From The Register: Ireland exits British Isles:
Irish publisher Folens has announced that in future Ireland will not be included in the British Isles, The Evening Standard reports.
The decision apparently came as a result of a complaint to Ireland’s Education Minister Mary Hanafin from one disgruntled parent that the Emerald Isle was still effectively classified in a Folens’ tome as part of the happy union of British nations. Hanafin then duly advised the parent to “bring the matter to the attention of the teacher, the school’s management board and publishers Folens”.
The Register: Ireland exits British Isles »
Oddly enough now, I was only reading this morning, in the original Blather, about the O’Blather’s plan to take Ireland out of the British Isles…
In a 1930s issue of Blather, Flann O’Brien wrote:
My own plan for the salvation of Ireland and for the amelioration of all her ills is too well known to require elaboration here; it is not too well known, however, to require statement. Briefly, it is as follows.
Let there be a big (if necessary an enormous) saw got, and let there be two yokes or business erected, one in the Atlantic and one in the Irish Sea, for working the big saw in the manner of two men working a cross-cut. Let the country be then sawed from its moorings from Antrim’s coast to wild Cape Clear. By the laws of physics (Boyle’s Law, Principle of Moments, etc.) the country will then float. Our subjection to England will be then no longer dependent on our geographical proximity to her. It is the first step in the sundering of the chain. It is not, enough, however, to be afloat. At the mercy of the wind and the waves, we might edge over to England on a dark night and be anchored to her for the rest of time, like Wales.
A simple means of locomotion would be to divert the course of the Shannon so as to make it enter the sea at Cobh, which roughly the centre of the vessel’s stern. Another idea would be to erect an enormous sail in the centre of the midlands, but cornerboys of Athlone would probably ruin it by playing handball against it. The Shannon scheme is the better of the two.
All that remains to be done now is to erect an enormous rudder at Cobh as well. The rudder is to be housed in a great building which will also be the seat of Government, because the party in power will simply have charge of the rudder and will have power to decide whether it is be turned this way or that. Can you help wondering at the sublime simplicity of it all?
Now what are the advantages of this grand scheme? First of all, we are rid of the Saxon, and the rotten climate that goes with him. The entire country (by the simple means of passing a Bill) can go abroad for the winter. The people can have winter sports at will, or languish in the Mediterranean when the whim takes them. We can grow tropical fruit and spend our leisure by baiting arctic bears and Russian wolves. We can get all our foreign supplies at greatly reduced prices by eliminating the costly item of freights. (‘10,000 tons of timber for Ireland. To be called for.’)
We can substantially augment the national income by acting as common carriers between the New World and the old, putting every shipping company in the world out of business. We can give the British hell as often as we feel like it by steaming past her coast and ruining the country with gigantic tidal waves. The possibilities are endless.
Interestingly, Irish webzine The Evil Gerald touched on this concept in their article Ireland sets sights on Steam Scheme »
Back to The Register. Lester Haines writes:
Yes, we know Ireland has been a sovereign state since 1922, but, for the love of all that’s Holy, is there no-one who can put a stop to PC geography teachers lighting up their pipes and pontificating? Get back to sewing patches on your tweed jackets, the lot of you.
In response, Blather’s own Damien writes that:
‘It occurs to me that Lester Haines needs a quick history lesson. The term ‘The British Isles’ is not a geographical term. It’s a political construction, dating from the period which saw the introduction of the Act of Union. The Act of Union was a response to the rebellion of 1798 and the climate of self-determination which was sweeping across Ireland. The British government instigated a systematic programme to make Ireland British, involving the cartographic charting of Ireland using anglicised town names (e.g. ‘Cluain Tarbh’ became ‘Clontarf’) and the imposition of a new flag. As a result of this project, scholars took to using the term ‘The British Isles’. It wasn’t new, but it became the preferred moniker of choice for those who considered Irish men and women ‘lucky’ to be subject to Britian’s benevolent rule.
In case this isn’t sinking in, let me be clear; Ireland is not British. It never was. It never will be. Get that through yer thick feckin’ skulls once and for all and understand that the use of such insulting and perjorative terminology is offensive, out-of-date and embarrasingly reminiscent of a worn-out, hackneyed imperialist view of the world. Failure to comply will result in blather.net forever more referring to ‘The Irish Isles’ when discussing events in London and anywhere within three hundred miles of it. Do you get the smell of porter?’
and where, exactly, does one acquire a manuscript of such historical anals of divilment as the 1930s blather?
In a copy of Myles Before Myles
“Brian O’Nolan wrote the “Cruiskeen Lawn” column for the “Irish Times” from 1940 until his death in 1966 under the pen name of Myles na Gopaleen (normally translated as “Myles of the Little Horses”. He also wrote under the name of Flann O’Brien. This is a collection of some of his wittiest work from the 1930s, before he became Myles of Cruiskeen Lawn, including anecdotes as student, as blatherer, as Irishman and as poet. Other collections of his work include “The Best of Myles”, “Further Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn” and “The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman”.”
‘course, we of the technologically enlightened twenty-first century all know by now that none of it is the ‘brit’ islands, knowing as we do how the sum of the Briton, the Saxons, the Pict, the Vikings, the Celts and the Egyptian Scot descendants, taken altogether, and less that sliver now granted to other more modern immigrant ethnicities, account for what, maybe one in five of the residents? And with the vast bulk and majority of the rest being none of the above, but are instead genetically predominantly expatriot celt-branded neolithic cro-magnon Basques, themselves and their likewise glacially divided Turk, Ukraine and Malaysian compatriots emigrant Persians fled north from the African homelands, the whole issue somewhat gains the same edge as those who buy Nike vs the Adidas’ans. But then, expousing that would spoil all the fun, wouldn’t it?
My kids were given a Grade 3 homework assignment, “Research your heritage“, this coming home just after I’d read the DNA research reports (done by a rome-bent celticized Basque posing as a Brit) and while a few months ago it may have been an easy thing to answer by conditioned reflex, today? Well, I’m really not sure what to tell them.
Can’t wait to read the teacher’s comments on this one.
Oh thank you for this funniness! Every time I come across the writings of Flann O’Brien I wonder why it has taken me so long to get back to him! PS you’re pretty hilarious yourself. Now I must return to work.
The reason Norman Davies named his fabulous book, “The Isles” and not, “The British Isles” is cuz Ireland is now free. I really enjoyed the book along with Marcos Tanners’, “Holy Wars of Ireland”.
The 1930s Blather can be read in the collection “Myles Before Myles”
God, I love dis joint.