Wednesday, August 11, 2010

O'Neill, our house, the street, Belfast,Co. Down, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe, The World, The Universe

Perhaps it's because Belfast is actually split between Antrim and Down, but most of its inhabitants whom I know have very loyalty or any feeling whatsoever towards the county they happen to find themselves living in- plenty of East Belfast men (and weemen), the odd North Belfast man, a very odd Ballynafeigher. Nobody describing themselves as proud Antrim or Down men/weemen.

It's a phenomenon I also observed in those parts of England I lived and worked in: it was West Cumbria not just plain Cumbria (folk from Maryport would consider Ambleside as being on another planet, never mind county); Manchester not Lancashire (aka "The Woolyback"); London not Middlesex, Surrey, Essex etc. The only reason I guess I must have lived in Surrey was that the Oval was the closest cricket ground to my digs; none of my flatmates or work colleagues certainly had a clue when I asked them. Perhaps it's a rural v urban thing, although there's plenty of the Yorkshire Republican Army residing in Leeds and Sheffield to disprove that theory.

Anyway, regardless what the cosmopolitan sophisticates of Ballymacarrett, Cleator Moor or Camberwell may think, more than a few people will be disturbed by this news:
The names of counties appear set to be dropped from official postal addresses.

Royal Mail has been consulting on a plan to delete counties from the 28 million-strong address database used by companies and public bodies.
The truth is, of course, that the Post Office is not really "banning" counties, it's just saying that they're not really that important anymore...cue the outrage.


andrewg said...

I'm glad you posted this. I was about to reference the Yorkshire Republican Army as something that didn't exist.

O'Neill said...

"Exist" in as I've heard it chanted at Elland Road and Headingley and they've a Facebook group. Not sure they're in any position to push for UDI yet!

wildgoose said...

Yorkshire used to have its own Home Rule movement, which petered out in the 1970s. And just to be slightly controversial, genetic assays of the indigenous populations of the British Isles show that Yorkshire is the most genetically distinct part.

The base population of the whole of the British Isles is the original (probably Iberian) population that was then subject to repeated migrations on top, each adding no more than a few per cent. Celts, Romans (from all over), Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, Norse and now once again from all over the world.

I wonder if Yorkshire is more distinct from most because it bore the brunt of William the Bastard's "Harrying of the North" and its attempted genocide. (All crops, villages and towns burned. All livestock, men, women, children and babies slaughtered. The survivors then being the perhaps more martial, more mobile and more recent Scandinavian influx).

The Harrying of the North along with the attempts to ban the official use of English all show that the English were merely the first to suffer such predations, (and more severely as well), only to then also unfairly attract the blame rather than our Norman-British overlords.

O'Neill said...

I was wondering why Yorkshire (with the obvious exception of Cornwall) was the only county I could imagine declaring UDI!

tony said...

>>And just to be slightly controversial, genetic assays of the indigenous populations of the British Isles show that Yorkshire is the most genetically distinct part.<<

Any chance of showing us where you got this from?

Also wouldn't Norman-French be a better and more consistant term to put alongside your historical grievance? Since Britons in that period would probably be in the northwest and southwest of England, Wales and Scotland. You are using the usurped political modern term 'Britishness' instead of the historically term.

David 2 of Scotland was so impressed by the subjigation of the English that he invited dozens of Norman families to settle in Scotland. They settled in nicely and soon became the royal house of Scotland and eventually England.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure the Down or Antrim supporters in Croke Park this year would agree with you. I think the phenomenon you are describing is a protestant (and Belfast) thing. You need to get out more.

O'Neill said...

"I am not sure the Down or Antrim supporters in Croke Park this year would agree with you."

If that's the case, then they'll need to be very careful that Her Maj's postal service doesn't disappear their counties out of existance.

Anonymous said...

Lizzie's govt. or her unionist colonial government (I can't remember which) did away with counties long ago. I think they were replaced with 26 non entities (was that county envy?)

It won't matter. ROI did the same with Dublin. It hasn't dented Dubliners' County identity or allegiance. The old english county system lives on.