Ah, St. Patrick's Day. Green shirts everywhere and the overriding stench of Guinness, sweat and the craic. It's pretty much the Hibernian version of "rum, sodomy and the lash" I suppose - maybe the wittiest quotation attributed to Winston Churchill, of which there are many . Anyway, it's a day for fervent flag waving, ritual singing and abuse of the liver reaching caustic levels. So, then, as I strolled through Clapham Junction on Sunday, it was to be that I was confronted by all manner of proud Irish men and women bumping into me and shouting at one another though clearly stood next to each other.
St. Patrick's Day is one of those celebrations with a certain charm about it, or so everybody tells me anyway, and not just a party for a nation, but for every Western nation, probably due to Ireland's main export seemingly being its own people. So it's a carnival, a delirious festival of green, white and gold for all to enjoy, then? Well, not really. It's basically a pious national day of pride which has become a hedonistic display of its people living up to every debauched stereotype about them - feckless, pissed nuisances and that sort of thing - in some kind of whim of identity politics.
Anyway, if another nation, say England, did the same thing, it's arguable that due to its colonial past and the fact that its flag has been robbed by meat-headed Nazi sympathisers as a beacon of the innate superiority of the "bulldog spirit" (or whatever other cliche those types may wish to use) over all other forms of national defence, that it would be perceived as a horrific, nationalistic display of Mussolinian proportions.
What, then, is St. Patrick's Day? Surely it's a nationalistic display of passionate, built-in feelings of the greatness of the Irish ergo the all day piss up and screaming of 'The Fields of Athenry' in the street in amongst the vomit and urine squelching underfoot. Why is it held up as such a cause of reverence and celebration then? One could contend that the answer lies in Ireland's history and its place as the victim at the hands of the English.
In the 'spirit of the underdog sense', Ireland as a nation seems to cause a wave of unilateral applause and fervour. Much like the idea of being Jamaican, the idea of being Irish has a special place in the hearts of many whose sole links to Ireland are through their grandparents or people even further back in their ancestry. Within this, it seems, everybody is expected to laugh and celebrate St. Patrick's Day as well, instead of standing back from it and all of its nasty connotations - namely those which tie any one person to a feeling of superiority due to a tenuous link to a bit of land somewhere.
That said, all of the Guinness and Jameson's bought over the weekend probably gave the economy a bit of a boost, so it has its positives. Somewhat like Christmas it should be used as a good way for people to get together, rather than as a day with any kind of literal meaning. This article, then, shows exactly the kind of harm that the more nationalistic thoughts of people involved can cause: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/hanging-out-at-liverpools-unofficial-st-patricks-day-parade.
Why even have or start a movement called Liverpool Irish Patriots in the first place? It's just as ridiculous as the EDL and BNP and clearly ramps up the extremism dial to 11. Such divisive groups will always cause stupid reactions from other divisive groups. It does nothing other than give credence to all of that nonsense of the 'Bulldog Brits' and the 'Plucky Paddys'.
Beautiful... A Youtube comment exchange on a clip of the riot in 1995 at the England v Ireland game, where England fans decided to throw various objects at Irish fans and the police.
Once again we see how religion divides us herein too, with Patrick being a patron saint of a nation. The idea of these patron saints is ridiculous - emblematic bollocks dreamed up centuries ago proven to be as much myth as anything else. What's even more ridiculous is that people today still buy into it, even with amount of information available to them.
It's St. George's Day next month, which means one thing: my Facebook and Twitter feeds will probably be filled with nonsense about Wooton fucking Bassett and how English people should be going nuts about how great this country is, but don't. Brilliant. At least there's a whole month in-between anyway.