King Canute


A chara, – Stephen Collins is the latest in a very long list of your correspondents, stretching over decades, who have wrongly depicted King Canute as a deluded leader who though he could order back the tide. Your columnist suggests that our politicians have behaved like Canute over the Shannon stopover, Irish Sugar and now post offices (Opinion & Analysis, September 13th).

King Canute did not think he could order back the tide, and indeed our politicians could learn a lot from what he actually did. He demonstrated to his fawning subjects, who had too much belief in the power of the monarchy for his liking, that he could order the tide back all he wanted but it would not obey. To demonstrate to them that his powers were, in reality, limited.

I know that it is difficult for a politician in the modern era to be that honest about their shortcomings or relative helplessness, but sometimes it might be the most sensible option. More importantly, The Irish Times owes Canute an apology. – Is mise,



Co Kildare.