Issue 4-2022 small

4 December 2008 Edition

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The Mary Nelis Column

Commonwealth versus our common wealth

MAYBE the global debt crisis has unhinged John Coulter, the Colonel Blimp of that pseudo Irish paper, The Irish Star.
Writing on the new-found notion of patriotism brought on by cross-border shoppers, Coulter argues that, given the global banking crisis, not only should Ireland rejoin the Commonwealth but that the Brits need to go a step further and use the Commonwealth to relaunch the British Empire in Africa.
That should be of great comfort to the many asylum seekers from the far-flung corners of the former empire now trying to escape the brutality of regimes whose leaders availed of the education, pomp and circumstance of British imperialism.
Last week we heard that allegations of the brutal ill-treatment of asylum seekers from countries in Africa by British Home Office security guards are being investigated by Nuala O’Loan, the former Police Ombudsman in the North. The case of the Cameroon man who lost his claim to asylum and was beaten several times as he was forced unto a British Airways flight back to a place noted for its torture regime is an example of the treatment of many of the occupants of those countries plundered by the British and whose regimes now mirror the brutality of its former colonial masters.
Many of the countries occupied and exploited by the British for centuries are now the world’s worst human rights violators.
Many of the violent conflicts raging in the world today are the outworking of the divide and rule tactics of a country that fomented sectarian and racial division to further its own interests. The footprints of British colonialism are all over the horror of Mumbai and Nigeria, let alone our own small island.  
It may be time to call in the men in the white coats for the ‘little Englanders’, the journalists and politicians trying to make a case for the reintegration of the 26 Counties into the Commonwealth, for who in their right senses would want to be part of an archaic organisation headed up by an equally archaic monarch?
Even the name is a contradiction in terms, for the common wealth of the organisation has not extended to Bangladesh, one of the 53 member countries and the poorest in the world.
Poverty is not a priority of the Colonel Blimps of the Southern Establishment and the fanatical fantasists described as “revolutionary unionists” by John Coulter.
But then historical amnesia is common among those unionists whose paranoid existence is sustained by the notion put forward some time ago by the Blueshirt party that the British queen would be a joint head in a new all-Ireland state.
The notion may be as daft as Africa rejoining the Commonwealth but it would be wrong to dismiss the ravings of the pro-British establishment and their unionist counterparts, North and South, as being of no consequence.
It’s time to stand up for Ireland and to take on the unrepresentative clique of the so-called Reform Movement who should be left in no doubt that rejoining the Commonwealth is not and never will be an option and that the future interests of all the people on this island will be best served by disconnecting with everything that is British. Our common wealth lies in Irish sovereignty.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1