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Writer of TV drama ‘Victoria’ compares British attitude during Irish Famine to racism in America

The television writer behind the drama ‘Victoria’ has compared the relationship between the British and the Irish during the Famine to the history of racism in America.

The broadcast of Victoria on British screens recently left many members of the public shocked by the treatment of the Irish by the British government.

Writer compares British attitude during Irish Famine to racism in America

Writer Daisy Goodwin insisted the show use direct quotes used by Sir Charles Trevelyan, the man who allowed food to be transported from Ireland while millions were starving to death.

Two of Trevelyan’s quotes that were included in the drama were “the judgement of God sent the calamity to teach Irish a lesson” and that the famine was an “effective mechanism for reducing surplus population.”

Speaking to the Times, Goodwin said: “It is only when you look at it like this that you understand how Britain and Ireland’s relationship has a similar history to the racism in America.

“Everything Trevelyan says [in the program] about Ireland is based on historical documents.

“The ignorance in the UK of what happened in the Famine is shocking.”

“I don’t think that British people know anything about (the Famine). I would have included myself in that.

“I studied history in Cambridge, but I never knew the extent of how and why it happened.

“I don’t want this to be taken in the wrong way, but there is a feeling that the Irish are always complaining about something.

“I wanted to write an article about the Famine before this series went out but no newspaper was interested. I think there is a feeling of ‘yeah, Irish, whatever.’ There is a fatigue about the relationship but it is not understood.”

“I wanted people here to understand the attitude of the British government victim-blaming the Irish.

“I read the archive of the time and was really angry about how completely wrong they were.”

“I don’t think anybody knows about that in the UK, and I can imagine in Ireland that is really upsetting.”


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