That Coming Storm
by Steve Payne
says: the failure of the Government of Ireland Bill 1886 was blamed in
part on its secret drafting. Ninety-three members of the ruling Liberal
Party - including leadership figures such as Joseph Chamberlain - voting
against. In this alternative history, we imagine that William Gladstone
had consulted Irish MPs and his ministers during his preparation of the
bill. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not
necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1886, the Government of
Ireland (Home Rule) Bill 1886 narrowly passed through the House of Commons
by a margin of 341 for with 311 voting against.
In which "Rome Rule" is dead, but not buried
The passage of the act was a personal triumph for Liberal Prime Minister
William Gladstone (pictured, left) who had beseeched parliament to grant
Home Rule to Ireland in honour rather than being compelled to one day in
humiliation. And yet the result was not due to his famous Irish Home
Rule speech, rather the fruit of his decision to engage both Irish MPs
and his own ministers from participating in the drafting.
"Think, I beseech you, think well, think
wisely, think, not for the moment, but for the years that are to come,
before you reject this Bill" The reaction from Unionists and
the Orange Order was even more fierce than expected; their belief that
the Roman Catholic Church would gain political control over their
interests led to the coining of the term "Rome Rule". Because
as his carriage rumbled over the cobblestones of Palace Yard that
evening, William Gladstone was shot dead by an unmarked gunman.
"Ireland! Ireland! That Coming Storm!"
The Ulster Unionist Leader Colonel Saunderson scribbled a note to his
wife saying "Rome Rule is dead, but not yet buried". And the
day of humiliation that Gladstone had predicted was not long in coming,
although utterly different to what he imagined. Because as party leaders
paid tribute to his open coffin in Westminister Hall, a brisk trade in
chamberpots displaying his image was reported in Belfast.
says, considerable amounts of source material have been repurposed
from the source articles from the December 2009 Edition of History Today
Magazine, "Gladstone and his cloud in the West" by Kevin Haddick
Flynn and Wikipedia.
Editor of Today in
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting