22 April 2019

On the anniversary of the Easter Rising, The Tribune has a good profile of “Ireland’s greatest socialist”, James Connolly. I was struck by this, from an article he wrote in 1900: “Ireland without her people is nothing to me, and the man who is bubbling over with love and enthusiasm for ‘Ireland,’ and can yet pass unmoved through our streets and witness all the wrong and the suffering, the shame and the degradation wrought upon the people of Ireland, aye, wrought by Irishmen upon Irishmen and women, without burning to end it, is, in my opinion, a fraud and a liar in his heart, no matter how much he loves that combination of chemical elements which he is pleased to call ‘Ireland.’” This quotation refers to Ireland, but applies with equal force to all hollow expressions of patriotism, and it is something to keep in mind as we approach Anzac Day in the middle of a federal election campaign.