Greg Lance – Watkins
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I have often commented on the fantasy that is passed off as ‘Irish History’ surrounding ‘The Potatoe Famine’ in Ireland and their desperation to distort the truth, in order to blame the English, a series of myths strung together to feed a warpped and dangerous narative leading to the vile and cowardly terrorism and hatred driven by the ignorant terrorists in the IRA and their guillible followers, not least being the supporters and funders of the IRA in America!
I have met with howls of derision from the illiterate Irish, over the years, for the comments and presentation of the facts; such that I have left the issue, in the most part, however, I have now found an article published by an Irish citizen with close ties to County Mayo, a well wreitten article which was of sufficient detail yet of ssufficient brevity to republish below.
My thanks to Kaide Walsh who I have left to tell the tale as republished in ‘Blue’ below, though I could not resist adding some further details and opinions of my own, in ‘Black) 😉
For the record, my father comes from rural, Mayo, Ireland where 70% of the population died or emigrated. I was fortunate enough to meet my great grandmother who was born in the 1910s, and she knew her grandparents very well and they lived during the famine. So I have heard first-hand oral evidence of the tragedy.
The British did not strave the Irish and almost no credible Irish historian who has studied the 19th century actually believe that the famine was genocide or, was brought on by the British Government.
It is usually a myth predicated by Irish-Americans or Irish Nationalists. The Irish Potato Blight was an issue primarily caused by a huge increase in the Irish population and an over-dependence on the Potato crop.
[ G.L-W.: it is understood that authorities in the British Government, cautioned the peoples of Ireland again and again to NOT plant potatoes year in year out as it would strip the soil of the relevant nutrients and the harvest would not only diminish but it would be less and less robust as a crop – allbeit an easy crop to grow and harvest whatever area of land one had available.
The advice fell on deaf ears and the Irish continued to take the easy route, leading to a greatly weakened output of potatoes! ]
Potatoes are an easy to grow vegetable. If you go to Ireland, like Mayo, which was hit very hard by the famine, you can see that the Irish were growing potatoes on the side of the mountains and in terrain that just isn’t suited for farming.
The argument and myths that are claimed are that the British Government had an ulterior motive to either let the Irish people starve or deprive them of food because the British were religiously or ethnically against the Irish population. This is utter rubbish.
Those who died in the famine were largely poor people, it was very much associated with class and your position in society determined your fate. Remember, in 1850, there was no notion of the state or any government intervening and offering a welfare system. If you had no food, you starved to death, emigrated, or went to the local church to beg. This has been the case in western Europe since the Fall of the Roman Empire.
The British Government was initially slow to respond to the famine but it did do a great deal to support those in need; for instance “by August 1847 as many as three million people were receiving rations at soup kitchens” – funded by the British Government at a cost of “£8 million”.
[ G.L-W.: £8,000,000 was a staggering amount of money in those days, furthermore it was money paid directly by the British exchequer, as there was no concept of banking based on borrowing to cover fiscal debt at that time. ]
Furthermore, millions of Irish emigrated to mainland Britain, to cities like Liverpool, London, Manchester, Glasgow. In these cities, the local British government supported and gave a huge amount of relief to the Irish population.
One of the arguments that you will hear from Irish Nationalists is “The British Government was exporting food during the famine”. This is deliberately misleading.
- The British Government did not own anything. 19th Century Britain was the era of free-market capitalism and was dedicated to laissez-faire economics — This basically means the state offers almost no regulation to free enterprise.
- Private farmers, landlords and companies exported food abroad to earn a living. These farmers often sold lamb, beef, milk or other types of produce and cereals. These farmers, still needed to earn a living and sell their products abroad to keep their mortgage or landowner rent paid. Just because other Irish Farmers kept selling food, it doesn’t mean that is the fault of the British Government.
[ G.L-W.: It is worth noting that many of the larger and wealthier landowners farming in Ireland decided, for a better life, that they were best served by leaving their factors in charge of their estates in Ireland and leading a luxury life, in and around the Court in London and/or in the seats of wealth in England such as Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool and the Home Counties! ]
Look at the USA and India, both are great food-producing nations, yet everywhere thousands die due to a lack of food.
[ G.L-W.: Consider the regular famines in India that since time immemorial have led to the starvation of Millions, which also led to similar distortions of history despite the efforts of the British Raj, or the famines in America such as the dustbowl area and the era that stripped the population of such States as Oaklahoma leading to the selling of children by their parents to feed the rest of the family and the obscene levels of rural povert, that led to mass migrations & starvation, in the Great Depression of the 1920s & ’30s in America. ]
That doesn’t mean both nations stop exporting. In the UK, we export energy, despite some of our own citizens freezing to death and not being able to afford the heating bills. That is one of the downsides of free-market economics.
[ G.L-W.: A situation which is all too dangerously possible we will see repeated, due to the shameful policy of Politicians The Legacy Media, BBC etc. and the wealthy, to fraudulently enact an unachievable and pointless Net-Zero policy
on the utterly false myths & propaganda that Climate Change, which has occured in natural cycles driven by The Sun for 4.6 Billion years is infact the result of man made CO2 & mankind!
Despite the irrefutable fact that mankind in its present form did not evolve until recently, a mere 800,000 years ago and until early in the 1800s there were less than i Billion of us on the planet & it was not until 12,000 years at the end of the last global Iceage that mankind even began settled farming, which was originally confined to the Golden Crescent of Mesopotamia & the Akkadian, Sumarian & subsequent Assyrian civilisations! ]
- Why would the British Government and local governments in the cities of Britain spend millions helping the Irish, if it was the policy to kill them? Because it wasn’t the policy to kill them. Many Irish-Americans believe that the Irish moved to the USA simply to escape the famine. This isn’t strictly true. It was actually cheaper to move to Canada, which was within the British Empire, but many Irish who could afford it went to the USA. Basically, the rich Irish moved to the USA and escaped rural Catholic Ireland. Which was a pretty awful place.
- Also, the argument that the British were Protestants who hated the Catholics is pretty far fetched. When you consider the Irish moved to the USA, which was actually a very strict Protestant country. The USA prior to the Irish immigration and other immigration waves in the 1840s was pretty much an exclusively white, protestant country, with most people being from English/Scottish backgrounds. English Puritans founded Boston, Massachusetts and it had a strong Protestant population. Which was common across the whole east coast and the former 13 English Colonies. The Irish actually suffered huge discrimination by the Americans in a way that they never did in the UK. It was common in the USA for the Irish to be underpaid and to live in the slums of the USA, which was not the case for the Irish in the UK.
- The Irish were in effect British in this era – 1/3 of the British Army and Royal Navy were Irish.
[ G.L-W.: Largely in an effort to escape the grinding poverty in Ireland brough about, not only by crop failures & export of harvests to gain a better price in the English markets, by the large landowners, but also to escape the poverty brought about by the large breeding families irresponsibly encouraged to have more children by the Catholic Church! ]
The Irish contributed hugely to the British military and similarly, this would be exploited by the American Army during the Civil War.
- Class determined your fate, which is always the case, it wasn’t an ethnic or religious issue. Had the famine occurred in England (it actually did) the results would have been the same, but, the English were not over-dependent on the potato crop.
- The food that Irish nationalists claim was wrongfully exported while the Irish died is oats. But, in this period, oats were actually horse food.
- Both before and during the Famine, Ireland was exporting and importing significant quantities of wheat. The reason for this is that there are two types. The bulk of the wheat grown in Ireland then, as now, would have been winter wheat. This requires a mild damp climate. It is sown in the autumn and is only suitable for feeding cattle. The wheat used for bread-making is known as spring or hard wheat, and requires harsh winters and hot dry summers. The presumption, therefore, is that Ireland was exporting the winter wheat which it grew best, and was importing the additional amount of spring wheat it needed for bread-making, as it does today.
- In 1844, the year before the Famine, Ireland exported 94,000 tonnes of wheat and 314,000 tonnes of oats, and imported 23,000 tons of wheat. Net exports: 385,000 tonnes.In 1847, at the height of the Famine, Ireland exported 39,000 tonnes of wheat, and 98,000 tonnes of oats , and imported 199,000 tonnes of wheat, 12,000 tonnes of oats and 682,000 tonnes of maize. Net imports of 756,000 tonnes, a change of 1,140,000 tonnes. The country lacked the milling, the baking, and the transport infrastructure needed to cope with the change in the diet of almost half the population. The maize had to be milled twice. Therefore, Ireland keeping its exports open meant it could actually import more food, nationalists forget that supply chains are a complex issue. Even, if half the Irish population suddenly knew how to bake and suddenly resources opened up to teach and educate everyone to bake, it most likely would have made very little difference to the overall picture.
[ G.L-W.: It is also worth noting that at that time, as now, the safe passage of goods and people within the UK is guaranteed on the King’s / Queen’s highway! A situation which, in the past, has led to Military Escort of goods both leading out of Ireland as export and coming into Ireland to feed the most hard hit, the rural poor – This led to the wicked myth that the Military were seizing the harvest for their own consumption & to feed the English whilst importing food that was only for the Army! ]
The famine in effect was the British government having to feed 1/3 of the UK population for three years – at that point the biggest welfare intervention in history.
- By keeping exports open, the Irish people could export low nutrition food and have the money to bulk buy cheap nutrition food such as maize.
- Yes the UK Government got a lot of things wrong, but was it a genocide or the “British” starving the Irish? No.
- The English working classes arguably had it worse, they had to live in dirty, disease, squalor ridden cities, working dangerous jobs like mining or mill working. If they got injured they were sent to the workhouse where they died. The death rate in these cities was higher than the birth rate. And death to disease or food was an almost certainty. So yes, Irish people had it hard living on their farms. But the Irish who moved to America were the “rich” ones!
PS. Kaide, Irish & British.
Reference by Bob Muir
“In 1620 there was a European wide famine which was partially caused by war. Troops were used to occupy food stores and prevent unauthorised access in almost all countries. (especially Italy, Austria and France)
1690 Scottish famine which local landowners used locally recruited militia to control food stocks. An estimated 15% of the population died.
1740 – 1743 Europe wide famine caused by climatic instability . Crops gathered under armed guard in France and Germany. Sweden put food distribution under military control. County militias in England mustered (but not actually used) to protect food supplies.
1770 – 1771 Great Famine occurs in Czech Bohemia. Austrian troops used to guard and control food gathering and transport.
1846 – 1851 Irish potato famine. British troops and local militia used to control and guard all food warehouses and aid distribution points.
1848 – 1850 French famine. Bad harvests cause food shortages across France. The government sent the Guard Nationale to protect warehouses and food depots including ports to ensure that export commitments are not affected.
The point here is that the use of troops to guard food stores in times of hardship and unrest is an old practise going back many centuries. Most countries used them to also make sure that commercial commitments were upheld to ensure that foreign trade did not collapse, and thereby exacerbate the existing situation. Of course, this common practice has been used by many as an example of the iniquity and callousness of an uncaring British government in order to further their own ends, despite such policies being common recourse to almost all governments of that period in history. Hardnose by modern standards but completely in line with the thinking of the time”..
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