“Go home British soldiers” – BBC

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I like the BBC. It performs a quality set of services that the market just couldn’t. The reporting of the end of Operation Banner however, was disgracefully one sided across the BBC. The event was used with impunity by Republicans to lie about the troubles, misrepresent facts, and I did not see anywhere near balance on any of the channels or shows. O’Neill complained to the Jeremy Vine show, and received a quite abrupt reply.

  • BogExile

    That Republican triumphalist argument in full:

    1. We won
    2. Brits Out
    3. Er

    The Unionist response:

    1. Democracy beat pyhsical force republicanism and the loyalist perversion it spawned so we all won.
    2. Hello?, check the weather forecast. The wiggly line is still here and so are we.
    3. That’s it

  • RG Cuan

    Come on folks, all this BBC-bashing about biased Operation Banner coverage is a joke.

    It’s the first time the Beeb does an objective piece on the role of the Army here and some Unionist elements go crazy.

    Just because the establishment is used to hearing its own news from the BBC, and UTV (anybody see the best of ‘Ulster’ thing?!), doesn’t mean things are going to stay that way.

  • miss fitz

    I was in Grantham for most of the day, but I listened to Radio Ulster on the way to the airport until almost 8am. I heard serving and former soldiers being interviewed, in a fair and compassionate manner by Karen Patterson. She asked about their feelings, and indeed went into some detail about PTSD.

    Later that night, I watched the BBC 10 o’clock news in England, and again saw Operation Banner covered in a fair and dispassionate manner.

    I fail to see how Michael can claim it was one-sided coverage. I accept I did not catch some of the coverage, but the portions I saw and heard fairly represented the British side.

    Is there a suggestion that the ‘other side’ are not worthy of expressing their opinion?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Lets not be insulting Miss Fitz.

    I watched the coverage on News 24, BBC NI, and I have to say particularly on TalkBack, the bias of balance of commentators, as well as the downright lies that were told almost completely unchallenged by those commentators, was disgraceful.

  • BogExile

    other side’ are not worthy of expressing their opinion:

    The intergrity of republican wish fullfillment masquerading as ‘viewpoint’ is unmatched anywhere. But stacking this up against an agency of the state which is much more constrained and restrained in commentary is hardly ‘balance.’

    I saw several instances of ‘bufton-tufton versus the shinner spinner’ on interviews. It made good television but poor truth. In my viewing of the reports there was very little evidence of the voice of Protestants along the border who relied on the army literally as a bulwark against ethnic cleansing by republican terrorists.

  • Wang Kerr

    Didn’t see much of the coverage you speak of just what was on C4 News and newsnight. What lies are you specifically referring to about the troubles?

    As far as most ationalists are concerned, the troubles began when civil rights marches were held across the North against corrupt, oppressive illegalities like gerrymandering etc. The Unionists’ response, as I understand it (I’m from the South so I’m sure I’ll get some unionist ‘version’ in response) was to burn people out of their homes and kill nationalists in the street. Then you had Bloody Sunday, which cemented the BA’s motives in NI for most if not all nationalists.

    All whataboutery aside, is this not the cause of all the bother? As someone recently said to me, if the Catholics in Northern Ireland were black, the situation in NI would never have been tolerated for as long as it was and would have been sorted out 25/30 years ago.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Republican revisionism has taught you well Wang.

  • Prince Eoghan

    MS

    Reporting with a tinge of political expediency should no longer be expected I’m afraid.

  • miss fitz

    I think its important to differentiate between news coverage and opinion programmes.

    To say that you were particularly annoyed at the Talkback show is difficult to counter. Talkback is an open mike show for members of the public. If the show is dominated on a particular day, that has less to do with the ‘disgraceful’ BBC coverage than it has to do with other elements of manipulation.

    As I said, I listened to Radio Ulster and watched the news in England, and found the BBC coverage to be fair and balanced.

  • Watcher

    The BBC and UTV have for years had an explicit 32 county agenda which in the former case has been rolled back somewhat because of unionist vigilance in defending our rights.

    The coverage of Operation Banner seems to emphasise that this vigilance must be maintained.

    Of course we still have a regional UK TV station that covers intricately the news affairs of a foreign nation as if it were local news, reports on foreign sport in regional sports’ programming and delivers foreign weather in regional weather forecasts (even to the extent of including foreign towns on the map). The border was abolished entirely on the weather map before unionists forced a slim line to be reinstated.

  • mnob

    prince eoghan et al – the central point of the argument is that on every occasion that the subject was discussed, professional republican politicians were pitched against army personel or journalists.

    In this thread the OP was about an offensive song.

    None of you have actually adressed these points – your answers have been along the lines of “nana na na na you’re upset so we’re happy”.

  • Prince Eoghan

    mnob

    C’mon now! I know the song well, as you and everyone else knows the ‘Brits’ refers to the British war machine. Not as is suggested to those who feel culturally British. A silly allegation!

    Since MS and self parody are getting on so well, why shouldn’t we throw rotten fruit and laugh our little hearts out? from the cheap seats of course.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Absolutely, who contributes from the floor or calls into TalkBack isn’t an issue for balance, but who the BBC invite to contribute to an almost panel format for that show are. And on that day, TalkBack was hideously one sided on all counts.

  • mnob

    Prince Eoghan – and ‘fenian’ means a member of the irish republican brotherhood – so can we have the billy boys sung on Radio 4 a few times please ?

    Still no answer on the makeup of the interviews I note.

  • Globetrotter

    “The border was abolished entirely on the weather map before unionists forced a slim line to be reinstated.”

    Jesus, the sheer oppression of it all. I’m glad the vigilant are standing up for our birthrights!

  • Prince Eoghan

    mnob

    As has been noted here many times. Context!

    The makeup should consist of whom then in your opinion? Was it not the IRA and the Brits at war? who else held centre stage?

  • Ed Carson

    The BBC is disgraceful. It is infiltrated by Republicans and does not provide the public service it is supposed to. The security forces stood between us and the tyranny of Rome. The watchword should always be Not an inch to the cowards who shoot the guardians of the law in the back.
    Of course, the cowards of the IRA and INLA killed more of their own men than did the security forces. Psychopaths are never satiated.
    Well done Michael. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  • Wang Kerr

    So what exactly is the complaint?

    There have been posts about this for days now. You’re angry because the ‘accepted version’ of the history of the troubles in NI, even from the BBC’s point of view, is not the one you’d hoped for, so therefore you attack it as warped and imbalanced? That the British army don’t get portrayed as covering themselves in glory and ride off into the sunset as heroes?

    Get over it, people…It’s called history. You continue to propogate your version of events, the rest of the world gets to hear and see what actually happened.

  • BogExile

    THAT TALK BACK TRANSCRIPT IN FULL:

    David Dunseith:

    So what about the Brit’s leaving? Are we pleased to see them go or do I just have something big in my pocket? Let’s talk to Kelly Gerry who has lived on Bessbrook heliport in a caravan since 1297? Kelly are you there?

    Kelly: I’m here and the Brits aren’t! Sure it’s a lovely day in Ireland for beating prods, I mean swords, into ploughshares! They slaughtered us all with their scouse accents and their foreign ways, like scotch eggs. But although we’re all murdered dead, we’re still here. And I wanted to turn Boruki sanger into a chip shop but the securocrats wouldn’t let me and all my pigs have 5 legs. And who do I sue now for compensation?

    David: Thanks Kelly. Let’s go to a nursing home in Cricklewood and speak to Leiutenant General Fenian D’Eath. How do you respond to the fact that you have mutated pigs and caused AIDs?

    D’Eath: I can well remember fishing as a young subaltern near the border in the lakes near Meigh, lovely days, then…

    David: I’m sorry we’ve lost Gen D’Eath as he’s just died a broken man. Over to our regular commentator Phil Graves who as a decommissioned IRA volunteer with an ology reflects on why catching fish is really a metaphor for shoot-to-kill.

    :)

  • Watcher

    Jesus, the sheer oppression of it all. I’m glad the vigilant are standing up for our birthrights!

    You may take the piss, but when this cultural creepage is an official policy designed to sell out Ulster then vigilance is our only defence.

    Resist the cultural genocide practised by BBC!

  • Shore Road Resident

    Radio Ulster would have a little more credibility if it didn’t employ Danny Morrison’s wife as a producer.

  • Rapunsel

    Watcher

    Away and troll somewhere else you buffoon

    Michael Shilliday , jeez you really are scraping the barrel with this complaint. Have you listened to and watched and analysed every piece of BBC coverage of the event in the last few eeeks. I doubt it. You clearly expressing a partial view based on an incomplete analysis.

    I for one listened to an excellent balanced piece of coverage on Radio 5 live last week with Gerry Kelly and Jeffrey Donalsdon.

    The crux of your complaint is that the BBC did not cover and analyse the event as you would have liked.

    Have you made a formal complaint to the BBC

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

    or you just looking for something to say on Slugger and this is the best you could do?

  • Globetrotter

    Watcher,

    There has been a lot of Southern accents on display in washing powder adverts lately. You may be on to something.

  • Animus

    I saw the thread yesterday about the complaint by AARSE so I checked out their website, which had threads about which advert mums they would ‘do’. Charming.

    I thought some of the coverage was a bit obvious, but much of it fair and reasonable. I didn’t listen to Talkback, but I’ve listened to it in the past and it does tend to attract the more ranting listener.

    Michael – history will distort your view, just as it will many republicans’ views. History is collective. We all know the old cliche about three sides to the story – one side, the other side and the truth. You may diagree with others’ views, but to call them lies is ungracious.

  • Sean

    Resist the cultural genocide practised by BBC!

    The BBC is disgraceful. It is infiltrated by Republicans and does not provide the public service it is supposed to. The security forces stood between us and the tyranny of Rome.

    lol does wee ian know you’ve taken his diary and are printing excerpts on slugger

  • Cuchulainn

    i really cant understand some of you republicans,

    “oooo we got the brits out! victory for us!”

    this is such crap! if anything you kept them here 30 years longer than they should have been!

    and itsnt it strange that it was the IRA to lower the guns and call a ceasefire before they left! hmm, doesnt sound like a victory to me!

    it was by a pen and not a gun that got the british army top leave, and they are still here, what ever happened to brits out, no stormont, united ireland! Shinn Fein has went against everyhting they stood for!

    Hunger strikers would be turning in thier gave!

    But thank God that the Shinners finalyl realised SDLP were right all along, to bad you cant turn back 100s of innocent deaths!

  • Rory

    “….so can we have the billy boys sung on Radio 4 a few times please ?”.

    No, Mnob, you most certainly cannot. Gangsta Rap is as Mozart compared to that shit and no one wants it, thank you very much.

  • Michael Shilliday

    But a rebel song is just dandy?

  • Harry Flashman

    **As far as most ationalists are concerned, the troubles began when civil rights marches were held across the North against corrupt, oppressive illegalities like gerrymandering etc. The Unionists’ response, as I understand it (I’m from the South so I’m sure I’ll get some unionist ‘version’ in response) was to burn people out of their homes and kill nationalists in the street. Then you had Bloody Sunday, which cemented the BA’s motives in NI for most if not all nationalists.**

    OK allow me.

    The Civil Rights Movement achieved all their demands by November 1968, this is a fact (the only exception being repeal of the Special Powers Act, roughly equivalent to the Emergency Powers Act which was currently also in force in the Republic). So no, nobody’s homes were burned out, in fact, the demands were met after a handful of marches by Nationalists. Wow! Such oppression! Oh the humanity!

    So how did the homes get burned out? Well that’s kinda embarrasing, coz the first home burning was done by rioting Nationalists in Derry, yup, you never hear to much about that do you? The Nationalists had previously attacked a perfectly peaceful march by protestant fellow citizens who had the temerity to express their culture in a Catholic dominated city. After two days of wanton destruction, with an exhausted police force and a walk around Waterloo Square by country bumpkin B Specials the army was sent in to prevent Derry city centre being razed to the ground (although Nationalists were subsequently able to achieve this in coming years using bombs).

    However that wasn’t enough for the Civil Rights Movement whose demands had been met almost a year earlier, they called on an uprising of Nationalist rioters throughout the North to “take the pressure off Derry”. Nationalists obliged and communal disturbances erupted across the North, an exhausted RUC and hopelessly ill equipped and under trained Special Constabulary reacted with heavy handed recklessness leading to several innocents being killed and when Belfast Nationalists were foolhardy to start rioting and burning in the streets around Divis the powder keg blew and inter-community rioting took place as a result of which not surprisingly the majority community took the heavier toll on the minority.

    So how did we get to Bloody Sunday? Well that was a full two and a half years later. British troops who were initially welcomed by Nationalists (this is not a myth as some try to allege) then found themselves on the receiving end of a resurgent IRA, who armed and financed by leading members of the Irish government, decided that it was time to take on the old enemy and to hell with civil rights. A brutal terrorist campaign was launched with bombs and assassinations a commonplace, this proceeded for two more years until, exasperated, the British government introduced internment.

    Internment was woefully implemented, the wrong people were arrested, it was one sided, and many detainees were badly treated. The IRA intensified its campaign and disorder and mass violence became the norm (note, the demands of the Civil Rights Movement already had been granted three years earlier). In January 1972, an illegal anti-internment march in Derry was prevented from getting to the city centre, in the subsequent rioting a platoon of Paratroopers ran amok for thirty minutes and disgracefully shot dead 13 unarmed demonstrators, most of whom had no role in the rioting.

    This incident was appalling and more pertinently a one off, no such massacre of civilians was to take place again despite the IRA and Loyalist terrorists carrying out dozens of similar atrocities in the decades to come. The British Army also lost over 700 members.

    So there you have in Wang, feel free to contradict any historical facts (as opposed to opinions) which I have got wrong. Oh and simply labelling me a “revisionist” will not be sufficient.

  • I Wonder

    Actually, Harry, that was an admirably succinct post.

  • Wang Kerr

    Aah right, now I see…so the violence broke out for no reason at all then, just that all Catholics are murdering vermin scum? Thanks for clearing that up for me. I’ll be off now, thanks.

  • audley

    “Watcher,

    There has been a lot of Southern accents on display in washing powder adverts lately. You may be on to something. ”

    Begorrah, I didnt think those unwashed Micks had any need for washing powder now. Go back to Calton radio and spout you bile there.

    Hows your “Airport for Buncrana” campaign going there Michael? If its such a lucrative business opportunity, why don’t you open one yourself?

    There were none so happy to go home than the Brit soldiers themselves. In fairness you don;t join the army to sit in South Armagh playing connect 4.

  • andy

    Harry
    Genuine Question – what makes you say all the civil rights marchers demands had been met in 68?

  • joeCanuck

    That indeed was a fairly well balanced analysis Harry although I know a lot of people will disagree.
    If the Sunningdale agreement had been given half a chance, we wouldn’t have had those awful years and all the atrocities.
    But, now we can move forward, I hope.

  • Garibaldy

    Harry F,

    Here’s some stuff I pulled off CAIN. Many of the NICRA demands had been met, but by no means all in 1968.

    NICRA’s first meeting was in early 1967:

    “The Civil Rights Movement called for a number of reforms one of which was for ‘one man, one vote’, that is, a universal franchise for local government elections. At the time only rate-payers were entitled to votes, and there were other anomalies to do with additional votes for companies. The association also campaigned for the end to gerrymandering of electoral boundaries. Other reforms pressed for included: the end to perceived discrimination in the allocation of public sector housing and appointments to, particularly, public sector employment; the repeal of the Special Powers Act; and the disbandment of the ‘B-Specials'”

    The reforms you refer to in November 1968 were:

    “Terence O’Neill, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, announced a package of reform measures which had resulted from meetings in London with Harold Wilson, then British Prime Minister, and James Callaghan, then British Home Secretary. The five point reform plan included:

    a nine member ‘Development Commission’ to take over the powers of the Londonderry Corporation;
    an ombudsman to investigate complaints against government departments;
    the allocation of houses by local authorities to be based on need;
    the Special Powers Act to be abolished as it was safe to do so; and
    some reform of the local government franchise (the end of the company votes).”

    As you can see from comparing the two, this was far from meeting all NICRA’s demands, especially on the franchise and gerrymandering, on the coercive powers of the state, and regarding the allocation of houses, these reforms didn’t work, and it needed the foundation of the NIHE several years later to finally solve the issue.

    The reform package came only after the brutal assault on the march in Derry was televised and embarassed the British government into forcing action from Stormont.

    NICRA achieved its goals not by 1968 but by 1970, through peaceful means. Alas by then the sectarian dynamic on both sides was too strong.

    As for the riots that kicked things off – surely you have to take into account the provocative behaviour of the marchers in mocking the people of the Bogside. And given the track record of the hopelessly ill-equipped and undermanned RUC, it was not an uninvolved ajudicator and peacekeeping force, but a central player in unleashing the storm.

  • I Wonder

    One key moment was the Belfast/Derry march, which was opposed by almost all of NICRA erm..except for the marchers who took part, Mr Farrell and Ms Devlin (or so it seems)

    I recall Ms. Devlin stating that the intention of the march was purely to provoke and to expose the “rotten nature of the state” or some such claim. Well, she sort of succeeded. But is a provoked and angry person thereby revealing their “true” self? I don’t think those who stoned (as distinct from those who were stoned) at Burntollet, were typical of anyone.

  • Garibaldy

    I Wonder,

    The problem was that the state was in fact discriminatory, as was a great deal of civil society, and so much about it was rotten. You can blame people for provoking a response but of course the response that they provoked was only possible if much of what they had been saying was right.

  • andy

    Thanks Garibaldy.

  • Harry Flashman

    I won’t quibble with you, Garibaldy, on whether the November ’68 package actually achieved the demands of NICRA to my mind they did so to all intents and purposes. Nor will I argue that the overreaction of the RUC in Duke Street was the catalyst for these reforms, however despite the overblown rhetoric of the time compared to what the Metropolitan Police ladled out at Grosvenor Square London that same year it was small beer indeed.

    I do have a dispute with the marchers who “mocked” and “provoked” the Bogsiders. There is always the apocryphal story of Orangemen throwing pennies at the Bogside from the Walls but I have to honestly say I have never met anyone who actually witnessed this, they always tell you they heard from someone they knew who had a friend who says he met someone who saw it but surprisingly for such a pivotal occasion there doesn’t actually seem to be any first hand witnesses. Furthermore that would also presume that this alleged provocation was the spark which ignited the Bogside when the world and his aunty knew for weeks beforehand that trouble was being prepared and Derry Citizen Action/Defence Committees had their contingency plans (barricades, petrol bombs etc) well in hand in time for the day itself.

    As regards Burntollet there is no doubt in my mind that this was the turning point, it was utterly unnecessary and destroyed any chance of a peaceful settlement, to say this in no way excuses the reprhensible actions of on and off duty policemen along the route and later in Derry itself. But Christ help us what might have been stopped if Bernadette hadn’t decided to trail her coat along that bloody road!

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    The pennies may or may not be true, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that jeering and sectarian taunts were shouted. As for the contingency plans, I don’t know but I guess we’ll never know if that trouble was inevitable or was sparked by provocation. Either is possible.

    Burntollet was pivotal I agree. Not sure I agree it was unnecessary. I can certainly understand why people thought it was necessary at the time. I do think that the civil rights movement was necessary, that there were serious deficiencies in NI. I’m also tempted to think that if the attack by extreme unionists hadn’t come at Burntollet it would have come elsewhere. There were too many unionists who rejected any need for reform and were prepared to resort to initimidation and violence to try and protect the undemocratic aspects of the state and society.

  • I Wonder

    It was due to the amorphous nature of the CR movement that a small and distinctly unrepresentative group was able to do what they did. (Devlin and Farrell as revolutionary scoialists weren’t really typical of those who made the former a MP.) There is no excusing what was done to them, nor indeed would I attempt to cloak the rotten-ness that was revealed. I wonder what history would have been like had that march been called off, as indeed many prominent CR leaders had asked.

  • tracey

    I’m English and the mainstream view here now is that colonialism was a bad thing. So if you are taught that colonialism is a bad thing, how can you make an exception for Ulster and defend the colonialists? You wouldn’t get a report on the BBC defending our rule in India or South Africa would you?

    We’ve withdrawn from all our other colonies, apart from a few tiny islands.

  • Vambo

    Wang!

    Is that you Aidan?

    Vambo

  • Garibaldy

    Tracey,

    Not everyone accepts that NI is a colonial situation. Hence for many, if not most, it’s a moot point.

  • Wang Kerr

    VVVAAAAAAMMMMMBBOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    No.

  • Harry Flashman

    Tracey, it wasn’t a colonial thing, if it had been it all would have been so easy, the Governor-General in his fine white suit and cockatoo feather pith helmet saluting as the Royal Marine band beat the retreat and the Union Jack came slowly down to be replaced by some multi-coloured monstrosity representing the new age of tribalist one party rule, mass murder and occasional cannibalism. Oh if it had only been that simple (by the way I wouldn’t be so convinced that the “mainstream view” is that colonialism was all bad, a fine dose of the white man’s burden seems to have helped out in Sierra Leone recently).

    To the substantive point, I have no doubt that Northern Irish society was in serious need of reform in 1968, no one could possibly gainsay that. However my point relates to Wang (where’d he go by the way? I thought he’d give me a run for my money) and others who spuriously connect the IRA campaign of 1970-97 with the Civil Rights Movement.

    The two issues were entirely unconnected, indeed ask the average Provie of that period whom he most despised and he would have said John Hume, Gerry Fitt, Ivan Cooper, Paddy Devlin, Austin Currie etc, precisely the mainstays of the Civil Rights campaign (the Provos loathed Maggie Thatcher and Roy Mason but they at least had some respect for them). The Provos didn’t fight the Brits for electoral reform of Londonderry Corporation or fair distribution of jobs within the Stormont Ministry of Labour, they wanted the Brits out, plain and simple and their campaign to do so completely post dates the Civil Rights Movement despite the post facto blurring of dates and issues by later Republicans.

    Northern Ireland was in need of reform, it got it, and it got it a long time before the IRA got into gear. Northern Ireland was reformable, it was in the process of reform, it was not Nazi Germany, it was not Apartheid South Africa, it was not Pinochet’s Chile, it was not even Jim Crow Alabama, it was merely a provincial backwater of the United Kingdom in need of some not too drastic modernisation.

    Nothing justified the cataclysm that was unleashed from 1969 to 1998.

  • I Wonder

    Gawd help me, I keep agreein’ with Harry! ;)

  • Harry Flashman

    Don’t worry IW, I am sure I’ll say something that will get you right back on track again, I always do ;-)

  • Sean

    Perhaps you are correct Harry but since it was the loyalist paramilitaries that started the killing, who unleashed the cataclysm?

    So blaming the IRA is what? can you say wrong!

  • Wang Kerr

    Sorry, been working…

    I don’t mean to make any spurious connections between the civil rights movement and the IRA campaign, it’s just that to read a lot of unionist posts on this blog you’d nearly conclude that it happened for no reason other than that catholics/nationalists were full of hatred for everything that wasn’t green and just woke up one morning and decided to start killing people at random and blowing up everything in sight, which is utter nonsense. Many unionists seem to think that all was rosy in the garden in NI before 1968-69.

    So what kicked it all off? Like I say I don’t want to get into whataboutery, and I agree that the IRA campaign was completely unjustified, in fact I have long argued on this site that the republican paramilitaries walked straight into a trap by waging that campaign, a war that they could never hope to win, that was always going to end, as it did, in stalemate at best. But I wholeheartedly disagree with people – including nationalists/republicans – who say it was in the interests of the ’cause’ to wage a violent campaign.

    It suited unionism down to the ground to have that situation go on for 35 years. The last thing Unionism wanted was peaceful stability in the North, and a normal relationship between the Belfast & Dublin govts, lest you had established migration criss-crossing the border day in, day out. I think you’d have to be incredibly naive not to trealise that unionist saw where that would lead over time, i.e. the possibility of thousands upon thousands of southerners moving to the North and settling there. Scaring the p*ss out of Southerners – which was achieved very effectively by the kind of mayhem they witnessed every time they turned on the evening news – served the very useful purpose of making sure the anticipated human traffic which would have all but dissolved the border in time, never materialised.

    The IRA and their cohorts may have thought they could make NI ungovernable (and eventually unliveable in) but it took them 20 years longer than it should have to realise their campaign was never going to succeed. I know a lot of other people have various other conspiracy theories about how it suited all parties in the conflict to keep it going for the last 10-15 years of it and everybody became so used to the north being carved up into terriories a la the Sopranos or other ganster stories, but that’s another story, or as I say, theory.

    Anyway, how that relates to the original topic on the thread I’m not sure. In a perfect world, after the first couple of weeks/months/years of the troubles everybody would have agreed to sit down together, stop the madness and work things out… Sunningdale, anyone? Seeing as we’re trawling through the history books, and I genuinely do need to be told this, what was so wrong with the Sunningdale agreement anyway?

  • Chickens & Eggs

    Harry Flashman

    “Nothing justified the cataclysm that was unleashed from 1969 to 1998.”

    So, something does justify the cataclysms that were unleashed in 1964 and 1966 and 1968?

    Or does:

    A/Stopping the fenians flying flags

    B/Murdering the fenians

    C/Sending the RUC round to beat the fuck out of the Irish republican extremist fenian taigs like Gerry Fitt

    – all count as a daily routine for someone like yourself, maybe like drinking a nice cup of cocoa?

  • ciaran

    Funny you mentioned south africa, In April, 1963, when the South African minister of justice, Belthazar Johannes Vorster (1915-1983) was introducing some new apartheid laws (The Coercion Bill) he publicly stated that he “would be willing to exchange all the legislation of this sort for one clause of the Northern Ireland Special Powers Act, It was an Act which Adolf Hitler had admired in 1933 and then regretted he did not have the power to introduce similar legislation in Germany.
    Says a lot for the system that the people of ni had to endure for so long. But I suppose that is no reason to resort to violence is it?
    As for your ascertain that “the nationalists had previously attacked a perfectly peaceful march by protestant fellow citizens who had the temerity to express their culture in a Catholic dominated city”, was that the apprentice boys march that was organised on the same route on the same day at the same time, with the intention of causing enough trouble to get the civil rights march banned? Just wondering you understand.

  • Reader

    ciaran: …would be willing to exchange all the legislation of this sort for one clause…
    Most of the Special Powers Act was fairly unexceptional – so, for credibility, how about you identify the specific clause that so interested Vorster. It’s easy enough to spot it, if you keep your eyes open – it looks just like lazy lawmaking.

  • Globetrotter

    Audley,

    Any chance of reading my earlier comment before accusing me of sectarian bile?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Michael Shilliday

    “The reporting of the end of Operation Banner however, was disgracefully one sided across the BBC.”

    On the contrary Michael, I think your complaint is that, for perhaps the first time ever, the BBC’s coverage of the conflict here was NOT “disgracefully one-sided”. You’re simply not used to hearing Republicans give their side of the story – Jesus, there used to actually be a law against it! – so your reaction, when you hear a narrative you haven’t heard before, is to simply say Republicans are “lying about the Troubles (and) misrepresenting facts”.

    Could you not accept, even though you disagree, that Republicans have their truth, just as you have yours, and that neither of you are lying but that neither of you have the complete truth either?

    Wang Kerr

    “What was so wrong with the Sunningdale agreement anyway?”

    Objectively, nothing. However, sometimes I think people have a tendency to view history as though they are looking at an equation, and that logic should dictate what happens. That is to overlook the fact that human beings, with all their flaws and weaknesses and madnesses and, sometimes, their courage and wisdom and brilliance, have driven our history. Same as everywhere else. Why did Sunningdale fail? Because there were too many people here who simply weren’t ready for it. That’s all.

    What were the Troubles all about? They were what happened when you had a festering, toxic status quo, that was challenged – first by economic realities in the early 60s leading to O’Neill’s cosmetic thawing of the state’s trademark anti-Catholic deep freeze, leading to on one hand the Paisleyite reaction and, catching the zeitgeist, nationalism getting its shit together for the first time with NICRA.

    Now it’s 1968. History can go one of several ways. What happens? A thirty year spiral, in which no-one can think of any possible response to the other side’s last action other than to raise the stakes. Very soon we’re into the realms of insanity. (That’s what we should really call 1969-98 – not “The Troubles” but “The Madness”.) Sunningdale offers a way out, but passions are still running too high. Too many people still think they can “win”. We’re still twenty years away from a point when enough people have enough humility to start thinking about the price they’re prepared to pay to stop the spiral.

    That’s what was wrong with Sunningdale – bad timing meant it proved to be too good for us.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The narrow, intolerant world of Michael Shilliday’s existence is certainly one to behold.

    Michael is struggling to come to terms with the notion of equality, parity of esteem and all that entails.

    Poor Michael is upset that victims of the British army, and others with opinions diverging from his own, were permitted airtime above and beyond the sycophantic utterances of the British army supporters.

    I heard plenty of ‘lies’ too, Michael, but those I identified came from the mouths of Unionist politicians and British soldiers.

    Now, you don’t hear nationalists whingeing and crying about the media exposure given to said individuals.

    MOPEry reaches a new level.

    Perhaps you’d be better staying in Hillsborough and admiring that arch you so adore, Michael.

  • Harry Flashman

    **As for your ascertain that “the nationalists had previously attacked a perfectly peaceful march by protestant fellow citizens who had the temerity to express their culture in a Catholic dominated city”, was that the apprentice boys march that was organised on the same route on the same day at the same time, with the intention of causing enough trouble to get the civil rights march banned? Just wondering you understand.**

    No Ciaran I am not referring to that (I presume you mean the fallacious “swearing in” ceremony organised for October 5 1968) I am referring to the traditional and perfectly peaceful August 12th Relief of Derry parade which was unjustifiably attacked by Derry Nationalists in 1969 leading to the Battle of the Bogside and kicking off the Troubles big time. Just explaining you understand.

  • Harry Flashman

    Wang, I agree with Billy P, Sunningdale was just too damn early, we hadn’t been stupid enough for long enough by that stage.

  • ciaran

    reader “If any person contravenes, or fails to comply with, any provision of any order made under this regulation, or fails to comply with any condition subject to which anything is authorised under any such order, he shall be guilty of an offence against these regulations.”

  • ciaran

    Harry the parade you refer to wasn’t attacked in the way you imply. If you look at the event it began with verbal abuse on both sides followed by stone throwing on both sides.After the police moved in and pushed the nationalists back the loyalists followed and then rioting broke out. You seemed to imply that the whole thing was caused by nationalists( maybe I took you up wrong) but it was actually both sides equally at fault.

  • Reader

    ciaran: “If any person contravenes…he shall be guilty of an offence against these regulations.”
    I wouldn’t have thought so, since that passage is more or less the definition of a ‘regulation’. It was something more like “…or for any other reason”, wasn’t it. Well, you can imagine what Vorster might have done with that.

  • CTN

    Unionism can count it’s lucky stars that it was vicariously served so well by arrogant fools such as McGuinness and Adams who made sure MI5’s best stoolies like Scappatici and Donaldson kept Britain aware of practically every provo move.

    Republicanism will be forever locked into a one step forward 2 steps back mode under these imbeciles and their criminal brown nosers…..

  • Harry Flashman

    That’s news to me ciaran because all hitherto reports of the day have agreed that the march had in fact passed off perfectly peacefully until around 3pm when bottles and stones were thrown from William Street into the tail end of the parade in Waterloo Place (the Scarman Report).

    The legal, peaceful parade was attacked by Nationalists, it suits people’s interpretation of this rather embarassing event to allege that the marchers attacked Nationalists (how was this achieved? Did they put down their drums and start throwing stones at people in Sackvile Street or something?) they didn’t, the first stones came from one direction.

    The old trope about Nationalists being “provoked” by the marchers rather falls flat when you read contemporary reports leading up to the twelfth in which the Bogside mobilised themselves for a big do. The “Action/Defence Committees” that were formed organised the building of barricades, storing of bottles and petrol for petrol bombs etc (the local dairy lost thousands of bottles in the week leading up to the march).

    I am guessing I am a bit older than you but in my youth the brilliantly planned operation prior to and during the Battle of the Bogside was considered a strategic triumph by Derry’s Nationalists. There maybe some airbrushing of history going on now, but let the facts stand for themselves, the Battle of the Bogside was a wanton orgy of burning and looting, it was well planned in advance and its trigger was a deliberate attack on a legal, peaceful, traditional march by Derry protestants.

    You should read more acounts of the time, Clive Limpkin’s “Battle of the Bogside” for a start, I recall a time when every home in Derry had a well-thumbed copy.

  • CTN

    Martin McGuinness threw that many bricks at the battle of the bogside he ended up in Stormont chewing on Paisley’s slippers likely a little puppy- what a mastermind!

  • Sean

    ctn

    its nice to see you are so worried about Martin that you find it necesary to make up stories about the tame taigs

    But since Sinn Fein never ruled out going into government and the DUP’ed swore they never would it sort of puts paid to your theory about who was tamed.

    I think its quite funny to watch SF let the DUP lead with their chins while keeping a firm hand on the leash

  • ciaran

    Obviously the old saying about three sides to every story applies here. As to who provoked who, we cannot say for sure, the fact remains that both sides were equaly responsible for what happened. I am not trying to pin the blame on one side or the other, rather I acknowledge that both were wrong. It has been reported that both sides took part in shouting and jeering followed by stone throwing.
    “The legal, peaceful parade was attacked by Nationalists, it suits people’s interpretation of this rather embarassing event to allege that the marchers attacked Nationalists (how was this achieved? Did they put down their drums and start throwing stones at people in Sackvile Street or something?) they didn’t, the first stones came from one direction.”
    Are you seriously trying to say that the loyalists were unable to throw stones because of their instruments? That has to be one of the weakest arguments I have ever heard.
    The battle of the bogside was not a well planned event. In saying that, you imply that nationalists were waiting to destroy their own areas. What they had planned for was an attack on their area as had already happened in the past. Were they wrong to prepare for such an attack? I don’t think so. Were they wrong for getting carried away and causing so much destruction? Of course they were.
    The allegation of the airbrushing of history is correct. But it was equally applied on both sides.

  • barnshee

    “Harry the parade you refer to wasn’t attacked in the way you imply. If you look at the event it began with verbal abuse on both sides followed by stone throwing on both sides.After the police moved in and pushed the nationalists back the loyalists followed and then rioting broke out. You seemed to imply that the whole thing was caused by nationalists( maybe I took you up wrong) but it was actually both sides equally at fault”

    This is absolute bollocks.

    The police were already on site -no moving in needed.

    The parade was attacked in force as it passed through waterloo place. The parade was being marshalled by the police and was directed through waterloo place at some speed.

    The police formed a barrier at the junction of william st/waterloo place. They were then stoned and bottled (and iron bars thrown)– the rest as the say is history.

    Whatever happened subsequently,as a former resident of Londonderry and an eye witness– the parade was attacked—the attack was certainly caused by nationalists

  • Harry Flashman

    Ciaran, if you persist in deluding yourself that the events in Derry on August 12-14 1969 were nothing more than a spontaneous reaction to catcalling and jeering from loyalist hangers-on and that what susequently happened was “not a well planned event” then I’m not sure there is much I can do to convince you. However try talking to senior Derry republicans and suggest that no planning took place and it all just kicked off in a moment of madness. I suggest they will be slightly offended that their weeks of careful planning and organisation should be so airily dismissed.

    I can only offer the recollections of several friends and family members – nationalists to a man – who fondly recollected their memories of the day some years after the event, for what they’re worth. They had broken off their holidays in Buncrana to return to Derry because for weeks the anticipation was clear that there was going to be a serious showdown at the Apprentice Boys parade (this was regarded as payback time to the RUC for their behaviour following Burntollet).

    My friends walked around Derry all that day and by early afternoon were disappointed to note that nothing had happened, it seemed to be a big damp squib. They were standing by Wellworths at about 3pm debating whether they might as well go back down to Donegal when at about 3 to 3.15 pm a sudden barrage of bottles and bricks flew over the heads of the police cordon at the mouth of William Street falling among the marchers (one of my friends, a staunch republican, grudgingly conceded that the marchers didn’t break step). At this point the police turned to face the stonethrowers, it is possible that the handful of loyalists gathered there (believe it or not but large crowds of protestants did not congregate on the fringes of the Bogside even then) may have thrown stones in return and probably jeered and shouted insults at the Nationalists but the initial onslaught came from William Street.

    Subsequently the RUC attempted to charge into the Bogside using a police “Pig” armoured car, there is no doubt that several loyalists ran in behind this police charge. The Pig however stalled when it hit the pretty large barricade across Rossville Street (no prior planning?) and the RUC the came under a well directed fusillade of bricks, bottles and petrol bombs from the High Flats. The police and the loyalists beat a bloody hasty retreat at this point. For most Derry Nationalists this is regarded as the crowning achievement of the Battle of the Bogside, the cops got a right good bloody nose, payment back for what they had done before. This was also the end of any Loyalist involvement in the riot.

    What followed was three days of arson and looting with swathes of houses and businesses in the area around William Street being burned down. Despite the myth of the Bogside being under siege in fact a bedraggled line of exhausted peelers just about held back the rioters from burning down the commercial centre of Derry. It was Derry City Centre which was under siege, in the coming years it was almost razed to the ground by Nationalists and the siege was not actually lifted until the spring of 1984 when the last of the security barriers protecting Derry city centre were finally removed. You’ve seen riots in Derry I am sure, the police holding the line at Littlewoods, Sackville Street and Little James Street, while the rioters try to break through, believe me Ciaron it was no different in August 1969.

    Like I say read contemporary reports if you don’t believe me, talk to the people who were there, there’s a lot of whitewashing of what happened back then but if you can persuade participants to be honest, you’ll find that my account is substantially correct.

  • ciaran

    Harry if you persist in ignoring what I write and making up your own version then whats the point of posting. The derry riots were not deliberately planned. The defence of the bogside was.There is a difference.Yes there was an anticipation of more attacks on the bogside and the residents were prepared for this. What did you expect them to do? Wait to have the crap beaten out of them by loyalists backed up by the ruc and b specials? That the riots escaleted into an orgy of violence is not under dispute. That this violence was wrong is also not under dispute. The violence erupted for a variety of reasons which have been well documented. For you to try and ignore half the facts is just sad.
    ” but if you can persuade participants to be honest” or to give your version of the truth?

  • CTN

    Sean – you must have missed McGuinness’s “no return to Stormont”- speeches perhaps you were at the “not a bullet not an ounce” or “we didn’t kill Gerry McCabe” or “we will treble our seats” pantomimes.

    As for this “leash”- do your sums AGAIN!!- DUP and UU monopolise the ministries.

    I am not so much worried about “other taigs” but more the future of Ireland whist a buffoon like McGuinness has influence within republicanism…

  • Sean

    CTN your delusion is legendary

    A monopoly require that there is an almost total ownage of the Ministries, that is not even close to the truth though I hate to scare you with the facts

    there is a huge difference between a majority nd a monopoly

    As for the leash? your hero paisley can not even issue so much as a press release with out the buffoons permision so he has influence far beyond republicanism

  • Harry Flashman

    OK fine ciaran, I can accept your definition of what happened. If you wish to differentiate between the planned defence and the subsequent riot I can live with that, though I’m not terribly clear what the dividing line was (perhaps the RUC retreat?) and I have to say it’s the first time I have heard anyone split up the Battle of the Bogside into two seperate elements.

    It always seems to me that everyone thought the whole event, from the attack on the march, (which I note you still haven’t addressed) to the arrival of the Army on the afternoon of the 14th it has always been presented in Nationalist mythology as a “siege” which was manfully and courageously resisted by the youth of the Bogside. It was not, from the moment the police and the handful of Loyalist hangers on (who never posed any sort of threat to the Bogsiders, the B Specials by the way had no role whatsoever in the Battle of the Bogside) retreated out of Rossville Street about one hour into the event, the “battle” or “siege” was over. It then became in fact an orgy of wanton thuggery, arson, looting and rioting by the fathers of the same mindless wee shites who try to burn Derry down at every available chance these days.

    I am glad we have come to an agreement on this issue at least.

  • Harry_got_shafted

    Harry, you seem to have a real distain for your home town and your own community in general.

    Perhaps you had a bad experience in Derry, in days gone by. I hope your arse has recovered.

  • CTN

    Sean- again your maths are letting you down 7 unionist ministries to 5 nationalist ministries is a heavy advantage to the former no matter how pedantically you phrase your spin.

    Again your blind to the fact that the unionists have SF leashed under BRITISH sovereignty and have them administering BRITISH rule like good automatons.

    Perhaps you were so busy trying to scare me that you never realised how good a brit McGuinness has became, though I am pleased to see you have progressed to acquiescing that he is a buffon.

    Are you justifying 30 years of carnage for a return to Stormont with a mutual veto re press releases under a unionist dominated government- if so then why did the buffoon to whom we refer make so many “no return to Stormont” speeches to spur on the IRA whilst they were operating at full blast?

  • Harry Flashman

    Wow, HGS, amazing insight, phenomenal repartee, I’m stunned at such erudition, I am speechle…

  • hib

    The pro-british perspective including unionists do monopolise the govt as they are all emissaries of a greater Westminister diktat.

    Mainstream republicanism whether it likes it or not is now suffocated under british sovereignty with it’s only hope that a majority in the north will one day vote for UI.

    Considering that the nationalist birth rate is now flatlining and a good few castle catholics are still abound that day is quite far of.

    Veto’s over policy issues are not akin to a hemorrhage of british sovereignty, although they are a welcome progression from total unionist dictatorship they reiterate the fact that SF are part of a british machine and very much playing second fiddle in a british administration.

    This administration is answerable to Westminister only and the internal affairs of the assembly do not come under the remit of the toothless north/south council in any meaningful way….

  • Wang Kerr

    OK this thread is now just descending into childish tribal taunting, maybe best to wind it up? Thanks to all those who contributed some very interesting and informative perspectives.

    God Save the Queen
    Brits Out
    Love thy Neighbour
    Peace Y’all

  • Michael Shilliday

    Chris,

    One victim I certainly didn’t hear on the BBC or anywhere else was the one of Paul Butler’s creation. You know, that policeman? You know the one I mean.

    As for the British Army victims, their families should be heard, but perhaps proportionally. After all the IRA killed twice as many civilians as the Army killed in total.

  • peter

    That would be a bit dramatic would it not?

  • peter

    Apologies for confusing you Michael, my post was for Wang

  • Sean

    LOL so 7 out of 12 is massive advantage

    crikey I would hate to even think what you would call it if it ws 8 out of 12 that would likely be too great for you even countennce

    Mike
    the army also killed a lot more civilians then they ever killed terrorists

  • CTN

    Hi Sean,

    Don’t mean to burst your bubble but Unionists dominate the executive by 2 Ministries and through the De Honte system have picked the top jobs.

    Whatever way you spin it SF and the provies are out-represented, out-gunned and overpowered in a BRITISH state by unionists, the british army and PSNI with only an ability to influence how british rule is administered.

    Clearly a massive advantage for unionism indeed…

  • ciaran

    Harry , I am not sure what you mean at the start of your post.The riot was a result of the fighting getting out of control.The barricades and the stockpiling of stones , petrol bombs etc were as a defence measure against attacks.The wanton destruction of property was not planned in advance but happend spontaneously.
    I thought I had addressed the march in posts ten and sixteen on page three. Although the fact that it was a legal march is slightly irrelevant in that it was extremely unlikely to be banned .Didn’t the residents ask the apprentice boys to cancel the march because tensions were high in the city and they were afraid that the march , so close to their estate would prove to be the flame to the fuse.I am not saying it was the marchers own fault for what happened, rather that they had the opportunity to take the moral highground and help diffuse the situation. Hind sight is twenty twenty though.
    Surely the b specials were called up to go to derry on the 14th which caused a lot of fear amongst the residents.
    “the handful of Loyalist hangers on (who never posed any sort of threat to the Bogsiders, ” try telling that to a community waiting to be attacked.
    But other than that we do agree, sort off, in a way, almostish.

  • http://doors006.txt jonn1

    comment1 ,

  • Harry Flashman

    OK not wishing to get the last word or anything but if the whole preparation was defensive what was the need to attack the march as it was ending?

    If you genuinely fear attack by the Peelers and Orange mobs (honestly though Ciaran the Bogsiders were under no threat from rampaging hunnish hordes, then or now) wouldn’t you breathe a huge collective sigh of relief as they march off into the late afternoon sunset?

    Why would you suddenly launch an attack guaranteed to bring on that which you profess so much to fear. Unless perhaps, you know, you weren’t really afraid of it but in fact relished the prospect of a good dust up. Payback for what went on back in January and for Sammy Devenney, sure I agree, the cops got a tanking and probably deserved it, but let’s at least be honest and desist pretending that it was all just a horrible spontaneous flare up that just sort of happened, and ‘defensive’ measures by a frightened community got a little bit out of control.

    Hindsight of course does tell us that the parade should never have happened in the first place. But then the lesson was learnt wasn’t it, all parades were banned the following year, and banning parades in Derry turned out to be such a good idea later, didn’t it? Whoops there I go again, stirring it up, sorry ciaran I’ll leave it at that eh? You can have the last word.

  • ciaran

    Why attack the march as it was ending? As I posted earlier the attacks grew from shouts and jeers to stone throwing .It was not a planned attack on the march. Is that so hard to comprehend? And I couldn’t care less about getting the last word, as long as something close to the truth is printed.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Michael

    Actually I think you’ll find there were plenty of victims you didn’t hear, most evidently those who are now dead.

    And if that’s your best shot, then clearly you haven’t much ground to stand on.

    As for the proportional time slot idea for victims, sounds like another pathetic attempt at creating a heirarchy of victims- not likely to wash, and the fact you make such a proposition shows the absurdity of the original MOPE line.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Of course I’m saying there is a hierarchy – there is. Thomas Begley and Lenny Murphy, bottom of the pile. Cop that Butler shot, quite high up.

    Of course its interesting that you dismiss the idea of proportionality. I assume that it’s entirely coincidental that this would give more airtime to IRA victims, as they created more victims.

  • Roderick Bunion

    The Brits are treacherous pro-Provo bastards and not to be trusted they are not proper loyalists.