Those Pesky Irish – again
by Instant Noodle
Britain is busy. The aftermath of the War is naturally a priority for the government, yet there is one issue that simply refuses to lie down and die. It is, of course, Irish Home Rule.
Though GUY FAUX be reckoned among the “has-beens” we shall still have reason to “remember, remember the 5th of November.” For on this day the PRIME MINISTER, fresh from Versailles, read to the House the terms, stern but not vindictive, on which Austria-Hungary has been allowed to go out of the War.
It was the worst day in the year that the Irish Nationalists could have chosen to put forward their amazing proposition that Britain should not be allowed to enter the Peace Conference until she had granted Home Rule to Ireland. Mr. T. P. O’CONNOR essayed the hopeless task of trying to rekindle in a thin House the dying embers of Liberal enthusiasm, damped almost to extinction by Irish apathy about the War. But even with some perfunctory help from Mr. ASQUITH and Mr. SAMUEL he could not blow it into a flame. In fact such heat as the debate engendered was supplied by the CHIEF SECRETARY and Mr. BONAR LAW, who told the Irish home-truths about their conduct during the War in language almost as vehement and volcanic as their own.
On the whole the Nationalists took their chastisement more quietly than is their wont. Mr. DILLON indeed seemed chiefly annoyed with Sir EDWARD CARSON’S silence, and declared that he was now “King CARSON and lord and master of Ireland.” Whereupon the monarch uncoiled himself from the seat whence he had watched the debate and quietly observed, ” May I say that this is the tenth year of my reign?” a useful reminder that Liberals as well as Tories had failed to find a solution for the Ulster part of the Irish problem.
The Resolution was watered down in deference to the objections of some British Home Rulers, but even in its diluted form was supported by only 115 Members, including Nationalists, Pacifists, and a few Liberal ex-Ministers, and was defeated by a majority of 81.
(November 13th, 1918)