AHC: Keep the whole of Ireland as part of the United Kingdom

Didn't he convert after being PM?
On reflection, that is cheating, as Blair didn't officially convert until he left office. The issue is that the Church of England is still the established Church in England and the PM has to advise the Queen on the appointment of bishops. Blair had been attending Mass for years though and receiving instruction and had committed to raising his children in the Catholic faith. Apparently he, Hume and, subsequently, Murphy- O'Connor agreed that the whole constitutional thing was too complicated and that he wouldn't officially convert until after he left office. A Jew (religious practice not race, Disraeli was an Anglican convert), Roman Catholic or Anabaptist apparently cannot therefore be Prime Minister of the UK but no such constitutional bar exists in respect of a Muslim, atheist, Unitarian or Presbyterian. Probably an area of the constitution that needs tidying up.
 
I think the dug up corpse of Oliver Cromwell would do a better job of negotiating for Irish Freedom.
:biggrin: Indeed. Far more rational, realistic and charismatic as a leader and less of a religious bigot.

Dev was a lot of things, and stubborn as a mule with none of the charisma is one of them. He would have come to loggerheads with Churchill inside five minutes and the whole thing would have gone to hell.
Agreed. However he was perceived as the leader. You'd need to remove him somehow.
In fact I personally think it a truism that any ATL Ireland is improved by the earliest possible removal of deValera. Preferably as a martyr to give him some actual use.
Similar to a certain ursine's opinion of MacArthur...

The real answer, is Arthur Griffith, he was on the team OTL and the only reason Mick was viewed as "leading" the team over him is purely because nobody had a damned clue who he was until he showed up to negotiate, and then he was such a "celebrity" that the spotlight was thrown on him. It also helped that Mick had connection in the "London-Irish" society from his youth that most of the others, bar Griffith, lacked.
Yes indeed, a far better leader and negotiator. However would Sinn Féin and the physical force Republicans follow him as easily?
Maybe Tommy Gay as an outsider?
 
Why? He was the senior surviving leader, in fact historically he was senior to Collins. OK, he was a terrible leader but he'd have the followers.
While that's true, as said the man was as stubborn as a mule and put him and Churchill in a room and you aren't going to get any peace deal. That said it would of course have had interesting butterflies if it was Dev that had to own the Treaty not Collins but that wouldn't answer the OP.

Honestly while keeping Ireland within the Commonwealth is more doable, by 1919 I just don't see how you manage to keep Ireland as a whole in the UK.
 
While that's true, as said the man was as stubborn as a mule and put him and Churchill in a room and you aren't going to get any peace deal. That said it would of course have had interesting butterflies if it was Dev that had to own the Treaty not Collins but that wouldn't answer the OP.
True. However to avoid deValera in a senior position you'd need to kill or incapacitate him. OK, that's probably an overall improvement for Ireland anyway...

Honestly while keeping Ireland within the Commonwealth is more doable, by 1919 I just don't see how you manage to keep Ireland as a whole in the UK.
Settle the matter peacefully before the Great War erupts. 1919 is too late. Basically after the conscription crisis and the 'German Plot' is too late.

Some possibilities:
1. Delay the Great War or accelerate the Home Rule process. Have the UKGov stand up to the prospective mutineers and implement either an explicitly temporary partition of four Ulster counties (i.e. demonstrating that the NI satelet is not intended to be permanent). This derails the physical force Republicans, supports the minorities in both Irelands and probably keeps the new dominion relatively well disposed towards the UK.
2. Have the Central Powers win the Great War in 1915. Home Rule happens with partition but the UK is explicitly worried about the Second Great War and make the concessions to keep the independent Irish state aligned to them, in spite of German influence.
 
True. However to avoid deValera in a senior position you'd need to kill or incapacitate him. OK, that's probably an overall improvement for Ireland anyway...
Yeah I've seen that TL before, more than a little optimistic...
Settle the matter peacefully before the Great War erupts. 1919 is too late. Basically after the conscription crisis and the 'German Plot' is too late.

Some possibilities:
1. Delay the Great War or accelerate the Home Rule process. Have the UKGov stand up to the prospective mutineers and implement either an explicitly temporary partition of four Ulster counties (i.e. demonstrating that the NI satelet is not intended to be permanent). This derails the physical force Republicans, supports the minorities in both Irelands and probably keeps the new dominion relatively well disposed towards the UK.
2. Have the Central Powers win the Great War in 1915. Home Rule happens with partition but the UK is explicitly worried about the Second Great War and make the concessions to keep the independent Irish state aligned to them, in spite of German influence.
1. Don't really see how you could accelerate the Process tbh, not with all the factors in play at the time, though certainly delaying WW1 is possible.
2. If the Central Powers win I can't see any situation where the UK would be willing to have the uncertainty of a Independent Irish State, and if it ended by 1915 I could see the UK willing to put the manpower/firepower into Ireland to hold it.
 
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The problem is that, since Henry VIII, Britishness is defined as Not Catholic.
Which is why one of the things that would be needed, would be to prevent that. Ideally, somehow have Elizabeth cotton onto the idea of "freedom of religion, provided loyalty to the Crown" and move from there.
I suspect where this dialog goes off the rails is in sticking to rigid binaries rather than allowing for a shift of mix and nuance. It is not necessary that we chop down the tree of British anti-Papism at the root...
Also a more concentrated effort to convert the average Irish away from Catholicism, would help. A bible translated into Irish as opposed to using only ones in English would be a very good start.
Nor that we take the other extreme and suppose a complete sweeping triumph of it either.

Frankly this disturbed me as smacking, even as an alternative to consider, of cultural genocide.

I have a complex relationship to these issues; I was raised rather fervently Roman Catholic, but in fact male ancestors in two generations (my great grandfather, father of my father's mother, and my father's father) converted--actually my great-grandfather, "Bompa" as we called him, didn't convert until after I was born, late in the last decade he and "Nana" enjoyed in full together, but I didn't know that as a kid). Then in adulthood I have fallen away, in favor of atheistic agnosticism, finding no religions convincing in the literal sense Abrahamic religion tends to demand belief in, and none so excellent as to compel close following. I have many quarrels with RCC doctrines and dogmas. But not of a nature that says "look at these other Christians (or any other sect); they have it right!"

But I tend to dislike anti-Catholic bigotry, while having a deep appreciation I think only insider Catholics or ex-Catholics can fully understand, why people might react like that. And shaking my head at sectarian condescension (I've only ever actually seen it expressed against LDS, though as a Catholic kid in the South I had my own self-made issues with my outside impressions of the large denominations there, later somewhat amended I hope) vented by Catholics, laughing at the mirror image of the kind of thing I've heard some of these others (not LDS, I've never heard them attack the Roman Catholic Church particularly though I suppose that is because I don't stay to listen) hold against my own mother Church's tradition. So I guess I remain culturally Catholic, despite repudiating so many doctrines and being in doubt on other points I don't dislike but doubt the literal truth of the miracle stories of.

So my visceral reaction to "WI the Irish had been converted to Protestantism wholesale" is a big YIKES! And suggesting that all it would take is just a Gaelic Protestant Bible--that frankly strikes me as condescending. "Silly Papists, they just have not heard the Word!" This, to the people who bore a huge part of the burden, for good or bad, in converting much of northwest Europe to Christianity in the first place...well, England anyway for sure.

Might the Irish have been happier if they just converted en masse?

I think the assumption it could be that easy sidesteps the materialistic realities of why sectarianism exists in the first place. The fact is, established religion relates to power, very important dimensions of power, overlapping in the pre-modern age (including, with full or perhaps redoubled intensity, what my history classes defined as "Early Modern") both what we today regard as mainly matters for the secular state, and other important dimensions the modern secular state does not claim as its sphere.

Concretely, the Reformation, across Europe, seems to me clearly intertwined with the development of the roots of the "modern" institutions--notably the emergence of capitalist norms, and the forms of state power we today regard as most normal, the Westphalian system. Ireland as it happens was not in the forefront of the transitions going on in that era, and so if any sort of grassroots movement toward what the Roman Curia would call "heresy" and heterodox, that could bid to the allegiance of typical Irish people, could possibly arise in the 16th or 17th century, at any rate it would have little in common with the dominant forms of Protestantism emerging as gaining state-based political power in Europe. It might have been closer to Anabaptism perhaps. It definitely would not be very compatible with either Anglicanism in the High Church version nor with the Calvinism dominanting Scotland and the Puritans such as Cromwell.

Well, maybe something a lot like Anglicism--but the point of the national name of Anglicism is that it is the Church of England.

The closest I can come to believing a strong native Irish interest in dissenting from the RCC is a really early POD, War of the Roses or earlier, in which instead of the Tudors coming out on top somehow a family with very strong Irish (noble, Norman Irish in other words) roots and current ties manages to secure the crown, presumably not without a lot of English support, then much as the Stuarts had a cachet in Scotland, this dynasty takes up the causes that OTL lined up in England behind the splitting off of the Anglican branch, and somehow this sentiment prevails strongly enough in Ireland itself despite the lack of the same materialist roots I believe underlay a lot of that separatist English sentiment, and the monarchs as kings or queens of both England and Ireland manage to sway a very broad sector of Irish into their ranks, enough that stubborn adherence to Catholicism is not identified with being Irish as such. I think it is far fetched indeed because even if the dynasty that happened to split the two kingdoms off carried a great percentage of Irish who OTL had no reason at all to go Protestant, and these sectors were highly influential and powerful in Ireland, a kind of class polarization with ethnic dimension seems sure to prevail in Ireland.

OTL, the Tudors were in fact involved with a re-assertion of English claims of hegemony over Ireland, Henry VIII getting himself crowned King of Ireland I believe before he split with Rome. In Elizabeth and James I (of England of course, I've lost track of what number James he was in Scotland) times, Ireland was being overrun with English and Scottish people setting themselves up as landlords, and this I believe has a lot to do with Irish resistance to going Protestant. Much as in Poland, I suspect that the average Pole was a lot less deeply devoted to the Roman rite as such before foreign conquerors, notably the Russians, overcame Polish independence and were regarded as oppressors. Clearly Polish identity has come to fervently value Roman Catholic affiliation, I believe in significant part due to it being a defiance of their Russian Orthodox rulers (and Lutheran rulers in the Prussian ruled section).

Being Catholic then was in fact a political thing, in part; it was a way and means of resisting English and Scottish hegemony in Ireland, a solidarity of the have-nots. Indeed I believe a number of Irish did convert, and to a great degree Anglicized.

But what was attractive about colonizing Ireland was the prospect of gaining wealth and social position (thereby securing the allegiance of these newly socially powerful persons to the British crown) at the expense of the common Irish people they subordinated and exploited. If by some improbable fluke of history the ruling dynasty presiding over this general bearing down on shamrock-roots Irish peasants, they'd still be just as resentful.

The Anglican-dissenter hegemony of course did try to impose the Westphalian "right" of the monarch to impose their brand of religion among their subjects, by banning the entire Catholic clergy, shutting down seminaries, and this basically drove the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland underground, much as it sometimes was in England itself. In neither country did this extirpate people clinging to the Catholic confession.

another two sacked for being, well, Catholics.
So, yes indeed, there can be zero doubt Roman Catholics were under serious disabilities, when not wholesale outlawed outright, in the successive dynasties and especially I suppose under the Commonwealth.

But this is not binary. It was not a case of zero Catholics, nor apparently even today if I am to believe that stuff about constitutional issues involving the Prime Minister's obligation to be involved in Church of England administration and therefore barred from being a Catholic, in the 21st century, was it either ever a matter of Catholics enjoying equality.

Clearly there is room to negotiate more or less acceptance of Catholics as patriotic, loyal British subjects.
More for being Catholicizers. Cardinal Pole would have had to go in any event I fully grant you but Charles II was quietly and discreetly Catholic for nearly 25 years in power. If James III had been equally circumspect he would never have been overthrown.
But you are still saying
Yep. You cant be British *and* Catholic.

Which kind of raises interesting questions about Ireland, doesnt it ?
Kindly list me the entire list of Catholic British Prime Ministers between say, 1835 and 2015.
I'd think that even if there were no CoE related constitutional issues, the demographics of the UK would tend to block a Catholic from reaching the top position in any party, or any party liable to take leadership. Now I would have assumed confession to be a non-issue in Labour, but perhaps that party, not wanting to tangle with the constitutional third rail, took care to not position Catholics in the position of party leader in the Commons for that reason alone? Other parties might be more interested in the constitutional confrontation, but far too small to possibly wind up running the Government.

I've been involved in a similar controversy elsewhere, on whether an American woman could be a "leader" of a US fascist movement. I'd think, the glass ceiling applies to keep her out of such positions as party boss or candidate for President, but that there are important roles outside of formal political leadership; I cited Father Coughlin and Henry Ford as major figures on the US far right of the '30s who never attempted to hold any elected office--but were clearly very important figures. On the other side of the fence Eleanor Roosevelt never ran for office either but was a figure to be reckoned with politically. We can name many other figures of such important if informal influence in any era, in any setting.
An earlier Catholic emancipation in the early 1800s could make a huge difference.
I don' t think anything much can be done with PODs as late as 1919.

But on the other hand, I don't think we need one big giant-killer POD for a once and for all transformation either.

I suspect we can largely have the OP's cake, of a world that on January 1, 1919, is substantially as OTL, and eat it too with Ireland remaining in the UK thereafter, with the help of a fairly large number of cumulative small PODs. None of these result in any major divergence from OTL--Charles I still triggers and loses a Civil War and his head; Cromwell still leads the Commonwealth and doubles down on Tudor and James Ist's hostile colonization of Ireland and forcible subordination; James II still blows it and is replaced by William of Orange; severe repression of Catholics in all three component kingdoms remains historic fact. 1800 is way too early to expect sweeping and absolute Catholic emancipation, what with the Wilkes Riots being quite recent memory.

But we can have small, incremental PODs, mostly in the matter of the governance of Ireland, that small step by small step lay the groundwork for a moderate and partial but crucial advancement in the status of all British Catholic subjects, especially in Ireland, combined with a stronger maintenance of one-time cross-confessional alliance of Irish Catholics with Irish Protestants. A certain wing of Irish Protestants will of course remain extreme bigots. And I trust that a large number of Irish Catholics will be bitterly irrendentist, committed to the idea of total expulsion of all UK rule and every trace of it from all of Ireland, and many if not all of these regarding Protestant Irish as traitors to Ireland as they conceive it.

But can we do something to raise the number of Catholic Irish who can see themselves as having a stake in the UK, and reciprocate that with a broad acceptance of Catholic subjects in general and Irish Catholics in particular as loyal subjects?

Can we have cooperation between large sectors of Irish Protestants with Irish Catholics?

Leading to this:
I'll go back to what I said before - without a British Army that is prepared to shoot Unionist Terrorists, Home Rule won't happen, no matter what Parliament votes.
Exactly. I think we can have a series of small PODs with no dramatic deviation from OTL visible to anyone who does not study fine minutiae, but with small but significant variations whereby first Catholic English people (and perhaps Scots, I gather the Highlands were Catholic before the Clearances in the Hanoverian era, so say those are not so thorough, giving a miss to some regions perhaps) do rise to prominence and fame in the British system, as MPs (not PMs obviously); as admirals and generals, as important journalistic and other polemical figures (pretty sure there must have been some of these OTL even early in the 19th century!) and then a critical shift not evidently so in the TL, but clearly so compared to OTL--the Potato Famine is dealt with more usefully perhaps. Not to a degree that saves everyone and is universally celebrated by all as a miracle of good policy, but less callously than OTL perhaps. Say that the number of deaths from starvation or starvation-related disease and other stresses (including desperate crime leading to death while being pursued, execution or transportation) are all reduced, say 30 percent, and this is clearly because of emergency interventions by Parliament ordering life-saving measures, suspensions of foreclosures, restrictions on exports of food from Ireland, etc. The Wild Geese still go flying, emigration still reduces Irish population--but less so, by a fifth or something like that, than OTL. Resentful Irish emigres still denounce the British Empire as the Enemy of Mankind; radical Fenians still plot in Boston and other US refuges. And separatist radicals are still strong in ATL Ireland.

But Unionists are stronger and more diverse than OTL, and include prominent Catholics as well as reaching down to the grass roots. There is still separatist radicalism and the radicals can hide out among the general population, but also more pressure on them to come to reasonable terms, advancing Irish interests but not necessarily with separation.

Should home rule come to Ireland? I think maybe a milder form of it, with a devolved Irish Parliament being empowered to do things like administer the police, with Gaelic being an official (and somewhat stronger demographically as a mother tongue) language, with some intermediate level of autonomy, and with the Irish electing, now with universal adult suffrage, their share of the Westminster House of Commons for the UK as well, much as Scotland and Wales now have their own semiautonomy but still are represented there too. One Royal Navy, one army command, one RAF.

It makes a difference if by 1919, a close to proportional number of high ranking military officers and noncommissioned officers are Irish, and Catholic Irish.

Presumably, if a settlement is accepted by a solid majority of Irish Catholics, and they have large numbers of Protestant Irish who are allies who themselves flirted with separatism out of shared Irish patriotism, but remain convinced they can be treated and respected fairly as British subjects, then many of the "Unionist" extremists of OTL will back down--knowing that their militant non-acceptance of negotiated fair terms will brand them as rebels who will indeed be opposed, checked, hunted down, and tried as such facing punishments as serious as those meted out to any violent Fenian. What if some do not, in their fanaticism? If the royal government of the UK then follows through and demonstrates there is not one law for Catholics and another for Protestants, then perhaps Ireland, as a land of the United Kingdom, has troubles for some decades or generations to come as extremists of both sides war on each other and the general population, but if the general population accepts British sovereignty, then Ireland despite some troubles, comparable perhaps to Klan and other white supremacists of the post-Civil Rights era of the USA, remains British, and its peoples of all denominations in proportion have fame (or infamy) as British.
 
Agreed. However he was perceived as the leader. You'd need to remove him somehow.
In fact I personally think it a truism that any ATL Ireland is improved by the earliest possible removal of deValera. Preferably as a martyr to give him some actual use.
Similar to a certain ursine's opinion of MacArthur...
Probably this doesn't help with the OP's scenario, but I think it might be interesting if Connoly had been reprieved and Dev executed.
 
Churchill made a speech in Dundee in I think 1908 suggesting regional parliaments/assemblies in England, alongside Scotland, Ireland and Wales - a variation on 'Home Rule All Round.' I think he had in mind the long term creation of an Imperial Senate bringing in the Dominions too (probably not India though...) If something like that happened, there is an outside chance that Ireland would have stayed within the UK. However the opposition even to that from Unionists would have been bitter. They objected as a matter of principle to any devolution to Scotland because they feared Ireland might be next. If the 1914 Home Rule bill had not been deferred, with or without the other assemblies, an alt-Easter rising could quite plausibly have been Unionist. If it occurred in wartime, or even in the build up to it, I don't think that the Army would have had any hesitation in dealing with it though, compared to what happened with the Curragh 'mutiny'. This is the direction my Frozen Spring TL was heading before I ran out of time and steam.
 
Probably this doesn't help with the OP's scenario, but I think it might be interesting if Connoly had been reprieved and Dev executed.
Hmm, interesting. Having deValera executed is a fairly trivial alteration, for example have him held with the other leaders and tried quickly.
I doubt the British would reprieve Connolly, he was far too involved with Republicanism.
 

NoMommsen

Donor
Churchill made a speech in Dundee in I think 1908 suggesting regional parliaments/assemblies in England, alongside Scotland, Ireland and Wales - a variation on 'Home Rule All Round.' ...
... that's interesting ... sounds a wee bit like a 'whole-UK'-version of Eire Nua. ... similar to what @ShortsBelfast suggested in post #19.
Perhaps in an ATL where the war comes later to Britain, the Home Rule Stuff becomes viral once more someone "remembers" thsi idea/proposal ?

Would be happy to have the source of your statement to put it in proper relation.

However, as I'm too less educated on british parliamental customs (at least not as educated as I wish I would be) :
would it have been possible to amend the Home Rule Bill of 1914 with such a proposal ?
... or would this be rendered too much of a change from the original Bill and therefore require a complete new 'march through the procedures' in the commons as well as the lords ? ... aka a new, forth Homerule Bill ?
 
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Would be happy to have the source of your statement to put it in proper relation
Here's a link although not the one I used originally. I also got the date wrong.

My local library used to have online access to the archive of the London Times which had a very full report, but that's been cut to save money and I appear not to have downloaded it.
Local Parliaments For England. Times 13 Sept. 1912: 4. The Times Digital Archive

I also included chunks of it in my Frozen Spring TL but I made changes to suit the new context.
 
Hmm, interesting. Having deValera executed is a fairly trivial alteration, for example have him held with the other leaders and tried quickly.
I doubt the British would reprieve Connolly, he was far too involved with Republicanism.
If reprieved Connolly would have died anyway. He was shot in the rising and dieing from his wounds. The fact that he was dieing from wounds received during the rising when he was executed made the execution seem worse in the Irish press at the time.
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Didn't he convert after being PM?
On 22 December 2007, it was disclosed that Blair had joined the Roman Catholic Church. The move was described as "a private matter". He had informed Pope Benedict XVI on 23 June 2007 that he wanted to become a Catholic. The Pope and his advisors criticised some of Blair's political actions, but followed up with a reportedly unprecedented red-carpet welcome, which included the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who would be responsible for Blair's Catholic instruction. In 2010, The Tablet named him as one of Britain's most influential Roman Catholics.
 
Underlying it all is that Britain did not really want Ireland in the UK. Northern Ireland was created because Britain was not prepared to wage a civil war against the Loyalists and Republicans were unable to win one. Generally both Westminster and Dublin ignored Northern Ireland in the vague hope the problem would go away or become someone else's problem later on.

Ironically Brexit is probably a change that may align the two sides but that becomes current politics not AH..
 
So, from what I have gathered from all your remarks/input (thank you all by the way) is that the 1919 PoD isn't workable. However, I would like to clarify that the PoD does not require that Ireland permanently remain in the United Kingdom, rather at least until the early to late '30s or alternatively as long as tenable. I have some follow up questions, assuming Home Rule for whatever reason is not deferred in 1914 (I can not viably delay WW1 in my TL), what should occur with the Curragh mutiny? Would the gov't be willing to accept the resignation of commissions? An earlier poster mentioned sending in the Dublin Rifles (Are these the Royal Dublin Fusiliers?) though I can only imagine this would only serve to inflame tensions, especially in a unionist hotbed like Ulster. Would this potentially lead to an earlier civil war, perhaps in the midst of the Great War? And would this result in the Easter Uprising still occurring? How would things pan out during the interwar period?


If you are willing, please give your thoughts on this proposed timeline of events.

1. Home Rule comes into force 1914/early 1915
2. Curragh Incident results in resignation of commissions and a force willing to carry out orders is deployed to Ulster
3. Ulster is granted a 2-year moratorium to home rule
4. Easter Uprising occurs by radical republicans, ringleaders death sentences are commuted but remained imprisoned
5. ???
 
Move the POD back a good 125 years and have complete Catholic emancipation shortly after the American Revolution and then you'd have a reasonable chance--not a lock, mind you, but at least a fighting chance. Otherwise...forget it.
 
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