Is there a bucket in the house?



There are at least two possible reasons why the sight of the many Irish visiting Buckingham Palace the other evening make me want to heave. The first is that  I’m a curmudgeonly,begrudging anti-Brit naysayer. The second is that the occasion was another  example of Irish people colluding in a don’t-mention-the-problem situation. If it was the first – and I’m happy to concede it may have been – then this is going to be a very short blog, stopping here. However, I lean a bit towards the second reason so let me try to explain why.

When people – British people – meet their monarch, they tend to go all moist and giggly. Asked later what words were exchanged, something totally banal is cited as an example of the queen’s graciousness or  charm or wit or maybe all three. When Irish people meet the queen, judging by the other evening, they go all moist and giggly, bow or curtesy,  and imply that there’s a kind of special bond between the Irish and the British monarch, that we hold a special place in her royal heart.

People are entitled to their chosen responses, just as I have the right to find those responses slightly sick-making. For example, that fish-monger from the English market in Cork, who got his picture taken laughing with the queen when she visited the south of Ireland: he was on the guest list. “I told her I was better dressed than I have been for 30 years. The duke said to me ‘Well, you’re here!’  Before she left she asked me if I had brought any fish”.  A palace spokesman reported later: “Her Majesty seemed to enjoy the craic”.  Craic?

Former Irish rugby international Bob Casey “was presented to the queen in the White Drawing Room”.  He said “I am more nervous than I ever was going out at Twickenham. It’s lovely, I am really really thrilled to be here. It is amazing”.

Louis Walsh  said  “The queen was magnificent when she came to Ireland. She has the X-Factor, she’s got it, no doubt about that”.

Magnificent? Lovely? Thrilled? Amazing?   George Bernard Shaw said that the Irish always end up playing the fool for the benefit of the English. It’s hard not to conclude that some Irish today, given the chance, do a wonderful an amazing, thrilling, lovely, magnificent job of playing the lick-spittle to British royalty. Leave aside the absurdity of choosing your head of state by genetic Russian roulette – that’s a matter for the British people. The much-publicised evening at Buck House and the coming events that will centre on President Higgins’s visit to Britain, both  aim to convince any doubters that relations between Ireland and England have reached completion point. Best of friends, love each other,  not the shadow of a hint of point of disagreement between us.

I suppose if you repeat a lie often enough and accompany it with sufficient optics, you’ll get most of the people to believe it most of the time.

Alternatively, there’s nothing on which these two islands disagree and   I’m just a begrudging, curmudgeonly, etc.

31 Responses to Is there a bucket in the house?

  1. John Patton March 27, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    As EIS President, I declined an invitation to a Garden Party for my wife and me. I was shocked to discover afterwards that some other noted lefties and radicals had graciously accepted. Bet they went all moist and giggly too.

  2. Brian Patterson March 27, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Puke-fest of obsequiousness, forelock-tugging, kneebending and cap-doffing. More notable for those who stayed away than those who attended.

  3. dedeideoprofundis March 27, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    So, you want us to go all moist and giggly over the Leprechaun in the Park instead?

    • Jude Collins March 27, 2014 at 11:07 am #

      Now that is very disrespectful, ddp – he is our President and will almost certainly bring up the six counties in his speech. Don’t forget, Michael D was publicly indignant about oppression in El Salvador back in the 1980s, so he’s a racing certainty to bring up (no, not like that) the question of partition.

      • neill March 27, 2014 at 11:15 am #

        He is your President not mine however i have no problem giving him the respect that he is due perhaps one day you could show the same to the Queen i wont hold my breath though.

  4. Iolar March 27, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Perhaps we just do not know our plaice.

  5. neill March 27, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    The first is that I’m a curmudgeonly,begrudging anti-Brit naysayer.

    Really who would have believed that?

  6. daniel moran March 27, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    The most forelock-tugging statement at the time of Hmmm’s visit to irlande was the response to the question of an apology or absence thereof from BBC West Brit ‘on the ground’ Fergal Keane. During BBC coverage of her visit, he tut tutted at the notion there was anything to apologise for during the 800 years just lapsed. It was truly sickmaking but not too surprising given the source of the comment.

  7. paul March 27, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    I will never understand the fascinatiion with the queen, least of all by anyone Irish. Incomprehensible. The head of state of the nation that has abused your country for centuries and you go to see her for ‘the craic” . Spare me. This woman is the person who pinned the medals on Derek Wilford, Robert Ford and the rest of the Para thugs who murdered innocent civilians on Bloody Sunday..
    Under her guaard, the Dublin Monaghan bombings occurred and the subsequent investigation frustrated at every turn by the british govt. Before anyone says ” that was long ago”, ask yourselves what has this woman done for Ireland? Went to the Garden of Remembrance and mumbles a few words of Irish, so all is forgiven? Have some pride Irish people, you deserve much more than that . Britain calls for better cooperation for the security forces of the two countries, but it is always one way. I think the men of sixteen and those who came both before and after must be rolling in their graves. This is what they gave their lives for. Craic and queen , those words just don’t seem to go together

  8. paddykool March 27, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Jude :
    The funny thing is , i have no feelings for the lady one way or the other.I wouldn’t be impressed by her life or would want to be captive to it .Like the rest of us she is a pawn of circumstances …In this case born into an open prison of deference and obsequiousness. Who the hell with a brain would choose to live so barren a life, all the while paraded before falsehood and half-truths?

    She was a pretty girl in her day and the public like that. They also love to gawp at pictures in “Hello” magazine and buy tasteless plates and mugs with her image on.Most of them love the X-Factor for chrissakes! What else do we expect.The fact that a sullen rump of our irish population find succour in this lady is a mystery of course. Most have little in common with her life and are well- distanced from her morality or politics.

    They cling to an inner version of her like they cling to a flag . , when there are far more worthy heroes and heroines to look up to and emulate walking past us in our everyday streets.

    Kings and Queens come to power by chicanery, theft and murder after all.

  9. Am Ghobsmacht March 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    1/ She is the head of a state who in all likelihood really doesn’t want to be here (well, there, Ireland).

    2/ Her ‘most loyal’ subjects are about the most embarrassing circus that a monarchy can have

    3/ IF Irish people who were under the yoke of oppression for 8 centuries (yet somehow great warriors at the same time, go figure) find a soft spot for a British Royal then perhaps this is a symptom of something more deep rooted:

    Perhaps Irish people aren’t as naturally opposed to the idea of a monarchy as we are lead to believe.

    I’m not convinced that the rest of Europe is as Republican as it once was, I’ve noticed an awful lot of double headed eagles appearing on various embassy flags from various nations across central Europe.

    I have heard rumours of some people foraging for a worthy ‘royal’ from the Irish diaspora to reinstate a monarchy in Ireland (in fact, did Dev not contemplate the idea too?).

    Irish people have had a tempestuous relationship with the various British (or Norman or German or Dutch) Royal families for centuries and it was not always a one-way street, if it was a one way street then various monarchs would not have used Ireland as a staging post for their military ambitions (logically so as an anti-regal Ireland would be bereft of support for a monarch).

    But it did happen so the idea of Irish being strictly anti-monarchy is shaky at best.

    It’s just not very popular to say so.

    Though when you see how the Unionist community embarrass Big Betty with their “so loyal we’ll rebel” shenanigans I can’t say I blame people for thinking this way:

    “THAT is what being loyal to a Monarch is all about????”

    “apparently so”

    “Sod that, viva le Republique!!!”

  10. giordanobruno March 27, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    I would expect even the most committed republican to feel some nervousness on meeting a head of state.That is just human nature.
    I’m not a monarchist but the Queen is really no more than a high end celebrity these days. She exercises no actual power
    For those that like that sort of thing,let them get on with it. Like the bowing and scraping done in front of popes and religious symbols, I find it all a bit childish.

    • Antonio March 30, 2014 at 12:00 am #

      ”She exercises no actual power”

      While her formal political powers are limited as you say I think it important to note that with such enormous wealth they do have economic power.

      Also, on the issue of formal political power she is entitled to meet the P.M twice a month to ‘advise’. Some would say that is not much too worry about and sure it’s a couple of meetings a couple of times a month. Others may think it incredible that someone can ‘advise’ the prime minister of a country based soley on a chance of birth.

      The current Queen is probably quite a reasonable being who understands she is there to advise and not instruct so it may not be a huge problem, but what happens when Charlie takes over. Charles is renowned for thinking he knows what’s best about everything from architecture to the environment. Even more worrying is that at least one of his sons (if not both), is doing a fine job of demonstrating his inability to advise on anything never-mind advise the most powerful man in the country on how he should be running the place.

  11. Argenta March 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    “The first is that I’m a curmudgeonly , begrudging anti Brit nay-sayer”. You might say that; we couldn’t possibly comment! I seem to remember that Martin Mc Guinness met and shook hands with the Queen.I suppose that was different in your eyes.

  12. Paul March 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    The laughable thing is that Liz Windsor and her kids Annie, charlie, Andy and Eddie are the biggest benefit cheats this side of the Rockies. One house/palace isn’t enough for them. And the craven British media types and politicians think this is OK. A couple of weeks ago the self same media got into quite a frenzy about the lavish lifestyle and opulence of the ousted democratically elected leader in Ukraine. No sense of irony there.

  13. Seamus friel March 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Spot on Jude! Achievements of queen?

  14. Antonio March 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    I recall Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Republic two years ago and in the build up to it the Sinn Fein stance was ”it’s not the right time”. But they did fail to explain why they thought it was not the right time as far as I can remember. Unsurprisingly they were criticised from many quarters for this stance but they did set themselves up for criticism when all they come up with was the lazy ”it’s not the right time” reason for the impending visit. A consensus was developed by the great and the good of journalists down south that republicans were morally questionable for opposing the visit.

    To be honest I wasn’t that bothered by the State visit initially and I consider myself republican.

    But then Queen Elizabeth arrived and the Southern media went into a frenzy of fawning over the visit.

    The British Queen visited Guinness Brewery and the market in Cork and a few other places and the RTE cameras followed and we were all told how wonderful it was and two or three people were interviewed and they told us what a privilege it was to meet her and how wonderful it was.

    As far as I remember a Dublin woman who was on X-Factor sang some for the Queen and her husband and that was wonderful. The singer told how Queen Elizabeth was a great inspiration to her personally. (no reason was given as to why she was inspirational for her as far as I recall)

    President McAleese thought the Queen’s saying a cúpla fócal was a real WOW! moment. Considering the British state in past centuries made efforts to eradicate the Irish language maybe it was a wow moment. Maybe. Another view is it is an easy token gesture to say a few words in Gaeilge. The latter perspective was not allowed to be put across on RTE. It was as though to be opposed to Elizabeth’s visit made you bad, or opposed to the peace process or a hater of all British people.

    A myth was built up of a nation in mass excitement over the visit of the British Monarch which didn’t ring true for me. There appeared to be more interest from the British public when Pope Benedict made a visit there a few years back.

    On ITV the reporter said ‘Her Majesty’s visit is indicative of a maturing political culture in Ireland, north and south.” How condescending.

    A letter in the Irish Times read ‘She came, she saw, She conquered”. That letter was republished in the i newspaper. Embarrassing!

    It all left me feeling cold. Queen Elizabeth returned to England after 2 or 3 days and Obama arrived a week later. I was glad to see the state visit end so I didn’t have to listen to any-more sycophantic comments from Irish people or patronising comments from ITV news-readers.

    It made me think Sinn Fein had something of a point about it not being the right time.

  15. ANOTHER JUDE March 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Thousands take to the streets to celebrate the great leader, his/her family are revered. The populace just know they themselves are inferior, they can`t put their fingers on it, they just know. If the leader utters a few words it is regarded as the greatest piece of oratory since Oscar Wilde. The great leader is fabulously wealthy just like their father was, has various palaces and servants galore. Despite lacking any skills or possessing conventional `good looks` they grace loads of magazine covers. The population go into meltdown at the merest suspicion of a wedding or a baby being born into the dynasty. Where is this taking place?

    1. North Korea
    2. Britain
    3. Both

    I do not deny the British the right to have a monarchy, I do deny them the right to force one on me and other Nationalists. We have nothing in common with them, their club excludes Catholics. I believe we are all equal. Can any monarchist tell me whether they consider themselves somehow inferior to another person simply because of birth? Is the Queen `better` than you? More `worthy`? I am genuinely interested.

    • Am Ghobsmacht March 28, 2014 at 4:36 am #

      Howdy another Jude

      WRT yer questions “Can any monarchist tell me whether they consider themselves somehow inferior to another person simply because of birth? Is the Queen `better` than you? More `worthy`? I am genuinely interested.”

      Well, yes, I am a bit of a monarchist.

      Not just a British monarchist but the idea in general, I feel Europe has been somewhat ‘hollowed out’ with their departure.

      Walking around old Habsburg towns and castles I feel their absence has left these towns slightly worse off.

      Same applies for Polish castles, Bavarian castles or where ever, I think there’s a bit of a charmless silence where once there were Hapsurgs, Romanovs or Saxa Gotha-Coburgs mingling.

      There’s still all these Russian and Serbian ‘Royals’ in exile too.

      Now, I do NOT regard them as my natural born superiors.

      It is on one hand a position of privilege but also (arguably) a gilded cage too:

      As yer man in Conan the Barbarian said:

      “There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison”

      The fact is, without a Royal family there is a publicity and gossip vacuum which is then filled with sport stars, WAGS, reality TV drones and any number of Gawd awful celebrities.

      Our society demands glamour and gossip.

      We crave the idea that there is a ‘higher’ caste whom we can bitch about or generally give off about or emulate or fixate upon or whatever.

      We then create our own form of Royalty and temporarily elevate people to the status of a royal, till we tire of them and then Kingmaker Simon Cowall gives us our new pop princess, keyboard kaiser or singing Shah to worship and coo over.

      I think a Royal family serves this function well and there are pragmatic advantages too.
      (not to mention the excuse for holidays)

      Even the most minor Royal makes an effortless statesman of sorts (Prince Philip notwithstanding, but he imho justifies the existence of the Royals in entertainment value alone) and other countries can’t get enough of it.

      As long as NI exists and along with it the particularly noxious form of ‘Britishness’ which encompasses an obsessive (phantom like) ‘loyalty’ to the Crown then I don’t expect any nationalist to see this view.

      To me they are a bargain priced source of intrigue who woo and wow people all over the world.

      So no, not more ‘worthy’, just ‘there’.

  16. ed March 27, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    ronan spoke for all irish men when he met the british queen

  17. Virginia March 28, 2014 at 3:28 am #

    What about this idea? Having a Monarch is all that separates the culture of the UK from the US. An existing monarchy is the only claim the UK can can point to for not being completely “Americanized”. Thoughts? (The Republic doesn’t have this claim obviously and might be a wee bit miffed, not sure. )

    • Antonio March 28, 2014 at 6:12 am #

      ”An existing monarchy is the only claim the UK can can point to for not being completely “Americanized”. Thoughts? ”

      Britain has a much more extensive welfare state than the USA of which it’s hallmark is the NHS. Although the Tories are doing their best to bring Britain closer to the purer capitalist form in the USA where much less taxpayer money is spent caring for society’s poorest and most vulnerable.

      I think this is a more positive distinction between the USA and the U.K than the Monarchy distinction.

      For the record I am not a super socialist who does not recognise that waste exists within the welfare state and reform of some sort is necessary to ensure it is sustainable into the future. I feel a good starting point would be targeting the some £30 million grant the British exchequer hands over to the Queen every year.

      Nobody hold their breath on this actually happening mind.

  18. Argenta March 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    If one is to believe the Daily Mail(sometimes a risky exercise),Martin Mc Guinness is on the guest list for the Queens state banquet at Windsor Castle next month.We await Jude’s expressions of outrage in due course!Maybe Martin will have a diplomatic sickness!

  19. ANOTHER JUDE March 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Am Ghobsmacht, thanks for your reply. I just don`t understand the reverence for Monarchy, flicking through my daily paper I read that Prince Harry is having a ski holiday paid for by some millionaire or other. The stress of his life must be really getting to him. I detest the whole system of privilege, all the way to the hideous spectacle of people bending their arthritic old knees in front of the Queen to have a gong conferred. What`s that about if not maintaining a class system. The ordinary British person doesn`t seem to care they are no more than serfs. I object to British politicians who have never won a single vote in Ireland lording it over us and I totally reject the Monarchy especially one which is a closed shop to Catholics. Change that discriminatory nonsense and we can look at the whole idea again. Of course that would annoy the likes of Jeffrey and Gregory so it must be a good thing. With regards to other countries loving the monarchy, they don`t have to pay for their lives of privilege and they don`t have them rammed down their throats. Sadly I see no prospect of them being absolved, I well remember my mother and sisters cooing at the tv when Prince William (mow THERE`S a name, obviously there wasn`t a great deal of concern at the feelings of the Irish Catholics when that was chosen…) was born, they couldn`t get enough of him. I ignored it in principle of course. Well, it WAS during the post Hunger strike period.

    • Am Ghobsmacht March 28, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

      Hi Another Jude


      I totally get why people may not like the British Monarchy, especially in Ireland.

      Especially with the increasingly irrelevant ‘head of the church’ stance (I mean, Henry VIII has been dead for nearly half a millennium and the Spanish are unlikely to send another armada any time soon).

      So yes, got it.

      I have to say I quite like monarchies (as long as they’re not in charge, more like national mascots) and my wife even more so. (She’s a Catholic from a central/eastern european republic that still fondly remembers its royals).

      Though I won’t be buying bloody OK magazine…..

    • neill March 29, 2014 at 8:10 am #

      mope mope mope

    • wolfe tone March 29, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Dont be fooled that they have no say in the running of their state. Pure evil the lot of them. And how ominous is william’s new kid?…..he caused a death even before he was born!

      • Antonio March 30, 2014 at 1:48 am #

        what are you talking about he caused a death even before he was born?!?

      • pretzellogic March 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

        Don’t worry yourself wolfe tone, we won’t be fooled by evil unborn royal goats..

  20. neill March 29, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    Sorry Am Ghobsmacth that was aimed at Another Jude however i guess you would have realised that!

  21. Argenta April 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    In the light of Martin Mc Guinness accepting the Queens invitation to her State banquet, would you revise any of your comments in the blog above?