A QUESTION OF RECOGNITION by Donal Kennedy


When Clement Attlee was British Prime Minister, he and a fellow Cabinet Minister, Frank Pakenham, went for a meal in Chelsea, a couple of miles or so from Westminster. When the bill was presented they didn’t have enough cash on them and when Pakenham  proferred a cheque, it was refused. Pakenham was a Director of the National
Bank, which had its HQ in Dublin.

High Defintion colour TV was unknown and twenty-four hour political blather was yet to be inflicted on the populace. The UK had long
gone off the Gold Standard but some today might look back to the time when a statesman could eat within spitting distance of  Parliament in complete anonymity.

Less than twenty years earlier an old Harrrovian was recognised by a schoolmate in a train, who asked him what he was doing then. The old Harrovian was Stanley Baldwin, the then incumbent of 10 Downing Street.

During the same era Eamon de Valera was campaigning in County Clare, where a farmer said, “I suppose you’re one of them political fellas” – “You might say so” said Dev, who got the response “You’re wastin’ yer time here, we’re all voting for de Valera.”

And before that, during Britain’s attempt to crush democracy, a woman charged with soliciting in the streets of Dublin, was asked if she recognised the Court. “Do I recognise the Court?  Every blessed wan o’ them!” was her response.

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