Ireland is an island to the west of Britain. Britain is an island to the West of Europe. Britain comprises England, Wales and um … um … No. Wait. There’s a referendum pending. Can I come back to you on the question of just what Britain is?
Some people in the North of Ireland refer to the Mainland … by which they mean Britain (whatever that is!). The people of Rathlin, the only inhabited island off the coast of Northern Ireland would never talk thus: though they are the only ones entitled to talk about the Mainland (if they did, they would mean Ireland, not Britain). Are you following me so far?
The fanatically loyal people refer to Norn Iron, petrol-bomb the police (and British Army, when they were on the streets), loudly proclaim their ‘culture’ by which they mean the Butcher’s Apron (sometimes known as the Union Flag, which is the banner of disunity); stomp outside Churches, as good Prodesants, loudly yelling that they’re ‘up to our necks in Fenian blood’, a claim few could deny; defy the democratic will of the people, North and South; assault all moderates, especially those on their ‘own side’, i. e. Alliance; join paramilitaries and insist on their credentials as democrats. They win headlines all over the world for their violence and fanaticism: and complain bitterly about being ignored. I hope you’re writing this down? You’ll never remember it!
Approximately one third of Irish people (those that don’t live abroad, that is … a diminishing fraction, since mass emigration resumed, this decade) live in Northern Ireland – which is actually six of the thirty-two counties, located mainly in the North-East! The other twenty-six comprises the Republic of Ireland (not recognised as such by Irish Republicans, who prefer to know it, sarcastically, as the Free State. They believe it is anything but FREE!). The Norn Iron Loyalists want the Border between these two entities sealed, but no one can find it, or remember where it is! Anyway, where would you get that much sticky tape? They insist they comprise an overwhelming majority in Norn Iron, but are actually a significant minority.
Martin McGuinness, formerly PIRA leader, now Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, insists on describing himself still as a Republican, though he daily administers British Rule in Ireland. He is opposed in this by the IRA – formerly the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA and … well, you get the drift. They – his former comrades, friends and relations – insist on their right to oppose the British by force of arms: a thing Martin would never do! Well, never do NOW! He believes we are all basking in the comfort, wealth and prosperity that his Peace Process has delivered! He also believes in the Tooth Fairy.
The capital of Ireland is Dublin. It has a population of over a million people, all of whom are now scanning the Internet in search of work in Australia. Most are migrants already – from the Western Seaboard, a derelict, deprived and desolate place, owned by foreigners and studded with empty million-euro homes that are only half-finished. Daniel O’Donnell is chieftan of this lost tribe. Unable to feed or clothe them, he contents himself by singing ballads to them. In this task he is aided by Dana, an OAP waif who really wants to be President. To buy goods they use a currency called the Euro, which is one step up from Monopoly money.
Under the Irish constitution, ‘The North’ used to be in Ireland but a very successful 30+ year campaign of violence for Irish unity ensured that it is now most definitely in the UK . Even the ‘Republicans’ accept that! Had the campaign lasted any longer the North might now be in Germany. Indeed in a very real sense it is, since they are the only Europeans not in deficit – and therefore keeping us all afloat … if only just.
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It has a population of half a million, half of whom own houses in Donegal (and therefore come under the aegis of the said Daniel (see above)). Donegal is in the north of Ireland but not in Northern Ireland. It is in the South. Even though it’s the most northerly county of Ireland. Are you still paying attention?
There are two parliaments in Ireland. The Dublin parliament is called the Dáil (pronounced “Doyle”, as in Mrs Doyle from Father Ted … [Ach, ye will! You will, you will, you will!]) an Irish word meaning a place where banks receive taxpayers’ money in truck-loads. The Bank was formerly owned by Sean Quinn, a self-made multi-billionaire, just out of debtor’s jail for bringing the whole contry into ruination. The one in Belfast is called Stormont, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘placebo’, or deliberately ineffective drug. It is run by a Secretary of State from Westminster who must pretend to ‘share power’ with Martin and Peter. Peter is married to the Wicked Witch of the North, who imposes chastity on others while sleeping with under-age boys herself. Martin and Peter tour the world at our expense, in search of jobs (they are the only people with jobs in the North themselves).
Their respective jurisdictions are defined by the border, an imaginary line on the map to show fuel launderers where to dump their chemical waste and by-products.
Prodesants are in favour of the border, which generates millions of pounds in smuggling for Catholics, who are actually totally opposed to it.
Travel between the two states is complicated because Ireland is the only country in the world with two M1 motorways. The one in the North goes West to avoid the south of Ireland and the one in the South goes north to avoid the high price of drink – and all other commodities in the South!
We have two types of democracy in Ireland. Dublin democracy works by holding a referendum and then allowing the government to judge the result when they don’t like it. If the government thinks the result is wrong, they will hold the referendum again until the people get it right. Twice in recent years the government decided the people’s choice was wrong and ordered a new referendum. Governments change more frequently than most people change their socks! Before elections, parties promise the moon and the stars: and deliver hell on earth when elected. The present Tainaiste told Vincent Brown on TV recently not to believe a word he says before elections: we all make wild promises we have no intention of keeping, he sniggered. This system is called democracy.
Belfast democracy works differently. It has a parliament with no opposition, so the government is always right. This system generates envy in many world capitals, especially in Dublin.
Ireland has three economies – northern, southern and black. Only the black economy is actually in the black. The other two are in the red. Talking of Black … in the North, Blackmen are Orange: no blacks allowed to join the Black Brethern!
All versions of the IRA claim to be the real IRA but only one of them is the real IRA. It’s so real, it feels it no longer needs to add that sobriquet. The North’s biggest industry is the production of IRAs. Consequently, we now have the Provisional, 32 county, Continuity and Real IRA. The IRA is by far the most popular among young graffiti writers simply because it is the easiest to spell.