The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Thoroughly Middleclassed Millie

I build a little Empire out of some crazy garbage
Called the blood of the exploited working class
Now they've overcome their shyness
And they're calling me Your Highness
Kiss Me, Son of God
- They Might Be Giants


Marc Kerr • 9 July 2004

I have been reading 'The Blanket' for a while now, and considered writing an article, but never quite felt that I had anything to say to this audience. My background is no doubt not yours. It seems to me that herein be a haven for bitter Trade Unionists, leftwingers who are a parody of that leftist parody Wolfie Smith, would-be philosophers who have read too much obscure Eastern European 19th century literature and the blinkered Irish-American contingent. (I don't pay much attention to the Palestinian output, because, as you know, China is very far away, man.) But all that is getting ahead of myself. Let me step back a bit, and explain.

Why do I love The Blanket even if I have no real understanding of those who write it? Because it gives me an insight into my own country, from those who could be considered to hold opinions considerably different from my own. All discussion is good. Isn't that the very raison d'etre of this journal? But I am still ahead of myself. Step back again

Let me introduce myself. What I am is more than likely what you despise. Middleclass Protestant, English university educated, homeowner and not Newton Emerson. The Northern Ireland/Occupied 6 Counties/Sectarian Statelet/home I live in is different from yours. I enjoy going down South/Eire/Unoccupied 26 counties, it is a beautiful place. You aspire to a United Ireland? Good for you. Do I? Not really. Do I care? Not overly. Aspire away. If it happens, it happens. I would rather not be blown up while shopping over it.

So what of The Struggle then. Well, put bluntly, I think it is over. With our equality and employment legislation, there is no need for any member of our society to be discriminated against. Yes, it still happens, but until the world is devoid of humanity, it will always happen. I have worked in a mixed workplace all my working life, both in England and here. Have I seen predujice? Sure. On boths sides? Yup. But then that is another problem with the discussions on Northern Ireland. You can't say anything about one side, without qualification and reference to the other.

So it isn't for me to engage with you. You could say I have what I want, Union with the UK. But that is overstating it. I have no loyalty to our Sovereign, no buring desire to die for my country. Laissez-faire goes a long way with the middleclasses. If Ireland were united tomorrow (and not free, as we (and you) are free now, but continue to mope if you want) would it change my life?

It would be, actually, a monumental hassle. A major drag. Would my mortage need changed? My bank accounts? What changes would it make to my children's schooling? That is what Republicans need to address, to make me think a United Ireland is a good idea. Sort all that out, and I might sign up for it. As long as you don't disturb my life, you can do say what you want, think what you want, do what you want. As long as the doing doesn't involve firearms, bombs and disruption. Nothing ever changes without any pain, and right now I don't see the point in putting myself through that pain. Why would I be better of under Bertie? Sure, I might be, but I am not badly off now, and I am happy to stick with that.

I mean, I would love to play Hurley. To me it is everything a game should be, fast, fun and uses big sticks. However, there are two reasons I more than likely never will play it. Firstly, I imagine I wouldn't be welcome (and from reading The Blanket, it seems that a certain type of mainstream Republican doesn't appreciate deviation from the cast-in-stone thought lines), and secondly, well, I can't run the length of myself.

There is an undercurrent in some of the articles here that imply that the only good person is a Brother (or Sister, Brother, don't forget the Sisters) Unionist. (Trade Unionist, of course.) Or if they can't be that, then the definition of worthiness is stretched to the great and always-downtrodden working class. The Orwellian Animal Farm finale is oft-used here. I am neither leftwing nor working class. Look at me, for I must be The Enemy. Poor undervalued working class, patronised in the worst possible way by their own, once their own decide that they are Spokespeople. And that is the meaning I take from a lot of The Blanket's output. I read the articles, and can feel the hatred aimed at me, just for being who I am, and not believing in what the author believes. And what happened to principled strikes? All they seems to be about these days is pay. Socialistic capitalism. In the (bad) old days, the strikes seemed to be over conditions, too.

My alligances are to myself, and my family. Not to the betterment of the working classes, not for the oppressed of Ireland, not for Crown or Country. For me and mine. The way I see it (and you knew this was coming) is that there is no justification for a struggle, and less than that for an armed struggle. The stories in this publication about life in Belfast are fascinating. The tales of suffication of thought, the implication that speaking your mind may affect the health of your knees, the whole mindset just alien. I live in a mixed village, population under seven hundred. Yes, there are bitter people here, but that is our national disease. Where you can pick which nation that is.

To gather all this rambling nonsense into one paragraph, the best word is apathy. I don't really care if the political machine turns around me, invitiably careening towards some Tir Na Og in 2016, as long as it doesn't cause me bother. Just open another bottle of red, there, dear, and turn the stereo up, I like the Ah guarda sorella duet.

In theory,Communism is a good idea, Marge. In theory. - Homer Simpson





Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


Historians and economists {subsidized by governments} are very good at creating and perpetuating myths that justify increasing the power placed in the hands of government.
- Reuven Brenner

Index: Current Articles

15 July 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Helping the Brits
Geraldine Adams

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa
Dolours Price

Antebellum Antrim Town - still a cold house for Catholics and a fridge freezer for Irish Republicans
Sean Mac Aughey

Throughly Middleclassed Millie
Marc Kerr

Treating Opression and Depression
Sean Fleming

Wake up, Ireland!
Patrick Lismore

Response to US Designation

Fallen Generals
Anthony McIntyre

John Negroponte: Dorian Gray Goes to Iraq
Toni Solo

11 July 2004

Miscarriages of Justice
Martin Cunningham

Dolours Price

Yes, Let's Do
George Young

Interview with Bill Lowry:
Forbidden Fruit
Out from the Shadows
Political Policing
Anthony McIntyre


The Blanket

http://lark. phoblacht. net


Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices

To contact the Blanket project with a comment, to contribute an article, or to make a donation, write to:
webmaster@phoblacht. net