Victorian England was one of the least equal societies of its day.
Accent , heredity , ownership determined just about everything about the person. Class was all.
They were self satisfied bunch of plunderers who had no scruples about slavery or about divesting its colonies of their wealth. They cherished their Queen and their religion , both of which were hybrids in their different ways. - The Royal Family a mixture of the very worst of the other inbred royals of the continent . Intermarriage was not only common but had the approval of a ‘ reformed church’ - the fact that England adopted a ‘reformed ‘church ‘ as an expedient and at the insistence of Henry VIII need not concern us here .
The British empire was backed up by the most powerful Navy of its day.
This increased its stranglehold on the expansionists who sought to make loyal subjects of the citizen from the Northern to the southern Pole ; From Greenwich at 0 degrees right round to Greenwich at 365 degrees.
That was the entire globe . They justified this Empire as being a special calling from God to purify the world from the untamed in loin cloths swinging from trees , savages , indigents , ingrates and .. And then.. then there were the Irish.
The focus on the Irish became the most vexatious and trenchant of their schemes. .
The Irish couldn’t seem to get it into their collective dumb skull , just how privileged they were to live beside the Great Britannia. ( John Bull)
In one of the most crude and ethnically- debasing advertising campaigns ever conceived against their smaller western neighbour - Ireland they choose the vehicle of a New Satirical magazine called Punch .
Punch was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire published from 1841 to 1992 and from 1996 to 2002. Punch material was also collected in book formats as early as the 1800s, including Pick of the Punch annuals with cartoons and text features, Punch and the War a 1941 collection of WWII-
Punch sought to pillory the Irish peasant as monsters,; ape -like figures with bulbous lips, and enlarged lower jaw; knitted eyes coupled with close sunken eyes and no forehead.
The effect was to Frankenstenise the Irish character as a buffoon , an unmemorable freak (which would have been more amusing to the audiences of Barnum and Baily ‘s) than to recognise it as human ; it was better and easier to satirise the peasant revolutionary so depicted .
The Irish so loathed their oppressor that they went to the gallows and more likely to the stake via the garrotte with a sense of redemption and deliverance from what they saw as eternal and infernal yoke of supremacy ,
Some succumbed and became what the British wanted them to become; a cheap labour force to fill the bludgeoning factories of the industrial Revolution and after .
These sweat shops of their day paid starvation wages. They were referred to in the early 1800 as ‘ the dark Satanic Mines - in a poem by William Blake in 1809.
This was later put to music in what has to be one of the most pathetic hymns called The New Jerusalem . The poem suggested that Jesus was reborn and visited Hohn Bulls Island - England .
If their anthem spoke of blind and unstinting loyalty to the monarch , the hymn New Jerusalem portrays a people so retarded as to believe that the Saviour of Mankind should visit the shores of Brittan .
They send their armies time and again to suppress the insurgent Irish , who were defeated each time .The Irish countryside was carved up and the spoils given to the invading soldiers. Their rewards were substantial ; large swathes of the most fertile land just given them under the Right of Conquest . Only the British could ever truly believe that there ever was such a right in all humanity.
Meanwhile on mainland Brittan , wherever the subjects met in gregarious company they sang the praises with glorious devotion of their green and pleasant land.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold;
Bring me my arrows of desire;
Bring me my spear; O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
His tory is said to occur first as tragedy and then as farce. Sadly this is not true . Not the ‘farce ‘ bit at least.
Much of this history is being repeated elsewhere as tragedy again. Tragedy revisited Israel would be a fairly typical example. The land grab is identical; the imbalance of power much the same.
The contempt which the Palestinians and the Jews ; much the same .
The religious zoolatry was also a common denominator . The Victorians believing they were doing Gods work. The Zionist simply take a land that is not theirs and blame the rest of the world for the holocaust as a means of justifying what they are currently doing in Jerusalem for example where they are now illegally occupying large tracts of land in Syria ,and Lebanon , which they won in the 67 war.
Notwithstanding the fact that the US , the Israeli’s chief advocates in the Middle East are permanent members of the UN council not only do the Israelis refuse to retreat to their pre-invasion birders as is demanded by the UN security council, but they are also carving up and installing new settlements in Jerusalem all the time.
The new Netyenyahu government has been particularly industrious in this regard.
Despite the eventual warnings from the Obama government , they are building settlements in the face of explicit resolutions of the UN to cease doing so forthwith.
This will test Obamas policy in the Middle East. Is he an honest broker or a facilitator fot the American and Israeli Jewry .
There are many differences between the Israeli hegemony and the British one in Ireland.
The British tried to deconstruct Irish society by among other subtle devices - by banning the Irish language , and overt religious persecution .
While the clubs of the British industrialists and expansionists toasted their even-handedness with the Irish as they filled the holds of their prison ships and exported the Irish miscreants to Van Demons Land - New Zealand , and to Australia.
Some were penalised and transported to the colonies for stealing a sheep, or even as little as stealing eggs.
There are copious court records of these punishments in every parish in Ireland.
As the grain crop proliferated and was shipped out to feed the factories and the armies Famine struck Ireland .
There was no famine as we know it, as there was plenty of food in Ireland in terms of grain. The famine should not have happened , The economic scholars had by then established the rate of fair pay as a quotient of the price of food.; and by extension , how much land was required to sustain a working population , and in turn how much money was required to purchase a fair share of food.
One problem was that the British didn’t believe their economists. The economic argument went against the current of Imperialism.
Another problem was that most Irish families by 1840 had been relocated from their own farms to eek out a living on the infertile upland bogs .
When the potato blight struck ( for the second time ) in 1840 the standard fare of 8 million people ; the potato was decimated..
As the coffin ships pulled out of Cobh , Galway , Limerick and Dublin with their lice infested holds , the grain ships carried away the quays , wheat and barley in clean , dry hull to the ports of England.
The British toasted one another in the clubs. The seasons brought out new debutantes , and the grouse shooting parties remained contented , as did the fox hunting and cricket clubs , and all was well in that green and pleasant land . They sang God save our king .. Our Gracious king (’ queen ‘ when Victoria was on the throne )
This was the anthem of a sophisticated democracy. - God save Our King. What did they will God to do with the rest of society ? Let them perish like the drones after fertilizing the queen bee in the hive ?
Needless to say the anthem r was not a popular one in Ireland and for the umpteenth time the Irish rebelled . They inveigled the French and the Spanish to help them escape the crushing oppression.
But even while schools were banned , and Irish children were punished with the cane for speaking Gaelic ; They were forced to carry a notch-stick around their necks to record how often they had sinned in this manner-ie speaking their own tongue .
The Irish had one dedicated band of wandering scholars roaming the country ready to set up shop at every hurried crossroads.
They found a young population eager to learn not just the three ’ R’s ( wRiting aRrhythmic, Reading) but also avid to learn Greek Latin , philosophy , theology.
All the while John Bull ( the British Empire ) ruled the waves , plundered and raped ; ravished and drilled for , copper silver gold, diamonds , coal and trees , to accommodate the finery the pleasant citizens of that Green and Pleasant Land , as they awaited the coming of the Saviour Christ to visit their shores- how would this have worked out one wonders ? Would he have been received by the Monarch in the palace ? Would he have been given an MBE or hoisted off to the Tower .
The Irish mourned for Caitleen ni Houlihan- an allegorical name for the old country.
And this was the era when Punch Magazine flourished..
It was bigoted , hateful, and a constant incitement to hatred of the Irish.
It was xenophobic ,and brought the art to a new level.
The characters as we’ve learned were ape-like figures , usually with a sheleighly in one hand and a bottle in the other . Or a bottle in one and a bomb in the other.
The untamed ingrates are reminiscent of King Kong as he had been d depicted in the earlier rather than the later version of the picture.
In this manner Punch succeeded where no supremacist or ethnic cleanser had succeeded before.
But something much more powerful was now afoot.
Arising from the hedge schools and in tandem with the 1916 Rising there was an unstoppable take over of the English language by the Irish. A reversal of the notch-stick punishment was afoot .
Yeats , Joyce and Shaw followed Oscar Wilde.
Their writing spread like a wildfire throughout the globe ; to the civilized ( syphilis-ised , as Joyce wrote about the English ) and uncivilised.
The writing was articulated in a way unseen before under the Queensbury Rules. It was deconstructed and recomposed in a dizzying riot of word play which the English had never conceived .
Punch magazine finally closed its doors in the 1960.
But did it succeed .
Yes in many ways.
Look at towns such as Bradford , the negro ghettoes of London , the rise of the British Nationalist Party , Prince Harry doing the goose-step. The Queen owning swathes of London. The Royals paying little and no taxes .
The ethos of empire building has come to haunt the fair and pleasant land. The royal subjects have come home to her shores. ; from Uganda to the North west Passage , and round again.
Now they have their own madras on the mainland . The devotees remember the vileness of their own oppression under the Union Jack.
Punch was the stand up comic for the Britannia who ruled the waves , and who spawned the generations of hooligans who populate the soccer stadia every week end . The illiterate murders of Haisel stadium..(Prince Harry should be poster boy - probably is ) ruler
Did Punch magazine succeed ?
You would have to think that Punch did a jolly good job.
.They say that the sun never set on the Empires soil in its hey day .
And one has to ask ;
Why did God never allow to set on the British Empire - because He didn’t trust the British in the dark.
God Save the Queen.