Friday, July 1, 2016
And so last week a four-decade-long political and socio-economic timebomb - merrily helped along past critical mass instability by years of deregulated financial devilment and venal personal greed by large segments of the British population - erupted off the back of two detonators provided by European Union membership. Britain will never be the same again in terms of the balance of our political classes - the European Project in turn lies in total disarray due to grotesque mismanagement and sneering arrogance.
This blog, as a small and very humble contribution to British and Irish social history, has of course touched base often with much of the toxic contents of the aforesaid device and as brought to you by our nation's unique class divisions - the Ponzi property scam, banking criminality, the cultural denigration of the Old Labour working class communities, population transfers with concomitant senses of rank entitlement in tow, imbecilic celebrity worship, stagnant private sector wages, selective historical amnesia buried within the Northern Ireland peace process, the deconstruction of London as a national capital city, cultural marxist overload in advertising and the mainstream media, asset stripping, hard working professionals lodged in squalid rental accomodation for a king's ransom, lack of career opportunities and pathways for social progression, permanent austerity and the North-South divide. We lived in a very happy contented land last Wednesday.
Back in the mid-Seventies off the back of the Ulster Workers Council strike - another political earthquake which followed upon a democratic political mandate remember - the Marxist writer Tom Nairn's The Break Up of Britain had of course touched base with national political fractures as galvinised by an Ulster at war and the question of devolution for the Celtic peripheral of the UK in Scotland and Wales. The political shock of last week underscoring how the endgame all along - for those with insight to see the lie of the political land in the past 20 years - was going to be focused on the English core of our nation.
Surely any society living through this strained degree of disconnectivity with the past - from consideration of my own great-grandfather's experiences on the Somme front with the Royal Irish Rifles exactly 100 years ago this morning through to the memories of a Seventies childhood of community, warmth, home, decency, place and belonging - is not fit for purpose. No amount of social media screeching, awkward friendship fallouts or generational fractures can take away from this. If anything it merely underscores the hopelessness of ever scientifically fusing north, south, east and west when nobody cares to know where the centre is situated or the mechanics of what makes it mechanically and emotionally tick.
From what I can garner from the order of battle my great-grandfather was in the second wave of soldiers attacking the Schwaben Redoubt on 1st July 1916 - he must have seen sights of hell's own creation that morning in Flanders as the Ulstermen progressed further than any other body of infantry on the Allied front and paid the price of 5,500 casualties including 2,000 dead. The two pictures accompanying this blogpost are of northern Irish soldiers from the Royal Irish Rifles and the Royal Irish Fusiliers. So remember the Protestant and Catholic fallen of a then British Ireland today as well as the brave men who returned to a deeply unsympathetic future on these islands - never forget the sacrifices of the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division.