Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Vanguard

As Janice Turner put it in the Times (UK) today, one of the mysteries of the last few weeks of the economic crisis has been Where's the Rage? Perhaps the answer to the question comes in the energy sector wildcat strikes in the UK and the Waterford Crystal sit-in in the Republic.

One interesting aspect of these actions is the causes that attach themselves to them. British unions are understandably concerned that the wildcat strikes have attracted a BNP element, but Brian at Slugger makes the point that will have occurred to people with long memories, the role of the power strikes in the collapse of the Sunningdale government in Northern Ireland in 1974.

Anyway, in the Waterford sit-in, the workers are flying the Starry Plough. It's run up the pole about 1m40s into this RTE story (or here, 1st item). Note a couple of things. First, their flag is the original 1916 version, and not the later and more usual flag which essentially abstracts to the constellation. Second, if you look closely at RTE's footage, the flag appears to be upside down. That may be an insight into why the version based on the plough went out of style. Most people have never seen one.

UPDATE: In Brian Cowen's hypocritical tribute to Tony Gregory, he said --

Tony Gregory had a strong interest in Irish history and he had a deep affinity for James Connolly who was a central figure in the republican and labour tradition from which Tony hailed.

Connolly's Irish Citizen Army had championed the cause of Dublin's working class during the 1913 Lock-Out. At Tony's funeral, the blue and white of the Starry Plough flag - the same flag which is synonymous with the Citizen Army - draped Tony Gregory's coffin on his final journey to Balgriffen Cemetery.

Here's Tony's coffin. Note that it's the "modern" plough and stars flag, not the Irish Citizen Army flag as above. This is what happens when the Soldiers of Developers pretend to be real socialists.

No comments: