Monday, 21 March 2011

And finally…

I got (of course) a couple of books today. McGarry's biography of Eoin O'Duffy and a pocket Welsh grammar, as my Gramadeg Cymraeg is about 900 pages long and weighs a ton. O'Duffy was an IRA hero during the revolution, then commander of the Defence Forces and the Garda Siochana, but he was a wrong 'un. The secret alcoholism and homosexuality (despite a life of public conservative moralising) I can live with - but he became leader of Ireland's Fascists, the Blueshirts. Hilariously, his pathetic bunch were sent home after one battle when they tried to help Franco in Spain - useless and untrustworthy.

Ireland's potential Führer? 

Very pleasingly, a lot of them were killed at Jarama, possibly even at the hands of their socialist compatriots. O'Duffy went from bad to worse - negotiating with the Nazis to get the IRA involved in anti-British sabotage (despite having proclaimed that the IRA were communists). Disgustingly, he still got a state funeral in 1944. Disappointingly, Fine Gael, O'Duffy's political party, is now in government. Politics hasn't moved on from the Civil War, so we have the grotesque sight of a rightwing capitalist party which smashed the economy being replaced by a rightwing capitalist party which would have smashed the economy in exactly the same way if they'd been in charge. What a bright future…

Anyway, I'll leave you with a snippet of another unpleasant man's diary - Evelyn Waugh on visiting neighbouring Birmingham and Shropshire. He must have travelled through The Dark Place but obviously thought it unworthy of comment:
I went to Birmingham yesterday to watch Mrs. G. It is a disgusting town with villas and slums and ready-made clothes shops and Chambers of Commerce. 

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