Tuesday 24 October 2017

Blinkered opposition to royal visit flimsy at best

Queen Elizabeth's trip is a chance for us to prove that we're above bitter victimhood, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Personally, I have no taste for pageantry or weddings, so Prince William's nuptials were never going to be a high point on my social calendar. But nor did it irk me in the slightest to see people, British and Irish alike, enjoying the day for what it was. Anything that contributes to the gaiety of the nation, and all that. Gaiety of two nations, even better.

The only thing that did take me aback was the vitriolic antipathy expressed towards the royal wedding in some quarters in Ireland, which made it seem as if the whole event had been staged purely to irritate the bejaysus out of us. I even heard one commentator on television declare smugly that the difference between us was that the Irish celebrated achievement, while the British lauded mere accidents of high birth -- a crass generalisation if ever there was one.

Patriotic pride, which depends for its appeal on sneering at one's neighbours in this way, is merely a kind of misdirected insecurity. Tugging the forelock and sticking up two fingers are equally unhealthy responses.

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