- Date published:
11:13 am, May 27th, 2018 - 29 comments
Categories: abortion, crime, culture, history, International, religion, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, useless - Tags: abortion, ireland, UK
I don’t want to upset any Irish people who might be reading this, but having been brought up as a notional Protestant in the British Isles, I was inculcated with a less than glowing view of Ireland and Irish people.
Ireland was a tad backwards and Irish people were suspect – all that Catholicism and violence!
Of course, that perception was meant to be applied far more to Eire than to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland had a modicum of progress about it – what with it being Protestant and a part of the United Kingdom and all.
Well, today a woman in Northern Ireland faces the possibility of life in jail if she has an abortion. That is, citizens of the UK are denied bodily autonomy and face the harshest penalties anywhere in Europe if they lay claim to their own bodies.
And across the political divide in Northern Ireland, (from Sinn Fein to the DUP) there’s a consensus that women ought not be permitted ownership of their bodies and the right to exercise decisions that come from that ownership.
I could find it all a bit confusing.
Eire was meant to be the backwards place that was held in some darkened state by the presence and power of the Catholic Church. Hell, I can remember when anyone going to holiday in Eire, was well advised to pack condoms into their luggage given the difficulty of obtaining them there.
And yet here we are, with abortion being made accessible, and same sex marriage available since 2015 in that most backwards of places, and neither of those things being a part of the landscape in that other part of Ireland that the most enlightened of political powers from across the sea decided to hang on to.
And that progress in personal freedom in Eire isn’t simply down to the fading power of the Catholic Church. If it was, then women in Northern Ireland wouldn’t be subject to regimes of control and punishment that fit with all the notions of that somewhat dark backwardness that ought (or so we were taught) to applied to all things Catholic and Republican.
I think I like it when the basis of inter-generational, state sanctioned bigotry and nonsense gets shown up for what it is. Maybe it’s time for British people to sweep away the broken and breaking pieces of their “Irish construct” and open the windows to let the taint of the bullshit they’ve been fed get aired out.
I’d like to think the architects of the bullshit, and everyone associated with them, and every institution that bolstered them, would get swept away too. But I know that’s probably asking too much.