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Views On The Thick Micks From The Colonial Brits

So you’re browsing through the website of a mainstream national newspaper in Ireland and you unexpectedly stumble upon an article indulging the noxious views of two foreign immigrants, complete with racist terminology and antiquated opinions. Step forward Saturday’s Irish Times with a piece compiled by poet-cum-reporter Rosita Boland (yes, that Rosita Boland):

One year in Ireland: John and Fiona Connolly, Skibbereen

John: The perception out there that the Irishman is a thick Mick is so wrong it’s unbelievable. We’re from London. We were living in France for 19 years, near Toulouse. We sat down one evening and said we’d go back to the British Isles. I said almost jokingly, how about the Republic of Ireland, and then we discovered that house prices here were very attractive.

I’d been in Ireland before, but it was 45 years ago; shooting grouse and Greenland white-fronted geese in Mayo. You can’t shoot those geese any more.

I feel more at home here than I ever felt in France. Cork is marvellous. I do get a bit impatient sometimes that things aren’t done a bit quicker.

If we’d had a vote in Brexit, we would have voted to leave, so we’re very pleased at the result. We might have lived in France for 19 years, but we’re Brits. The Brits have never been comfortable with Europe. They have an attitude of sheer bloody-mindedness; they don’t like people telling them what to do.

We’re already losing regular money from our British pensions as a result, but it’s worth it.

Fiona: We’re in Cork because we wanted to be in a country where people spoke English, and property was cheap here. You couldn’t really have conversations with French people. I didn’t speak much French.

On Brexit, the EU are doing things that one doesn’t have much of a say in. They’re too authoritative. Personally, I’ll feel much safer when Britain has its own say in Europe, rather than relying on what the EU tells us to do.”

Seriously, where does one even start with such attitudes, so casually expressed and so lacking in self-awareness? Who on earth believes that anti-Irish sentiment in Britain is equivalent to some sort of universal perception of Irish males as “thick Micks”, a perception that only prolonged familiarity with the Irish could surprisingly disprove? Are they incapable of grasping that emigrating to Ireland is not returning “back” to the British Isles, that we are not a territorial possession of the United Kingdom? Are they so lacking in empathy that they cannot understand how a community might feel when faced with two individuals who clearly disdain the language of those they live among, and for nineteen years? Have they any notion of the distinction between immigrant and colonist?

However, just as I go to write this, a Comment appears under this An Sionnach Fionn story:

“Put your pints down and get over it you retarded Micks”

You got to love the Brits. They rarely fail to meet your low expectations. Even Connollys.

15 comments on “Views On The Thick Micks From The Colonial Brits

  1. Well, you changed it just now before I could throw ‘Connollys’ in there. Here are a couple of other fun, real life quotes “I’m sorry, but you are terribly lazy people” (I’m sorry! So polite!) and “Why are half of you pretending to be Celts while the rest want to be Americans? It’s perfectly obvious that you’re British.” (So astute and parental!). Great post.

  2. Dara O Rourke

    Rosita Boland should have her own supplement really. It would fly off the shelves down in Skibb and other parts of the English Riviera!

  3. Moreover she would almost certainly have had 4-6 years of ´school French´ so it´s not as if she´d be starting from scratch. Bit odd also in that speaking French used to have a certain caché in England, as it marked you off as one of the cosmopolitan elite. Mais les gens ordinaires, ¨bloody foreigners, can´t speak their own effin language, mate!¨

  4. ¨Personally, I’ll feel much safer when Britain has its own say in Europe, rather than relying on what the EU tells us to do.”
    That statement deserves some sort of booby prize! Leaving the EU and getting something like the Norwegian terms will mean obeying almost all of the rules but having NO say in their making at all.

    I´m thinking these must be retired folk. The generation or so before them actually fought in WWII so had some contact with real foreigners in all their misery and complexity. But the next generation grew up on endless dramas and documentaries of how ¨We Won the War¨. The ´We´ was actually largely the US and USSR, but the latter was rarely mentioned and the former were barely distinguished from the Brits. My belief is that this gave a sense of ´English´ superiority set against various stereotyped ´Europeans´ : Goose-stepping Krauts always ready to jump to obey orders; lazy wine-swilling Frogs; ditto Italians but they jabber and wave their arms around even more than the French whilst being closet fascists naturally. These attitudes pass subliminally down the generations and subconsciously affect behaviour and especially off-guard, off-the-cuff remarks, even from people who in their more rational moments know better. What the English take as normality, i.e. a vague certainty of their own superiority, sense of entitlement, a feeling that ´Europe´ owes them a debt; all this comes over to others as an unbearable arrogance.

    The English rarely distinguish between England and Britain and the UK. And it would seem the RoI can get fudged in there too. They find it very hard, the poor dears, to think of Ireland as a ´grown-up´ independent nation with seats in the UN, EU etc. To them the natural habitat of an Irishman is a barroom brawl.

    The Scots btw fare no better. At the risk of boosting the hits of a certain right-wing rag, I direct you to this report of the massive indy march in Glasgow the other day. Nice pics!! But then just sample the comments. TBH I was genuinely shocked by the outright hatred expressed by nearly all of them. Well, judge for yourselves :

    ¨Never have I seen so much human rubbish congregated together, and riddled with the republic IRA. They all are haters of the English, why because they are full of jealousy . I love being British. I am from the North of Ireland. I love the Queen and love the union. I hate these wasters.¨

    Union? What union??

    • They find it very hard, the poor dears, to think of Ireland as a ´grown-up´ independent nation with seats in the UN, EU etc.
      Can you blame the average Englishman for thinking that way if the Irish after getting their independence continued just as before? Kept the same official language, kept mostly the same laws and institutions, even pegged their currency to the pound. It feels like something between a UK’s country and a US’ state nowadays. And their defence policy isn’t really neutral, but relies on the Brits – they have to chase off Russian aircraft from the Irish airspace, for example.

    • the Phoenix

      Though interestingly there is a link to an article on that page to Belfast Telegraph’s online poll showing 70% support for Irish unity. And most of the comments are actually very positive.

  5. one of the disadvantages English speaking. The British are the least likely in Europe to speak a second language. What is more, foreign language uptake in colleges is the lowest in Europe, and the uptake has been declining for over a decade. Climate Change denial is also mainly confined to English speaking countries.

  6. I´ve just followed a link for somewhere to this blog. Possibly of interest here :

  7. Breandán Mac Séarraigh

    I was over there last week. I saw lots of Dutch registered cars but very few other foreign ones. Very few foreign workers where I was. Lots of good people are worried. Xenophobia is triumphant, I fear.

    • I tend to agree. I know people who live in the north of England, left-wing English nationalists of the Billy Bragg tendency, who were Remain voters. They say the ill-feeling towards non-British at the moment is pretty explicit in public.

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