OF CABBAGES AND QUEENS
Richard II: “For God’s sake, let me sit on the ground and tell bad stories about cabbages and things.”.. William Shakespeare
There’s part of me that is actually glad that the two nations, are at least on civilised terms. That the Irish and the English can at at least talk to each other and eat together without resorting to bile and bullets.I think that in the 21st century we have very much in common and that in general terms we rub along easily .Dare I say, there is much to share and enjoy between us. I’ve lived in England, variously in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and London.The people I’ve met have similar dreams of a peaceful life.
There is also a case to be made that the English would get along a lot easier with that sort of Irishness that doesn’t howl at the moon over their flag , but rather enjoys sharing its poetry , its art and its music with them. The fact that we’ve ended up where we are now is a complicated old mess for sure.Tangles of history , theft and violence that have stretched down to the present time through political fears and shenanigans that most ordinary folk had no real control over; any more than they could stop Tony Blair romping off on his Iraq adventures or stop Maggie Thatcher from steaming off to the Falklands. Most people just want a quiet peaceful life that isn’t in the control of despots.
Most people looking on , feel like pawns in a game anyway and mostly watch it all happen through the lens of media commentators. In that respect there will always be a bias to everything we are allowed to consume. A lot will depend on who we choose to believe, in other words.
At a gut level , I have no particular love for a family of privilege such as the Windsors who ultimately parasite on the backs of the population although they now give a lot back through their tourist appeal. When all is cut and dried, this appears to be what a lot of our fellow citizens want to happen. A lot of them, out there, apparently enjoy being ruled. Who can logically figure out the human need to be ruled by another person? ….it really doesn’t make a lot of sense when you lay it out, but there it is .A lot of people will continue to love the glitter and razzle- dazzle of the monarchy just as they love the X-Factor on television and think that what they are listening to is quality music.
Poor and all, as a lot of them are , they will continue to love the lowest common denominator, so it’s no surprise that they enjoy the glossy pageantry of the royal lifestyle.it’s certainly not for all of us.
In some respects this rapprochement is a huge step forward and a very public acknowledgement that far from the “No dogs, no blacks, no Irish”, of the past century the Irish , North and South had a huge hand in building the infrastructure of Britain and had a massive influence on its popular culture and further afield. The immigrant Irish built the motorways and cities of Britain while drowning their sorrows and singing their own kind of blues in the bars. The Beatles with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Johnny Rotten and his Sex Pistols , Boy George , Morrissey, Oasis with the fighting Gallagher brothers ,Dexys Midnight Runners with Kevin Rowland , the Pogues , to name a handful all from Irish families ,created a cultural musical revolution in England and throughout the world.
My sister , at the end of the 1960’s, just as the Troubles were starting in Ireland, went to Manchester to study and became a teacher. She met a man from Kerry stock who was second generation Irish. I met his two old uncles at their wedding forty years ago. Those two old work – weary ,worn-out men had come over from Kerry in the 1950’s or 1960’s to find work on the building sites of Britain . They never went back.
These days my sister and her husband live close to Windsor ; sometimes the Queen’s deer from her estate, stray into the bottom of their garden.A generation later this Irish family would have more in common with the Queen than someone living and waving a flag on the Shankill Road in Belfast …or someone in Cornwall….
Nota bene : Lewis Carroll…….Alice……
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,?”To talkof many things:?Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–?Of cabbages–and kings–?And why the sea is boiling hot–?And whether pigs have wings.” (Carroll 61-66 qtd. in Shaw)The Walrus’s speech is a remark on politicians gathering listeners and mesmerizing them into thinking that everything they say is pertinent to them when really it is all nonsense (De Rooy). Oysters do not care about shoes, they do not even have feet, which Carroll points out in a previous line. Before the walk, the oysters did make sure that their shoes were clean and neat but they have no need for them. Carroll is saying even though the oysters do not need a product like shoes, it has been driven into their heads by politicians and solicitors that they not only need but want whatever item is being peddled. The Walrus asks why the sea is boiling hot when it clearly is not. The Walrus is just trying to scare the oysters and grab their attention with something that would appeal to them if it actually was true. The comment about pigs having wings is Carroll pointing out the ridiculous discussion going on in government that just do not pertain to anything. Nonsense within the nonsense poem.