Thursday, September 05, 2002

A few weeks ago, the BBC released a list of the 100 greatest Britons of all time as voted by viewers. Unsurprisingly, the list is skewed towards show business and sporting personalities. It also includes a predictable smattering of royals plus the most evil tyrant Britain ever produced - Oliver Cromwell (A man whose legacy of genocide and persecution of Catholics is still being proclaimed by the Rev. Ian Paisley). Interestingly, five Irishmen are listed, Bono, Bob Geldof, Ernest Shackleton, The Duke of Wellington and most surprising of all, the founder of Irish socialism, James Connnolly. Obviously, I use 'Irish' in a broad sense here - Connolly was born in Scotland to Irish parents whereas that cheeky bugger The Duke of Wellington, upon being called Irish, once made the famous retort "Being born in a stable does not make one a horse." Furthermore, Boy George could also be classified as Irish under the same criteria as Connolly, as he too is the son of Irish emigrants. There's probably a few others that I am missing (Johnny Rotten maybe?). The list is the basis of a new series to be shown on BBC this Autumn and like other 'top ten' type shows I suppose it's not very meaningful but nevertheless makes for good conversation material.

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