I can’t recall ever reading the Economist. Economics was described by that most dismal and dour Scots philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, as  “the dismal science”.

I’m not (God Forbid!) a disciple of Carlyle but, I’m an agnostic in economic matters. The magazine was founded in the 1843 to campaign for the Repeal of the Corn Laws. It won that campaign and became so influential that in 1915 Lenin described it as ” the paper which speaks for British millionaires” . Its circulation was tiny reaching only 6,000 by 1920. It is now owned by an Italian company associated with the Agnelli family which owns FIAT which paid nearly $500,000,000 for it but its centre of gravity is in the USA and perhaps most of its staff in Britain. Recently it declared the Pope Francis is a disciple of V.I. Lenin.

It is supremely arrogant but not infallible.

It was essentially British back in 1966 and Garret Fitzgerald was, amongst other things its Irish correspondent. The paper was proud of its house style, he records, “and occasionally rewrote their correspondents’ contributions.

“I was moved to protest strongly when they added a first paragraph of their own, to a piece they had asked me to write for the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 Rising, which they published over the by-line, ‘By our Dublin Correspondent.’  It read, ‘This week fifty years ago a group of hotheads seized the GPO in Dublin,’ and was  accompanied by by a photograph of de Valera being escorted under arrest by two British soldiers, our President being described under the photo graph as ‘one of the hotheads’! On that occasion I got an apology from the paper.”

At the time of the Rising de Valera had secure employment as a teacher, was happily married with three sons aged under six years old, and his wife was four months pregnant with a further son. Dev was never given to rash or impetuous. Nor was Garret Fitzgerald’s father Desmond, who served in the GPO in Easter Week.He was then 28 years old and had sons aged 5 and 2. Had he or Dev been easily led into foolishness they would have joined the British Army two years earlier. Desmond served in Irish Governments in senior posts. de Valera had an  unparalleled record of leadership in democratic government and Garret served as Ireland’s Foreign Minister and Taoiseach.

Hardly the fruit of hot-headed adventurism.

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