Gerry Harvey, executive chairman of Harvey Norman, is a prick.
Complaining about their shops’ trading difficulties in Ireland, Harvey had this to say: just imagine you opened in Ireland; you’d want to go and cut your throat. The potato famine, someone said, the return of the potato famine in Ireland
What a prick. How dare he compare the troubles of his sofa shop with the greatest catastrophe this land has ever known?
Does this fool know what he’s talking about? Would he go to Israel and compare his trading downturn to a Holocaust?
There was no potato famine in Ireland.
There was simply a Famine.
(Pic by C’est la Craic)
The term “potato famine” is a calculated insult to the million people who died of starvation in this country between 1841 and 1851. It’s also a calculated insult to the millions who suffered and died in the coffin ships to America, trying to escape the desolation. It’s an insult to the countless millions all over the world who are descended from the survivors of the greatest mass exodus in our history.
The fact that the people were dependent on a single crop for survival was not of their making. It was a direct result of incompetent, callous government from London. It was a result of endless greed on the part of those British aristocratic landlords who claimed this country as their own and who ruthlessly drove the small Irish farmers to abject poverty as they wrung every last penny of rent from them.
For some landlords, the catastrophe was a blessing. A means of driving smallholders off their land and into the grave or the emigrant ship.
It was an obscenity, and this prick, Gerry Harvey, ought to be ashamed of himself for likening the troubles of his sofa shop to such a calamity.
If you doubt the scale of the disaster, look at this table. These are the population figures for England and Ireland between 1831 and 1911. Look at the direction taken by the population figures for England and Wales from the start of the Great Famine in 1841. Compare them to what happened in Ireland.
|England & Wales (million)||Ireland
|Ireland as percentage of total||Ireland compared to England and Wales (%)|
Now, you might be aware that the rapacity of English absentee landlords in Ireland gave rise to a new concept which has since swept the world.
In 1880, when he raised rents and evicted poor tenants from their land, the estate agent of a British absentee landlord was left totally isolated by the refusal of farm workers, shopkeepers, businessmen and even the postman, to deal with him. He was ostracised and ultimately made helpless by his complete exclusion from society.
His name? Captain Charles Boycott.
I wonder how Gerry Harvey would feel if Australian and New Zealand descendants of Irish people were to boycott his shops?