“Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! Britons NEVER, NEVER, NEVER shall be slaves”- James Thomson.
Nothing reflects the glory, pride, strength and power of the old British Empire and the island nation that was once known as “Great Britain” and is now known as the “United Kingdom” than the beautiful words of James Thomson’s famous song and war anthem, part of which I have quoted above.
For those who do not know, the United Kingdom is made up of four historically separate and distinct “tribal zones” and ethnic nationalities all under one monarch with limited constitutional powers.
The first are the English who derive from two tribes known as the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans, who reside in the Southern and Midland zones of the British Isles, whose capital is London and who are the traditional and original lords, masters, rulers and owners of the union.
The second are the Scottish who derive from two tribes known as the Picts and the Gaels, who are Gaelic Celts, who reside in the far North of the British Isles, whose capital is Edinburgh and who unsuccessfully fought hundreds of years of wars and struggle to attain independence from the English.
The third are the Welsh who are Brionic Celts, who reside in the West of the British Isles, whose capital is Cardiff and who, historically, have proved to be more loyal to the English Crown than any other tribe or ethnic nationality in the Union over the last 600 years.
I should add this, nothing reflects the warrior spirit of the Welsh and Welsh nationalism better than the famous marching song known as “Men of Harlech” which was written in 1862.
The fourth are the Northern Irish who are Gaelic and Brionic Celts, who reside on a small portion of a large island off the West coast of the British Isles, whose capital is Belfast and who were originally part of the Irish Free State (a separate and distinct nation who fought for and won their independence from the British in 1922 and later came to be known as ‘Eire’ or the ‘Republic of Ireland’ with its capital in Dublin).
It is on these four tribal, historical, racial and geographical pillars of England, Scotland, Wales and Northen Ireland that the United Kingdom stands.
If one of these pillars is removed the Union will be in trouble. If two are removed the Union is finished and will eventually, like Humpty Dumpty, fall.
It is in this context that we must consider what has transpired in Northern Ireland in the last few days.
For the first time in history, the political party known as Sinn Fein (meaning “we ourselves”) has won the elections in that region.
This is a truly remarkable and extraordinary achievement given the fact that not too long ago its members were labelled as terrorists and enemies of the state by the British Government and many of them were hounded, terrorised, incarcerated, tortured and killed simply for seeking to exercise their right of self-determination. Sounds familiar?
This is a party that once described itself as the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and that is totally committed to secession from the United Kingdom and to the reunification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.
And the truth is that given their victory at the polls it is only a question of time before both of these objectives are achieved.
Arthur Griffiths, who founded Sinn Fein in 1905, and
Gerry Adams and the late Ian McGuiness, the two men that led it to glory through the 1980’s, 1990’s and up until just a few years ago, have finally triumphed and been vindicated.
Conversely their mortal foes and adversaries, collectively epitomised by the late fire-spitting, loyalist Protestant priest, Rev. Ian Paisley, one of the most prominent leaders of the pro-British DUP in Northern Ireland and the inspirational voice and rallying point of the entire Unionist movement, must be turning in their graves.
Yet the greatest loser in all this is the United Kingdom who waged a brutal, relentless and extreemly violent war against the military wing of Sinn Fein and terrorised the Catholic, pro-Republican and pro-independence population in that province for over 100 hundred years!
Despite their legendry ruthlessness, vicious suppression and unprecedented brutality against the Catholics of Northern Ireland, the British eventually came to the negotiating table and were obliged to sign the Good Friday Agreement on 10th April 1998 which compelled them to make numerous hitherto unthinkable concessions to the Republicans and allow Sinn Fein to participate in the political process. It was at that time that the IRA dropped its guns and democracy kicked in.
24 years after that agreement was signed the loyalist, Unionist and Protestant political associates and allies of the British have been roundly trounced at the polls and Sinn Fein has finally triumphed.
This is a great blow to British pride and a very dangerous development for the future and cohesion of the United Kingdom.
To put all this in context, it is rather like IPOB winning elections and taking control of the Eastern zone of Nigeria or the OPC doing the same in the West.
That would present a great danger to Nigerian unity and would send shivers down the spine of many Nigerians.
Yet the tales of woe of the United Kingdom appear to have only just begun.
When one couples the unfolding situation in Northern Ireland with the fact that a second referendum will take place in neighbouring Scotland in a couple of years to determine whether the Scots opt to remain within the Union or leave, it is clear that within the next few years this proud and noble island of incredibly tough and resilient people that have brought so much to the world in terms of culture, civilisation, education, religion, commerce, the arts, language, history, the law and so much more may be a very different place to what she is today!
This is a sorry and pitiful plight for a nation that was once the glory and envy of the civilised world and that once had the greatest, biggest, wealthiest, most diverse and most powerful empire that the world has ever known.
I guess that “Brittania” no longer “rules the waves” and I fear that she is drawing nearer to an era in which she will pretty much be nothing but a shadow of her former self.
The old British Empire (which included India, North America, Canada, the West Indies, parts of China, the Middle East, Indo-China, Asia minor, Africa and so much more) stretched from one end of the earth to the other and consequently it was said that “the sun could never set” on its shores.
Yet In the next few years, with the likely exit of Northern Ireland and Scotland, this once great and mighty power that colonised and dominated virtually the entire world may only be left with England and Wales, two relatively small ethnic nationalities, within her borders!
It is an irony of fate that those that colonised us and forged our country Nigeria together into one nation with the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 are now themselves (just over 100 years later) falling apart.
As King David said when he was told about the death of King Saul, “how are the mighty fallen and the weapons of war perished”.
Femi Fani-Kayode, A former Aviation Minister, wrote from Abuja