THREE YEARS AGO VOTERS IN THE MISNAMED “UNITED KINGDOM” by a
very small margin, in a referendum voted for
it to break its connection with the European Union. The UK Parliament freely voted to join the European Economic Community in 1971 and UK voters by referendum in 1975 decided it should stick with it. Sovereignty in the “United Kingdom” is vested in “The Queen in Parliament” which signed up to the “Single European Act.” No force outside Britain coerced her into the arrangement, nor bribed nor bought her Parliament or voters. Nobody who disagreed with the arrangement was beaten off the streets, imprisoned, shot, or hanged, and no dissenting organs were suppressed. No threats emanated from Brussels, Strasbourg, Paris, Berlin or Rome. The UK freely chose the connection with Europe and has freely chosen to break it.
Whatever one thinks of the issues, the behaviour of leading Brexiteers including senior Parliamentarians, including alumni of the world’s leading Universities and of renowned and ancient English schools, has been bizarre .
I dread to think what John Henry Newman, looking down on the graduates of his Alma Mater, thinks of the antics of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees Mogg, and Michael Gove. Or of the shameless, counterfeit posturing of the grotesque Ann Widdecombe. History repeating itself – as ARSE?
Newman looked to a University as an ‘assemblage of learned men’ who will ‘create a pure and clear atmosphere of thought….of which the attributes are, freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom.
Posing as martyrs and rebels against the yoke of Continental tyrants might be amusing in a kindergarten, but it sits
incongruously with any idea of university educated adults.
Anyhow this December Brexit, or The Great British Feckoff, will be the theme of the second “United Kingdom” General
Election in two years.
And few living East of the Irish Sea, will realise that the question of a British Exit was central to a General Election held on the 14th December 1918, one hundred and one years ago.
At the time all of Ireland, North, South, East and West,comprising Four Provinces embracing Thirty Two Counties, had been incorporated into the “United Kingdom” since 1801. It had been under the Lordship of England since the time of King John in the 12th Century, and had been a separate Kingdom under the Monarchs of England since the time of Henry VIII of that Kingdom (Henry I of Ireland, I suppose. Of the process by which Ireland was incorporated into “The United Kingdom, William Gladstone (an Englishman) said in 1886 –
“There is no blacker or fouler transaction in the history of man. We used the whole civil government of Ireland as an engineof wholesale corruption….we obtained that Union against the sense of every class of the community, by wholesale briberyand unblushing intimidation.”
Ireland had 105 MPs and the results of the election held on 14 December 1918 were announced on 28 December (23 years before this Blogger was born.
Seventy three seats were won by candidates committed to a
Republican programme of Irish sovereign independence and the immediate
establishment of an Irish Parliament in Dublin. A further six candidates,
describing themselves as Nationalists were elected pledged to attend
Westminster and plead for limited Irish autonomy. (They Boycotted the popularly
mandated Dail Eireann. Twenty Six Unionists were elected. Many of the elected
Republican were in British jails, and kept there.British troops and the British
controlled Royal Irish Constabulary, harassed Republicans, and seized election
literature. British Censors erased passages in Sinn Fein’s Manifesto (composed
by Robert Brennan – a great uncle of Roddy Doyle, but a less profane one and
the RAF dropped leaflets warning of the consequences of voting Sinn Fein.
Anyhow that was the first Brexit Election, but not the last. In Municipal, County Council and other local elections in 1920
Sinn Fein (and Irish Labour Candidates pledged to the Republic) did even better than in the Parliamentary Election. In 1921 Sinn Fein held the seats won in 1918.
Those who supported the Republic suffered rather more than those Britons weighted down under the yoke of Brussels
there past few decades, many of them more quietly than Ann Widdecombe, in prisons, solitary confinement, in torture
chambers. At least one pregnant woman was chained to her bed in prison.