Thursday, 10 March 2011

God save the Queen, eh Johnny? Royal visit set to shock Little Irelanders.

I bunked off school in 1980 to see Johnny Rotten appearing in Dublin District Court.   The ex-Sex Pistols frontman, real name John Lydon, had been refused service in a Dublin bar  known as the Horse and Tram.  Words were exchanged, the cops were called, and Lydon was arrested.  He later claimed it was because he attacked  a copper’s fist with his face.   

Whatever happened, there was a sizeable contingent of spiky tops in the gallery - including my teenage self - to witness the scandal of Johnny being sentenced to Mountjoy (he spent four days there).   The judge nearly wet himself with vindictive joy.  Here was a chance for the Irish establishment to punish punk's leading light - in his courtroom!  The figurehead of a movement that threatened Irish teenagers’ moral well-being. 

He might have been right on one level, depending on how you define moral well-being.  If moral well-being meant  young people accepting the mores they were “taught” in school, the guff they read in the papers, heard from the pulpit, and got from RTE -  punk was very threatening for them indeed.  It threatened to empower them and make them question things.

Punk had already caused much upset in Britain.  The Pistols stuck a safety pin in the Queen's nose (on their record cover, anyway).   They wrote an alternative national anthem to celebrate her Silver Jubilee, a key refrain of which was "no future for you".    They were Situationists - albeit contrived ones.  They spat and got sick on stage, for instance.  When questioned by the media about the latter, the band’s manager, Malcolm McLaren, responded:  “ People are sick all the time.  People are sick of this country”.

And being sick of your country is no bad thing.  At least having a healthy attitude to questioning its accepted orthodoxies isn't.  And the more interwoven with your country’s identity those orthodoxies are, the healthier it is to question them - especially when they are pure guff, as many nation-building devices are. 

For my part, I like nothing better than to imagine Dev, Paddy Pee and the rest of our founding fathers spinning – like underground dynamos – in their patriot graves.   In fact, I’d be for hooking them up to the National Grid, and making Ireland energy self-sufficient.

The orthodox, approved version of Irishness - promoted by the State since 1922 - was that our little land was a Catholic, Gaelic entity.   The Catholic component is nearly gone, but there’s still work left to dismantle the Gaelic one. 

Another institutionalised mindset - among a sizeable proportion of our otherwise docile public - is that the Head of State of our nearest neighbour cannot visit here, due to The 800 Years, Cromwell, The Famine, and all the rest.   It is incredible that there is still a debate on this issue now, even in 2011. 

There is no reason why the Queen of England – or the Head of State from any other EU country –  cannot visit here without howls of protest from the custodians of knee-jerk Irishness.  

Sure I might even pogo along myself just to piss them off, as I hope others do.

Now, where did I leave that safety pin?

Back to Gombeen Nation main page


Anonymous said...

Two reason I can think of why we should say no.

1. She is an unelected head of state. I know this is not a usual barrier in these things but in these modern times it should be. Ireland should perhaps take a lead and raise the bar a little, inviting only elected heads of states to visit.

2. She represents privilege and discrimination. She holds a position that you can only hold if you are CofE. Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Catholics etc. need not apply. If a US corporation were to have the same rules about who can be its CEO we would all be outside their head office protesting. Lets be consistent.

Anonymous said...

There's something deliciously ironic about an establishment figure playing in many ways the same role that her Nemesis did 30 years ago, to challenge the dogma of the day and get people thinking beyond a narrow range of prescribed criteria. I am sure it will be mostly lost on the populist republican mindset but I love it all the same.

The Flan.

Ella said...

Hi GM, Yeah right, I can see you there with your tri colour in one hand and a union jack in the other!!

On another note, well done, a finalist (down to last 5) of political blogs for 2011 - well deserved, keep up the excellent work.

Anonymous said...

Laim smullen

There don’t seem to be much of a response to this post, compared to other
your postings which is worrying. If it is not reversed quickly with rising oil prices plus food prices it will be it cost a lot of family the very basic food items
Why is food prices not a political issue in this country?

nor is public sector “padded” or “bloated”
other struggles in the public sector going on.

Anonymous said...

Like the election, the Queen’s visit will come and go. A few foolish people with outdated ideas will be like a fart, (will make a loud noise and cause an unpleasant stink, that won‘t last long), but otherwise they will be a quite inconsequential and politically insignificant.

There will never be an Irish Republic as envisaged by Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail because of the attitudes displayed by Gerry Adams in the Dial, yesterday. His very first remarks were tinged with vehemence.

He was confrontational and belligerent and he showed a lack of character and graciousness. As he spoke, it was more interesting to watch the reactions of other people than him, they were amused by him and some people sniggered .

He could not even speak Irish with the lilt, grace and beauty that spoken Irish deserves, as Joe Higgins did. He spoke Irish with a schoolboy’s difficulty and with tension and a struggle in his voice. He is not a natural Irish speaker and he is all talk, however incomprehensible.

It is for that reason that Britain will never bow to pressure to relinquish control of Northern Ireland, that will soon be recognised worldwide as an independent state like Scotland.

Ireland could have been a Republic many years ago if only they had been sufficiently clever to cajole and entice the residents of Northern Ireland and Great Britain to “join us” in the interests of commerce and trade.

But no, Gaelic and Catholicism had to be present like a vehement, fulminating disease, and these archaic beliefs and practices are the disease that have held Ireland back from genuine progress for so long.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Catholic component is nearly gone, but not quite. It seems that there is to be an Irish Eucharistic Congress in Croke Park in Dublin in June 2012.

They are going to pay homage to a piece of bread displayed in a Sun shaped instrument called a monstrance.It is not even proper bread but like the stuff that you drain off your pasta gone dry.

At the last Supper Christ said to the apostles “do this in memory of me”. They were eating so, in effect he told them to feed the poor and hungry, and that makes sense to me.

But no, men are going to dress up in hideous garments at a shindig and speak incomprehensible utterances that have no meaning whatsoever in adoration to a deity that does not exist.

This raucous ecclesiastical jamboree of wanton waste and profligacy will last for three days and will cost the government millions of Euros of the peoples’ money, especially if the Pope attends.

What about the thing I mentioned about Jesus telling the apostles to feed the poor? The church’s message will be as before: “fuck the poor and screw the hungry”

Feeding hungry people who are afraid for the future and are living in despair because of politicians theft makes more sense to me than foolish looking men, talking interminable nonsense, dressed in tall hats, sprinkling holy water about willy-nilly and polluting the atmosphere by making smoke in abundance. This is bloody nonsense and is the sort of thing that the church did during "The Black Death"

Members of the government will be there and all the diplomatic staff and the Knights of Columbanus and everyone who is anyone, and all the ‘truthful’ words spoken by Enda Kenny in the Dail will be forgotten and the hungry will still be hungry.


Dakota said...

This is great news. I'm genuinely happy the Queen will visit Ireland. Though for the life of me I can't see why? It must be the lack luster property market, maybe adding another des res, possibily? Good news all the same.

Panu said...

If you weren't such a fake anti-Fascist, you might be interested in the little morsel of inside information that the only recent Fascist activity in the Irish-language circles has been the attempt by a certain self-professed British conservative (of "Right Now!" background) to infiltrate the Irish-language circles.

The guy is actually opposed to Irish independence, as he sees it as disruptive of white unity against blacks and Muslims, and he is against Sinn Féin etc. because he sees their solidarity with Third World liberation movements as betrayal of the white race.

But of course you are not interested in today's situation. It is far more important to get upset about the Aiséirí gang in the nineteen forties. It is so smug and easy to wax morally indignant about what somebody's great-granda did back in the thirties than find out about real attempts to mainstream right-wing extremism.

You don't need to publish this comment, this was meant as a personal message.

Anonymous said...

Can't see it happening myself, if the politicians have any sense that is.

What will it achieve?

Rumour has it any visit will be confined to Dublin - for security reasons. If the purpose is to show that "..we're all friends now and everything is normal" then clearly this security issue shows we are a long way from that.

If she comes and is confined to Dublin the UK press will note this and all in all it will reflect badly on Ireland. Throw in the chance of protests, burning effigies and flags and the potential for downsides just increases.

The visit would be seen as a test of how much the Irish like the British. Do we want to take that test? To wildly paraphrase Abe Lincoln "Better to remain silent and be thought unfriendly than to send an invite and remove all doubt."

Anonymous said...

A Day at the Races

Why should HM The Queen not visit one of her own properties at the “Home of the Classics”; The Curragh Racecourse Co. Kildare. After all it is “The Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas” on 21st. May 2011 and “The Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas” and “The Tattersalls Gold Cup” on 22nd. May 2011. I would love to be there.

It will be a great day at the races. This is the one thing that Ireland does really well. The Queen may make a speech in Gaeilige. She is known to be multi-lingual, and after all her mother was a fluent speaker of Classic Scottish Gaelic and probably so is The Queen.

Three Cheers for the Queen who will bring a bit of sophistication and culture to the Island of Ireland, that has been long overdue!!

Anonymous said...

Ireland Never has been Free

Ireland never has been free. From 1922 to 1948 it was a member of the British Commonwealth. But The Fine Gael coalition government declared independence because they did not want to take an Oath to the King. However they did take an oath to the Pope.

The Irish coalition government led by John A. Costello at the behest of the Papal Nuncio Paschal Robinson, The President Sean T. O’Kelly (and the Knights of Columbanus) sent the following message to Pius XII (Hitler's Pope):

“ We the Irish people desire to repose at the feet of Your Holiness the assurance of our filial loyalty and our devotion to your August person, as well as our firm resolve to be guided in all our work by the teachings of Christ and to strive for the attainment of a social order in Ireland based on Christian principles”.

Since 1949 Ireland has been and still is a dominion of the Vatican City in Rome under the present control of Pope Benedict XVI. The Fine Gael coalition government surrendered Irish sovereignty to Rome, and that is why the Catholic Church controls the Irish Government and every aspect of Irish Life.

In June 2012 The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland will show it’s ecclesiastical dominance over the Irish people by having a Irish Eucharistic Congress in Croke Park, which the Pope will attend costing millions of euros to the Irish people. They will squander and waste money that should be have been given to those who were abused in the Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Panu
"If you weren't such a fake anti-Fascist"
I am genuinely interested in what you have to say, and I do wish to learn, but I do not know to whom your vitriol is addressed.

In addition, I do not know why you harbour such a degree of opprobrium. I would be graciously indebted if you would elucidate the reason for and direction of your wrath.

Most sincerely

Anonymous said...


It seems that the last Taoiseach to wear a top hat was Mr DeValera. But now we find that Mr Enda Kenny will have to buy, barrow or purloin a top hat and tail coat if he is he to accompany HM Queen Elizabeth II to “The Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas” on 21st. May 2011 at ‘The Curragh’ Racecourse. So now we will have The Taoiseach, telling a tall tale, in a tail coat, in a top hat. I really do love Ireland, it is so full of wonderment and magic.

Anonymous said...

Thought, Argument and Culture.

I do not know what is the exact purpose of a blog, but I suppose it is for chatter, opinion and fun, and maybe not to be taken too seriously. If this is so, then I give my wholehearted approval.

Nevertheless, Gombeen Nation has been, in my case, been most educational and thought provoking, because of the erudite and scholarly involvement of your perspicacious contributors.

At the risk of sounding boring I would like to praise your blog. for it’s input to Irish thought, argument and culture. Anyhing that produces "Lateral Thinking" in Ireland has to be welcomed, and Gombeen Nation does this wonderful thing.


Anonymous said...


There is about €100,000,000,000 euros ready to be invested in Ireland straight away, if only the totally antiquated idiotic Gerry Adams contingent were ready to see reality.

Which would you rather have for your children and grandchildren? A secure affluent, progressive, scientific, industrial, information technology Ireland or, an old fashioned antiquated 1922, Gaeilige speaking , Roman Catholic superstitious (blood and guts) approach to modern civilisation.

Ella said...

Dear Panu, thank you for making me feel normal and sane.

Anonymous said...

Like Ella, I want to feel normal and sane so will someone please tell me what Panu actually said.

The Gombeen Man said...

As a rule of thumb, if you can't figure out what the hell he's banging on about, you're doing OK.

Anonymous said...

A Real Conundrum

Panu’s comment is of interest to me in the same way that a crossword puzzle is interesting , and I am intrigued to discover to whom the remarks were addressed and why.

The Right Hon. person seems to be a most unwholesome fellow insofar that he has spied on Gaelic speakers because he does not want Ireland to be independent. The bit about Ailtirí na h-Aiséirí has lost me completely.

I have respectfully tried to make sense of Panu’s Blog:

Someone is a fake anti-Fascist, (they pretend to be against fascists but are really fascists) who is in possession of inside information concerning fascist activity in the Irish-language circles by some right wing “Right Honourable” British Conservative who has infiltrated the Irish-Language.

This Right Honourable” British Conservative is actually opposed to Irish independence, in the same way that he has been disruptive of white unity against blacks and Muslims and Sinn Féin because he sees their (Muslims and Sinn Féin) solidarity with Third World liberation as betrayal of Caucasians

The person initially alluded to in the blog is not interested in today's situation. It is far more important for them to get upset about the Ailtirí na h-Aiséirí (Architects of Resurgence) gang in the nineteen forties.

This person is being so smug and easy to wax morally indignant about what somebody's great-grandfather did back in the thirties than find out about real attempts to mainstream right-wing extremism. (I am befuddled with this).

This person is very young if their great grandfather lived in the 1930’s. I think that the writer is an Irish speaker, who is thinking in Irish and writing in English that makes no sense whatsoever, but clearly it has done to Ella.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what the bum said or meant, clearly he is 'out of his box' and is not of this earth.

anna said...

Q: Why is Queen visiting?
A: we have a huge connection with the UK- They are out biggest trading partner, we are their biggest trading partner. At least 5% of UK population have Irish origins( in cities like Manchester and Liverpool, this could be as high as 25%).
UK takes a Huge % of our college students that we don’t provide enough college places for : the no of Irish students in UK now is 2nd only to the no of Chinese students- and Don’t forget that China has a population of 1 billion- so Irish students by % of home population are the Highest No of non UK students there.
We Always had full voting rights there- more than citizens of any other former British colony: in fact Irish people in UK can vote in All elections and referenda- UK people here have similar rights- but Still can’t vote in any referenda or presidential elections.
UK has provided millions of jobs for Irish - over 90 year s of emigration from this country since 1922. And they gave us another few billion to add to our bail out package last year.
Oh and thanks to all that emigration a Huge % of people in this country spent some part of their childhood/ or adult working life in UK- in fact I’m a sure its at least 20%- its 10% for sure ( I know this as I was banned from giving blood of here 8 yrs ago, Irish blood board banned anyone who had ever lived in UK for 1yr from giving blood due to theoretical risk of BSE- immediately they lost 10% of their donors overnight).
Also it often looks as though UK hospitals will take Irish people who are gravely ill, and who can’t get the specialist treatment they need in Ireland.
So why is the Queen visiting here?
Ans: it is customary for heads of neighbouring states, esp. those who have had deep links to make visits to strengthen their bonds and deepen future ones.
BTW: I am from NI, I am not ignorant of all the bloody history that has passed between these islands. One comment often heard is ‘ Irish citizens were shot dead by the Queens troops on Bloody Sunday’ - the Bloody Sunday enquiry apologised for that.
And what about all the ordinary people swept away by the IRA? As John Hume said they killed more ordinary Catholics than the British troops OR Loyalists. And don’t forget the odinary people killed on the British mainland including 3 and 12 yr old boys who died in Warrington in 1993.
Well we’re a forgiving nation, of any IRA atrocities anyway, as this nation elected one of their greatest cheer leaders to the Dáil as TD for Co Louth.
Why is the Queen coming: Well 100,000’s of thousands of Irish people will be emigrating to the UK over the next few years- BIGGEST influx they will have from any country, so I’m sure she’d like to forge greater links with the country where so many more UK residents and workers will be coming from- after all this country wont be providing jobs for them.

anna said...

Irish people don’t protest enough - one of the biggest problems here is lack of solidarity, so thrilled to see protests( eg Monaghan hospital cavalcade, pensioners and medical cards, GPO protest against bailouts etc) .
So today at GPO pleased to see Amnesty and signed a petition for them- about Human Rights abuse in Zimbabwe…..and right beside them Eirigi and Republican Sinn Fein protesting that Great human rights abuse, the Queen’s visit to this country-a visit I am in favour of,as it shows relations between these islands have reached a harmonious and respectful level.
To both these organisations I said I had no interest in protesting.
One of them mentioned Bloody Sunday - I said all that has been enquired into and apology issued. And what about all those killed by IRA bombs, here and in England? Not only is it OK for Gerry Adams to Visit the Dáil- we voted him in as a TD. So we forgave all the ordinary Catholics ( and protestants of course) killed in NI.
I said to Mr Republic that in Berlin there is a monument to De Gaulle’s 1960’s visit , with wording to celebrate French and German co-operation, cementing trust between those nations ( who killed each other by the millions in 2 wars).
Mr Republic had the Perfect answer,’ The Germans wouldn’t have asked him, if France was illegally occupying part of their country!!!’
I said as a NI catholic I had done Very well under British rule getting very good totally free education and health care., also most of the population there were not voting for any change in their status- if they were, all would be voting for Sinn Fein.
He then said ‘ they don’t need 100% support!’
I said ‘If a majority of people aren’t voting to join this country, then that’s the democratic feeling and that should be respected’
He said no it wasn’t democracy.
I said then what is ??
‘DEMOCRACY is a 32 country Republic !!‘ he said.
SO Now we know what democracy is- I would have though it is what people freely vote for.
( BTW : I DO support a United Ireland- BUT only WHEN the majority of people North and South support it- whenever that is)
I then accused Mr Republic of pandering to the worst instincts of the worst educated people here-
he got a bit indignant:
’ I’m a teacher myself !!‘he said ( Thank God! At least our children aren’t educated by some wimp who believes in building solidarity between nations, mutual respect and understanding , burying ancient hatred…all that BS that only leads to peace and harmony).
I Then said, ‘ What is all this about ? When 100’000s of Irish will again be depending on Britain for jobs?? ‘
He had a ready answer’ I lived in England and worked there a few years- and a LOT of English people are against this visit!!’
Yet somehow I got no answer when I said ‘Oh Really ??? WHY!!!??’
These protesters weren’t surrounded by huge groups of people, but all was not lost: I passed the British Embassy later and there was a Huge crowds outside, waving banners- There must have been AT least 20 Eirigi supporters outside. They’re planning to hand their petition in - well that should give the embassy staff a good giggle, after all the British couldn’t be Doing More for this country, destroyed yet again by our own politicians.
Will there really be a Papal visit this year? If so I would Very much like to see Eirigi and co protesting outside the Papal Nuncio that no such visit should take place- until all church property , schools and hospitals etc are handed over to the Irish state in reparation for much abuse: abuse that ( unlike the British), the Catholic church and Vatican never showed Any remorse for .
( Don’t forget Tony Blair even apologised for the famine)
In fact we have done very well out of our relationship with the British over the last 90 years- far more so than any benefit they got from us.

The Gombeen Man said...

I think that just about sums it up.

Anonymous said...

Anna Said:
Don’t forget Tony Blair even apologised for the famine.

It is Difficult to accept that there ever was a Famine in Ireland, Why?

Who would let their family starve to death if there was fish and game readily at hand. At the time of the supposed Irish famine The Roman Catholic Church and the Irish Educational system were aware of the most recent agricultural practices, because farming was an industry.

Catholic missionaries were teaching scientific agricultural principles of growing grain, barley, rye, turnips to countries in Africa. Selective breeding and mating of animals was well understood in Irish farming circles and there is a plethora of scientific documentation to prove this to be true. So why was there a famine?

Most important, in the west of Ireland where the famine was said to be located, there are ubiquitous lakes and rivers full of fish, not to mention the sea where there were thousands of years of Irish fishing experience.

There was no shortage of game such as rabbits and common birds like pigeons. The four-field crop rotation was well understood and accepted, and had been in practice for over one hundred years in Ireland.

The concept of crop rotation was had been well understood in order to avoid the build-up of crop-specific soil pests, viruses and diseases, such as potato blight, and because different families of plant have varying nutritional requirements. I find it difficult to accept that there ever was a famine in Ireland.

The Gombeen Man said...

In fairness, as much as I tire of the habit of certain Little Irelanders defining us by the Famine, the 800 years and all the rest - I don't doubt that there was a famine, and people died even as commerce and the authorities exported more than enough food to feed the starving.

That can be blamed on wilful misrule by the authorities, the greed of the commercial classes (including indigenous Irish shafting "their own"), or the unsustainability of single-crop smallholdings. Maybe a mixture of all of these factors.