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Tag Archives Catholics

RIVERS OF BLOOD

I think of a freckly, fair haired lad

of fifteen, an Irish Traveller –

from that nomadic, hard grafting culture

spawned by the Great Famine. As he ran

from danger across a playing field

he tripped and was killed by two youths, fellow

Catholics with Irish surnames, one of whom

allegedly said, as he stamped with both feet

on the boy’s head, ‘He’s only a fucking

Gypsy.’ The judge did not consider the crime

racist. (Possibly the manifold

ironies had leached into his judgement

and atrophied it).

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THE TROUBLES

The dying corporal was spread eagled

in his underpants, his executioners

and judges – a mob of fathers and sons –

dressed, as he had been, undercover,

in trainers, denims and a sweater.

 

Civil war, for almost a generation,

had burgeoned. Solutions receded. Rights

gained were matched by rights removed: all our freedoms

lessened so neighbours might vote, have jobs,

houses. Things did not make sense, only words.

‘Derry’ was a political statement.

 

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LAISSEZ FAIRE

‘Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.’ Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.

 

I am contemplating, in the Walker Art Gallery,

Liverpool, the statue of William Huskisson, once

the city’s Tory MP and sometime President of the Board of Trade

but much better known as the world’s first railway fatality

at the opening of the line to fetch cotton quickly and cheaply

from the Mersey’s docks to the mills of South East Lancashire.

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