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The 22 Committee and all things 1922

We’ve heard of little else in the UK all week so let’s do a deep dive into the 22 Committee and all things 22.

The 22 Committee, or 22 as it’s come to be shortened to.

It’s the group of backbench, or rank and file, MPs who have hastened the leadership contest.

In Liz they Truss: Liz Truss

Put aside that there’s something arcane about a committee called the 1922 in charge of the direction of travel in 2022.

Or not…

Let’s time travel and compare where we were in 1922, where we are now, and where we can compare.

The Irish Question

The Big Fellow: Michael Collins

Dublin: As 1922 dawned, Ireland was still in the UK, was about to become a Free State and halfway in was engaged in Civil War.

Irish history breathes from the streets.

With one of the most dramatic statue-lined thoroughfares anywhere in the world.

The GPO where the Proclamation of the Republic was announced in 1916 is halfway up O’Connell Street and has a museum.

While the Collins Barracks where Michael Collins oversaw the transfer of power from Britain should be on your route.

As should Kilmainham Gaol where the rebels of Easter 1916 were held.

And in whose exercise yard the Scot James Connolly was shot strapped to a chair.

The Scottish Question

Bloomin’ Rosé: Nicola Sturgeon

Edinburgh, Glasgow: And in 1922 Scotland had parked its self-government ambitions promised them in 1914.

Like the Irish they put it on hold because of The Great War.

But unlike their Celtic cousins they took a different fork in the road.

Scotland’s bloated cities, particularly its largest Glasgow where living conditions for most people were a heath risk, rose up.

There was a riot in George Square in Glasgow in 1919.

And three years later Red Clydeside socislist MPs had got a foot in Westminster.

These days their descendants, Nicola Sturgeon et al are more pink or rosé than red.

They sit in the devolved Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.

It is open for visits, tours and gawking at the MSPs.

All roads lead to Mussolini

Pass the Duce: Benito Mussolini

Italy: And Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, heralded in an era of Fascism.

When his March on Rome led to him taking power.

Mussolini still has a rather big footprint in Italy in a way unthinkable say with Hitler in Germany.

I’m reminded by my guide Ingrid in the rebuilt Renaissance City of Dresden.

Where a mural of Communist icons survived the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

That if we airbrush history we open ourselves up to repeat it.

And Mussolini’s stark self-aggrandising architecture in Bergamo, my last Italian pit stop.

It only reaffirmed the beauty of the Renaissance art around it.

While dark tourists, of which I am one, will learn more of Italy between the wars.

In his home town of Predappio in Emilia-Romagna.

Hello Uncle Joe

No ordinary Joe: Joseph Stalin

Georgia: And on the other side of the great political divide Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin in charge of the newly-created USSR.

The first Soviet Union including Belarus, Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasian Republic of Armenia, Azwrbaijan and Georgia.

Stalin had started out on his reign of terror in Georgia.

As a Russian Mafioso fixer (who does that sound like?) and bank robber.

Fly the flag: With Irish Georgian ambassador George

And despite his history of repression and cull of his own people Stalin is still marked in his own republic of Georgia.

But don’t let that put you off.

Georgia is the original home of wine, has a rich culture and Black Sea coastline to savour.

Toot and come in

Ya big Egypt: Tutankhamun

Egypt: And in 22 the British unleashed some dark forces.

No, not in the return of its latest Tory PM, a Scots-educated leader in Bonar Law (now you know).

But in Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and its riches in the Valley of the Kings.

It was a momentous year for the Egyptians.

With the ancient land gaining independence from the UK and Fuad I crowned king.

Whether the Tories elect us a Mummy PM, a first BAME Premier or someone who again is too male, too stale a thought here.

Bonar Law lasted but a year.

His successor Stanley Baldwin a year too, before Britain got its first Labour PM Ramsay MacDonald.

All things to consider for the 22 Committee and all things 1922.


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