February 19, 2014

Being British is not about being not-Irish

Stuart Hall, cultural theorist and founder of cultural studies, said:
"I think that the British have a future only if they can come to terms with the fact that Britishness is not one thing and has never been one thing there have been a million different ways of being British and there’ve been a million different struggles about Britishness which only retrospectively are then smoothly accommodated into the story as if its unfolding seamlessly from
 Beginning to end.”
Alex Massie recently said here:
"You can be a Highlander, Scottish and British — just as you can be Cornish, English and British."
It's reactionary. A response to "This everlasting teaching of hatred of England" as Edward Carson put it. Sir Edward Carson also said in 1914, "We’re both [Tom Kettle, Home Rule nationalist] Irishmen, and that is what matters." Iain E. Johnston said in an article in History Ireland, 'Edward Carson: Ulster unionist or Irish patriot?':
"There was for [Edward] Carson no reason why an Irishman, Catholic or Protestant, should not also be British and therefore display the same dual identity as a proud British Scotsman."
Martin Luther King Jr., 'Letter From Birmingham Jail', here:
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.”
On identity being a reaction, Orange Order member Brian Kennaway said:
"[IRA violence] knocked the Irish heart out of Ulster Protestants."
Similarly, as David McCann said:
"The horrors of the IRA drove Protestants away from a cultural identification with Irishness."
Brian O'Connor recently said in the Irish Times that "being Irish involves a lot more than some uber-Gael, Provo-lite, pub-patriot wet-dream." And likewise, being British involves a lot more than being some uber-Brit, flag waving Hibernophobe and always has. Am ghobsmacht wrote in response to an article written by Alex Kane here:
"With regards to Alex, well, you’re taking him too much at face value. You don’t just tell the Unionist community that they should change and they’ve done a lot of bad things. If you do then you’ll end up the way of the Rev Bingham and expelled from the tribe. 
I think, subtley, Alex’s pointing back to the ‘hey day’ of unionist ‘PR’ is quite a good step. 
Why? Well, if it is examined by the Unionist community at large then there is one massive difference between their mentality then and the tribe’s mentality now, namely that back then the Unionist and Protestant community was IRISH (but with a pro-British outlook) as opposed to today where they are quite simply (and illogically) just ‘British’ (as wonderfully highlighted by Ali G). 
Following that train of thought, then that also POTENTIALLY derails Gerry Kelly’s ’90% British symbols’ mission. 
As I’ve said before, I’d like to see this inventory of the offending 90%. I’d be very surprised to see if an Irish regimental flag with “Faugh a Ballagh” isn’t branded ‘British’. In my view, it’s Irish, but with a pro-British outlook. If you follow that logic then I imagine that this ’90%’ takes a fair pruning and is brought down to a more manageable and (officially) ‘satisfactory’ figure. 
Which, incidentally (as far as your humble narrator is concerned), is what Unionism should be about; Irish people with a Pro-British outlook. Not the modern day twisted totem of Rangers shirts, redundant flags, faux religion and paradoxical ‘loyality’ that it has become. 
Again, with the Unionism/Orangism marriage, please remember the gallery that he is playing too. I think Alex is on to something here and is smart enough not to say all of what he is thinking as Unionism requires such a massive overhaul that the number of changes that it requires just wouldn’t sit well with those who have been brought up with the trinity of Britishness, Protestantism and Hibernophobia*."
David Ervine said:
"I don’t want to wake up every morning and ask myself am I British or Irish? I want to think ‘Am I late for work?’."

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