From the Balls of Montezuma

Staying on the topic of Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez, this amused:


It’s funny how the narrative of Europeans wiping out the natives and their descendants living on stolen land stops at the Mexican border. Presumably some think the indigenous peoples of central and south America were already speaking Spanish when the Conquistadors showed up and had names like, well, Ocasio-Cortez.

I have a theory that everyone wants to be an imperialist overlord, but criticism is reserved for those with the competence to actually carry it out. See this exchange, for example:


The Irish spend half the time moaning about British imperialism and the other half demanding Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands be annexed by their neighbours against the wishes of the population. The irony in the case of Ocasio-Cortez is most Puerto Ricans are wishing the US would hurry up and annex them properly.

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82 thoughts on “From the Balls of Montezuma

  1. @Hibernofrog

    “the basis on which peace was achieved was that the ROI would have a say in NI in the future”

    Is this a formal arrangement, how does it work?

    @Kirk

    “We’re mostly unfit for independent states”

    In the Scots case they have had two opportunities for independence in our lifetime and on both occasions they chickened out, so not only unfit but unwilling. Plus after the Brexit vote their wee lassie leader, chucked a tantrum and cried independence and tried to drum up support in the Continent and they wiped the floor with her.

    Not sure if you are aware but in the American South, Irish slaves unlike others, say African slaves could not be recognized on a landowners asset register as an asset.

  2. “The thing is, the EU is so critical to our economic model, I don’t see opinions changing, even when it starts costing more. ”

    Wait until the Commission come gunning for the 12.5% corporation tax rate, and there’s no Brits to back your unfashionable neoliberal low tax economic model. When the EU force you to raise it, and are taking 1% and rising of your economy and the US corporations are leaving in droves, and you’re deep in the sh*t, we won’t forget how you’ve behaved over Brexit. There won’t be any votes this side of the border for helping you, thats for sure.

  3. PS you lot have pretty short memories – it was only 8 years ago that the UK provided €7bn in bank bailout money to Ireland, about 4% of GDP at the time, €3bn via the EU bailout and €4bn directly between the two countries. Perhaps we should have used the financial crisis as a lever over Ireland, just as it has over Brexit……………

  4. @ Bardon,

    It’d be quicker to list the number of non-backstabbers, loyalists, and unitarians, and I could do that on the thumbs of one foot.

    Let us be honest with ourselves: The Scots-Irish are horrible at self-governance, never missing a chance to miss a chance. The whole episode one of my ancestors participated in with Robert the Bruce, helping to kill John Comyn is a perfect example–Not a damn thing to be gained for Scotland in all of that, and for what? It’s not like Comyn was particularly deserving of what happened to him inside that church–He was making the best deal out of what he could, given the situation Scotland had placed itself in through sheer fecklessness, but Robert the Bruce and his partisans wanted power for themselves, so… Comyn had to die. Which led to… What, precisely? Why did the perfectly competent Comyn have to die, and what benefit was there to the average Scot?

    See what I’m saying? Today’s lot of modern Scottish leader isn’t much better than those two, and the average Scot is about as well-served by them. Observe the long-term effect of the SNP policies on the quality of life for the average Scot, and just where all the green BS is going to take their economy once they cut ties with ye Merrie olde Englande…

  5. Not a whit of practical ability when it comes to building things other than toys or gadgets

    Now that’s not true: there’s a reason the Scottish engineer was a cliché long before Star Trek. The British empire was mostly built, in physical terms, by the Scots and the Irish, and manned by them as well.

    What they were never great at, and what the English provided, was admin. And while engineering brilliance can build you bridges, the only thing that will allow you to build an empire is admin.

  6. “Perhaps we should have used the financial crisis as a lever over Ireland, just as it has over Brexit”
    That is literally what the UK did: That bailout was nothing more than a bailout of UK, French and German banks (that had over-extended themselves in the crashing Irish property market) at the expense of the Irish taxpayer, who is currently paying back those loans with interest.

    The Irish state itself ran a primary surplus throughout most of the downturn.

  7. “Wait until the Commission come gunning for the 12.5% corporation tax rate, and there’s no Brits to back your unfashionable neoliberal low tax economic model”

    That’s a good point: A second thing that Ireland can be thankful to the UK for, and something for which we will miss them greatly when they leave the EU (or at least, leave its decision-making apparatus). I don’t think there’s a huge risk of the tax rate being attacked though: There is still the possibility of a veto and also, most of the new EU countries have similarly low tax rates and would also protest at being forced to raise them. I don’t think it’s politically realistic to do this.

    I heard that the effective rate of corporate tax in France is only 8% anyway, so if that’s true and is representative of the other high-tax countries, I assume there wouldn’t be much pressure to pursue this, despite rhetoric.

  8. “Okay. Explain to me what that has to do with a hard border please.
    Hint: ‘terms’ and ‘infrastructure’ are different, independent things. ”
    You can’t enforce terms without infrastructure. Therefore: Infrastructure.

    Ah, that would be why every time I get paid there’s an HMRC employee there to take the tax money from my pay packet.

    Oh no wait: there isn’t. Because actually my employer declares to HRMC who they employ and what they are paid, HMRC tells them how much they owe, and they pay it. And if HMRC thinks they are lying they get audited.

    Just like importers declare to HMRC how much they are importing and what it is, HMRC tells them how much duty they owe, and they pay it. And if HMRC suspects them of lying they get audited and, when they turn out to have more stuff in their warehouse than they declared importing, they go to gaol.

    Terms enforced with no need for any infrastructure at all.

    “Um, you do realise that smuggling across the Irish border already happens? For things like cigarettes and petrol? And that hasn’t required a ‘hard border’?”
    Yes, there is intra-EU smuggling, but the scope for such activities would get much larger and more valuable after a hard Brexit and would require controls, I believe.

    You believe do you? Oh well that settles it then, if you believe.

    (In actuality it will depend on how EU and UK regulations, taxes, etc, diverge after the separation, which no-one can predict).

    And then there is also the question of product standards: For example, if the UK does a free-trade deal with the USA, Donald Trump has made it clear that accepting hormone-beef, GM crops and chlorinated chicken would be a condition. If the UK accepted that, the EU still wouldnt, but there would be an open border in NI that these (cheaper) good could come flooding through. And before you start shouting, “See, a hard border would be the EUs fault!” ask yourself, what else can they possibly do?

    They could put customs checks on goods going from Ireland to mainland Europe, if they are that concerned. That makes as much sense as customs checks between Northern Ireland and the mainland UK — more, in fact, because at least it wouldn’t be checks within a single country.

    Or of course they could put checks on the border, but that’s entirely the EU’s decision. If they want to keep out perfectly good US goods that are legal in the UK, then that is their decision and the consequences, such as border infrastructure, are theirs to own.

    And I notice that nobody has taken the bait on my comment that an open border would allow EU migrants free and uncontrolled access to the UK

    That’s because it’s a non-issue. Yes, they could enter the UK, but they wouldn’t be able to legally work or claim benefits or use the health service or live anywhere or do just about anything else, so they woudn’t stay long.

    And note that, just like the smuggling, this wouldn’t be a new thing: there are people in the UK at the moment from outside the EU with visas that allow them to be in the UK but not Ireland, and vice-versa. Any of them could quite easily cross the border, and yet nobody regards this as some massive problem that requires drastic action.

    In fact with that even the border is a bit of a red herring: due to the CTA, arrivals from Irish airports at British airports don’t, as I’m sure you know as you are so well-informed, go through passport control, and there’s no plans to change this post-Brexit because the CTA, which predates the EU, will still be in place.

    So any EU migrant in Cork, say, perhaps recently arrived from Roscoff, would find it much easier to get into the UK by driving to Shannon and flying to Heathrow than by braving the M8 and M7. So any panic about the comparatively few who might make the border crossing would be bizarre when they could quite literally be being flown in by that ‘plane-load.

    “‘There is no rule in the WTO requiring its member governments to secure their borders.’”

    Read the whole article: It repeats what I said about not being able to offer preferential customs terms without risking an action from some other WTO member.

    ‘Risking an action’ doesn’t mean the action would be successful. The WTO requires treating all imports the same regardless of origin, and the UK would be doing that: US apples that passed over the border into Northern Ireland would be just as unchecked as Irish, French or South African apples. No discrimination based on country of origin = no case to answer.

  9. “Is this a formal arrangement, how does it work?”

    ‘Tis indeed, though I confess I didn’t look into it until you asked… Ref Wikipedia:

    The North/South Ministerial Council is made up of ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland. It was established “to develop consultation, co-operation and action” in twelve areas of mutual interest. These include six areas where the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland form common policies but implement these separately in each jurisdiction, and six areas where they develop common policies that are implemented through shared all-Ireland institutions.

  10. I don’t think there’s a huge risk of the tax rate being attacked though: There is still the possibility of a veto and also, most of the new EU countries have similarly low tax rates and would also protest at being forced to raise them

    Um no: https://twitter.com/lindayueh/status/1056474038372044800

    There’s pretty much no reason for this proposal other than to allow the Commission to overrule Ireland and the other corportation-tax-undercutting countries.

  11. @ Bardon,

    “Not sure if you are aware but in the American South, Irish slaves unlike others, say African slaves could not be recognized on a landowners asset register as an asset.”

    Oh, I’m aware of that, although I think you may have conflated the American South with the Caribbean, which served as quite the effective oubliette for Irish “troublemakers”–They went there in job lots, and didn’t come out except as skeletal remains that the current local governments don’t allow the excavation thereof, lest they reveal the comparatively great deal their ancestors got vs. the one the Irish got. Don’t want to confuse the narrative, see, ‘cos that might lessen the legitimacy of the victimhood claim they’ve got going…

    Root of the reason for all that was that the Irish weren’t property, per se… They were political prisoners undergoing a bit of “destructive labor”, so as to reduce their no doubt inimical threat to the world. And, don’t forget, the main reason that the Caribbean sugar plantations were moved off of Irish labor and on to the African slave labor was that the Anglican church overseeing the whole thing was horrified at the casual loss of life, and wanted to reform the plantations by making the owners pay for their labor, figuring that if they had to buy slaves, they’d treat them more responsibly than the ones they simply went down to the docks and had signed over to them for nothing by the Crown… Believe it or not, but the start of the African slave trade had some of its roots in the humanitarian impulse.

    One can hardly root for the English, but one does have to admire the efficacy with which they undertook the whole thing. While acknowledging that my Irish ancestors set themselves up for that back when they failed to effectively unify against Cromwell…

    Like I said, I don’t particularly like or admire the English because of the right bastards they keep throwing up as leaders, but I do have to admire the sheer bloody-mindedness with which they undertook their imperial enterprise–While also acknowledging that they took us further along as partners and fellow criminals than we ever would have gotten on our own.

    It’s bitterly ironic to note that a lot of the Scots highlander leadership found prosperity as Caribbean planters exploiting cheap Irish slave labor that they found cheaper to work to death in the tropics than to pay decent wages to–And, that some of those bastards later preened themselves while thinking of how wonderfully humane they were, transitioning to “expensive” African slaves that they had to take care of well enough let them survive and keep working until they were economically useless.

    Which was yet another example of Celts not losing an opportunity to stab one another in the back…

    To a degree, I think you could make a case for there being a continuous thread from Roman times forward, with regards to the Celts screwing themselves over and over again, and the Romanized Britons taking opportunistic advantage of the situation. One might almost wonder if the gene pool in England benefited from an infusion of whatever set of genetic traits it was that benefited the Roman imperial ambitions…

  12. “Terms enforced with no need for any infrastructure at all”
    That only works for the law-abiding. I think you’ll find that smugglers do not declare anything.

    “You believe do you? Oh well that settles it then, if you believe.
    (In actuality it will depend on how EU and UK regulations, taxes, etc, diverge after the separation, which no-one can predict). ”
    The stated purpose of Brexit is that the UK wants to set her own rules and make free trade agreements with the USA, India, China… significant divergence is inevitable sooner or later.

    “They could put customs checks on goods going from Ireland to mainland Europe, if they are that concerned.”
    This has actually been proposed in the Irish media and it merits consideration. But it effectively means that Ireland is in a customs union with the UK and I’m sure that there are implications that you and I haven’t thought of… especially for the UKs future free-trade deals. I’d be interested to hear people’s comments.

    “If they want to keep out perfectly good US goods that are legal in the UK, then that is their decision and the consequences, such as border infrastructure, are theirs to own”
    Again with the blame-shifting. You’re essentially saying that the EU has to simply accept whatever the UK decides on their behalf with no say in it… and if they don’t like that arrangement and do the logical thing and put up a border, then the hard border is all their fault… and is nothing to do with the UK’s decision to leave the EU. To that I say: Why should the statement “the consequences, such as border infrastructure, are theirs to own” not apply to the UK for choosing Brexit? (To be clear, I really don’t want to blame the UK – I’m just saying that the argument is equally true in both directions).

    “That’s because it’s a non-issue.”
    Fair point, well-argued. I conceed that point without condition.

    “‘Risking an action’ doesn’t mean the action would be successful”
    When I ride my motorbike, I risk a head injury. Doesn’t mean I’ll actually get one, but you know what, I prefer to wear the helmet anyway.

    “No discrimination based on country of origin = no case to answer.”
    That’s only true if the UK chooses to to have no tarrifs on any product category that is traded between the UK and ROI – that’s a very big ask for the UK.

  13. Why should the statement “the consequences, such as border infrastructure, are theirs to own” not apply to the UK for choosing Brexit?

    This is like the East Germans blaming the West for choosing liberal democracy over communism and forcing the Soviets to build the Berlin Wall.

  14. @Kirk

    I would say that the root cause of the Gaelic folks inability at self-governance is that there roots and culture were based on crofting type situation, sovereign nations are a relatively new concept and completely alien to their historical ways of life.

    I would love you to sit down and have a chat with my mother she is a historian and specializes in Scots & Irish history, she travels to the US frequently and was down here in Oz at Christmas when we engaged in many quite healthy arguments during this time.

    I am interested in Scots history as well and have read much about them, worked there, drunk with them, fought with them and other than the outer Hebrides and Shetlands I have travelled around most of it and done many cultural tours and their isn’t a malt that I haven’t tried.

    Ireland was once a nations of Scholars and Saints, but this is ancient history now and I have followed on foot the trail of St Columba’s his self-banishment from Derry to Iona, including an Irish Sea crossing that was similar to his, although in the opposite direction, I have seen and studied the Book of Kells and am in woe iof him in how he managed to introduce Christianity to the then heathen Pictish Scots. I have visited all the Kings Of Scotland’s graves, stood in the spot where some were anointed and am fully aware of the Stuart blood line, the German usurping, the Holyrood murders, most castles, notably Stirling and Linlithgow and am fully conversant of the tumultuous period of the King James the VI of Scots and King James the 1st of England period which is the other area of Scots history that fascinates me.

    The third area of their history that fascinates me lies half between the two previous periods and was about their unusual relationship with the Knights Templar, I have studied and read on this subject closely including Messianic legacies and have been to Rosslyn Chapel many times (pre Dan Brown) and my youngest sons middle name is Sinclair in memory of the St Clairs.

    You hinted in your post but I would say it outright that the Scots thrived under Empire, they in effect and in most cases governed it, I have also travelled around a significant amount of what was the British Empire and I would defy anyone to name one part of it that does not have a Scot at the top or near the top, and there will definitely be a half decent statue front and centre left, that the sometimes avenging natives didn’t tear down when they left.

    Lachlan Macquarie the fifth Governor of NSW is one of the preeminent examples of this, born in Edinburgh (loyalist), distinguished military career, he turned what was basically a very large prison farm into a thriving economy and so much more, he is definetly worth a read if interested, Lady Macquarie wasn’t too shabby either. He is buried in Scotland in the Isle of Mull and I would also recommend a visit to his crypt there.

    Conservation of Lachlan Macquarie and Macquarie Family Papers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI99W2ny_Ko

  15. @HibernoFrog,

    I had an acquaintance with an Irish Catholic priest who’d started off as a Ph.D candidate tracing the Irish diaspora. His claim was that a significant fraction of the Irish wound up dead in the Caribbean, to a degree that we’d find nearly unbelievable. In Ireland, they’d always believed that most of those people found their way to the Americas, but the reality was that most just vanished into the maws of the various cane plantations, buried in mass graves. He’d found his vocation after innumerable research trips to the various Caribbean islands, trying to find the missing Irish.

    Whole thing is a long-forgotten episode in English bastardry, but again, I have to say that most of it was actually performed by Irish or Scots quislings who’d “out” the trouble-making Papists for transportation, wanting a cut of their lands and properties. On the other end, you’d have upper-class types running the plantations as trusties for English investors, and who later comfortably transitioned to serving as overseers for the African slaves who replaced the Irish. Quite a few of whom got into trouble, not being able to make the transition to dealing with labor that they’d actually had to buy, as opposed to simply signing for down at the docks… Whipping an Irish Catholic to death for insubordination was one thing, but doing that to an African slave that had cost the equivalent of a modern car or tractor…? Yeah; not so much.

    Humans. Mostly bastards, with bastard-flavored fillings. There’s plenty of reasons I refuse to go unarmed through life, and there are about seven billion of you twats on this planet with me–A fact that keeps me awake at night, counting bullets and cleaning arms. Y’all simply are not trustworthy, in the collective…

  16. @Tim Newman on February 9, 2019 at 11:42 am

    +1 Well said

    “GFA which doesn’t once mention the border” – Yes

  17. “That bailout was nothing more than a bailout of UK, French and German banks (that had over-extended themselves in the crashing Irish property market) at the expense of the Irish taxpayer, who is currently paying back those loans with interest.”

    Again bollocks on stilts. The main reason for the Irish State bailout was the fact it decided to guarantee the entire Irish banking system, as it was completely bust:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/irish-banks-loan-losses-hit-140bn-in-10-years-after-crash-1.3643969

    The UK gained nothing (in non-financial terms) from its voluntary loans to the Irish State, loans that were above and beyond those it was statutorily required to contribute to under EU law. There were no strings attached to the loans.

    Also note from the article linked above the foreign owned banks were re-capitalised by the foreign parents (including the UK government as it had bailed out HBoS, owner of BoS (Ireland), and RBS (owner of Ulster Bank)). So not only was the UK government bailing out the Irish subsidiaries of UK banks (which it could have let go bust), it was bailing out the entire Irish banking system via its loans to the Irish government.

    And all we get in thanks is that twat Varadkar acting like a cunt towards us. We won’t forget.

  18. @HF – “The North/South Ministerial Council is made up of ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland. ”

    Okay cheers for that, I doubt it has any teeth as the British Constitution outlaws the jurisdiction of any foreign power, other than Brussels!

    Anyhow not much good now that the executive is closed until further notice.

    On Dublin, my first observation on visiting there was how Anglicized it was and how prominent the masonic styled architecture on any building of significance was, I know and like that style and can spot it a mile away, I will write a post on it shortly.

  19. “I have to say that most of it was actually performed by Irish or Scots”

    At the peak of the British Empire, Victorian Glasgow (Merchant City) was its second city, mostly due to the ideal location and aspect of the River Clyde, cheap and abundant labour, engineering proficiency, shipbuilding facilities and it providing the perfect sheltered and defensive gateway for its dominance of the oceans and the new world. Another walk that I would highly recommend is around the Merchant City, at the peak of the fortune making tobacco and sugar markets, the majority of the elite owners of such enterprises were based in Glasgow, the remnants of which surprisingly still stand to this day. It was no secret at the time that the mercantile Scots tobacco and sugar lords of the day were very much pro-slavery and it was a dark day in the Merchant City when moves to abolish it began to get legs.

  20. “Again bollocks on stilts. The main reason for the Irish State bailout was the fact it decided to guarantee the entire Irish banking system”

    Ah, only part of the story. The Irish banking sector, along with their cronies in the Fianna Fáil (centre-right) led governent conspired to offer a time-limited blanket-guarantee of the banking sector to attract deposits from elsewhere in Europe. An obvious act of back-stabbing that I am quite ashamed of. However, if you’re angry at the Irish for such disloyal behaviour, just hold on, because poetic justice was dealt almost immediately.

    The gambit failed, and, cap in hand, the Irish informed the EU that their banks were likely to default. I imagine that the EU said something similar to what they said to Greece: “You created this situation, so if you want to stay in the club, you’d damn-well better clean it up”. And since the Irish were apparently SO VERY keen on guaranteeing the whole banking system, the EU suggested (read: required) that the guarantee be extended, thus hanging the Irish with the noose that they had so hastily tied for others. The EU would loan the Irish the money to fund it (The national debt went from about to 30% to 130%, though not all of that was bailout-related) and the Irish taxpayer would repay with interest.

    However, the Irish banking sector did not owe that much money domestically. Had they defaulted (as the Irish and their government wanted at the time), their debts to the large financial centres of Europe (London, Frankfurt and Paris, which had loaned money recklessly to Irish banks) would have born the brunt of the losses.

    And this is why I say that the bailout was not of Ireland but of UK, French and German banks – because ultimately, they were the ones who would take the hit.

    Not to say that the Irish weren’t to blame: We borrowed recklessly, spent even more recklessly, allowed our banking regulator to fall asleep at the wheel and then engaged in shameful skulduggery to try to right the situation when it was already too late. But to say that the UKs loans were an act of altruism between neighbours: Sorry, but I’m not buying it. It just isn’t how countries behave.

    “And all we get in thanks is that twat Varadkar acting like a cunt towards us”
    You know what, maybe I’ll start complaining that the UK are acting like cunts by leaving the EU and creating so many problems for Ireland. But I suspect that you won’t see how that’s basically the same complaint as yours…

  21. Wow, this must be what it feels like for everyone else when a thread goes sideways because someone mentioned Jews.

    Still, makes for interesting reading, particularly @Kirk. I think, though, perhaps you’re being a bit harsh on your ancestors at Culloden. For all of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s faults, he was a Catholic, and this was an important matter to the men of his day, to a degree which is hard for us to understand.

  22. @HibernoFrog
    ROI has 2% Asian and 1% Black, says Wikipedia. You are basically 85% Irish and 9% other White.
    So when you congratulate yourself on your tolerance for immigration, dial it back a bit – if the vibrants decide that ROI is the destination of choice, then you will know what real immigration looks like.
    You have not experienced immigration – Luton has experienced immigration.

  23. “Had they defaulted (as the Irish and their government wanted at the time),”

    Its nice to know the calibre of people you’re dealing with. The sort of person who borrows millions, via a company, goes bankrupt but he is still driving around in the flash car and living in the swanky house he bought with the salary he paid himself out of the borrowed money. While all his creditors are on queer street. A cunt in other words.

  24. @Gary: Definitely a fair point. Being part Indian myself, I can confirm first hand that there is still plenty of bigotry in Ireland. However, the context here is EU migration, and at one point about 10% of the population was Polish, so I do think the Irish deserve some credit for adjusting quite well to this sudden change.

    @Jim: You can’t just a whole country by its bankers. You’ll find cunts everywhere if you look hard enough.

  25. “You can’t just a whole country by its bankers. You’ll find cunts everywhere if you look hard enough”

    But you said it was the preferred option of the Irish Government to let all the Irish banks go bust and stiff the creditors. The bankers don’t have a choice in the matter, if they’re bust then they’re bust, there’s nothing they can do about it. The government on the other hand represents the population as a whole, and can do something about it, if it wants to. But you’re saying that its preferred option was to screw the foreigner creditors because the Irish public would be (largely) OK as they didn’t owe the banks that much.

  26. “It was no secret at the time that the mercantile Scots tobacco and sugar lords of the day were very much pro-slavery and it was a dark day in the Merchant City when moves to abolish it began to get legs.”

    One of the ironies of human behavior… Likely, those same magnates bemoaned the abuses that perfidious Albion had heaped upon the Scots, all the while inflicting worse on little brown people and Irishmen who were conveniently not visible to their kith and kin.

    If you go back and look, most of the people who became fervent Abolitionists in New England were the descendants of the same folks who’d implemented the infamous “triangle trade” between the Caribbean, Africa, and the Americas. And, the generations after them? Became Democrats who implemented Massachusetts Jim Crow laws, and on and on…

    There are reasons I am so dubious and mistrusting of other human beings, and most of those reasons stem from a close reading of my own family history. On the one side, mostly Scots-Irish feckless types, and on the other, mostly solid New England Mayflower Compact sorts, whose actual histories are far from the sanitized versions told in most history books. It’s quite a shock to discover that the universally excoriated pirate Blackbeard, taught as a villain in everything ever seen in school, was not only there buried in the family tree, but that he’d had a close financial relationship with the supposedly lily-white and virtuous types who’d been colonial governors. Most of whom could have given Roman tribunes a lesson or two on extracting wealth from the hinterlands of Empire…

  27. Cheers Kirk, see some extract below on how the Jocks stitched up the first President of the US (nothing much has changed) and I would highly recommend the Merchant City walk during daylight hours. See pictures of the still standing and functioning historical buildings on the attached link, during the walk the guide took us into what he said was the only gay bar in Glasgow, its called The Muscular Arms!

    My grandfather an educated Irishman, used to provide services to his illiterate villagers with the signing of documentation and assisting the villagers with their administrative affairs, the women would put lace clothes down on the cold hard floor, kneel and say rosaries in gratitude to him.

    He volunteered and fought in WWII, sustained a permanent physical and mental injury, and post war he basically worked himself to death in a UK sugar house. In his twilight years he was too ill to see his daughter, my mother down the aisle to give her way to my late father, Evan Thomas ……… who in his early days was a Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy and sailed to and carried these types of cargo around the many triangles of trade. One of my grandfather’s sons, my late uncle, immigrated to Brooklyn and seen action in the Korean War, then worked as a civilian construction advisor to the military in Vietnam, and Africa, we lost count of how many passports he had if you understand what that means, has a major crane named after him in a Boston shipyard and was a well-connected man in the New York and eastern seaboard shipbuilding scene. I had the pleasure of working with him in Hoboken and he actually got me a job as metallurgist in the US Navy in Tampa Bay, but I didn’t take it for another reason. His son became an airborne ranger and served in Europe and UK, the British paras were quietly suspicious when they noticed his heavily tattooed Celtic cross on his torso in the shower room.

    ………………………………………………………………………

    The Trug Lords (or “Virginia Dons”[dubious – discuss]) were Glasgow merchants who in the 18th century made enormous fortunes by trading in tobacco from Great Britain’s American Colonies. Many became so wealthy that they adopted the lifestyle of aristocrats, lavishing vast sums on great houses and splendid churches. Many suffered severe losses during and after the American Revolution.

    From 1710, Glasgow became the centre of an economic boom which lasted nearly fifty years. The Tobacco Lords personified this boon and were the nouveau richeof the mid-eighteenth century. Arguably the most successful of these merchants was John Glassford, who entered the tobacco trade in 1750 and had soon acquired a fleet of vessels and many tobacco stores across New England. Celebrated in his lifetime, Glassford was the most extensive ship owner of his generation in Scotland, and one of the four merchants who laid the foundation of the commercial greatness of Glasgow through the tobacco trade. Tobias Smollett wrote[1] of a meeting with Glassford in 1771:

    “ I conversed with Mr G–ssf–d, whom I take to be one of the greatest merchants in Europe. In the last war, he is said to have had at one time five and twenty ships with their cargos – his own property – and to have traded for above half a million sterling a year.

    St Andrew’s in the Square still survives today and is considered one of the finest classical churches in Britain,[8] Today it is Glasgow’s Centre for Scottish Culture, promoting Scottish music, song and dance. The church is located in St Andrew’s Square, near Glasgow Cross and Glasgow Green, on the edge of the City’s East End. The church, inspired by St Martin-in-the-Fields in London,[8] was built between 1739 and 1756 by Master Mason Mungo Naismith.[9] It was the first presbyterian church built after the Reformation, and was commissioned by the city’s Tobacco Lords as a demonstration of their wealth and power.[8]

    Prior to 1740, Glasgow merchants were responsible for the import of less than 10% of America’s tobacco crop, but by the 1750s Glasgow handled more of the trade than the rest of Britain’s ports combined.[10] Heavily capitalised, and taking great personal risks, these men made immense fortunes from the “Clockwork Operation” of fast ships coupled with ruthless dealmaking and the manipulation of credit.[11] Maryland and Virginia planters were offered easy credit by the Glaswegian merchants, enabling them to buy European consumer goods and other luxuries before harvest time gave them the ready cash to do so. But, when the time came to sell the crop, the indebted growers found themselves forced by the canny traders to accept low prices for their harvest simply in order to stave off bankruptcy.[12] At his Mount Vernon plantation, future President of the United States George Washington saw his liabilities swell to nearly £2,000 by the late 1760s (equivalent to £272 thousand in 2018).[13] Thomas Jefferson, on the verge of losing his own farm, accused British merchants of unfairly depressing tobacco prices and forcing Virginia farmers to take on unsustainable debt loads. In 1786, he remarked:

    “A powerful engine for this [mercantile profiting] was the giving of good prices and credit to the planter till they got him more immersed in debt than he could pay without selling lands or slaves. They then reduced the prices given for his tobacco so that…they never permitted him to clear off his debt.”[14]

    After the war, few of the enormous debts owed by the colonists would ever be repaid. Despite these setbacks, after the American War of Independence (1775–1783) the canny Glasgow merchants switched their attention to other profitable parts of the triangular trade, particularly cotton in the British West Indies.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Lords

  28. Bardon, thing was… Those Glasgow mercantile barons outsmarted themselves by dealing sharp with characters like Washington and Jefferson. Where do you think the motivation came from, for them to support the Revolution…?

    They basically set the conditions for it to happen, and then acted all surprised when it did. Typically human shortsightedness–Had they given some thought to keeping their clients in the Americas happy, they’d likely still be in business, and who knows what that implication would have led to?

    It is also interesting to consider the karmic balance created: They no doubt bankrupted a bunch of Virginia planters, who exploited a bunch of African slaves, and in turn, those Glaswegian satraps found themselves on the short end of things when the Virginians decided they’d had quite enough of the financial abuse.

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