News Letter May 2011www.newsletter.co.ukJohn Redmond in 1914: The Union is deadIN a House of Commons seething with passion and excitement. Home Rule For Ireland was voted through by a majority of 77. On this day in May 1914, the News Letter was dominated by reports of events at Westminster the day previous when the Government. had “fulfilled its pledge" to the Irish nationalist politician John Redmond and forced through the final third reading of the Home Rule Bill.The vote - 351 MP5 for. 274 against - represented the ringing down of the curtain on a contemptible farce. said the leader of the Opposition.Bonar Law. in his “dignified protest against the tyranny to which unionists hadbeen subjected by the Government”, added that it might have been the end of the act, but not of the play. “The final act in this drama will be played not in the House of Commons but in the country. And there it will not be a farce. It is to the people that we appeal... it mu st be evident even to the most blind that the appeal to the final tribunal is not far off," said the Conservative leader. After the result was announced. the entire Nationalist Party “rose in their places and cheered, waving handkerchiefs". There had been fears in Belfast and Londonderry that trouble might arise due to nationalists rejoicing at the passing of the Bill but these expectations were not realised - there were no bonfires in the Falls Road district nor was there any rejoicing whatever in the Bogside. A peaceful Belfast. was attributed to the influence of the Roman Catholic chapels who had urged their congregations to abstain from indulging in any aggressive action — such counsel “was evidently taken to heart". News Letter readers were told that the situation was critical but not hopeless. Home Rule was not yet law, and may never be law. The duty of the unionists of Ulster was to prepare to resist it, that it may never come into operation. Believing in the imminence of fa General Election, during which Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and the Liberals could be toppled, the News Letter “put to every Covenanter and every Volunteer in Ulster as a solemn duty to avoid all provocation and to give none; to remember that the final act in this struggle against Home Rule has yet to be played, that it will be played in the country, and that there are the brightest of prospects that when the curtain is rung down on that final act it will put an end to Home Rule".The hope was, according to the newspaper, that Bonar Law would - if returned to power — take it as a mandate to repeal this “ill-starred measure”. As it turned out, however, the outbreak of the First World War later that year would have its own ruinous impact on Home Rule.
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John Redmond In 1914: The Union Is Dead
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