31 Mar 2015
Question about English (UK)
What does " battening on the labour of the English workingman" mean?
In the final chapter, he recalls the xenophobic images and words commonly used to caricature the Irish in Victorian England. Colonial Administrator (and obvious psychopath) Charles Trevelyan, and other architects of the ‘famine response’, had a direct hand in filling the newspapers with the “oft-repeated theme that the famine was the result of a flaw in the Irish character.” And Punch, an English ‘satirical’ magazine, regularly portrayed “‘Paddy’ as a simian in a tailcoat and a derby, engaged in plotting murder, battening on the labour of the English workingman, and generally living a life of indolent treason,” explains Mr Coogan. The result of such dehumanising propaganda was to make unreasonable policy seem reasonable and just – historical revisionism in action!
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