The first Brexit vote was cast on 14th December 1918, when Ireland, in a General Election, “regarded on all sides as a Plebiscite” according to The Times, voted for the British King, and all his horses and all his men, to make their exit from Ireland.
Ireland had 105 Parliamentary seats. The voters awarded 73 of them to candidates dedicated to establishing a sovereign, independent Republic, 26 pledged to the Union, and 6 to continue pleading in Westminster for Mickey Mouse measure of local economy from enemies who despised them.
The Irish voters did not falter but, together with their chosen representatives worked in establishing their republic. Municipal, County Council and other local elections in 1920 were even more impressively Republican and the Trade Unions were, for the most part working to make the new democracy a success.
The King, his horses and men unleashed a reign of terror, burning towns, murdering Mayors and Councillors, targeting Trade Unionists, teachers of Irish, and spectators at Gaelic Games. This state of affairs lasted three years, until by a combination of terror and trickery the Irish National Movement was split into two warring factions.
The powerful nations of the world did not rally to the support of Irish democracy. And the powerful Churchmen weighed the moral force of an Irish Plebiscite against Crude Brute Force of the British Empire. They chose prudence over principle, asking – “How many Divisions has the Irish Republic?”
Some decades later, another ex-Seminarian, Josef Stalin, asked the same question of a Pope