What is it with some people, that when an uncomfortable truth is spoken they go a bit bananas?
I can think of at least two past occasions when I made a comment that was truthful in every way, but a great number of people were so furious, they would cheerfully have taken my naked body smeared in honey and planted it on a killer ant-hill. If a statement of fact is greeted with such wild fist-shakes and boos, we really have reached a point where orangutangs could teach us a thing or two.
Congressman Richie Neal, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has recently sent some, er, right-thinking people into paroxysms of disgust. Neal did two things: he pointed out that the protocol could be beneficial, and he talked about the Planter and the Gael. Unionists and others responded, not with reasoned argument, but by saying he didn’t know what he was talking about in the first matter and that he had been appallingly insulting in the second.
Neal says he “referenced the historical term of the Gael, the Gael and the Planter, because those are entirely accurate historic references.”
A Lisburn councillor name of Simon Lee – a Green, would you believe – has said Congressman Neal “doesn’t have a great grasp of how you conduct yourself when you are here” and that “The word ‘Planter’ could suggest a hierarchy of Irishness in Northern Ireland”.
What do you mean “How you conduct yourself when you are here”, Simon? Button your lip? Don’t mention fifty years of bigoted misrule? Don’t remind unionists that there was a thing called the Plantation of Ulster, and today’s unionists are, in many cases, descended from those planters?
Those are simple facts of history. When this stateen was founded, the descendants of planters gerrymandered and discriminated for as long as possible. That does not mean that those descended from the native Irish – the Gaels – will do the same thing, now that they are in the political ascendancy. Mr Lee suggests that the term could suggest there is “a type of second-class citizen in Northern Ireland”.
I’d suggest Mr Lee doesn’t know how to conduct himself in terms of speech. Yes, there was a type of second-class citizen in NEI for decades. That has ended now, and to hint that maybe the Gael will follow the bad example of the Planter is a stupid and insulting assumption.
Listen, good knight Jeffrey, Mr Lee and any other denizen of this island concerned: there was an Ulster Plantation, the native Gaels were pushed off their land and sent to hell or Connacht – and that was hundreds of years ago. The descendants of those treated so vilely don’t parade on an annual basis, thumping a drum or shrieking a fife to remind everyone of who was boss and who was servant/slave. Those intent on building a new Ireland will recall past injustice and persecution – and will then do the opposite, ensuring that EVERYONE who lives here has an equal stake in society.
Now in the name of God would you go for a long walk and stop trying to muzzle people just because you get all twitchy at the thought of the historical facts behind their words.