James Callaghan

Lord Callaghan has died at the age of 92, only 11 days after the death of Audrey, his wife of 67 years Longest living British Prime Minister he uniquely held the 4 great offices of state in the United Kingdom – prime minister, chancellor, foreign secretary and home secretary. Prime Minister during difficult times, he will possibly best be remembered in Northern Ireland for sending troops in 1969.

RIP Sunny Jim.

  • Friendly Fire

    I expect Tony Blair to milk this funeral just like the one Bush staged for the Gipper

  • factfinder

    He did send in the troops, but he forgot to keep control of them instead handing control to the Unionist government and the rest is history….

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    factfinder, that comment is ridiculous from start to finish. The unionist administration never at any time had any control or authority over the British troops.

  • factfinder

    The british army were instructed by Brian Faukner to shoot petrol bombers on sight circa 1970. The IRA then made a response that they would shoot 3 british soldiers for every irishman killed. The situation spiralled out of control shortly afterward.

  • factfinder

    After Bloody Sunday the british government took direct control of security, but it was too late as history shows.

  • ulsterman

    In 1969 rather than a policy of appeasement the enemies of Ulster should have been charged with the baton. In 1969 the Papists got away with it and then moved on from civil rights which they already had to the idea of bringing down the Ulster State.

    The only way to deal with disgruntled minorities is by brute force. If the government had of used brute force in 1969 rather than appeasement the troubles would never have happened.

    God Save The Queen.

  • spirit-level

    “The only way to deal with disgruntled minorities is by brute force”
    I don’t think we need your fascist comments here any more.
    What would be really good is if, as on ICC chess server we could censor you. There you type in +censor “handle” and that person’s comments no longer appear on the thread. Like the command kicked on many chat sites.
    I hope you get what you deserve.

    On the thread I don’t remember much about Callaghan, too young, except that the 1979 election brought in the demon Thatcher for 11 yrs. Boy did she crush minorities; and was responsible for creating one of the most selfish greedy cultures we’ve ever had.

  • factfinder

    Brute force was used from 1968 to try and crush civil rights marchers. John Hume was shown on world television with blood running down his face after being struck with an RUC baton. Brute force is counterproductive. NI(six counties)was in civil war because of brute force instead of negotiation. But of course negotiation and appeasement mean the same thing to some people.

  • Keith M

    spirit-level, you like I may not agree with a lot of what “ulsterman” has to say, but I believe in free speech. The best way of disproving a point is to prove the contrary arguement, not to censor. The same applies to people on the natinalist/republican side.

    As for Thatcher, here I will put the contrary point of view. When she took over the UK was on its kness economically. The unions ran the country and it was heading for the economic oblivion that we’ve seen in places like Argentina and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.

    The UK needed Thatcher, and after 11 years she had completly turned the economy around and changed the political landscape to a point where Labour is now economically to the right of any previous Conservative govenment and looks as if it will get a third successive term in government for the first time ever. As for “crushing minorities”, you might like to know that there were almost twice as many people of none UK birth living in the UK when she left power as when she took over.

  • factfinder

    You forgot to mention those disastrous days in British economic history. Black Monday and Black wednesday I think they were called. One of those days the british economy lost 10% in one afternoon.The world only recovered from Thatcher and Reagon economics when they both went in the early nineties.House prices recovered also since the neg equity days of Thatcher, the only person to benefit was her son selling arms to everybody and anybody.

  • Davros

    Keith M – as long as it’s pointed out frequently to visitors that “Ulserman” is a republican trying to make the unionist community look bad, I agree – let him burble away.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “The british army were instructed by Brian Faukner to shoot petrol bombers on sight circa 1970.”

    I’m sure you’ve a source to back that up, or some other documentary evidence showing that the army answered to the Stormont government rather than the MoD. Go ahead, post it.

    The troops were brought in over the heads of the Stormont government, and to the objections of same.

    “One of those days the british economy lost 10% in one afternoon”

    It’s outbursts like this which damage your credibility as a serious commentator. Lost 10% of what ?

    “House prices recovered also since the neg equity days of Thatcher”

    Recovered from what and in what way ?

  • factfinder

    Re Brian Faulkner and shoot to kill-
    I did hear him on tv say it.It was headline news! I will look up any articles about it later today.The troops were brought in at request of Stormont government to quell riots as RUC were overwhelmed.

    Regarding the 10% of the nations wealth-
    Georgio Stravros and a consortium devalued the british pound by at least 10%(other economies also suffered) He (G Stravros) donated several billion USD to third world and east european states.This is common knowledge in UK.

    The eighties were Known in UK as ‘boom and bust years’ towards the end of Thatcher years, house prices were worth less than they were bought for(negative equity).Repossessions were at all time high.

  • factfinder

    It would be your lack of knowledge of recent UK history and basic economics, rather than my ‘outbursts’that undermines serious discussion(nothing personal as this applies to a lot of contributors).

  • Vlaams


    Why don’t you find out the facts before you post? Black Monday was a short-lived fall in the stock market in 1987, which was dubbed Black Monday at the time as a parallel to the start of the Great Depression in 1929. People prophesied incorrectly that it would trigger a world-wide slump, which it singularly failed to do. Economic disaster – hardly.

    As for Black (White) Wednesday, that happened two years after John Major took over, and was the fruit of the doomed ERM membership, which at the time was welcomed by *all* three mainstream UK parties against Mrs Thatcher’s better judgement. She agreed to join, as has been amply documented, out of a position of weakness when pressurised by her europhile ministers in 1990, having lost Nigel Lawson as Chancellor of the Exchequer a year earlier. These are all FACTS, which could be ascertained with a minimum of effort, not wild assertions masquerading under a pseudo-historical guise.

    As to whether it was a disaster or not, in economic terms, the strength of the UK economy since leaving with the ERM would suggest Black Wednesday was to the great benefit of the UK. If you want to see the UK impoverished and bankrupt like under Wilson and Callaghan in the mid-70s (cap in hand to the IMF, winter of discontent), then Black Wednesday was a disaster, but to most people in the UK, it has been a great and beneficial turning point. Whether it has been positive politically depends on whether you want to see the demise of the Tories. If you do, then again Black Wednesday was a key factor in emasculating the party.

    Jim Callaghan was the first PM I remember well – Merlyn Rees was NI Secretary at the time and had a home round the corner from us, outside which there was always a police car.

    Callaghan seemed a survivor and a muddler-through, like John Major with some talent thrown in. But I remember the Grunwick riots and the winter of discontent, and the feeling that something drastic had to be tried, even if it meant a women prime minsiter (which at the time was really shocking). Those are my memories of him.

  • Davros

    All those guys are going fast. We won’t see the likes of Eric Heffer again , ditto Jim Callaghan.
    I cannot see another PM who hasn’t been to University.

  • barcas

    RWCXVII might care to note The Sunday Times reported comments of Captain William Orr, the leader of the Unionist MPs at Westminster and Grand Master of the Grand Orange Council of the World at the time the British troops were deployed in NI.

    Captain Orr exulted, “We’re getting the troopps and we’re getting them without strings”.

  • barcas

    ‘troops’ not ‘troopps’, sorry.

  • Davros

    If I’m thinking of the right man barcas you are quoting the Danny Morrison of those days 😉

  • barcas


    Are you suggesting Danny Morrison is a re-incarnation of Harold Evans? Can’t be, Harold Evans is still alive and thriving in America having risen to greater heights of journalism and writing after shaking the Murdoch dust from his shoes.

    The Sunday Times is also well and thriving although many of us would no longer read it since it was bought by Murdoch:)

  • Davros

    Erm , no , I’m putting Wm Orr into context for those too young to remember the days when the arse’O’crockery and their aspirant stooges ran Unionism 🙂

  • factfinder

    You are of course correct that John Major was PM at time of black Wed,BUT, he was Thatchers Chancellor in joining ERM which many believe was entered into at the wrong rate of the Pound. He was also backed by her as her successor.You admit she joined ERM but you state out of ‘position of weekness’. She was the Iron Lady.She was one of very few UK PMs with a very strong majority.

  • factfinder

    The Black Monday was a direct consequence of ‘Thatcherism’ and ‘Reagonomics’. The two largest world economies almost brought the world to its knees.
    As for Callaghan, he had a minority government (which was backed by Unionist Party)so was a week PM.

  • factfinder

    If you believe a disaster is a blessing I’m glad your not ny accountant otherwise you will be saying I will be richer if I go bankrupt(although it might be a good idea).

  • factfinder

    Callaghan was backed by the Unionist Party in the last months of government when he sent Tyrant Mason over to NI(six counties).He made the situation here even worse(some say he introduced the Death Squads but they were an old colonial idea).

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “Re Brian Faulkner and shoot to kill-
    I did hear him on tv say it.It was headline news! I will look up any articles about it later today.”

    The army does not get it’s orders from politicians making statements on TV, what a ridiculous comment. Your previous remark was rubbish. The Stormont never had any authority over the British army. The British army was brought in against the will of Stormont, who wanted to control the situation themselves using the B-Specials, the police and internment. Gerry Fitt and Paddy Devlin pestered the British to deploy the troops incessantly. It is well documented that nationalist residents welcomed the troops with tea and biscuits.

    Your original comment was “the British economy lost 10%” which is a statement that does not make sense. The British pound may have lost 10% of it’s value – that is different and devaluation of currency does not necessarily translate into economic growth or reduction.

  • factfinder

    Re Stormont control over the British army. Brian Faulkner signed the order for internment and the British army followed out the order. The british army were subject to the same laws as the RUC ie Stormont laws.
    As for devaluation UK PM Harold Wilson made the same comment about the ‘pound in your pocket won’t be affected’ when the pound was devalued. He was tossed out of office shortly after.
    You are of course right that the army was welcomed by nationalists but this was shortlived and after internment was introduced was irreversible.

  • johnhidd

    “Shoot to kill” was advocated by William Craig, not Faulkner, when Craig was Vanguard leader and not in control of troops.

    “George Stravros” – presumably George Soros.

  • factfinder

    Yes your right George Soros, and your right William craig did say it and so did most of Unionist cabinet but it was in fact GOC freeman who stated ‘petrol bombers will be shot dead’ on tv, but the order was given by PM Faulkner. He was PM and he was in control of security forces until Stormont was suspended in 1972. He used the Special Powers Act to bring out instant orders (or edicts).

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    You’re talking across purposes here old boy. Faulkner brought in internment because the Stormont government was in charge of security; it was a devolved matter. This was nothing to do with the British army or command over it.

    “The british army were subject to the same laws as the RUC ie Stormont laws.”

    That’s correct, but the army took it’s orders from London, not Belfast.

    “the order was given by PM Faulkner”

    Will you please stop repeating this complete rubbish. No order was given by Faulkner and if one was, the British army were under no obligation to obey it as they were not under his jurisdiction. Can you please get it into your head that a politician saying “the army must shoot petrol bombers” mean diddly squat.

    “He was PM and he was in control of security forces until Stormont was suspended in 1972.”

    He was in control of the police and the b-specials. The b-specials were not part of the British army. Would you please stop digging and just go and do some basic research on how this stuff works.

  • barcas

    RWCXVII is at least as guilty as factfinder in his stated inaccuracies. My post at 9.40am 28 Mar, above, refers. Either RWC is wrong or Wee Willie Orr was wrong. I give RWC a further quote from the same source as my quote above:

    “The Army, it must be remembered, had no idea of the tensions and factions within the Catholic community. Indeed, they seemed, at this early stage, to have taken most of their information about the Catholics from the Unionists. The ‘Sinn Fein Oath’ provides a fascinating example of this.

    The army…produced a booklet called “Notes on Northern Ireland”, with the praiseworthy aim of giving the men some idea of what the trouble was all about…..the booklet printed in full what purported to be the oath of the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Fein. As a case-study in psychosis, it deserves reprinting:….”

    I will not bore you with the “oath” which is all part of the protestant Unionist mythology (well known, no doubt, to Sluggerites), starting in the early part of the 20th century and perpetuated by regular repetition in such publications as Paisley’s ‘Protestant Telegraph’.

    It is hardly surprising that the Army, when fed this sort of propaganda, sided with the Unionist side and acted according to the wishes if not the orders of the ruling Unionist hegemoney.

    Davros: Paisley is still there, has anything changed?

  • factfinder

    Posted by: Roger W. Christ XVII
    You’re talking across purposes here old boy. Faulkner brought in internment because the Stormont government was in charge of security; it was a devolved matter. This was nothing to do with the British army or command over it.

    Exactly my point. You can’t be in charge of security if half of the security force takes their orders from someone else.
    There is no doubt the GOC will get back to HQ regarding any ‘dodgy’ order but the British Army high command were their own bosses as can be gleaned from ‘Bloody Friday’ and were probably more hardline than Faulkner was(incidently Faulkner softened his approach to politics later and even went into power sharing, which was brought down by hardliners (a coalition of UDA Paisleyites and some Unionists)and the army’s unwillingness to break the strike.

  • factfinder

    Posted by: barcas
    RWCXVII is at least as guilty as factfinder in his stated inaccuracies
    Where are the inaccuracies. Everthing I have stated is factual apart from any corrections I have made.
    But there is no getting away from the fact Callaghan had no control over the army(he was Home secretary) and sent them in to support Stormont not to protect catholics or any other religious grouping.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Barcas, your 9:40am post doesn’t alter the fact that the British army reports to the MoD. If you are refuting this please point to evidence, not to silly belligerent statements from moronic unionists. Just because a unionist says it does not make it true.

    “You can’t be in charge of security if half of the security force takes their orders from someone else.”

    Are you taking the piss ? Because I’m beginning to feel that I am wasting my time here. Could you please do some rudimentary research on the Stormont ministries and do something about your problem with the facts ? The British army takes it’s orders from the London. Not anyone else. How can I make that clearer to you ?

    “the British Army high command were their own bosses”

    We are talking about where the British army gets it’s orders from, which is London. The army does not act independently – unless a military coup is in progress and I don’t think you are suggesting that was the case. The army acts to implement orders coming from London.

    If you are going to refute my factual point that the British army’s orders ultimately come from London then please do with some serious documentary evidence, and by that I mean legislation which devolved authority over the army to Stormont. If you can’t do that then please go away and try to understand the simple premise which is that statements coming from politicans are not orders. Screaming Lord Sutch (RIP) could come on TV and start issuing orders to the Army but does that mean they’d follow them ? No. If the unionists had full control over the British army then there would have been a full scale civil war which we were “fortunate” to avoid.

  • factfinder

    The army was under operational control of Chief Constable(RUC),who in turn was under command of Stormont PM.

    When Stormont was Terminated by London in 1972 security was passed from Stormont PM to NI Secretary of State.
    Circa 1984 the British Government agreed with Irish Government that the army is under operational control of the Chief Constable (then RUC and now PSNI).

  • factfinder

    Authority of the security forces in NI was passed to Stormont under the Government of Ireland Act 1922(exclusion was during wartime).

  • Davros

    letter from Desmond mcGimpsey in the Belfast Telegraph pointing out that James Callaghan was involved with Northern Ireland in the days of the Attlee Government.

  • GD

    My goodness. What a distortion of facts by the so called ‘factfinder’.

    The British Army was brought in for a variety of reasons.

    1. The regular police were tired and Stormont was about to send in the B Specials to the Bogside.
    2. Irish Troops were massing on the border.
    3. Civil Rights leaders were claiming that the police were the root cause of the problem.

    Stormont had requested troops earlier but wanted control of how they were used. Westminster refused.

    Troops were sent in under the direct control of Westminster by agreement with Stormont. The NI Administration did not have control of the troops but retained control of the police and special constabulary.

    After Stormont was prorogued the Province was subject to direct rule from Westminster. At that point the police assumed control of the security situation and briefed the army. Until then the army had control of its own operations.

    At all times, the police, army and the administration were party to all briefings but the final say when any operations involved the army rested with army commanders and ultimately Westminster until direct rule came in.


  • Wichser


    Massing on the border ? Think ‘massing’ is pushing it. There was a tokenistic presence to help with an overspill of casualties from Derry in particular. Let’s not pretend they were injuring themselves, it was the cops who were injuring civilians there. That’s what made them ‘tired’.

  • GD

    Even the Irish government now admit they were on the border in strength and intending to cross into British Sovereign Territory. That is an undeniable fact. Nothwithstanding the fact that there were field hospital units also.

    If there was no civil distrubance the ‘cops’ would not have been hurting anyone – nor would ‘cops’ have been hurt themselves, nor would private property been damaged.

    To blame the ‘cops’ is the popular folklore. Blame the Wolfe Tone Societies and the Stickies. The people who formed the civil rights movement and gulled a lot of people into doing their dirty work for them.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “Even the Irish government now admit they were on the border in strength and intending to cross into British Sovereign Territory.”

    Do you have a link?

  • Robert Keogh

    The RTE documentary “7 Ages” talks about this, although GD puts his own spin on it.

    GD leaves out the part about how HMG had invited the Irish government to occupy the western/nationalist half of NI from Newry to Derry except the IG balked.

    Remember that the Irish Army was about 3,600 strong at this point. The Harland & Wolff workforce could have seen them off.

  • martin

    in the immortal words of William Joyce-Lord Haw Haw.

    “the Free State Army couldn’t beat the tinkers
    out of Galway”

    that still holds true.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    The idea that Oglaigh na hEireann (the real one) was ever going to take on the brits has always struck me as one of the sillier fantasies encountered on these boards.

  • GD

    Who knows how it would have turned out. In any event the British decision to use troops put paid to any ideas of Irish troops crossing the border.

    Robert, I never left anything out. I only talk fact – not fantasy.

  • GD

    Jimmy Sands, if you want links just look for the remarks and actions by An Taoisach Jack Lynch. The episode showed the many deficiencies in the Irish Defence Forces at that time and forced a review in the Dail.