Trolling The Brits For Lolz

A further display of idiotic, post-imperial amnesia by our neighbours across the Irish Sea in this report from The Journal.ie:

“ANOTHER AWARDS NOMINATION announcement, another hames made of calling Irish people ‘British’.

This time it’s the London Film Critics Circle, who’ve got together in their circle and decided that Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell and Michael Fassbender are all British.

Irish-born, Canada-living Emma Donoghue was also nominated as “Breakthrough British Filmmaker of the Year” for Room (she wrote the novel and the screenplay).

Brooklyn was also referred to as a ‘British’ film.”

Which reminds me of this recent offering from Simon Reeve, a well-known British travel journalist, discussing his BBC documentary on Ireland in the Radio Times magazine:

“The only bit of bitterness or anger I experienced was when a riot kicked off in Belfast and we were amongst loyalists. Some older ladies tried to cover up the lens with a Union flag scarf. That really pissed me off, frankly – the idea that they would use our national symbol to try and prevent us from filming in our own country, on our own island.”

There is an old joke among historians. The British complain that the Irish always remember their history. To which the Irish reply: that is because the British keep forgetting it! It seems that we could apply the same aphorism to geography and politics too. So, just for the good folk of the United Kingdom, here is a handy guide to remind them of the contemporary situation between the two outermost nation-states of north-western Europe. Honestly, I couldn’t make it any simpler.

A Simplified Guide To Irish And British Geography And Politics For The People Of Britain
For the revanchist British types
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35 comments

  1. My favourite example of this was from the early 90s when Murray Walker was commentating on a Formula 1 race. The driver (Irish) went from Irish to British and back depending on whether he was in 1st or 2nd place in the race. The reader is left with the exercise of determining the conditions under which the driver was Irish or British.

    1. Oh I remember hearing a version of that old chestnut half a century ago, and I imagine it’s much older. The interesting thing is whether there is any documentary proof (e.g. recordings of commentaries) or whether it’s just an ‘urban myth’, a meme that people like to propagate because it really really ought to be true 🙂

      1. I was watching the race and heard the commentary first hand. Neither is it an isolated incident, youtube Peter O’Toole on Jay Leno telling similar stories about how he was treated in the British press. You see it a lot with actors & authors.

        1. Are you suggesting some sort of conspiracy? One that has been maintained for several generations? Each new batch of commentators being indoctrinated or brainwashed somehow to be selectively anti-Irish? If the British State is really that clever and powerful then we all should be very afraid indeed. Now I don’t underestimate their capacity for dirty tricks, but this would really beggar belief. And more to the point, what’s the motive? Ireland has been a reasonably successful independent state for almost a century, so who cares who wins or loses in some sporting contest or other. It has little relevance for anyone other than those involved, or those who make some sport or other into a religion. Personally I’d ban sport and religion, but I imagine people will always find something to fight over.

          1. Marc-“I’m not a Unionist”-onatrix,

            Ah yes, the CT straw man gambit in response to evidence. Good luck with that.

            1. Give me a more credible explanation then, assuming the phenomenon is genuine not just a figment of the collective Fenian imagination. I mean, there’d be a PhD in there somewhere for a social psychologist …

          2. Well a credible explanation for why Irish, Scottish, Welsh people are accurately identified as such when something bad is happening – a crime, scandal, loss or such. Whereas this accuracy becomes fraught with error that leads to them being identified in reporting in British outlets as British when they are winning awards, being lauded for great deeds or winning sporting events.

            Yes, a credible explanation certainly would be interesting. I wonder what the possible benefits of such a behaviour might be? Do you have any ideas?

            1. No, but I first heard one of these stories, about a boxing match as it happened, from an Irishman when I was in Ireland around 1966-ish, which was several years before the last round of ‘troubles’ kicked off. Seems to me that spreading these yarns is just another aspect of the Irish wanting to portray themselves as victims.

              It’s like the guy who has problems that make him a loser, so he sees a therapist. The problem the doctor has is that he aims to turn the loser into a winner, whereas the patient is stuck at the stage of wanting to be a really really brave loser.

              FFS you’re an independent country, have been for nearly a century, get over it and go forward. C’mon inspire all us other downtrodden Celts 😉

  2. I watched that Simon Reeve feature about Ireland.
    I will leave aside that he came acros as a complete Luvvie.
    But he also managed to call Ireland a Catholic Country at least 6 times per episode. There were 2 parts.
    Now, the Brits obviously figure the Irish are obsessed about religion.
    But does any Irish person refer to Britain as Protestant????
    I never heard anybody do so.
    so why did he did to keep repeating it ??
    Next when he interviewed a Loyalist from a band.
    The Loyalist couldn’t explain a damn thing to him..And Simon Aka orange Reeve had to put words into his mouth.
    It was most disturbing that the Brits would allow this to happen in this media savvy age.

    Final point.
    He started his journey in Rosslare.
    Driving a Silver VW 4×4 with Dublin Reg Plates 151 plates.
    When he left Donegal..He was driving a Black Audi 4×4 with “northern” plates.
    Is Ireland that big that he wore out 2 cars doing it????
    Or was it the fact that he couldn’t go near Loyalist areas with a Dublin Reg Car?
    Shouldn’t the viewer had this made clear????
    If, as I suspect it was; the case.

    The reverse should also be pointed out.
    As after Belfast he went to Dublin ” down South” in his Nordie car and nothing happened.
    Ergo..It’s the Loyalists which are “acting out” these days.

    If only the British BBC would educate their British viewers.
    But then, that’s not the point of the BBC Propaganda machine.
    It’s to spread British lies.

    1. Ireland, unlike Britain was a Catholic theocracy – take a look at your constitution and all your bullshit laws that you had in the past (divorce, contraception, gay marriage, abortions, etc. ). And even nowadays non-Catholic children are discriminated against if they want to go to school, because most schools in Ireland are owned by the goddamn Catholic church.

      1. Are you talking about the “goddamn Catholic church” run by Pope Francis, passionate advocate for Syrian refugees, environmentalists, and the poor? Yes, gay marriage laws were excessive. Both Ireland and the U.S. got rid of those this year. But the Catholic Church is a lot more than that.

  3. They also do the same thing with Andy Murray – tennis player supreme. He’s Scottish when he loses and British when he wins.

    bet if these actors etc had got nowhere – they’d all have been Irish!!!

    PS great graphic!!!

  4. I feel your pain 😉

    But seriously what adjective are you going to use for countries with long and complicated titles. A citizen of “The United States of America” is an ‘American’, but if taken literally so is Canadian, a Mexican, or even a Chilean. But possibly not an Hawa’ian? The term is too inclusive, but it’s used and it means what everyone understands it to mean.

    With regard to ‘British’ commonly used as a adjective relating to “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, the opposite is true, the literal meaning of the term is too restrictive, but it means what it means and what else is there?

    1. British is perfectly fine description for an inhabitant/citizen of Britain/the United Kingdom. However Ireland is not part of Britain/the United Kingdom. It is an independent sovereign nation-state on an island of its own. We are Irish not British, and the British insistence that we are British is just wearying. Not to mention being viewed in this country as an expression of British revanchism (even if that is not the conscious intention of most British offenders).

      I read a great article on Latin American objections to the exclusivity of the term “American” for the United States a while back. Will search it out and post a link here.

      1. Sorry (and I’m not a Unionist by any means) but regarding the status quo, the full title is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain AND Northern Ireland”. So citizens of NI are ‘British’ in that sense. Confusingly the RoI also counts them as citizens, I believe, but ‘Irish’ to most people would imply a citizen of the Republic, in the same way that ‘American’ is shorthand for a US citizen. The Butcher’s Apron still has the bit representing Ireland on it, there was a simpler version when it was just for England and Scotland (Wales is of course a non-nation in this respect).

        1. That’s a fair point, Marconatrix, however all of the actors referenced in the London Critics Award, as with another recent awards list of writers in Britain, were Irish citizens and not quasi-UK ones by virtue of being born in the north-east of the country. The Irish were identified in the case of both award lists as “British”.

          As you indicated, arguably both Ireland and the UK have agreed by international treaty to regard the inhabitants of “Northern Ireland” as dual citizens of both nations. However someone born in Dublin or Cork is clearly Irish not British. The ambiguities or disagreements that might apply in the case of Belfast or Derry do not apply in such cases.

          Though for the record most Irish people regard those born in Belfast and Derry as Irish as Dubliners or Corkonians. The border is an external perception not an internal definition.

          1. Though for the record most Irish people regard those born in Belfast and Derry as Irish as Dubliners or Corkonians.
            —————–
            Even those people who themselves identify as British and want NI to stay in the UK?

            1. Yes. Just like most Latvians view those born in Latvia who regard themselves as Russian as still Latvian. However, and perhaps unlike the Latvians, these days most people also take account of the minority’s British and unionist sentiments, and respect their self-identification. Viewing Ireland as one territory and people is not incompatible with allowing a distinct space for other forms of identity within it.

          2. In that case an error has been made since those people are no more ‘British’ than someone born/living/naturalised in Paris or New York. It shows an unbelievable degree of ignorance by the awards people, who given the nature of the award must be at least marginally educated and literate. I thought initially that it might be due to them writing in English, but presumably they don’t include Australians, Canadians etc.?

            Maybe if you read the small print in the competition rules you’ll find that Irish people are ‘generously’ allowed to enter as ‘honorary Brits’. I remember once being involved in a lose organisation that held meetings for people in a certain field from around Scotland, but we also invited folk from Newcastle and Durham in the North of England, since they were nearer to us than anyone else. We madd them ‘honorary Scots’. Was this somehow wrong or patronising??

          3. We don’t view those who don’t speak Latvian or don’t consider themselves as Latvians as Latvian. Their birth place means absolutely nothing to us.

            If we applied our logic to Ireland then that would mean that only 3% or so are Irish and the rest are Brits/English.

  5. An-mhaith.

    A man was visiting a zoo in Britain and was watching a chimpanzee enclosure with others when a child fell into the enclosure. Onlookers watched in horror as one of the full-grown chimps grabbed the child but one of the crowd jumped down into the enclosure, fought the chimp and grabbed the child and held it safe until attendants got him out to huge applause.

    A reporter approached him. “That was truly amazing!” he enthused. “This will be a headline story in my newspaper tomorrow,” he said. “I can see it now: BRAVE ENGLISHMAN SAVES CHILD FROM WILD BEAST.”

    “Well, OK if you like, replies the child rescuer. “But there’s one thing wrong with that.”
    “What’s that?”
    “I’m Irish, not English.”
    “Oh”

    Next day the man buys a copy of the paper but the story is not on the front page. Just to check, he goes through the other pages. On page four, he finds the headline for the incident:

    “Savage Irishman attacks family pet.” 🙂

    I suggest “British” for someone from Britain, and “UK citizen” if you want to include the Six Counties. But it is a fact that when people (including Irish people, sadly) say “the UK”, they almost always referring to “England” or at most “Britain”.

    As for the USA, I use “UStater” because it is certainly wrong that one part of the continent — and not even the northern part or one could say “North American” — should take the name which includes Canada, the US, Central and South America. It is in fact a kind of imperialism.

    1. When I am referring to the more “manifest destiny” and neo-con element of US culture and politics, I use the term USer. The term American has been hijacked. But it is confusing how to sort out British from English, UK from England from Britain from Scotland from Wales, etc. It is not however difficult as far as Ireland is concerned.

  6. The ancient term for these islands off the north-west coast of Europe is “British”, from the Celtic “Pretain”. The designation is a geographical reference, one that’s been historically invented for convenience. Terms like “British”, “Irish”, “English” and, for that matter, “Welsh” and “Scottish” (originally an “Irish” word) are all invented for convenience. So are the national identities derived from them. They have no pure integral value or meaning. What meaning they have has been attributed by men for their own political usage or purpose. Get in underneath any of them and you’ll find they’re all hollow.

    1. Those terms might have had meaning in the past, but now they all are speaking English and foreigners can’t even distinguish between them.

    2. Given that Irish lacked a /P/ phoneme until it was borrowed from Latin during the early Christian period (generally dated to after 500AD), the term “Pretain” could never have been used/applied in Ireland as it was linguistically impossible.

      1. According to Morris-Jones’s Welsh Grammar, pp.5-6, the Welsh form ‘Prydain’ (e.g. Ynys Prydain, the Island of Britain) is related to ‘Pryden’ or ‘Prydyn’ coming from earlier (deduced!) ‘Pritenes’ or ‘Pritenī’ meaning Picts or Pictland, suggesting perhaps that they were in Britain before the Britons. (He seems to think that the forms in Welsh and Latin etc. with a B- and a double -tt- (giving W. ‘th’) were later irregular offshoots). Since Pictish was p-celtic, the form would go back even further to Common Celtic ‘Qreiten-‘ or some such, the origin of Irish ‘Cruithen, Cruithnech’ “Pict(ish)”. Anyway although there may have been some Pictish tribes in NI at one time or another, it seems that these words always applied primarily or exclusively to the England-Scotland-Wales island, and not to Ireland, Iwerddon, Ériu, < Iuerion ('Iweryon').

        Which still leaves a problem of how to name the two territories collectively, as for example in a geography text with no reference to politics, since the old term "The British Isles" is no longer really appropriate or acceptable.

        I don't know, people seem happy to include Estonia in "The Baltic States" even though Estonians are speak a Finnish (or Fennic) not a Baltic language like the other two. This can all get very silly if we''re not careful.

        1. Yes but “Baltic” does not carry with it the territorial, political and colonial overtones that “British” does in the context of Ireland. To describe someone as “British” is to imply an identity tied to the nation-state of Britain/UK. The “British Isles” is a revanchist or irredentist term not simply a geographical one, regardless of its debatable historical origins.

        2. In my language only “The British Isles” (Britu salas) is used to refer to Great Britain and Ireland. Haven’t seen any other alternate terms being used. That’s the case in most if not all other languages too. Only some people in Ireland have a problem with this term.

          1. http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/product/books/history-and-religion/world-history/britain—ireland?npd&npd&

            The National Geographic – the foremost geographic journal in the World – uses the term to describe the islands of “Britain and Ireland” to describe Britain and Ireland and no other.
            You should try to come and join us into the 21st century, as difficult as it is for you.

            Latvia has an appalling record of its treatment of Latvian minorities – and we won’t even go into how you cowards would not even put up a fight to defend your own country in WW2 – but rather collaborated with the Nazi’s in murdering your fellow-citizens during WW2.
            Utterly shameful history.

            1. Best not to make this kind of comparison, tbh. Lots of people were pro-Nazi in the early stages of WWII, many Americans, lots of upper-crust Brits, including one former king, and didn’t the IRA actively collaborate, receiving weapons from Germany (or am I thinking of a fictional story?) IIRC Danish resistance to the German invasion lasted about 20 min, or maybe 2-3 hours before they came out with their hands up, so are the Danes rubbish too? Small countries have few options in those kinds of circumstances.

              But if you want to go down that road, imagine that geography had been a little less kind to Ireland and the Germans had chosen it as their route to invade Britain. Could you put your hand on your heart any say that no Irish person would have collaborated. I suspect quit a few would, some out of expediency, many perhaps gladly, simply as a way to stuff the Brits (although they might later have regretted their choice).

              Ireland and Latvia both became independent around 1920, since when you’ve been lucky enough never to have been invaded, whereas the Baltics were invaded three times during the course of WWII. Makes you wonder how they ever survived at all!

  7. To be fair, it took your country most of a a millenium after the rest of Europe to turn Christian. What they know or don’t know about the rest of the world isn’t much of a yardstick.

  8. Denmark did not murder it’s own citizens during the Nazi Occupation of Denmark in WW2.
    Finland decided to stand up and fight faced with the same choices as Latvia.
    Cowardly Latvia allowed both the Soviets and Nazi Germany to simply walk all over them, without even putting up a fight – and to Latvia’s eternal shame, Latvia collaborated with the Nazi’s in the mass murder of their own fellow Lativan citizens.
    Eternally, utterly shameful Latvian history.

    Even today, Latvia’s treatment of its minorities is utterly disgraceful.

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