UK state and Northern Ireland

James Daly james.irldaly at
Tue Feb 18 09:01:04 MST 2003

Dear Michael

As I said, I was grateful that you brought up the Irish question
again -- as I have suggested before, it could be seen as
self-indulgent during Iraq's crisis. I am sorry if anything I said
suggested that I was in the slightest critical of your work in this
regard. I only mentioned the perspective because it could be argued
that it conditioned New Left Review's Tom Nairn into seeing the
situation as a question of getting the "Ulster" nation with its
permanent nationalist minority to break away from Westminster. I know
full well that that is not your position, but just as you recommend
being aware of the perspective, I recommend being aware of its
possible bias, and problems. It was not a big item in my post.

I have followed your debate about Europe with great interest, but am
still at the learning stage and keen to hear more. Contrary to the
mainstream traditional Republican protectionist anti-European line
which I long ago rather unthinkingly followed, I have for a long time
been very much pro-European. John Hume cornered the European market in
mutual support, very much to the Republicans' (and the Irish people's)
detriment. I was always vehemently against the involvement of the
American state (not of its citizens) in Irish affairs.

I spent much of my political life Cassandra-like warning a sceptical
public that abandoning James Connolly's position on partition was
going to lead to a cementing of partition -- and of course it has. I
am amazed to find that, now that that phase is completely over,
something eerily similar is happening again. When I point to the
obvious facts of the present situation of partition, I am told that
there is a virtual reality which is totally different, a united
Ireland, which is just around the corner. I feel like the boy in the
Emperor's clothes story -- I just can't see this brave new world. And
I think belief in its existence can only do harm.

It is ironic that James Stephens the founder of the Irish Republican
Brotherhood (the Fenians), who was involved with Buonarotti and
Blanqui in Paris, pledged allegiance to "the Irish Republic now
virtually established". That had meaning, like the proclamation of the
Irish Republic in 1916. Present prediction of an imminent thirty-two
county Irish Republic, for which no evidence is given, has none.

A special thanks to Nestor for his post on Tom Nairn and Jim Blaut.



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