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Cameron should take a greater interest in N Ireland – time Robinson and McGuinness were invited to country supper

Posted on 29 June 2012 | 8:06am

It used to raise a few eyebrows when I said ‘I really like Martin McGuinness’, but now that The Queen has shaken him by the hand, with a big smile across her face, I feel less isolated in my view.

He certainly did a few bad things in his time, and even if The Queen has forgiven the murder of Lord Mountbatten, I know others whose families were wiped out by the IRA who will take a little longer.

But the fact is that McGuinness was once a terrorist and now he is a politician, and a pretty canny one at that, as Sinn Fein’s driving of the choreography of the recent handshake illustrated.

He is in the media today as a politician, complaining that David Cameron is not sufficiently engaged in the Northern Ireland peace process, pointing out that he and First Minister Peter Robinson have seen Barack Obama more often than they have the UK Prime Minister.

His complaint is one I have heard from others in Northern Ireland, who are far closer to Mr Cameron’s politics than McGuinness. The same people complain that the Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson lacks the clout and the judgement with regard to some of the trickier situations that still crop up.

The recent meeting between McGuinness and the head of the State he was determined to destroy risks giving people the impression that everything is now sorted. It is a lot more sorted than it was, but it will still take time for the peace to become settled and – statement of the obvious – enduring.

Cameron’s disengagement is a worry. Because it means that when the crisis moments do come, he will lack the relationships and the insights he will need.

It is five years since Tony Blair stopped being Prime Minister, and whenever people try to tell me that Iraq is all he will be remembered for, I often cite Northern Ireland as one of the many reasons why that statement can be challenged. Looking back, and now seeing how far we have come,  people might imagine it was easy, straight-forward, a linear process heading inexorably to an obvious and better place.

But, as his predecessor John Major also knows, it was always hard and there were always things that could go wrong, and pressure points that could become near crisis moments. It required real focus and determination.

Mr Cameron may think that things cannot really go wrong, and I hope he is right. But it is nonetheless an important part of the country he leads and he ought to take a much bigger interest than he does.

Someone should point out to him that single fact – Obama has seen Robinson and McGuinness more often than he has – and ask him if he shouldn’t perhaps call them in for a country supper. It could be time well spent in addressing problems yet to arise.

  • Anonymous

    Before I comment on this blog, just wondering if Alastair had noticed that Iain Martin in the telegraph is calling for a public inquiry into banks and the crisis, just as Alastair has been. I think I remember from twitter a while back that Alastair and Iain admire each other, despite being on different sides of the fence, anyway here is the link:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/iainmartin1/100168041/barclays-libor-fixing-time-for-a-proper-public-inquiry-into-the-banking-crisis/

    The leftist Daniel Knowles and the rightist Tim Worstall are also calling for bankers to be locked up on the telegraph. The guardian seems to be taking a far softer line for some strange reason, just calling it immoral and calling for resignations.

  • Anonymous

    Good piece. No one can deny the incredible feat of politics that Tony Blair and others achieved in Northern Ireland. It was a compromise, with many unpalatable parts for both sides, not least letting out paramiliary murderers from jail. But in hindsight it has to be acknowledged that it changed Northern Ireland which is in far better shape today. I never thought I’d see the day. Never. For me this was as big an event as the fall of the Berlin wall, or the winding down of the Soviet Union and Cold War.

    I am glad Alastair mentioned John Major too, because though he may have done a lot of bad things, he did a lot of tremendously insightful and courageous things in regard to Northern Ireland too.

    I recommend catching Tony Blair and Alastair’s appearances on “The Late Late Show” in the Republic of Ireland, to see how some people feel about them at least on that side of the border. They were greeted like pop stars. Both interviews were excellent as well, if you youtube you can find Tony’s but annoyingly there are only small segments of Alastair’s left.

    Owen Paterson was a strange choice for Northern Ireland. His upper class accent and manner simply rubs northern irish folk up the wrong way, that may not be a good reason but its a fact. People like Mo Mowlam and John Reid were much better suited.

    As for Cameron, yes he should get more involved. In fact he has an almost unique opportunity I would say. Nationalists tend to be more in favour of Labour in northern Ireland, and unionists in favour of conservatives (even though, when you think about it economically, both should be in favour of Labour.) Cameron will have started with a natural constituency among some unionists there.

    However does anyone remember the scenes at the guild hall in Derry / Londonderry, when thousands of nationalists gathered around the big screen and cheered to the heavens when Cameron denounced bloody sunday with the famous words “It was unjustifed – and unjustifiable.”

    I know that right wingers go crazy when Cameron apologizes for colonial mistakes, in India, and Pakistan, and Northern Ireland. But I think it is one of the best things he has done as a PM. He has created this goodwill, this capital among nationalists. A similar thing happened when British soldiers first were sent to NI and nationalists brought them tea and sandwiches. There was no deep seated hatred of the english, but stupidity of british governments and cleverness of IRA leadership engineered this, the goodwill capital was wasted.

    It looks very much like Cameron could waste his – don’t do it Dave.

  • Anonymous

    One more thing, hope people realised the Tory minister who was found to be working for the Warsaw Pact during the 1970s.

    Labour and the Trade Unions are the ones who normally get accused of this (very accurately in a few cases) but shows it wasn’t only them assisting the KGB directly.

  • Michele

    Shouldn’t NI MPs also take more interest in mainland matters? 

  • Anonymous

    They do don’t they? The unionist and sdlp ones do at least, obviously Sinn Fein always refused its westminster seats but I’m sure we can understand that.

  • Achangeofpersonnel

    Hi Alastair 

    I heard Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness say both have met Barack Obama more often than the UK PM since David Cameron took office.

    Off topic, on the bank inquiry the economist Anne Pettifor has started a e petition on the Government’s website calling for a public inquiry
    Hope it’s ok to post the link here http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35421

  • Anonymous

    I’d say thats one link Alastair will be happy to see. The consensus for an enquiry seems to be building, on left and right. Telegraph bloggers like Iain Martin are calling for it, as is Gillian Tett.

  • Gilliebc

    I guess you’re referring to the late Ray Mawby MP for Totness.  It’s all very strange really, because before becoming a Tory MP he was a trade unionist!   

    Our local (yawn) South West news did a short piece on him yesterday.  Apparently/allegedly he (Mawby) needed the extra money to finance a gambling habit. 

    I wouldn’t have thought he was in a position to have been privy to anything of great value to the ‘other side’ though.  As I said, it all seems very strange.

  • Ehtch

    The two Labour governments of the 1960’s missed a big chance to get a grip of the religious apartheid that was going on in NI at that time, which came to a head in the late 1960’s, which sparked off the tit for tat events with the state in the next few decades. For instance, some electoral boundaries drawn were quite bizarre, it was total electoral gerrymandering. And the exclusion of the catholic community in many parts of society, employment especially, also.

    The events in the next three decades were absolutely horrendous, those pub bombings in the early 1970’s is when things started to become totally crazy. To be living in a country with things like that going on was quite disturbing, to say the least. Just hope to God times like that never ever return. Best thing I think that has happened is the devolved powers to the NI assembly. Westminster has in the past been out of touch with what had been going on in NI.

  • Gilliebc

    I must admit I was hoping AC would have blogged on the latest banking ‘rip-off’ today.  But it looks from his Twitter-feed to this/his site that he is looking for a previous post to refer to when and if he does.  So it’s just a question of time, I would imagine.

    reaguns, I wasn’t aware that AC and Iain Martin had a certain amount of admiration for one another.  If that is the case then I think that’s kinda nice.  AC can always refute this assumption or belief if it isn’t the case.       

    I quite like Iain Martin also.  I agree with some of his views and opinions.  But not all of course.  As for Daniel Knowles, I didn’t know he was ‘leftist’ tbh.  That probably explains why some of the very ‘rightest’ people men mostly, on that other blog site give him such a very hard time.  Poor lad, he looks about 12 years old in his photo.  But I give him his due in that he sticks to his guns and rises above all the criticism he gets, much of which is personal and well out of order.  He is obviously made of stern-stuff.  A lesser person would have run home in tears by now.       

    Regarding the banksters, they should definitely face criminal charges.  They do in other countries e.g. the US. If they can put a youngster in prison for stealing a bottle of water during last year’s riots, then they can bang-up some of these greedy bankster criminals for several years, surely?

  • Gilliebc

    Achangeofpersonel,  Who were you before, I wonder?    

    Anyhow, I saw Anne Pettifor being interviewed on TV yesterday.  I didn’t catch the whole of the interview, but was impressed by what I did see and hear from AP.  I shall certainly be signing that petition.  Thanks for the link!

  • Dave Simons

    Murder is a crime. Some people think it’s a sin. Apparently politicians need to be reminded of that. We know that yesterday’s terrorists are today’s respectable politicians. But if someone commits a domestic murder – maybe fuelled by sexual jealousy – they are punished, usually by a long sentence in prison. Yet if someone commits mass murder for ideological reasons, that is somehow excusable. Bomber Harris can carpet bomb Berlin, Roosevelt can annihilate Hiiroshima and Nagasaki – but were either of those people ever brought to trial?
    People involved in the blowing up of a hotel in Jerusalem in 1947 later became respectable politicians on the world stage. Similarly Martin McGuinness. Maybe at a personal level he’s charming – the ‘Reverend’ Ian Paisley obviously thinks so.  The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire met Hitler in the 1930s and found him charming too. Some people enjoyed ‘Tea with Mussolini’.
    The death count for Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present is around 3526 – with  perpetrators Republicans 2057, Loyalists 1019, British Army 363, others, 87. Margaret Thatcher would lie that the IRA were responsible for 3526 deaths but nevertheless the IRA still have responsibilty for most of the murders. Martin McGuiness must have had some responsibilty for a sizeable proportion of the IRA murders. I don’t care who he shakes hands with – I want the British monarchy to disappear into the dustbin of history. OK you have to compromise in politics and you have to be pragmatic and ‘move on’.
    There was no inevitability about the troubles in Northern Ireland. I remember the start of this round – 1968, students from Queen’s University in Belfast, peacefully marching for civil rights like CND demnstrators, influenced by the anti-Vietnam War demos in London and the American Civil Rights movement. But they did so in a context as bigoted and sectarian as that in the southern United States, and violence soon came from Orange thuggery. British troops intervened and kept the two sides apart, briefly. But then Ted Heath got elected and ‘The Conservative and Unionist Party’ initiated three decades of sectarian violence, with internment and Bloody Sunday bolstering recruitment to a revitalised IRA. All this you can read about in the memos of British army brass involved at the time. As a consequence 3526 people lose their lives, with all the multiple grief to friends, colleagues and relatives. And do we get an apology after all that? My feeling is that the whole thing stinks.

  • You are a media person, foremost and last. Why do you waste your time hanging on the coattails of Labour when your talent is by the nature of it apolitical? Let go, you will probably find it cures your depression.
    Des Currie

  • would you not rather be having a pint in the Lean-to or the Lodge.

  • Ehtch

    Offtopic – sport. Glad to hear London Welsh have won their appeal to play in the top flight Rugby Premiership next season. Oxford has a top-flight rugby side now. Wonder if the students be interested in supporting them? It is up their street, both in the mind and geographically? And wonder if Cameron and his mates would have supported them, if it happened at their time there? But I think Cameron is definatly not a footie man of the egg shaped, I do think, too rough for the poshoe boyo. Link,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/18651050

    And anyway too, he’d be too frightened to have a good kicking on the field of battle, every now and then.

  • Ehtch

    Point of order Dave – it was President Truman that pressed the button with regards Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I have always wondered if FDR would have taken the same decision, if he hadn’t passed away three months previously.

    And did the scientists then know and appreciate the longstanding full effects of nuclear fall-out? The radioactive isotope strontium-90 was next to non-existent in the environment before Hiroshima, but soon became carpeted all across the globe quite quickly. That is why there became an agreement to stop atmospheric nuclear bomb testing in the early 1960’s, when it’s effects became apparent, with increasing cancers all over the World. No doubt surveys of the time are still under lock and key.

    However, with regards to strontium-90 in the environment, One mile Island, Chenobyl and Sendai earthquake with tsunami, as well as many other smaller nuclear energy events, like submarine disasters at sea,  haven’t helped either.

  • Ehtch

    off topic again, cough!, as usual, a song for Italia for tomorrow night, filmed in somewhere in the UK, obviously not In Wales/Cymru, otherwise the road markings would say SLOW/ARAF, I think maybe the Cornwall/Devon/Somerset area, but again I might be totally wrong, as Alastair was with the Germans… : )
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_tiJ2sJtTQ

    Should be a good match, Bartiotelli will make sure of that, unlike the porto espana paint dry semi they had. Pants match that was.

  • Ehtch

    …furthermore, so I have now spotted it was Lancashire from it’s coast, larrck…

  • Ehtch

    Again, for tomorrow evening, but the proper Gigilola ending, hanky at the ready disgusted old wimmin from Tunbridge Wells, sob into it, and Bardiotelli especially, go for it boyo. BOYO I said lad, as welsh lads are called… behave
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WY9vR0DsNY

  • Gilliebc

    I think you raise many very good points in that post Dave.  Not least the sheer futility/stupidly of wars and up-risings. They are almost, if not all politically or elite orchestrated. 

    It’s time for the masses to wake-up to their evil games and say ‘no, we’re not going to ‘play along’ with your evil plans any longer.  Enough already.

    For the elite, wars are all about power, making even more money and depopulation.  Why can’t people see this harsh truth? 

  • Ehtch

    Might as well post of a welshman alumini of Oxford, St Edmuds College, Gwyn Thomas, a welshamn. went there in the early 1930’s, and he hated it it then, but managed to get out of the other end intact, what with spanish civil wars and Mosely floating about at home. He went to a dinner and he sat next to Franco, in Spain, do you know that? No bullshit,

    Gwyn here,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caqGqpWcccQ

    played by that man Hopkins, many say actors are shithouse cowardly bloodsuckers of life, as I, also.

  • Ehtch

    bugger it, might as well post a true Gwyn Thomas story, when he was a school teacher in Barry Grammar School for boys, when the chemistry teacher had too much pop the night before, and cried off, and Gwyn in his free lesson was asked to look after them. He talked, then decided to march down the classroom, and noticed a lad, shoving his land and wrist up and down, for some imagined reason, and Gwyn just told him “If you carry on like that, boy, you will get yourself into a right big mess”.

  • Ehtch

    GOOD GRIEF! flipping flip! Just been sent an extended stuff on Italiano songs. Gawd knows how they know me. It suddenly appeared. It seems I have friends in, cough, peswch!, certain places, SO WATCH IT!!! : )))
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T31onKUj-xc

    Well, I might as well say it, I DO! OK?

  • Ehtch

    oops, three mile even, but who cares with a couple of miles when things like this go on, ignorantly scientifically?

    I am all for science, but with some sort of common sense. Do they want to irradiate themselves with us out of existence, as well as all the plants and animals we share this planet with?

    It that is what you want, that is what you will get.

  • Ehtch

    By the way Alastair, noticed you have been talking to Sam Warburton on twitter in recent days. Sorry to say Alastair, he is our yesterday man already, I have heard it. Jason Tupiric, the half Croation is our man now at number seven.

    That’s sport, Warburton had his chance, gave it all, but not strong enough, too fragile, Justin is made of nails, and jeezus, is he quick for a number seven!

    Sorry Sam, you are dropped.

  • Dave Simons

     Thanks Ehtch – all points taken and I am corrected about the US Presidency of the time!

  • Ehtch

    Living under a stump of a very old oak tree, dug between it’s grand roots, as my distant ancestors used to do honestly, especially through winters, ferns for bedding to keep very warm, nuts and acorns and dried berries of all sorts and dried fish and deer, to get us through, till spring, after snow,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNiimC07_Ac

  • Ehtch

    Greece type tax avoidance and dodging hasn’t got through yet in our system. You earn x and you pay y tax. But in our increasingly Greek like society it is not happening yet, but it is starting to appear.

    I have already pointed out to the blinkered ones that the UK is getting more corrupt month on month.

    Jimmy Carr is just the start, investigations need to be done for instance, high up directors of our NHS, in the civil service, everywhere,

    As I said, you earn x, and you pay y tax, and anyone that avoids paying y needs to be put up against the wall and shot. You are grabbing our fresh air, and we will be be better without you – you are frankly the parasites of the state, not the poor people of our country.

    We will find you, and point you out, with your corrupt accountants looking after your earnings.

    If you earn x, you pay y in tax, no two ways about it, numpties.

  • reaguns

    Seems his only use is for propaganda so that labour can finally say “Oh yeah, well you had communists working for you too!”

  • reaguns

    Yeah looks like Alastair addressed the matter today.

    Re Daniel Knowles, I think what winds telegraph readers up is that he is kind of an undercover leftist ie doesn’t say he is but takes up those positions, whereas someone like Dan Hodges or Tom Chivers on the telegraph are openly Labour which people are fine with I think.

  • reaguns

    Certainly if you are talking about Northern ireland, if not an elite, then a minority on both sides forced the rest of the population to live with the war. It wasn’t as small a minority as people think, but nevertheless the Good Friday Agreement showed the incredible power of democracy. For years Adams, Paisley and the like, whilst seeking personal power and influence, convinced people to kill and die for political concepts like who ruled Northern Ireland, then when the people were finally given the choice to vote for peace – they did. The fact that only 71% voted for peace shows what a mess Northern Ireland had become, whereas I think in the Republic 95 or 98% voted for it.

  • reaguns

    I always wondered if FDR would have taken the same decision. Truman was more hawkish I believe.

  • reaguns

    I was sceptical about the devolved assembly, but whatever crazy things Paisley/Adams/McGuinness/Robinson have done in the past (and they are all guilty) I am amazed at the maturity and responsibility they have shown in government.

    I think all the british governments of the 60s and 70s are to blame, and the army. This war could have been prevented, or shortened, but for crazy decisions of the British, and fiendishly clever tactics and propaganda of the IRA.

  • reaguns

    Re Northern Ireland I’d be interested in your sources. I thought I’d read everything there was to read on the subject, and thought the army brass you refer to were at least as culpable as the governments. Just as with the rest of the economy, I thought that the Tory and Labour governments were equally useless on NI in the 60s and 70s. Certainly internment and hunger strikes were own goals by the British, but I never considered that this was all the Tories fault. You think labour would not have introduced internment? I am led to believe that it was the deployment of scottish (unionist biased) troops and the skill of the IRA into drawing british into attacks on the previously supportive catholic communities, that turned the tide. Joe Cahill talks about the dismay in the IRA about the british troops protecting the catholics and the catholics being grateful, bringing cups of tea and sandwiches. Proving that there was no deep seated hatred of the british, it was engineered later.

    I do think it took the IRA almost 30 years to realise that the government will never be broken while you only kill their irish subjects, their catholics, even their protestants, even when you kill their police, their army and their mainland civilians. To get concessions, the IRA had to bomb government ministers directly, and bomb economic targets. There were concessions after each and every one of these events. Sadly its a lesson Al Qaeda will never learn, they will continue to kill the plebs while the governors are unconcerned.

    As for carpet bombing of Germany and the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs, I have to agree this seems like criminal mass murder. Perhaps I miss something from the time, but this was wiping out innocents on a mass scale, at a time when the Allies were already going to win the war.

  • reaguns

    My God, did they nuke away 2 miles of the Island? 🙂

  • Michele

     ‘We’ can?

    I’m sure most would understand it more and empathise with their ‘point’ if they’d not taken the dosh.

  • Gilliebc

    Yes, you may well be correct about that.

  • Ehtch

    I think I did, but just in remembering it wrong. It was the first main feck-up in nuclear power generation, I believe.

    But Windscale, which got renamed to Sellafield due to bad news headlines, had serious “events” too. The local fields for instance once got banned from keeping dairy cows on after one event. And the Irish government tried to sue the British government due to sea currents from Cumbria irratiating it’s eastern beaches.

    And there is a beach in north-western Scotland that is offlimits because it is full of alpha-particles due to a spillage into the sea of serious radioactive waste that wasn’t processed properly, or something.

    Makes you think what nimbeys are going on about with the prospect of windmills on their skyline, doesn’t it?

  • Ehtch

    oh blimey, Espana won it easily – tidy goals. Italia were just not at the races.

  • Ehtch

    Sorry Sam, just joking about – just trying some reverse psychology, to get the best out of such, but it is a big debate at the moment, the “will Warbs keep his place with the Tipuric threat to his place etc.?”. That is sharp end sport for you, you need to keep fighting for your place.

  • Ehtch

    Suppose i shouldn’t say, I was on the NARO team in case nuclear energy events happened in north western England, in my time at RAF Sealand, just outside Chester.

    Well, I have said it now – need to check what I signed in the “not to mention” box when I left the regular armed forces. But I think they won’t mind, for healthy discussion encouraging things from Joe Public on the streets.

    Otherwise, send me to the glashouse in Colchester if you want.

    We used to cover Sellafield.

    NARO stands for nuclear accident reaction organisation, by the way. Has a new name these days, by the way, I believe. 

  • Ehtch

    might as well repost this song, which reminded me of Pogle’s Wood, but Pogle’s Wood was without the bare lads bottoms as here, ladies. Where was the ladies bare bottoms, let alone chests, is all I have to ask, Grimes?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YuAeeF-2Ec

  • Ehtch

     
    Talked to Whiskers this morning, and he thanked me for keeping his Franny amused when he went to visit his sister, who is going out with a rugger player in Leicester, Tigers it might be, but that is up for me and you to guess, and with Fran, we even discussed Napoli icecream, which she was very impressed with, as song as here,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30FOFFZHH48

    Might as well post a song for Espana, since they are on top of the footie World, de la Península Ibérica, donde una ronda de fútbol, se pasa y anotó la mejor en estos días. Gorki Zygotic Mwnci,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG6yOcUfjO8

  • reaguns

    Always the way though, its amazing what principles can be set aside in order to receive cash, weapons, oil etc. Also people in Northern Ireland who are “true believers” in one side or the other tend not to question such obviously questionable actions by their representatives. Ie in Sinn Fein’s case their willingness to accept the money, and in the DUP’s case their vehement disagreement to the deal set up by UUP/David Trimble compared with their aquiescence to an almost identical deal once it was them in power not UUP.

  • Michele

    Between Sept 40 and May ’41 London, was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 57 consecutive nights
    and many towns and cities across the country followed. More than one
    million London houses were destroyed or damaged, and more than
    40,000 civilians were killed, almost half of them in London.”

    Revenge isn’t sweet but I doubt Dresden would have happened in ’42 had it not been for the Blitz or that any bombs would have been dropped on Japan if not for kamikaze tactics.

    ‘Already going to win the war’? 
    More like had just found out about the extermination camps.

  • Michele

    ” There was no deep seated hatred of the english ”

    Yes there was and especially of the imposition of Protestantism.
    Why else was RoI reinstated/created in 1917?
    Don’t forget that in NI right up till ’69 it was almost impossible for a Catholic child to continue in education beyond age 15.

    The Protestants, English and ‘Northern Irish’, had much to answer for.
    Their women spat on Catholic children on their way to school.

    Were we informed in clear ways who was doing what to whom?  Were we hell, we were led to believe via our media that virtually every killing or bombing had been committed by IRA supporters.

  • Michele

     Are you suggesting the Queen should have apologised?

  • reaguns

    This is tremendously difficult to define, I don’t dispute what you say but let me try to restate what I mean.

    Also, I know that when talking about hundreds of thousands of people and making such generalisations I can never be very accurate.

    What I mean is, in the climate of the 1980s, or 1990s, you could never imagine a British army patrol going into nationalist areas of Belfast and being welcomed, such is the enmity that exists. People are led to believe this is due to deep-seated, tribal, historical hatred.

    Whereas when the first British troops went into Belfast, to nationalist areas, they were welcomed. They were seen as being their to protect the nationalists, to be fair protectors of them as citizens. This is recorded by historians and even by loyalists and republican parmilitary biographies.

    So the level of enmity that existed in this direction in the 1980s and 1990s did not exist in the early days, it was created later. Does that make sense.

  • reaguns

    Yes, I know, I’m sure if I had been around in those times and had suffered blitz bombings, or had relatives killed by them, or knew about the way the Japanese treated POWs etc then I might have thought differently.

    And I know it was a state of “total war” ie in theory everyone was involved in the war effort, either fighting as troops, or working to provide equipment and food for troops, therefore according to some theory everyone is an enemy. I just can’t subscribe to this theory. I could understand Britain doing it in 1940 when outnumbered, outgunned, surrounded, but less so in 1944-5.

    But again, I am aware of the limits of how I feel compared to how I might have felt at the time.

  • Michele

     
    I hope AC can feel your lurve 🙂

  • Michele

    The troops were there being honest Joes …. to protect Protestants against terrorism.
    We hadn’t yet seen how ugly Protestant  behaviour could be, how violent and how pathetically snobbish about old vs new religion, right DOWN to it being sprayed and spat at children.

    Ireland will have to become united and independent at some time in the future.
    I could have dual citizenship, I didn’t apply as I see it only as exploitation of EU financing, just as has been the whole nonsense of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy which is not all that different to Greece’s.

  • Michele

     I doubt anyone would have voted for what Bomber Harris felt ‘we’ had to do as the only way to stop the Blitz.
    I doubt it was just about revenge for those nights (as it is so often portrayed).

  • Anonymous

    In the first instance, the troops were there to protect catholics from the pogroms.

    The IRA were famously not equipped to do so at the time (though they were working in the background to rearm and regroup) hence the graffiti “IRA = I Ran Away”.

    The IRA then successfully re-armed and were ready to defend catholic neighbourhoods, but in the meantime the troops and the catholics had turned / been turned against each other. The IRA allegedly did not use their firepower to beat back the troops, they wanted to let them keep going until the hatred was embedded deeply enough, only then did they start the fightback.

  • Anonymous

    Well I like to think I wouldn’t have, though I’m sure many would, but from this distance its hard to say with any certainty.

  • Michele

     Oooh yeah, let’s all misuse a word of the moment, everybody’s doing it (or being asked not to).

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0511/1224315908195.html

    Look up the history of words for yourself, exaggeration about incidents tends to devalue the horror of what went before.

    Separately, interesting programme this week about younger NI communities actually getting closer via Punk!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kblcd
    It also mentions John Peel …. sigh 🙂

  • Dave Simons

     I don’t suggest the Queen does anything except maybe abdicate.

  • reaguns

    Did I misuse the word pogrom? I may have, just have connections to the area and they always used the word pogrom, therefore so did I. I was about to say “Your article is on about the 1920s” but by that definition the word mightn’t apply in 1969 either.

    Apparently most uses of the word genocide are incorrect as well.