Ruth Dudley Edwards gets bare-knuckled


Brace  yourselves. Just as politicians with an eye on Westminster have started getting  in some serious shadow-boxing, so too those with an eye to boosting their favoured party via the media have pulled out the singlet and wriggled into the shorts. (No, no boxing gloves involved, Virginia. This is bare-knuckle stuff we’re talking here.)

And bounding out of the Sindo blue corner yesterday morning we had none other than my old classmate and friend, Ruth Dudley Edwards!  Ruthie has her gimlet eye fixed on Martin McGuinness and musha, doesn’t she first thing land one square in the Deputy First Minister’s solar plexus and another on his jaw: of, ouch, and take that, you cad. Thats because like Padraig Pearse, Ruthie says, Martin McGuinness is a liar. How so? Let’s take her case against Pearse first.

The leader of the 1916 Rising is said to have sent all sorts of dispatches to groups involved in the Rising, telling them that reinforcements were on their way from other parts of the country, the Germans would help, their cause was destined to triumph. Lies, of course. Untruths. Misrepresentation.

As for McGuinness? Well, McGuinness has said that the next three elections – the one to Westminster in May 2015, the one to Stormont in May 2016 and the one to the Dail sometime inside the next twelve months: these represent a great opportunity to take a giant step towards a united Ireland.

Tosh, says Ruthie (yes, she does live in London, Virginia). Stuff and nonsense. “Only a tiny minority” of the Irish people want a united Ireland, So Martin is pissing against the wind. (I paraphrase, of course. Ruthie doesn’t use that kind of language.) In other words, Martin McGuinness is also a liar.

Well, Ruthie is no doubt an expert on Pearse, having written A Book about him, so he may well have said these things about reinforcements etc. Had she been in Pearse’s shoes (hard to imagine but still), she presumably would have told  followers the truth: we’re all banjaxed. And yet, and yet. I was watching a programme about Ireland and World War Two on BBC yesterday evening, and they told how  HMS Audacious, a massive British battleship  with heavy guns, was sunk by a German mine early in the war off the coast of Ireland. Throughout the war, the British concealed this fact from the world. In fact, they had photographs of the iconic ship displayed periodically, so they could hoodwink the Germans and their own people,  and hide this morale-damaging loss. In short, a propaganda war was fought alongside the real war. The morale of the troops was as important as their military hardware. So when Pearse sent out the messages about help coming from throughout the country, from Germany, it fitted into that all-important department: the boosting of his men’s morale.

As for McGuinness’s lies: well, whether they are lies or not remains to be seen. It is indeed important that republicans do well in the three elections mentioned. And that if they do  they will have made important strides towards a united Ireland. “But what about that only-a-tiny-proportion-wanting-Irish-unity thing Ruthie referred to? What about that?”

OK. I’ll say this just once, so Ruthie and everyone else can understand. Nobody knows how many Irish people are keen to reunite their country. This would only emerge if a referendum on the subject were held in the north and the south. But even without a referendum, it’s no crystal-ball-gazing act to say definitively that a lot more than a ‘tiny minority’ want a reunited Ireland. One can never be sure why people vote for various political parties but it’s difficult to see how Sinn Féin’s fortunes north and south could have been boosted to the extent they have, or  how further growth is a racing certainty, without at least a goodish number of those so voting wanting a reunited Ireland.

In fact, you might well conclude that when Ruthie says only a ‘tiny minority’ of Irish people want reunification,  she is telling…No, Virginia, not a lie. Ruthie lives in England and doesn’t tell lies. Let’s just call it  a little porkie pie with a Union flag on top, shall we?

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15 Responses to Ruth Dudley Edwards gets bare-knuckled

  1. hoboroad February 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    I’m suprised she has resurfaced. I thought she would be lying low licking her wounds after the hammering she took from that Scottish University Professor during the Scottish Independence Referendum.

  2. Andrew February 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    What does she fear ? What has her likes got to loose?

  3. Patrick J Dorian February 2, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    Inteesting she never mentioned lies from the same period;
    “At the beginning of the war, it was widely reported that German soldiers in Belgium were acting like monsters – bayonetting babies, cutting off thousands of hands, raping nuns. These reports were so unsettling that several teams from the US left for Belgium to verify them. They failed completely. No ravished nuns. No cut off hands. No impaled babies.”

  4. Patrick J Dorian February 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    The Clean-Up

    We’ll never know the full truth. At the end of World War I, many of France’s most important documents were removed from the files and never seen again. The Allies had beaten Germany on the field of battle. Now, they were going to lynch her, as the one responsible for the war. They didn’t want any contrary evidence coming to light. But they missed some things.

    From Simonnot:

    “In a memorandum dated September 2, 1912 – two years before the war began – addressed to […] Poincaré, a certain colonel Vignal, from the second office of the military general staff, predicted that a war begun in the Balkans would put France and Russia in good position to beat Germany. Other documents, many from Russia, show that the assassin of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Gavrilo Princip, and his group of conspirators, the “Black Hand,” were paid by the Russian military attaché in Belgrade… and that the government of Serbia (allied with Russia) was aware of the plot.
    As early as January, 1914, the French journal, Le Matin, had reported “an extraordinary concentration of [Tsarist] forces at the Prussian border.”
    Poincaré went to Moscow on July 23, a month after the assassination. We don’t know what was discussed; the records have never been found. But we know the Germans were not the first to mobilize their troops after war had been declared.
    The Russians set their war machine in motion a week after Poincaré’s visit. The Germans got news almost immediately that Russia had mobilized 13 corps for war. The Kaiser mobilized a day later. This fact, too, was later falsified in order to make it look as though Germany had struck first.”

    No, Germany was not guilty. More likely, France and Russia were responsible for starting the war. Woodrow Wilson was guilty of turning it into an historic calamity.

  5. Brian Patterson February 2, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    Actually Ruth’s biography of Pearse is very readable and surprisingly sympathetic. I bought it hardback in a pound shop, figuring Ruth could not make much money out of it. She presents him as very likeable unworldly and sincere, if a bit naive. And she firmly dismisses any suggestion that he was a paedophile as some revisionists have tried to make out. A visionary not a fanatic. Well worth a read. Unlike her Indo columns.

    • Jude Collins February 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

      Thanks, Brian. That’s very enlightening. I had assumed it would be similar to her usual slant – cf ‘The Faithful Tribe’ aka the OO.

  6. Séamus Ó Néill February 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    As Sinn Féin’s mandate increases across the whole of Ireland, fear and apprehension will also increase among the gombeen politicians and anyone else with their fingers in the pie.The West -Brit mentality that pervades the corridors of RTE and the press in general will spew out more trite nonsense…attacks on Sinn Féin politicians and character assassination will become common place but their efforts will be in vain.They survived Section 31 and the broadcasting ban on British tv ,countless assassination attempts and everything the military and establishment could hurl at them ………exciting days ahead as the cornered beast fights for survival, Beidh ar lá linn.

  7. Perkin Warbeck February 2, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    Why is it, Esteemed Blogmeister, that while reading the goodly news in Ruth Dudley Edwards’ cuddly prose one invariably gets an inkling of what it must have been like to be on the RIP Van Winkle end of a Loyalist punishment squad?

    Could it possibly be to do with the association of such ideas as Babe Ruth and baseball bats? One understands that her sobriquet is based on her Ballpark Figure. Having hit the M.O.P.E’s so often and with such relish for a wee six one might have expected her to take the odd break and rest her right arm which must be suffering at least from Little League Elbow by now.

    Not a bit of it.

    Whether it was February the First or not but the greatest Boston Red Sox Collegian of them all and the rest of the D.O.P.E.s were in fair frisky form yesterday right across the spectrum of the political plectrum from A major to a minor in the Sunday Independent Cult (sic)..

    (D.O.P.E.s: Demonisers of Pearse’s Eireland.).

    There was Eoghainin na nAontachtoiri harassing like good-o: it’s what he does..Which involved the massed bands of Oglaigh na hEireann in Easter 2016 (that’s called ‘taking ownership’ in contemporary parlance) criss-crossing the highways and byeways of the 26 Counties of the Free Southern Stateen.

    In his own inimitable way the Drum Major of the D.O.P.E.s will march them up every Hiberno hillock in front of every provo pillock and down every Hiberno hillock again,once more in front of every provo pillock.

    26 trombones will lead the big parade, to be followed by 110 cornets close at hand, who in turn will be followed by rows and rows of virtuousos- the cream of every famous band.(That would be the likes of U2, and not at all the dislikes of the Wolfe Tones).

    Further down the massed ranks could be found one of these guest virtuosos: Olivia O’Leary, late of The Unionist Times and its Broadcasting Wind-instrument, RTE.. Some contrarians amongst us choose to sit upon the latter and to treat it as a kind of rubber whoopee cushion such as might be purchased in a Ye Olde Joke Shoppe. Prekie, not being among them, was open to Olivia’s outspan outpourings yesterday.

    Under a disinterested heading of ‘Remembering the Holocaust and Remembering why we could never vote Sinn Fein’ (for association of ideas: see above) one got an insight into how O’Leary can see clearly now, now that the brain is gone. This she achieved by first looking into the past, next narrowing it down, before finally focusing on that Shannon-side Shame which has given us all such a rap of the hames: the (gulp) Limerick Pogrom of 1904 in the blooming Year of Leopold..

    (Comprising of: one broken collar bone, two squashed snot-organs, three grazed knees, four cauliflower ears……AND………..counting).

    26 trombones will catch the morning sun, with 110 cornets and more behind, as well as more than 1000 reeds springing up like weeds. There’ll also be, Harris-willing, horns of every shape and kind.

    Eoghan and Olivia, bless ’em, not only provoked Perkie’s inner air-head into thought with Sunday Morning coming down, but caused him to mumble even as he stumbled across the room, to fumble in the (gulp) closet for his cleanest, dirty blue shirt.

    As follows: ‘What if a certain Minister of Defence with responsibility for Oglaigh na hEireann (see above) before – smidirini !- his political career was well nigh shattered of late, had been in the saddle when the Matador shoulder-launched missiles from the Israeli side were directed with no little effect at the Golan Heights last week. And instead, of, erm, shattering (unavoidable) the lives of six ( as in wee) A-rabs had done ditto with the lives of six Irish Oglaigh na hEireann of the their light blue berets.?’

    Another of the What Ifs of hysteria. A harmless enough question- mirabile dictu/anam an diabhail !- neither posed nor reposed in the Sunday Independent Cult (sic)

    26 trombones will lead the big parade, sous le baton du Drum Major des D.O.P.E.s, (Je suis out on my Eoghan !) and be followed by copper bottomed tympani in horse platoons, thundering, thundering, thundering all along the way. Not forgetting the double bell euphoniums and big bassoons, each basssoon having its….own….big….fat…..say !

    And in such a way, one’d imagine that each bassoon was a Tonaiste among bassoons.

    There was one slight omission in the Drum Major’s Easter Proclamation; the repertoire. An omission swiftly rectified by the brieiest of sight-reading between the lines: ‘Forty shades of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’.

    All in all, yesterday’s edish of the S.I.C., even as it slanted over the jar of the Fruitfield Old Time Coarse Cut Orange Marmalade, complemented one’s special Stephen ‘Ulster’ Fry splendidly.

    God knows, splendidly to the point of spiffily.

    In Harris-speak (for it is it !) the Free Southern Stateen is

  8. Seán McGouran February 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    Ruth is like a ‘mad’ auld Auntie, and nearly a likeable, I think, I’ve seen her in action on Dublin, Belfast and (mostly) London. She has a bee in her bonnet about Northern Naturalists (we are all evil, and just want to kill all the Prods out of devilment. Yes, every last one of us;- and every last one of them).
    The Unionists never done nothin’ (well, OK, a bit of bad behaviour by the plebes, but not pogroms or anything like that) and the Orange Order is just a friendly society, for said plebes. And the Gold Coast of north Down is soooo civilised. The even allow (rich) Taigs…. sorry – Roaming Cath-o-licks to live there.
    Ruth can take her bad medicine with a certain good grace. At a meeting in the LSE two years ago she did her now usual gig – a man in the audience after the talk. a working class Dub repudiated every word she had spoken, and implicitly, judging from what he said was a Dublin Protestant and a Socialist Republican / Connollyite. His grandfather had been in the Citizen Army and was out in 1916. Ruth simply had to shrug at that, the Chair had studiously ignored my raised had, he must have been kicking himself afterwards. My intervention would have been much more decorous – correcting RDE on some (minor) bloopers.

  9. paddykool February 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    As you imply, Jude, voting desires for the future are still a mystery until there is a referendum. Mind you, I think it is still early days yet for many. We talked about this before and I feel the economics are key for many people .Sure there is a gut -level desire for a coherent “whole” Ireland at some future time in many minds….. .Unionists still need a convincing argument too of course ….they were happy enough in a “whole” Ireland before partition after all…. and an imaginary line on the map doesn’t actually change their internal “unionist culture” in any way .The “other island” will still view them as “paddies” anyway , as they do now { see the current debacle of ostracism from the television debates for further proof of this }.The days of force are gone for both tribes , so let’s see the maths of it.What about those southerners who want nothing to do with us? How many of them are there out there? They’ve gotten along without us for the best part of a century, so what can we offer them besides a lot of northern crankiness, even more foolish mad-dog religiosity ,cultural buffoonery at times …. and a hankering for censorship?

  10. Iolar February 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    The sight of men wallowing in mud, choking on mustard gas or being ripped to pieces by machine gun fire is not an edifying sight. Trauma was a key feature of many survivors of the First World War as they returned to ‘a land fit for heroes’. The reality was different from the rhetoric. Poverty, unemployment and inadequate housing were facts of life before and after the First World War in England and in Ireland.

    It is strange to say the least, how social policies and employment practices were changed to meet the needs of a war time economy. Women were employed in heavy industries without the need for indentured apprenticeships. Tasks that were the preserve of male employees were undertaken by women without disrupting industrial production. As soon as the war ended all the restrictive practices returned, a woman’s place was back in the home.

    Pádraig Pearse (1879 – 1916), Irish teacher, barrister, poet and writer remains an iconic and controversial figure to the present day. His actions and those of his colleagues in 1916 were grounded in a systematic analysis of imperialism, colonialism and the international exploitation of working people. Pearse and his colleagues are gone but not forgotten. Their ideas and actions were vilified in 1916 and remain the source of much hysterical reaction in lieu of historical analysis to the present day. Seán O’Casey was once challenged about the suggestion that the men of 1916 did not engage in a fair fight. He responded by asking what was fair about a small number of men with few military resources being confronted by thousands of armed soldiers, cavalry, howitzers and gunboat diplomacy. Military might was not right in 1916. Its use was not right in Ballymurphy or Derry in the 1970’s. Who lied after the massacre in Ballymurphy and on Bloody Sunday? If a trained and disciplined (?) army slaughters citizens in broad daylight in the presence of hundreds of witnesses, what might happen in the dark of night? Shiek Mahfoud Nahnah an Algerian advocate of dialogue said,

    “The greatest violence is done when a state attacks its own people.”

  11. Freddy Mallins February 2, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    My selfishness informs my view on the UI question. Whilst it sits comfortably with my political idealism I do love to escape across the border and visit places like, Malin, Oghterard, Doolin and Tralee. I’m not sure I want Sammy Wilson having speaking rights in the Dail. Nor would I wish to visit such ignominy upon the people of the South. I feel a sense of release and freedom when I cross the border. It’s in my waters. I would fear Sunday park closures and belligerent marches would water down my sense of peace. The South appears to be moving swiftly into the new century. The many faults that populated life there in the 60s and 70s seem to be rectifying themselves. A form of tolerance is now more prevalent. The North, sadly has some way to go.

  12. Sherdy February 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

    Jude, I just about managed the first paragraph of this article.
    But the thought of seeing Ruthless Doddery Edwards stripped out in singlet and ‘wriggling’ into shorts gave me a right scunner!
    I’ve no idea how your article developed as I had to search the medicine cupboard for something to settle my poor stomach.
    In future could you please issue a health warning for such pornographic material, or at least not post it before the watershed!

  13. Navanman February 2, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    One of Ruth’s points was that Martin McGuiness is telling lies to rally the troops just like PP did.
    The question is still there i.e. is MmcG telling lies or is there some truth in what he is saying.
    What are M McGuiness’s motives? Just electioneering or does he believe it?

  14. Mick Early February 2, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

    Lovely way to counteract the woman’s lies, thanks Jude. I wonder if that particular Kerryman is still living in her house in London??