Jude Collins

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Say The Word

When I'm feeling in need of a laugh (and some people who've read my blog recently tell me I'm in serious need) I turn my thoughts to the response of some unionists when you murmur the word 'Irish-America'. Whoooooo. They don't like that compound word one lil bit. Or the reality behind it. The most recent incarnation of this steam-through-the-ears has swirled around Hillary Clinton's move on being/not being the US peace envoy to Ireland. Check the comments on the net - some unionists can't stand Hillary and they can't stand Niall O'Dowd, who had the nerve to suggest that Irish-America is still a formidable constituency in the whole Irish question. I remember when the Kennedys, including Teddy Kennedy, were more involved with the situation here than they currently are. Ordinary muesli-eating unionists would go apoplectic at the mention of the Kennedy name. It has to do with having their king trumped, I think. Unionists like to think that they are a forward-looking people (stop that sniggering at the back, please) linked to the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-talented, multi-wunnerful big state directly to the east of us. Then what happens? Nationalists and republicans produce their link to a state about one hundred times more multi-ethnic, multi-cultural etc. etc. Worse still, there's the possibility - yes, Virginia, even possibilities leave some unionists reaching for the Alka-Seltzer - that Irish-America might lever the US government into squeezing Britain towards a teensily more pro-reunited Ireland than its current (pretend) neutral stance. It's like that little hammer the doctor uses to tap your knee and watch the reflex: say 'Irish-America' and watch as they start climbing the curtains, rolling their eyes and dripping little bits of foam on the carpet...Try it sometime. It's ten times the fun of the Tall Ships...

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