If you value your Irish identity then it's time to snub Europe
There's something almost sweetly irrelevant about the latest Government proposals to insist on fluency in English before we grant Irish nationality to immigrants.
Because the vast majority of immigrants to this country don't need Irish nationality. They are citizens of EU countries and can come and go as they please. Of course the proposal isn't meant to be a realistic way of dealing with the issue of immigration, but is a nice piece of window-dressing to enable that cheery chappy at the department for immigration, Conor Lenihan, to declare that the Government is taking action, sorry, The Government Is Taking Action!!!!
It's not, and it can't -- not while we are members of an economic union which allows free movement of populations across national boundaries.
You cannot confine one kind of water to one corner of an open bath, which is what the EU now is. And this is the very reason why I would halt the advance of the European project before the lunacy becomes quite unmanageable: but that's just me. There are about four deep-dyed Euro-sceptics in Ireland, one of whom is Patricia McKenna, who is as barking as a Pekinese: so maybe I'm barking also. But I don't think so.
To be sure, it was only through Europe that our barbaric laws against male homosexual acts, or the discrimination against women in the workplace, or the ban on the sale of condoms, were reversed. Furthermore, the EEC/EU helped transform our economy; and we can't forget the debt we owe Europe from the 1970s onwards.
But merely because someone's our friend doesn't mean that we should stay shackled to them as they leap off the cliffs of Moher. And the European project is such a leap, which we are uniquely free to reject next year in the new EU Treaty referendum. Which is in essence, the Old Dead Constitution by another name; ie, Euro-Lazarus.
The Danish government, sickened by one reverse in a plebiscite, has already declared that it will not put the revised treaty to a referendum, because the new treaty will "not constitute a surrender of political sovereignty". This is rather like assuring the person you're manacled to that gravity doesn't exist one foot away from the edge of the cliffs of Moher. And once you've taken the leap, it really doesn't matter what you thought or said a second ago.
Charlie McCreevy has said that we'd be the laughing stock of Europe if we voted 'no' to the new Euro treaty: and if the price to be paid for ensuring the survival of a vaguely Irish Ireland is some hilarity at our expense, then so be it. For within a generation, as cultural miscegenation and mass population movements across mainland Europe spell the end of the old nation state, our children might be glad that we were prepared to put up with a bit of ridicule in order to protect some sense of national self.
I have been banging this drum futilely for years now, so much so that some weeks ago I decided to abandon the campaign altogether, and never mention immigration again. But I find at am drawn back to the subject like the bleeding tip of the tongue wriggles back to a broken tooth, to caress the razor-sharp shard just a little more. And I do so because almost every day, fresh and terrifying news about the consequences of uncontrolled immigration comes from our neighbouring isle.
Last weekend it emerged that English is the minority language in 1,300 English schools. In nearly 600 schools, English is the first language of less than 30pc of pupils. In the London borough of Newham, English is a first language for just 10pc of pupils.
In central London, only 10pc of the population are of white British ethnic origin. I don't
know the figures for here, because no one does. But one teacher told me pupils in her school in west Dublin share a total of 34 mother tongues. Now this is plain idiocy: you cannot educate children in the basic three Rs in such circumstances, when the primary (and virtually impossible) task of the teachers is to teach the children to speak English.
But, since we are an island, does it not make sense for the people of the entire island, from both north and south, to protect its distinctive and insular quality -- the one which makes people want to come here in the first place? This would require the DUP and Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Fine Gael, agreeing that we must have an island-wide immigration policy, which would include controlling movement from Britain into Northern Ireland. This, no doubt, would be a political step too far for unionists, who are probably too stupid to realise that Irish nationalism is now their best and only friend.
Now, if we sign up to this European constitution, through demographics and population movements, the island of Ireland could well not be recognisably Irish in, say, 30 years' time. And you might consider such a future to be perfectly splendid, which is fine. But can anyone assure us that it isn't?