Social Question

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Do the Irish and British get along today?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (32318 points ) February 24th, 2013

I was just watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert, (from last year) and watching the different groups. Bono with Jagger. I may be off on this but I was just curious.

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19 Answers

SamandMax's avatar

Irish ancestry aside, I’d like to think that Brits and Irish people tend to get along alright.

I’ve met many a friendly Irish person in the UK – one or two slightly full of it, but generally I think they’re alright in my book.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Do they get along with the Scots?

Bellatrix's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe this question is a bit like asking if Canadians like Americans.There may be some who Americans they don’t like and others they do like. I take people how I find them regardless of their nationality. I know many fabulous Irish people and Scots. I know a few dickheads from both countries too. I could say the same of English people and I’m English by birth. Some are great, some are tossers.

No idea about Bono and Jagger. I am guessing you picked up some negativity. Perhaps they piss each other off? I doubt it has much to do with being English or Irish.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix Is it? With the history of Ireland leaving the UK? I had a British neighbor who used to wear red on St. Patty’s day. Not that she really hated the Irish, I am sure if she meets someone from Ireland she doesn’t have an prejudice with an individual. For that matter I would think most Brits and Irish get along just fine, especually if they have something in common like being rock stars. My only point is I don’t think Americans and Canadians have a history similar to Ireland and Britain. I guess with the exception of maybe hockey teams.

Bellatrix's avatar

I originally thought that’s what he was referring to @JLeslei but then I read the Bono and Jagger comment and I don’t think he was thinking that deeply at all (sorry if you were @Adirondackwannabe). As I said, with people like your neighbour in mind, some English people are tossers. I can’t think of one Irish person I have ever met where the ‘Troubles’ have influenced our friendship. Certainly that would make a difference on occasions and certainly in areas of Ireland (or England historically), but generally I don’t know of any English people who dislike individual Irish people or vice versa because of the ‘troubles’.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix Just curious are your referring to people who live in Australia? I ask because in America, pretty much once you are here your background means less. We don’t care much what a few generations back did in another country.

SamandMax's avatar

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of St Patrick’s Day, but in England the only thing St Patrick’s Day is mostly any good for is another excuse for every idiot under the sun to get blindingly drunk – and not necessarily on Guinness.

@JLeslie….are you speaking for all Americans on that one?

JLeslie's avatar

@SamandMax Absolutely not. It is a generalization.

Bellatrix's avatar

No, I lived the first half of my life in the UK. My sister left a department store less than five minutes before a bomb went off. The shopping centre I worked in and the city centre of my home city was demolished by IRA bombs. I don’t hate Irish people. I cannot abide the effects of terrorist acts regardless of who enacts them or of why they are executed.

I would imagine many, many Irish people also hate the effects of the ‘troubles’. I would say more Irish people have died than English. Individual Irish people were behind those acts not all Irish people. Regardless of an individual’s politics or beliefs, I think hating all Irish people or even just viewing them negatively because of the conflict would be ridiculous. It would be like saying ‘I am American. I hate all Muslims because of 9/11’. It makes no sense. I judge individuals based on their behaviour and attitudes and not on the political conflict between my country and theirs. I haven’t met Irish people who have given me any reason to not feel this way.

My brother worked in Ireland for many years. He never suggested anyone treated him badly because he was English. There were certain parts of Belfast he would not have gone, but he enjoyed working there and liked the people he worked with. This was when the confict was very much still happening.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix Would you say generalizations were made about the Irish as a group though? Or, things were said or thrown around that could easily be offensive, while at the same time individuals were always treated as individuals? For instance, growing up my gamily made negative generalizations about the Germans (significant because I am Jewish). At the same time I had a good friend who was German, it didn’t matter at all.

Bellatrix's avatar

I’m not sure what you mean @JLeslie? I am sure in Irish families there have been things thrown around that could be construed by an English person as offensive. There was a question here recently about paddy wagons. That wasn’t directed to the English, that was to people generally. Do you generally cast aspersions about Muslim people after 9/11? There are people who do but is that the norm for people in the US? In conflict situations there is always going to be anger and hurt on both sides.

In my experience, and that’s all I can go off, I don’t recall people being ‘generally’ negative towards Irish people. Towards organisations such as the IRA, yes. Frankly I think many people have no idea what the heck all the fighting was about and certainly I have heard people say ‘we should just leave them to fight it out’ and especially have something like the Manchester bombings. Have I heard people generally blaming all Irish people because of the conflict, no. I can’t recall hearing that. I think the whole situation was just too damn sad and too many people died and I am not sure what if anything was gained.

JLeslie's avatar

Most Americans don’t think all Muslims are bad, but there is a percentage of Americans who are very negative about Muslims, especially following 911. They are freaked out that Obama is Muslim (not that he is, but they really do believe he is).

When the wall came down in Germany more than one Jewish American was not sure they were glad. They felt you never know if the Germans are going to try to start a war again. Having the Russians and Americans there in force helped prevent that in their mind. Germans are thought to be regimented; following along like good little soldiers. And, even now people, not just Jewish people, will stereotype Germans as feeling superior to others. But, they would not think that about a German-American.

A Lebonese man once said to me everyone in the middle east should live in America for 5 years and everything would be different.

It’s so complex stereotypes, generalizations, living in their home country, outside of their country, did anything in the past specifically affect you and your family, etc.

Personally, I usually assume there is nothing majorily political or extreme going on when I meet someone, doesn’t matter where they are from. Here in America I just think we are all here in the big melting pot. German, Iranian, Palestinian, Irish, Italian, none of it matters to me. You’re here (in America) now.

My guess would be especially the younger generation doesn’t think about past wars, terrorism, or conflicts, they focus more on present day.

SamandMax's avatar

“When the wall came down in Germany more than one Jewish American was not sure they were glad. They felt you never know if the Germans are going to try to start a war again.”
Russians you say? Really?
When Russia had the Eastern Bloc, who do you think possessed the West side of Germany?
It wasn’t Russia. It was the Americans and the British. Our army out on exercise would shit the guards up in the watchtowers along the East/West divide by hurtling towards barbed wire fence divides and stopping just meters away from the border. The Americans were also good at scaring the hell out of the Eastern guards. More than once they were known to fly their planes too close to the border as if to cross over only to do a u-turn meters away from the towers with the guards in them going absolutely insane with panic. It made a lot of our boys happy back then, because that’s the military sense of humour. If you’re going to get the upper hand on people who could be the newly acquired enemy before long, get into the habit of scaring the crap out of them early before anything starts. Shock and awe and all that.

Back to the Irish. Well….I think given the spate of events in the not too distant past that involved a certain different ethnicity, the target of any hatred toward them tends to be muslims. Believe it or not. I think some are okay, some are assholes, but this is what happens the world over, some people really do stink, some are absolutely wonderful people. I’m lucky to have met a lot of wonderful people and not so many unpleasant characters from different cultures, because it opened my mind up to the fact that wherever you go, wherever you come from, wherever someone else comes from, there will always be elements that aren’t pleasant and always will be others that are entirely the opposite.

Given that the question itself is a generalization, I don’t think you’re likely to find a definitive answer to the negative or the positive regarding whether or not the British like the Irish or vice versa. It’s a generalization that is impossible to definite provide an answer for.
“The younger generation doesn’t think about past wars.” Hmm…I think that depends on the backgrounds of the people to whom that statement would be applied.

Generalizations can be good, but thus far, I think they’ve been a bit on the unhealthy side.

JLeslie's avatar

@SamandMax I said Russians and Americans. It was a statement about the distrust of the Germans. My family is from Latvia and Russia, believe me I know the horrific history there for Jews too. I am not idealizing the Russians.

SamandMax's avatar

@JLeslie, what you see, and what you probably aren’t aware of, are two different things in this situation. Back then, it was about the Russians. The Germans had already had the rude awakening they needed – why the hell would they even contemplate attempting the same thing more than twice? Nobody is idealizing anyone here, this was NATO idealizing them in preparation for something that could easily have happened if Russia decided to act on impulse and just say “Sod it, we’ve got the East, let’s spread out some more”. This is why the Brits were always out causing no end of damage to farmland and occasionally parking a tank’s cannon through a pub window (which incidentally, did happen at least once) – and letting guards take pictures of them in front of their tanks arranged as if in some sort of soccer team photo session.

I’m aware of the history, my grandfather served in the second world war, he tells me stories to this day of it and he’s 96.

I’m aware of the implications of the Eastern Western divide in Germany, my Father was there for eight years. So no…I’m not idealizing the Russians they were already idealized for us. Thank the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for that, not me.

The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

I think I rest my case.

The Germans were already down. The Americans were already in, so were the British. As were the French initially but they withdrew in 1966 – leaving the British and the Americans to do the dirty work, because the French probably didn’t want a repeat of the Maginot Line disaster really, where the soviets would pull the same trick as the Reich did, and just go round the bloody thing.

There are probably plenty of Brits who like Irish folk, and plenty of Irish folk who like Brits.

Or are you expecting someone to turn around and say that we’re all hateful little swines who can’t stand Paddy?

JLeslie's avatar

@SamandMax It seems to me you are taking this discussion much more seriously than me. These are flippant things said about the Germans many many years ago, when the holocaust was still more fresh in our minds, and many survivors were still alive. Not that we should ever forget, but certainly we do not think ill of people who had nothing to do with the war, no matter what their forefathers did.

I in no way was questioning your knowledge, I was talking about how we looked at it, what was said around me.

SamandMax's avatar

In which case, clarity escaped the conversation. Oh well.

mattbrowne's avatar

The vast majority, of course. Only people with special agendas on both sides create trouble. That applies to all nations. People like people.

SamandMax's avatar

I think that answer in itself would have probably sufficed.

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