Week in Review
Ireland and England have a history. And it isn’t a very good one. With things getting really bad when the English went Protestant. And the Irish remained Catholic. Which aligned Ireland with England’s Catholic enemies on the continent. France and Spain. England would go on to conquer Ireland. But it didn’t stop the Catholics from rising up against English rule. So the English colonized Northern Ireland with Protestants in the 17th century. Plantation of Ulster. To dilute the Catholic threat. With English Anglicans. And Scottish Presbyterians. Which did nothing to improve relations between the Irish and the English. Even to this day (see Bomb defused in Northern Ireland would have caused devastation by Ivan Little posted 4/28/2012 on Reuters UK).
Two bombs planted by militant Irish nationalists, including one packed with enough explosives to have killed anyone within a 50-metre (yard) radius, were defused in Northern Ireland on Saturday, police said…
Army bomb disposal experts defused a similarly sized bomb in the border town of Newry this time last year. Another bomb was also found near the main Dublin-to-Belfast motorway earlier this month that police said had the potential to kill.
The other bomb also made safe by the army on Saturday was discovered under a parked car in Belfast where 80 people were moved from their homes for five hours overnight. There was no confirmation yet of its size…
The 1998 peace agreement called a halt to more than three decades of violence between mainly Catholic Irish nationalists opposed to British rule of Northern Ireland and predominantly Protestant unionists who wanted it to continue.
The British founded America. While the Irish built much of it. The British gave us our language, our representative government, our institutions and our economic principles. Despite two wars we’ve remained close. The Irish helped us to win our independence from the British. And subsequent waves of immigration swelled our population. And, later, our cities. Filling our factories. And building our infrastructure.
We have great numbers of both Catholics and Protestants living peacefully together. Which makes this continuing struggle between Ireland and England difficult for many Americans. For we probably would not be who we are if it wasn’t for both of these people. We abhor this violence. Especially when those who suffer this violence are not responsible for the sins of their distant ancestors. But worse for Americans is that both the Irish and English are our ancestors. And they’re not that distant from us. Which is what makes this struggle so difficult for us. They’re both family. Unlike they are to each other.
Tags: bomb, Catholic, England, English, Ireland, Irish, militant Irish nationalists, Northern Ireland, Protestant
Week in Review
Representative government transferred the power from the privileged few to the people. And once they did things got better for the people. Because the government started serving the people instead of the people serving the government. And to keep it that way representative governments introduced separations of powers. And checks and balances. They created legislative bodies to write laws. Where legislators represented the people in proportion to the population. So laws represented the will of the people. And not minority interests.
Of course, this made it difficult to pass some laws. Especially those that went against the will of the people. So some found a way to get around the will of the people. By legislating from the bench. Where instead of needing a majority of hundreds of legislators you only needed a majority of a handful of judges. Which has been the legislative tool of choice for liberals to write laws. Using the judiciary to write law that they could not write in the legislature. Violating the separation of powers. And going against the will of the people. Such as making abortion legal in countries where the majority oppose it. Like the United States. And Ireland (see Ireland Takes Up Bill on Abortion Access by DOUGLAS DALBY posted 4/18/2012 on The New York Times).
One of the most deeply divisive issues in Irish society was reignited Wednesday night when the Irish Parliament began debate on a bill that would provide for limited access to abortion.
As in the United States, it was the Supreme Court here that legalized abortion, although in strictly limited circumstances. But in the 20 years since the decision in the “X Case,” successive governments have shied away from enacting the legislation needed to carry out the order…
“We believe that it is only a first step for abortion to be legalized in Ireland in all circumstances. We have waited long enough,” Ms. Daly said. “Over 100,000 Irish abortions have taken place in Britain for many different reasons, none of them easy, all of them valid. The hypocrisy, injustice and expense of having to travel to England for terminations, away from family and friends, is a disgrace.”
But in this conservative and Catholic nation, sentiment against abortion runs strong, and over the past few months anti-abortion groups have been pressuring politicians to oppose the bill, and are confident it will be defeated.
Governments shy away from putting abortion in the hands of the legislature. Especially in countries with large Catholic populations. Which is why there are no abortion laws on the books in the U.S. or Ireland. Just Supreme Court rulings that created an abortion law from the bench. As Supreme Court justices typically serve for life they don’t have to worry about the political fallout of their decisions. Which gives some a green light for judicial activism. Giving them leeway to disagree with laws they don’t like. Or creating laws they like that the people don’t. They can do this. Legislators can’t. Which is why they shy away from abortion law. Because a legislator usually has another election to try to win. And that isn’t easy to do when you go against the will of the people. As many found out in the U.S. after they voted for Obamacare. And lost their jobs in the 2010 midterm elections. Because they not only acted against the will of the people but against their own constituents.
Ireland is a Catholic country. And they take their Catholicism pretty seriously. Which is why so many Irish hate the English. Who are Protestant. If you’re not familiar with this history read up a little on it. Perhaps looking up some names like Elizabeth I, James I or the Earl of Stafford. Then you’ll get a feeling for the love between Irish Catholics and English Protestants. So the Irish are Catholic. And fiercely so. They stay true to their Catholic beliefs. Which includes an absolute opposition to abortion. Which is why there is no abortion law in Ireland. Only a Supreme Court decision. Until now, perhaps. As the Irish legislature is now debating this subject. What will the Irish Catholic do? Whatever they do one thing is for certain. It won’t make the issue any less divisive.
Tags: abortion, abortion law, Catholic, Catholic nation, Catholicism, checks and balances, England, Ireland, Irish, Irish Parliament, judges, judicial activism, legislating from the bench, legislators, legislature, Protestant, representative government, separations of powers, Supreme Court, will of the people, write laws
Week in Review
Just when you thought the Euro was safe again (see Future of the euro again thrown into doubt after Irish announce referendum on new EU cash rules by Jason Groves posted 2/29/2012 on the Daily Mail).
Efforts to prop up the euro were again thrown into doubt last night after Ireland announced plans for a referendum on whether to accept new European spending rules…
Public anger over austerity measures is running high in Ireland and many observers were last night predicting a ‘No’ vote. That would not prevent the strict budget controls coming into force, but would leave Ireland unable to access future EU bailouts…
Ireland has twice rejected plans for EU reform in referendums, only for the votes to be overturned under intense pressure from Brussels.
Eurosceptics in Ireland are expected to use the latest referendum to highlight Ireland’s dire economic problems, which have required a £70 billion bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund.
Ireland giving away control over its own destiny to others due to intense pressure from an outside power? My, how times have changed. Once it took an occupying army to wrest their sovereignty away. Now all you have to do is to get a nation to spend itself into debt and they will eventually hand you the keys to the kingdom. Will they do it again? Time will tell.
Again, the problem with the Eurozone is the lack of a political union. But getting a political union of countries having such long and rich histories is not easy. For if it were they’d already have done it. But they haven’t. And probably never will. Unless countries step forward and agree to surrender their culture and identity. And give control over their destiny to a distant central power. Something that just doesn’t happen. At least, not so far in the history of this world. Where the trend seems to be definitely in the other direction. Where autonomous regions of countries yearn for their independence from the countries suffocating their culture and identity.
This is the risk of excessive government spending. You spend too much and you either ask for help. Or wreak havoc on your nation by destroying its financial institutions with bankruptcy. Neither is good. But one is less desirable than the other. Better still would be never putting yourself in between these two choices in the first place. And the path there is that dreaded ‘A’ word. Austerity. For this we know for certain. If Ireland had no debt Brussels wouldn’t be dictating terms to them.
Tags: austerity, bailout, Brussels, culture and identity, EU, EU bailout, Euro, Eurozone, government spending, Ireland, political union, referendum