear weapons on subs to protect  us on buses and in the underground and at airports, so be it.
No, I’ll tell you what’s undignified: ths plan to slash the money they give us to a measly 8.5bn. That’s an  insult to all true independent-minded Ulstermen –  and ladies, of course, too. It’s not the money that’s at stake;  it’s our self-respect. 

6 Responses to Our proudest boast: we paid our way…

  1. Ry October 21, 2010 at 12:26 am #

    It would be easy and, indeed, a teensy bit forgiveable to interpret Dr Collins’ latest post as facetious; suggesting that ‘handouts’ from Westminster are distinctly undignified as compared to potential ‘handouts’ from the Rialtas na hÉireann. However, I’m not sure this is entirely fair.
    After all, does my friend, teacher and columnist really make serious distinction between one distant, wasteful, negligent government and another? That would be a misreading of the spaces between the (dotted) lines?
    He does seem to single out the Northern Irish people (because I’m aware that Shakespeare got it wildly wrong when he suggested “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet) as a people of rare and unique fortitude, self-deprecation and pride when he describes us as a “no-nonsense, ruggedly-independent” people. I know that when he affirms that in these six counties “we stand on our own two feet and bow the knee to no one” he has never been more accurate in his estimation. And it seems clear that he, too, believes we ought never “bow the knee” to any government but one formed of our own people. Our own government. A government formed of people who have weathered the storm and can still look one another in the eye without recrimination, because we know that our neighbour has endured as much as ourselves; because we know that together-apart we have stood “on our own two feet” in the face of death, destruction and division.
    What fiscal and monetary independence has to do with “the Christian Brothers and child-abusing priests” I’m not exactly sure; but at least our columnist has struck a blow for togetherness. For the only truly unifying way forward for an isolated and unique people: Northern Irish independence. I for one will toss aside my ‘begging bag’ if you will too. Whether it be lined with orange or green, let’s stuff it full of past prejudices and outdated aspirations, and discard it forever.

  2. Jude October 21, 2010 at 8:59 am #

    Nice one, Ry – as always.

    Now check out this syllogism and see what’s the logical flaw in it:

    To collect money from X is undignified
    I collect money from Y
    Therefore I am undignified.

  3. hoboroad October 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    Paul Krugman’s column in the New York Times is well worth a read.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/22/opinion/22krugman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

  4. hoboroad October 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    A leading Professor of Economics, Andrew Hughes Hallett, has today [Saturday] confirmed that Scotland subsidises the UK treasury in London and that the unionist parties Calman recommendations are unworkable. 

    Professor Hughes Hallett made the remarks whilst appearing on Radio Scotland’s ‘Newsweek’ show this morning. When questioned by presenter Derek Batemen on the economics of independence, the Professor confirmed John Swinney’s case that Scotland would be better off financially with economic independence. 

    The comments come just weeks after Nobel Prize winning economist Josef Stiglitz confirmed that the UK Government had ‘squandered’ Scotland’s oil wealth and the SNP’s plans for oil fund must be carried out as soon as possible. 

    Commenting on the remarks, Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick, who is a member of the Parliament’s finance committee, said: 

    “Professor Hughes Hallet has confirmed what John Swinney and the SNP have been saying  for years. It’s economically unviable for Scotland to remain part of the union and subsidise the rest of the UK.  For years Scotland has more than paid its own way, only for unionist parties in Scotland to peddle the myth that it is the other way around. 

    “An Independent Scotland will be able to build the better and fairer Scotland we all want to see. With the cuts from ConDem coalition about to bite, the importance of the economic powers of independence has never been more important to Scotland. 

    “The SNP will be working hard over the next year to promote a better Scotland, a Scotland free from the financial ties of the union and a Scotland free from the Tories – and their cuts agenda. For too long Scotland has been held back by the union and held back by a Labour party who prefer Tory rule to home rule – it’s time to end that. It’s time to stand up for Scotland, let her flourish, and show that we’ve got what it takes to make Scotland better.”

  5. hoboroad October 24, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Britain’s new Nobel prize- winning economist today blasts George Osborne for taking needless risks with his huge cuts and exaggerating the chances of the nation going bust.

    Professor Christopher Pissarides warns that the Chancellor’s £81billion package of cuts threatens to send the jobless total spiralling.

    In his first newspaper article since winning the Nobel Prize this month, Prof Pissarides says Mr Osborne is putting Britain’s “fragile” recovery in grave danger.

    Writing exclusively in the Sunday Mirror, he says: “No one doubts that the Chancellor is taking risks with the economic recovery. These risks were not necessary at this point.”

    Prof Pissarides, who received the award for his work analysing the jobs market, called for more gradual cuts to avoid the risk of plunging Britain into a double-dip recession. He highlights rising ­unemployment, a lack of job vacancies and uncertainty in the housing market as particularly worrying.

    He adds: “By taking the action that the Chancellor outlined in his statement, this situation might well become worse.”

    The 62-year-old professor delivers another blow to Mr Osborne and PM David Cameron by joining the growing chorus of alarm over the impact of the Government’s proposed 490,000 job cuts in the public sector.

    He accuses the Government of “exaggerating” the chance that Britain will go broke and questions moves by the Chancellor to cut major building and roads projects which help create badly-needed jobs.