All entries for Tuesday 24 May 2005

May 24, 2005

Irish Disagreements Part 1 – The Home Rule Movement Is Born

Yeah yeah, with that title this entry could be about anything really. We are a test case in how to breed a race which values indignation as a moajor character trait. Hell, I'm a wonderful distillation, half Irish half Scouse. Everything makes me indignant, my high horse is so high if I were to fall I'd flatten major cities such would be my velocity when I hit the ground*. And with that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, I am presenting to you…

Ireland Between 1880 and 1914.

Trust me, you'll be crying with frustration very shortly.

In 1800 the British had one of their periodic bright ideas of unity and stuff, and decided to make Ireland a part of Britain itself, rather than an argumentative self-governing place. In part this was because of the rebellions. The other part was, of course, the rebellions. Ireand was made up of Catholics and Protestants. Britain told them to shut up and behave. Life would be easier if they had.

So for a while this was fine because the rule in Ireland is that the indignation must be allowed to grow.

By the 1860s the Catholics were really quite indignant. They wanted to be ruled from Dublin. This does not mean they wanted to be independent. They just wanted to be ruled from an Irish city but still under the British monarchy. A group dedicated to getting home rule was formed and it called itself the Home Government Association. Catchy. It was formed by a man called Butt in 1870. Jokes ahoy!

Naturally some of the Protestants didn't like this. But then again the Protestants didn't like a lot of things, like the Catholics. And in turn the Catholics were not always keen on the Protestants, although to be fair the Protestants had come from a foreign country and taken over much of the land. Centuries earlier. The Irish have long memories.

Anyway, the British had done their usual trick of completely ignoring what was going on until the 1874 general election when Butt's party obliterated both Liberal and Tory at the polls. Then they paid attention.

But Butt (hahaha) didn't have much time to do stuff and become a hero because he soon lost his job. He mimsied around and not a lot happened, so a member of his party called Charles Stuart Parnell decided to take inspiration from a seven-year-old child and refuse to let parliament play pass any laws until there was Home Rule. It is an indictment of politics that Butt's vague but gentlemanly fannying around got no where but Parnell's stroppiness got him into power in the Home Rule party.

Parnell was, like Butt, another Protestant. The Home Rule movement was not just Catholics. But there was a pattern. It was popular in parts of Ireland which weren't Ulster.

Ominous rumble of thunder representing the impending approach of history.

Oh god, now this entry is getting melodramatic.

In 1880 Gladstone got back into power. Parnell made himself popular by abandoning his obstructiveness and attaching the Home Rule movement to those who were calling for reform of the land in Ireland which was owned by a small number of people. This was a result of the famine, as was the desire amongst the poor to own some of this land.

Things were hotting up. Gladstone wasn't allergic to Home Rule like Disraeli's Conservatives were. Parnell was charismatic and popular and didn't have a name that school boys could snigger at easily. The Conservatives jumped on the Home Rule bandwagon. It was all going well.

Remember what we said earlier about the rules of Irish history. If it's going well now, give it five minutes and it will all fall apart. And it did.

Part 2 coming soon.

*If any scientists post anything about terminal velocity and the inaccuracy of my rhetoric I will a) get indignant and b) find you and rub salad on your face. Rough salad.

May 2005

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