I didn't know there was a Wiki page about this fairly pejorative and still ubiquitous term.
But it does exist and it provides, for me at least, some background into the origins of the words. And that's good because you can't beat a bit of etymology of a Friday night.
West Brit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe term originates from 19th century Ireland and has evolved over the years. Nationalist leader Daniel O'Connell used it in the British House of Commons in 1832:
"The people of Ireland are ready to become a portion of the Empire, provided they be made so in reality and not in name alone; they are ready to become a kind of West Briton if made so in benefits and justice; but if not, we are Irishmen again."
But here's the thing - 105 years after O'Connell first used the term in 1832, in 1937 Ireland enacted its own Constitution and later in 1948 declared a Sovereign Republic of Ireland.
So, it's reasonable to say that any Irish person born in Ireland after 1948 (65 years old or younger) was born as an Irish republican. In my case, having been born in the late 60's, I most certainly am an Irish republican. My allegiance, love, support, and emotions such as anger, disappointment and disgust, have always been directed towards this republic.
And then one day I was called a West Brit. I didn't mind really. I thought they were referring to the fact that my Great Grandfather served in the British Military, and his father before him. Or that some of my father's family had gone there for work. Or because I went there myself for work in the early 90's.
No. None of the above. It was because I didn't hate the British and didn't recoil in disgust at anything British. There was a 'thing' whereby the British were bastards and anyone who didn't agree was a West Brit, or a traitor even.
That was something I simply could not understand, and still don't. To this very day. We have our own constitution, we have our own parliament and we make our own statutes. For better or for worse. So why the fck should anyone be bothered if I have a neutral rather than hateful side for things British..
Anyway, what was I saying. There may have been a time when 'West Briton' had meaning. But now it's just stupid. It really is a term of abuse now.
And by and large, it is only used by those who are insecure about Irish republicanism of the modern kind.