Us Irish are a funny lot really, we travel the world extensively and are renowned for being able to take a joke or even be the centre of ridicule with a good old potato joke. Nearly every country in the world knows us as Paddy’s or Mick’s, and we take it without a problem, water off a ducks back.
Even in our newly found upperclassness we still accept the title of best drinkers in the world and wear that badge with pride, we are happy to allow Americans think we are all leprechaun’s. But refer to us as British and you take your life in your hands. You can see the rage in every Irish persons face when a great sportsman, I’m thinking of Barry McGuigan here, is called British on the BBC news when he’s winning but when he loses he’s just some Irish has been.
I think history between the two countries is evidence enough to explain the feelings but if you look around you might notice that we are more British than ever. For instance, did you watch any of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations? Did you take more than just a passing interest in the wedding of William and Kate? Do you shop in Tesco? Do you read the Mirror or the Sun? I know if I don’t get down to the shop sharpish The Guardian is sold out.
Take a look at your Saturday nights TV viewing, The Voice UK, Britain’s Got Talent to name a few. What about midweek, Coronation Street, Eastenders and Emmerdale have large Irish audiences and we are so taken with some of the programmes we’ve made our own versions of them with the likes of Come Dine With Me, Masterchef and so on.
The point being, we all a bit more British than we’d like to admit but whatever you do don’t say it out loud.