I don't know exactly what Irish people feel about their nationhood, but I'd guess it's something like the way I feel about mine. What I do know is that for centuries Irish people have chafed under the bit of what they saw as English and then British rule. From time to time they did something about it, and often that something was bloody.I despise the terrorist tactics that eventually achieved an Irish-only state in the island early in the last century, and of course I have no time at all for the Provisional IRA with its pub bombings and its doorstep murders and its kneecappings.
But the Irish won their homeland's independence as their American predecessors had and for decades their political problems were their own : to tackle or exacerbate as the voters and their elected representatives chose. They lived under Irish laws made by an Irish legislature which was elected by Irishmen seeking Irish goals.
Today's crop of Irish politicians doesn't seem to think that the many sacrifices that were made (and the costs still felt in some places) to achieve Irish independence are worth honouring, or that independence itself is more important than whatever it is they think they've been promised in place of that independence. The sheer dishonesty and persistence that the European Union has shown in ignoring every popular vote against ever closer union disgusts me: 'No' votes are always illegitimate and further integration follows immediately and then more bribes are offered to native chieftains and then a 'Yes' campaign is held amid monsoons of bribery, hordes of visiting celebrity colonists from Britain and the continent, and accompanied with threats and barely plausible promises.
The Romans took a century fighting Carthage and eventually destroyed it. Despite their many defeats and backward steps, their many armies kept coming and coming at the Carthaginians until the city was burnt and the fields salted. In the last days of the city's freedom (and existence), the Carthaginians used women's hair for catapult strings. The new atheist and collectivist Roman Empire has the same relentless urge to dominate and occupy, and perhaps tomorrow its lawyers and senators will rule over a land where the eagles never stood.
Better writersthan mediscussthe whole issue of the referendum and what life will be like in an integrated and recolonisedIrish European province. It is just an irony that our best big hope for national independence here in Britain rests solely on Irish shoulders once again. I wonder what those voters who care about all that long and bloody history think of this - that they hold Britain's freedom in their hands.
Will they hold Ireland's freedom to be worth keeping - or will their feelings about the hated former occupier lead them to sacrifice forever that freedom in exchange for revenge?