What ho, Englishmen! (and Scotchmen and Welshmen and Ulstermen!)
Interesting news, gentlemen. Things appear to be stirring in the wilds of Erin. The Micks have woken from their poteen-sozzled stupour and are taking a long, hard look in the mirror – and not before time. A reader, Horace Woolington, refers me to this splendid article in the Irish Sunday Independent. The author of the article, Mr McEntee, issues an impassioned cri de couer in which he begs for re-admittance to the United Kingdom:
"WHEN Queen Elizabeth arrives on her historic first visit to this country, could someone take her gently aside and whisper in her ear: "Take us back, ma'am. Please take us back.
Ludicrous, I know, but there are a substantial number of beleaguered residents of this shambolic State who not only harbour regrets that we ever left the economic embrace of Britain, but would gladly return.
I'm sure I'm not the only still-proud Irishman at home or abroad thinking the previously unthinkable: why did we leave the British Empire?"
Why indeed. Seamus’s brazen knock at the front door does not surprise me. I have been predicting as much for some time now. For the hairy-knuckled sons of Erin have always been inordinately fond of their Mammy: and now that the poteen has run dry and the gambling debts have to be paid off, it was only a matter of time before they begged to suckle at the teat of Mammy Britannia.
The question is: how should Mr Cameron respond to these overtures? It is tempting to send Seamus straight back to the bogs with a flea in his ear. Such a response would certainly be justified given the Micks’ abject lack of gratitude for Britain’s civilising influence over all these years. Furthermore, the necessity to keep the wild men of the hedgerows in good order is surely enough to bring the Home Secretary out in a cold sweat. There are several million Paddies currently out of work and it surely won’t be long before a fair number of them decide to open the family box of Semtex out of sheer boredom. As the old saying goes: “A bored Frenchman boffs; a bored German daydreams; a bored Englishman plans an expedition; and a bored Irishman breaks out the poteen and goes ballistic”.
So there are clearly drawbacks to taking in Seamus again. And yet... wouldn’t it be splendid for our population to exceed France’s? Add on the Micks and we’d have about 68m in the UK. We’d also add sizeably to our land mass. And at the rate the blighters breed, we’d probably soon be pushing over 70m and be in position to challenge the Germans for supremacy in Europe. Such nationalistic considerations are considered uncouth nowadays, but I don’t mind admitting that I retain a healthy desire to see Britannia’s flame burnish brightly in the world once more.
Moreover, is there not also a moral duty to take in these poor creatures? One must ask: what would the Victorians do? Is it not incumbent upon us to channel the spirit of Livingstone and Wilberforce and finally complete the long, arduous process of civilising the Mick? Think of those hidden gems languishing at present under the stifling blanket of Fenianism. Remember how the Irish under British rule produced such remarkable individuals as Yeats, Joyce, Burke, Wilde. Must we condemn the fine young men of Clongowes to lasting penury? In earnest, chaps, these people are capable of great deeds when they have a hearty Saxon hand to guide them along the path of righteousness!
Seamus can count himself fortunate that if anyone is likely to turn the other cheek and forgive, it is John Bull. Our sturdy phlegmatic Englishman has long reconciled himself with the central truth of his existence: that God has placed upon his shoulders the unique burden of civilising the world. With many ups and many downs, the Englishman has largely succeeded in this sacred task. Great swathes of the globe, from America to Australia, from India to South Africa, are now bright beacons of hope and prosperity – and all thanks to John Bull's selfless efforts. Only in the Englishman’s own back yard does the spirit of barbarism and fecklessness remain unextinguished.
So let us on sleep on it. Perhaps there is a way back for Seamus. Perhaps, if Seamus is sufficiently penitent, sufficiently humble, sufficiently sober, sufficiently ashamed and apologetic and bashful ... perhaps then a cot can be found for him once more under the Union Jack.