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Fatal Influence
The Impact of Ireland on British Politics

Kevin Matthews (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
14th February 2004


"Fatal Influence" challenges and revises many widely held assumptions about a pivotal moment in both British and Irish history and persuasively demonstrates that Ireland's impact on British politics lasted far longer and was far greater than has been realised. Kevin Matthews places the settlement of the Irish Question in the 1920s within the broader context of a revolution then taking place in British politics and shows how each affected the other. In a detailed investigation, he explores the Irish partition and the often conflicting motives that led to this momentous decision. Far from solving the Irish Question, dividing the country into two parts merely created what one politician at the time called its "elements of dynamite". These explosive elements were thrown into an already unstable political situation in Britain, with three political parties - Liberals, Conservatives, and Labour - all vying for a place in that nation's traditional two-party system. The book brings together some of the most colourful characters of 20th-century British and Irish history, from Winston Churchill and Michael Collins to David Lloyd George and Eamon de Valera.Looming behind is Sir James Craig, the rock-like embodiment of Ulster Unionism. But this story of "high politics" also involves men whose careers are not normally associated with the Irish conflict, figures such as Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald, Neville Chamberlain and, even, Oswald Mosley and Anthony Eden.