Immigration and Irish Home Rule
By: Thomas E. Brewton
Historical parallels are never exact, but political events in England at the beginning of the 20th century had some remarkable similarities to our political turmoil at the beginning of the 21st century.
Republicans are split over the Mexican immigration problem and in danger of losing their Congressional majorities. If the fracture continues to widen, the Republican Party may find itself wandering in the political desert for a 40-years Exodus, because of its attempts at fence-straddling.
Shortly after the Parliamentary elections of 1910, the British Liberal Party (laissez-faire, small-government conservatism; the opposite of American-style liberal-socialism) was ripped to pieces in the heated controversy over granting Irish home rule. In the fallout, the Liberal Party died, its place taken by the socialist Labour Party.
The Boer War, England’s bloody 1899 – 1902 slog in South Africa, drained public support from the Liberals, just as Vietnam did and Iraq is doing today in the United States.
Republican compassionate conservatism is turning out to be big-government welfare and old-style pork-barreling that is indistinguishable from Democratic Party liberalism.
Much the same drift was eroding the moral principles of the English Liberal Party after 1910. David Lloyd George was elevated to the Chancellorship of the Exchequer (treasury secretary), where he produced a budget that opened the door wide to socialism and eventual triumph of the Labour Party. His rise to prominence had been levered by having bitterly opposed the Boer War and being regarded in the sanguinary aftermath as a seer, a game that American liberal Republicans and Democrats are playing to the hilt today.
Facing a monumental war debt and the need to find the tax revenues to fund it, Lloyd George went on a propaganda offensive with his “Peoples Budget” that attacked the Conservative party in the Commons and essentially the whole of the House of Lords. He proposed, in addition to institution of a welfare system, increases in inheritance taxes, a tax on undeveloped land, taxes on coal and mineral royalties, and a fee for the termination of leases, along with a heavy tax on liquor sales and a super-tax on all incomes over Â£5,000 per year.
These affronts galvanized and united the Conservatives, who set out to thwart the Liberals at every step of the way, just as Democrats here have done in the last few years with Senate filibusters and other parliamentary tactics.
Needing increased Parliamentary support to offset the Conservatives, the Liberals made an alliance with the Irish members of Parliament. Their price was Liberal support for the politically explosive issue of home rule for Ireland. This amounted to revocation of the Act of Union, which had codified English control of Irish political affairs.
Irish home rule was the same sort of culturally and racially tinged issue that immigration of Mexican illegals has become for us today. The battle raged into 1914, on the eve of World War I, which was to demote London as the world’s financial center and Great Britain as the dominant factor in international trade. In the 1920s, the socialist Labour Party became the ruling political party and continued so until it had ground England into the economic dust, making it the sick man of Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.
After more than 50 years, Great Britain was finally rescued in the 1970s by the moral fortitude of Margaret Thatcher and her rebuilding of the Conservative Party.
If present Republican Party leadership are not more prudent than they have been so far, Republicans will follow the path of the British laissez-faire Liberal Party and surrender the United States to liberal socialism. That will destroy us, if Al Queda doesn’t do it first. In this round of history there may not be enough time for an American Margaret Thatcher to come to the fore and take the reins.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776 (www.thomasbrewton.com).
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.