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I Don’t Mind if I Do
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

King George met Joe Devlin a short time ago,
And he said ‘Good morning, how do you do, Joe?
Will you drop into breakfast, and see Mary, too?’
‘Oh, be God then’, said Joe, ‘I don’t mind if I do.’

To the palace they rambled – T.P. he was there,
John Dillon he sat on a plush-covered chair,
‘Will you all’, says Queen Mary , ‘have some Irish stew?’
Oh they roared in one voice, ‘We don’t mind if we do.’

‘Sinn Feiners’, said Georgie, ‘are spoiling my plan.
DeValera, their leader, he seems a strong man.
Will you tell him his flag should be red, white and blue?’
‘It’s no use’, says T.P., ‘he won’t mind if I do.’

‘Behind prison walls they should all be’, said Joe.
‘When you had them in there sure you let them all go.
To spread their sedition each county around,
And to knock out the men with the four hundred pounds.’

‘That’s right’, said T.P., ‘I agree with you there.
The rod on the rebels, oh Georgie, don’t spare!
The whole world over sure they’ve knocked me flat,
I am back from the States with a big empty hat.’

The flag of Sinn Fein everywhere it do fly,
And ‘Down with the Party’ is now Ireland’s cry.
The green, white and orange, alas and alack,
Has taken the place of the old Union Jack.

‘Recruiting’, said Mary, ‘is now very low.
To the trenches in Flanders the Irish won’t go.
Why not try conscription – oh John, what says you?’
‘Oh be God then’, said Joe, ‘there’ll be hell if we do.’

“According to historical accounts the 1910 British General Election left the Liberals as a minority government dependent upon the votes of Irish Nationalist parliamentarians so, in order to gain their support, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, introduced legislation that would give Ireland Home Rule; the bill was opposed by the Conservatives and Unionists. Desperate to avoid the prospect of Civil War in Ireland, King George V called a meeting of all parties at Buckingham Palace in July 1914 in an attempt to negotiate a settlement. After four days the conference ended without an agreement so, on 18 September 1914, the King, having considered vetoing the legislation, gave his assent to the Home Rule Bill after it had been passed by Westminster. Its implementation was postponed due to the outbreak of the First World War. Joseph Devlin, mentioned in the song, was an Irish journalist and influential nationalist politician, a member of the British parliament for the Irish Parliamentary Party. This wonderful parody commemorates ‘The Buckingham Palace Meeting’.”
Jim Carroll

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