Tuesday 16 November 2010

The Minstrel Boy To The Royal Wedding Has Gone

Turning on the box at lunch time to see whether the rolling debt crises were becoming worse or better I was greeted by PM Dave rubbing his hands and telling of a joyful Cabinet banging the tables. For a fleeting moment of hope I thought we had been expelled by the EU for whinging and arguing too much.

Alas, it was something else, which according to several sources will enable HMG to bury enough bad news to keep them all happy, at least for a few days. It was the announcement about the Royal nuptials to come. As I avoid much comment, if any, on the Royal Family, I will simply say congratulations and hope it all goes well.

It would be easy to be churlish and use the news as an opportunity to exercise the vocabulary but as The Royals are a soft target I will not. In any case I have had trouble enough in the past. In December 1947 the neighbours complained when I organised a noisy football match in the street. In July 1981 others complained about me mowing the lawn during the high point of the service.

Elsewhere on TV the BBC is flogging a series about the Idea of Civilisation and the nature of ruling classes. Whilst the archaeologists and others are turning up more ancient and many more ruins, some under the seas, others in unexpected places the BBC series is giving us The Greeks. I wonder if the vagaries of Greek finances now are so different from the alleged civilisation of ancient Greece.

The difference may be that they left it in writing and what is more transmitted most of it the The Romans who left both legacies in stone and in writing for later peoples to read, study and sadly try to copy. The British Empire often seems like an uncertain elite aping and attempting to repeat on a larger scale what it thought a classical Romano-Greek civilisation was like.

Meanwhile in Ireland we may well see another version of an earlier bail out and set of financial and governmental relations. Just as the ruling European elite of the late 12th Century decided to put affairs in Ireland to rights, by the methods of the time, Dublin, Waterford and Wexford will soon have Euro offices running the show.

Back then one of the major figures was Raymond le Gros (also Reimund etc.) one of the Fitzgerald family, son of William Fitz Gerald of Carew and Maria de Montgomery. He like his peers had an ambition to seize land and become a great magnate. Fat cats are nothing new. The Carew arms, said to derive from the Montgomery by marriage, are above, only they are lions rather than cats.

Lions have larger appetite than cats so if history is any guide, Ireland may have cause to worry. Poor old Scotland was landed with some of the Montgomery’s when the King became so fed up of their antics in The Welsh Marches that he packed them off north along with many of their more disloyal and violent followers, such as the de Brus family. Then look at what happened.

The debate about what Ireland should do in the present crisis is being argued all around the web by many expert and thoughtful commentators. My view is that Ireland should default, leave the Euro and try to establish a functioning economy on its own terms. Otherwise, it will be again a playground for ambitious European politicians for a century to come.

History does not repeat itself, but human beings do.

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