One to Watch

Channel 4 are running promos for a feature-length history special on Thursday 1st September at 9pm – The Year London Blew up: 1974 – and the opening line on the Channel 4 site certainly sounds interesting – “What happens when a city faces a cell of fanatics with a single goal: to bring the maximum terror to the civilian population?” – that’s the IRA cell known as the Balcombe Street gang. Even more interestingly, it’s a co-production with RTÉ.. which broadcast it in two parts back in March of this year – viewing figures here. Meanhwile, the headline on An Phoblacht‘s review of the March showing on RTÉ is perhaps the best indicator as to whether its worth watching “Propaganda posing as history” [scroll down]definitely worth watching then.

The Channel 4 description of the programme is as follows –

Told through documentary, drama and first-hand accounts, this feature-length history special is a unique account of the most ruthless IRA bombing campaign ever to hit mainland Britain.

Although The Sunday Business Post took a different line in its review of the programme when it was shown on RTÉ, complaining that

The Year London Blew Up was a powerful reminder of a dark and terrible time. But it came nowhere near explaining why or how individuals could attune themselves mentally to leaving a car bomb in a city street, knowing the consequences.

The Sunday Business Post also helpfully reminds us that the Balcombe Street gang, whose activities the programme covers – including the murder of Ross McWhirter – were led by Martin O’Connell and included Glasgow-born Hugh Doherty, brother of Sinn Féin vice-president Pat Doherty. They were released temporarily for a 1998 Sinn Féin ard fheis – before being granted early release on licence, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

  • crat

    Did they mention who the Brits locked up after and how much time they did before being freed as innocent?

  • aquifer

    An Phoblacht

    (RTE Ch4) “suffered from a virulent tunnel vision “

    Priceless

  • peteb

    aquifer

    As someone may have said, on occasion.. “Heh”

  • Jimmy Sands

    To me, the standing ovation given to these serial killers at the 1998 Ard Fheis tells me all I need to know about that particular organisation.

  • bootman

    didnt RTE lareday show this acoulpe of months ago?

  • peteb

    bootman

    You’d think I would include information like that in the original post.. oh wait.. I did.

  • Dandyman

    TOP TIPS

    NON-IRISH PEOPLE: Instead of boring the shite out of asking Irish people when you meet them in bars/nightclubs/holiday resorts abroad by asking them to explain ‘the troubles’ in the North and offering your unique insights, why not attempt to understand the situation by recreating it yourself. Colonise the house/family home of someone who lives nearby to you, but is only about 1/3 of your size. Move all your family and friends in, and kick the living shite out of the small person and their family any time they ask you to leave/try to escape from the wardrobe you’ve locked them into. When they complain of being hungry and having no food to eat, tell them that’s what they get for being ungrateful. Shoot them. Continue for several centuries.

    Alternatively, walk up to random strangers in the street and start kicking and punching them. See how long it takes before someone decides to hit you back.

  • beano

    Spot on dandyman, an accurate analogy if ever I heard one. Oh and don’t be afraid of those men in the white coats, they’re here to help.

  • slackjaw

    To be fair dandyman, nearly 100% of Non-Irish people couldn’t give a toss.

  • bertie

    ….and after the programme there will be an appeal for the fund to pay for Dandyman’s treatment.

    I know Beano beat me to it, but I felt moved to contribute.

  • Dandyman

    ‘Nearly 100% of Irish people couldn’t give a toss’

    That’s funny, almost every time I’ve been abroad over the last 5 years someone’s brought it up. The gas thing is itseems to be mostly English people between the ages of 25-40. Most of the people of Mainland Britain couldn’t pick out Northern Ireland on a map of Ireland, let alone Belfast. Those who could are probably Rangers/Celtic supporters who of course are very ‘understanding’ of the situation in NI.

  • slackjaw

    Dandyman,

    I said nearly 100% of non-Irish people.

    The gas thing is itseems to be mostly English people between the ages of 25-40.

    I’d guess that English people between the ages of 25-40 constitute less than 1% of all non-Irish people. (Unless ‘non-Irish’ means English….)

  • Jeremy

    “Most of the people of Mainland Britain couldn’t pick out Northern Ireland on a map of Ireland, let alone Belfast. Those who could are probably Rangers/Celtic supporters who of course are very ‘understanding’ of the situation in NI” – Dandyman. “Mainland Britain”. ? I initially thought your post was from a Republican perspective.

    Did anyone see the RTE broadcast. An Phoblacht says that Danny Morrison made a brief contribution. I have to agree that a fuller Republican contribution would have added to the programme

  • Dandyman

    I’ll get me coat then.

  • Alan McDonald

    Dandyman,

    As an American member of the Non-Irish People, I can assure you that we have already made the attempt to understand the situation by recreating it in Texas, for example, not to mention all of the southwest. We even have a name for it: Manifest Destiny. I believe we learned it from the religio-political associates of Oliver Cromwell.

  • waterford

    “Most of the people of Mainland Britain couldn’t pick out Northern Ireland on a map of Ireland, let alone Belfast”

    Agreed, in fact I would say most of them have not even heard of Ireland let alone about the troubles or the protestants there.

  • Alan McDonald

    Waterford,

    “Most of the people of Mainland Britain couldn’t pick out Northern Ireland on a map of Ireland, let alone Belfast” Agreed, in fact I would say most of them have not even heard of Ireland.

    Wow! I thought we Americans were the ones who are world famous for knowing absolutely nothing about geography. Hats off to the Brits for making us look less stupid!

  • Slugfest

    “As an American member of the Non-Irish People, I can assure you that we have already made the attempt to understand the situation by recreating it in Texas, for example, not to mention all of the southwest. We even have a name for it: Manifest Destiny. I believe we learned it from the religio-political associates of Oliver Cromwell.”

    Note: the term ‘Manifest Destiny’, which was actually more directed at the Northwest than the South, was coined by an Irishman (when I say Irish, I MEAN Irish … he immigrated to America)… can’t think of his name off the top of my head, but it’s detailed in Ray O’Hanlon’s book ‘Irish Americans’. Extremely ironic and thought-provoking, as here you have a number of Irishmen, most of whom witnessed the famine firsthand, immigrating to America only to slaughter Native Americans and steal their land, yet all the while bemoan the injustice of the British.

    Absolute power is absolute injustice.

  • Martin

    Waterford, that’s hyperbole, education in Britain is bad (being a product of it myself), but not that bad. You ask even the least educated dullard in High Street England “what international team does Roy Keane Play for?” I think 90% of the time they answer would be correct. Sure their understanding of the nuances of politics and history there, and particularly of the North, may be lacking and very clumsy, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone here who “had not even heard of Ireland” – a ridiculous exaggeration.

  • lib2016

    Can I really be the only person who has heard “Oh, you don’t like the English either”in whatever part of Western Europe I happen to mention that I’m Irish?

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    lib2016

    “Can I really be the only one who has heard “Oh you dont like the english either” in whatever part of western europe I happen to mention that I`m Irish?”

    No you are not alone in hearing that and it is not confined to western europe.

    The English have invaded and divided countries the world over butchering any native that stood in their path.
    So is it any bloody wonder they are not liked.

    The English have invaded and colonised alot of countries around this world in every continent and there are alot yet that are still torn apart with their divide and conquer strategies.

    They had no hesitation in using explosives in any of these countries to further their aims and to grab power, so why is it any big surprise that the same terror is visited upon themselves.

    It is much as relevent nowadays in london with al queda as it was back in 1974 with the IRA.

    Iraq is the latest casualty to be torn apart and bombed into submission.
    The attacks on London in July highlight the fact that for as long as the london government persist with their colonial foreign policies there will be people who see them as a legitamite target.

    The difference between a statesman and a terrorist is the size of his bomb

    The name of the show is called
    “1974 the year London blew up”

    I have a few more ideas of titles that channel 4 might consider running.
    2001 The year London blew up kabul
    2003 The year London blew up Baghdad

  • pacart

    I see the Shinners have slipped into their default position already, Whataboutery. Sinn Fein prefer their sanitised “commemorative events” to people getting a look at the shattered bodies left behind by their volunteers.They are busy with their rewriting history project and will naturally object to an objective analysis of their deeds and their nasty little dirty war, which achieved nothing, apart from filling the prisons and graveyards. I do not count the building of an organised crime syndicate as an achievement.They prefer the myths.

  • Dandyman

    Did anyone see that documentary on Channel 4 two weeks ago presented by that bloke with the dreadlocks who letures in history at Birmingham University. He worked out that if the British Government were to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves on whose backs the fortunes of empire were built, the bill would come to over 7.5 TRILLION pounds. Britain’s annual GDP is £1.5 Trillion.

  • darthrumsfeld

    Where’s waterford anyway?

  • Dandyman

    Dr. Robert Beckford is yer man’s name, and the documentary was called ‘The Empire Pays Back’. But of course to seek any kind of recourse for wrongs done in the name of the UK is only MOPEry and whataboutery, sorry I forgot. It’s only Nationalists who can be called to account for past crimes.

  • pacart

    Dandyman, what past crimes have the PIRA been called to account for? I don’t see anybody having to sell their second homes.

  • Macswiney

    Pacart,

    Yous should ask some of the residents of Garnerville, Ballysillan etc… about the local ‘celebrities’in their midst who own second homes…

  • Redsnappa

    Slugfest,

    It was John L. O’Sullivan, phrase coined in July 1845, in the ‘Democratic Review’.

    O’Sullivan was trying to defend the American claim to Texas and he mentioned that the United States had a Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent with its multiplying millions.