No Unionist need apply

Brian Feeney rallies to Sinn Fein’s defence on policing. He is outraged that the media dare ask Sinn Fein to urge people to co-operate with police even when investigating issues like rape as apparently no Unionist is ever asked to urge people to go to the police and this proves the media has a ‘Unionist agenda’. For Feeney’s theory to work all you have to do is ignore the existence of the SDLP and its support for the police. Also why ask when people are willing to say it without prompting. He makes mention of the recent rape in Woodvale, why was no Unionist asked the co-operation question? Perhaps because they didn’t need to? Never mind all that, he is on a roll and ends with the demand that only a nationalist is allowed to be policing and justice minister.

  • Quaysider

    I’m not sure Sinn Fein will thank Feeney for this piece, which appears to stray way to the right of their own desired position. It also drips of tribalism. As for bringing up the issue of reporting rapists to the police – that’s hardly something SF wants people to be reminded of after the disgust generated by Bairbre de Brun’s performance several years ago.

  • Ulick

    “Brian Feeney rallies to Sinn Fein’s defence on policing.”

    Did you read the article? Maybe you missed the line “Sinn Féin have made a mess of their response to this demand”. Instead of nitpicking imaginary outrage why don’t you deal with the main premise of the article i.e. that what passed for a police force in the past was perceived or otherwise as belonging to unionism, was used to repress one section of the community and for society to progress, that has to be seen to have changed.

  • slug

    Feeney’s piece is a little limited in that he tends to just dismiss the concerns of the uninoist side of things rather than come to a fair understanding of both points of view on the policing issue. Naturally both nationalists and unionists will have valid concerns regarding the policing and justice ministry.

  • fair_deal

    Yes twice. Maybe you missed the pro-SF conclusion of the article:

    “It’s an essential condition and SF are quite right to make it a deal-breaker.”

    “that has to be seen to have changed.”

    This is not year zero there have been fundamental changes across society including policing.

  • slug

    Both the StA (2006) and the CA (2004) contained an assembly decision on whether to devolve policing, while the GFA (1998) contained no devolution of policing powers. This therefore is surely a matter for negotiation and bargaining?

  • Dec

    FD

    Hypothetical question: Who would you rather have as Policing and Justice minister? Mark Durcan or Ian Paisley Jr.

    Ps That second link doesn’t appear to work as intended (I think)

  • kadenza

    Has unionisms “rape reporting” analogy become the equivilent of the ticking bomb torture justification?

    A loaded emotional question whcich provides a limited framework on which to respond on much more long term crucial and complex issues.

  • J Kelly

    Dec would you want Durkan after the mess he made at DFM when he and Trimble negotiated the RRI which we cannot afford and have water tax as part of the deal. Durkan would have us paying for the police. but sure his da was in the RUC he would know all about bad policing

  • joeCanuck

    Almost 3 years ago exactly, my sister-in-law was abducted and murdered.
    The police made a superhuman effort to find her body and the perpetrator. They succeeded and the pervert responsible will spend the rest of his days in custody.
    All along, the officer in charge of the investigation kept the family involved through personal briefings and, when the case came to trial, there was always a police liason officer at the courthouse door to ensure that the family were properly taken care of and had all the suppoprt they needed.
    I have nothing but the highest admiration for them; they were a class act.
    “The times they have a changed”.
    We need to move on; we now have a highly professional dedicated police servive, free from political masters.

  • ingram

    Hi,

    I first met Brian Feeney a few months before the publication of Stakeknife, he reviewed the book and both myself and the co author were amazed at his pure ignorance on many aspects of the troubles.

    In summary a real plonker.Not very credible and his point re: policing is not even worthy of comment upon.

    Ingram

    Ingram

  • fair_deal

    kadenza

    “unionisms “rape reporting” analogy”

    Feeney raises a rape in the first sentence.

  • Dec

    J Kelly

    I only asked the question of FD as he’s a DUP supporter. Whilst I presume a lot of DUP supporters would want Ian Og in the post I’m curious as to whether they believe that this would lead to a stable, secure Union (which presumably is the raison d’etre of Unionism, at least according to wikipedia).

  • parcifal

    joe
    I applaud your bravery to come out and record a deeply personal and difficult subject on an open bulletin board. Its a powerful testimony indeed.

  • parcifal

    Dec,
    its clear from recent emails, that Ian P. Jr has too many personal issues to resolve before he’d be good at anything.
    The man is a living example of all that is wrong within unionism.

  • slug

    The other thing about Feeney is that he tends to misspell words like ‘meedja’ and so on. I know this is deliberate but I cannot see that it is a good idea. As a reader I find it a little annoying – it makes it feel as though he is writing for a low-IQ audience but I believe the IN readership is not low-IQ – and possibly a touch immature.

  • Quaysider

    Kedanza – it was Feeney who raised the rape issue, this is not “unionism’s rape reporting analogy” and it is appalling of you to imply otherwise.
    It was also Feeney who compared rape and vandalising parking meters – and who lept from a vandalised parking meter to a generalised claim that unionists aren’t law-abiding and the media doesn’t call them on it.

    All in all a very strange article full of almost strangulated attempts to splutter sectarian indignation on a very flimsy basis. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, it actually does no service to Sinn Fein who are now looking more moderate in their outlook than Brian Feeney.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    Thanks for the heads up, the second link is now fixed.

    On your question, I think it should be a shared ministry (at least for one full term of the Assembly). I am reluctant to create yet another department as I honestly think we need to be cutting back on them. My preferred option would be put it under the responsibilities of OFM/DFM and give the two junior ministers in there specific repsonsibility.

  • Rory

    If having a negative view of the literary ramblings of Ingram is what qualifies one to be “a real plonker” then may I say I am happy to be included among that merry band.

    Plonkers united! That’s our motto.

  • BP1078

    In this line of questioning the north’s unionist-dominated meedja unquestioningly follow the unionist line and avoid the real issue.

    Well, thank the God of Free Speech then for Brian breaking the chains of self-imposed censorship to tell us like it really is. And all on his own too (Will you shut up at the back there, please Ms McKay, Mr Gibney….ad infinitum).

    For some reason no-one puts to the DUP this question – Is it their policy to share power with nationalists and if not, when will it become so?

    You should really try reading a bit more Bri. Like every paper in NI/ROI with the exception of the Newsletter.

    If Bri were a Brit, he’d be writing storming pieces on sponging asylum-seekers and single-mums for the Daily Mail. Instead here he is pandering to the more small-minded of the Irish News readership. What a waste.

  • parcifal

    Rory,
    I’m not sure if Dr.Ingram intends his opus of works to be considered as literary classics, but perhaps you could recommend him some authors to aquaint himself with, to improve style.
    I would point to F.R.Leavis
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._R._Leavis

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Another excellent piece from Feeney that yet again highlights the lying hypocracy at the heart of unionism and the elements of the media that slavishly follow that line.
    The whining from the usual suspects is an indicator that Feeney has once again come a little too near the knuckle for some of them.

    ‘We need to move on; we now have a highly professional dedicated police servive, free from political masters.’

    No one is questioning the need to move on, but only when that moving on is built on the foundations of accountability and transparency. While you r own experiences may be of some merit to you personally for you to give an across the board statement of what we now have is ridiculous.

    For myself, I follow what is happening to Sean Hoey at his current show trial with an increasing sense of outrage. The lies that are being admitted to, almost on a daily basis by the PSNI are an indicator that we do not in fact have a ‘professional dedicated police servive, free from political masters’.

  • bertie

    Joe

    I am really sorry about what happened to your sister in law and very glad that the police steped up to the mark for your family. It hasn’t been the universal experience. Partly due to the numbers involved and partly due to ignorance of the need. It is still happening that the families of murder vitims are left reading about supposed advances in investigations in the media as opposed to being told directly by the police.

  • kadenza

    FD and Quaysider, i think it was during the summer that there was a appaling rape done by some sub human filth in the falls area. Following the incident both the media and unionist politicans harried sf about they called on people to go the police. I remember thinking it was a particulary inappropiate crime to be piggybacking on for political point scoring.

    In contrast, and i imagine that this is why feeney refered to it in the opening paragraph, a similar crime occuring on the other side of the peace line does not result in politics being played over the violated and abused body of a young teenage girl.

  • Rory

    Ingram and criticism.

    Only problem, Parcifal, is that Leavis was essentially a critic and Marty doesn’t take kindly to critics whom he labels “plonkers”. Perhaps you could direct him to a copy of the little handbook that F Scott Fitzgerald wrote for Sheila Graham. Fitzgerald was a master stylist and as perhaps the greatest writer of fiction in the English language of the 20th century would perhaps be more suited for the purpose.

    As an added bonus – t h e b o o k i s v e r y e a s y t o r e a d – and tailor made for those just starting out and with little style or taste.

  • realist2

    joe I’m real glad your family got closure on this awful murder. Mine wasn’t so fortunate. My brother in law was murdered in the seventies, during the feud. Peelers did nothing then, and the HET are a joke. We;ve seen nobody. My brother in law lay in the royal on a life support machine for three days and not a copper in sight. Never have we recieved closure. He was murdered by other republicans – during the feud, which doesn’t make things any easier but you are right there has been changes. Would I trust a copper then or now NO.

  • John East Belfast

    What is so dishonest about Feeney’s piece is he keeps intertwining SDLP/Constitutional nationalism with SF/IRA/Republicanism.

    Unionism does not view these as the same and most unionists largely appreciate the position of SDLP/constitutional nationalism on the PSNI – without agreeing to all of it – and certainly have no qualms that they believe in the rule of Law.

    However SF/IRA/Republicanism have clearly demonstrated in the past that they for the best part of 30 years were engaged in acts of varying degrees of criminality.
    They also did not accept the Rule of law as laid down in what to them is the Six Counties and as enforced by the RUC and now PSNI.

    Indeed PIRA regularly targetted RUC, Judges and DPP Barristers and murdered and maimed hundres of them.
    We have to assume that the SF position on such acts was that they were legitimate targets.
    Meanwhile they enforced their own ‘law and order’ using Base Ball bats, knee cappings and other acts that in the civilised world would be considered as cruel, unjustified and unusual forms of punishment.

    None of the above was the position of the main unionist parties or the SDLP.

    Therefore it is the bleedin obvious that SF is now interrogated on matters of Law and Order to see where they stand now.

    In writing such complete Shite is Feeney just stupid, blind or a propagandist ?

    Every article from the man is more and more bitter and twisted.

  • fair_deal

    Apologies folks I got the second link wrong AGAIN. It now links to the story I intended.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘What is so dishonest about Feeney’s piece is he keeps intertwining SDLP/Constitutional nationalism with SF/IRA/Republicanism.’

    What is so dishonest about that contribution is that the SDLP are not mentioned in the whole article.
    There is enough in the article to query without resorting to the ‘straw man’ syndrome. Given that, one can only presume that such was the accuracy of the article that the contributor is unable to put up a rational argument beyond inventing issues and downright lying.

  • kadenza

    JEB, isn’t the counter to your post that Unionism is selective on both its adherence and loyalty to the “rule of law”.

    That the RUC engaged in acts of unlawful killings and torture. That the Judges presided over a judical system that was outside of what could/should be expected from a western democracy. In effect that the interpretation that republicans could apply is that the policing and judical systems were during the “30 years” more akin to a country at war, or a miliatry dictatorship than a western democracy.

    So surely there needs to be an examination of the role, by unionism, of the arms of the state during the 30 years and an audit done that question the role and behaviour of the RUC, Prison officers and the judicary that says “did we behave in a impartial, professional manner and stuck to the rule of law”, defined as
    (1) the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power;
    (2) equality before the law or the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary courts; and (3) the law of the constitution is a consequence of the rights of individuals as defined and enforced by the courts.

  • The Pedant

    John East Belfast:

    “Unionism does not view these as the same and most unionists largely appreciate the position of SDLP…”

    You are mistaken; the leader of the largest Unionist party makes no distinction. Does anybody recall his sectarian “cradle to the grave” outburst over the appointment of an SDLP minister for higher education at the time of the first Assembly? I am unaware of Paisley’s retraction.

  • fair_deal

    “Following the incident both the media and unionist politicans harried sf about they called on people to go the police. I remember thinking it was a particulary inappropiate crime to be piggybacking on for political point scoring.”

    1. They didn’t it first defence.
    2. So its the people trying to maximise the chances of a dangerous criminal being caught that are the baddies? Hmmmm.

  • Dec

    So its the people trying to maximise the chances of a dangerous criminal being caught that are the baddies? Hmmmm.

    Though in that particular case we’re still waiting on law-abiding Unionist politicians to question the victim’s upbringing á la Michael McIlveen.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    BP1078

    “Well, thank the God of Free Speech then for Brian breaking the chains of self-imposed censorship to tell us like it really is. And all on his own too (Will you shut up at the back there, please Ms McKay, Mr Gibney….ad infinitum).”

    The examples you cite are columnists, not journalists. A columnist writes his or her subjective opinion, and it is very clearly marked as such. The work of journalists on the other hand, reporters, is presented as objective – so clearly there is an issue when the reporting is not objective. Reporters are the ones who identify what they consider to be newsworthy items, who decide who to talk to, who decide which questions to ask and which not to ask, who write and present the story for public consumption. Of course their own views, values and indeed political culture will profoundly affect their judgement on these questions.

    This is the thing: news gathering and reporting will never, ever be objective as long as human beings are doing it. It’s probably not even desirable that reporting would be entirely objective. This isn’t the same thing as bias though – probably tendency would be a more accurate word.

    So given that tendencies are unavoidable, all a journalist can reasonably strive for is accuracy, fairness and, when appropriate, balance.

    Of course most journalists here simply display their tendencies, and I would argue that examples of genuine bias are fairly few. It’s simply the case that if a given reporter happens to be a unionist, he just won’t think about a story or approach it the same way a given nationalist reporter might – or the way a given nationalist reader might wish it to be approached. Certain questions will naturally occur to him, and certain others simply won’t – and chances are these questions might be different from those that might occur to a nationalist.

    Which brings us to the problem that Feeney identifies. The truth is that of our major media organs here (BBC, UTV, Irish News, News Letter, BelTel) only the Irish News does not have a very obvious pro-union and pro-unionist tendency. Sure, there are high-profile Catholics in some of the other organisations but the editorial cultures of those organs is still very much unionist-dominated.

    So we get a situation where a unionist politician will raise an issue that most nationalists would regard as ridiculous, or as a fairly naked diversionary tactic, yet the issue is treated with absolute, straight-faced credulousness by, say, the Telegraph or BBC. (Say for example, the DUP’s photograph demand.) Meanwhile a nationalist politician might raise an issue that, to nationalists, is absolutely central, yet see that issue treated like some sort of off-the-wall conspiracy theory. (See, for example, the way collusion and state murder – not small matters, we can surely all agree – have been treated by the Telegraph and mainstream BBC news.)

    I don’t think this is the result of intentional bias. (The News Letter being an obvious exception here – despite the mountain of evidence in the public domain, as far as I know the News Letter has still never carried ANY substantive reports on collusion, other than perhaps unionist politicians “rubbishing” evidence.)

    It’s simply the case that most unionists don’t want to hear about collusion, and are far more interested in hearing about how unionists are the ones who need the shining knights of the fourth estate to ride to their rescue.

    The reporters and editors who hold the positions of power at the Telegraph and BBC and UTV are still overwhelmingly unionist people, and even if they were inclined to, it’s not like they could just leave their unionism at home.

    And even the Irish News is fairly hostile to republicans.

    None of which means there are any bad guys in all this. (Well, except for the spooks ensconced in our various media organs.) I say this only by way of observation.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    Have you an example of a Unionist refusing to encourage people to go to the police in the McIlveen case?

  • bertie

    “Though in that particular case we’re still waiting on law-abiding Unionist politicians to question the victim’s upbringing á la Michael McIlveen. ”

    could someone explain what this means?

  • Dec

    No, but to further strengthen your case, everyone in North Belfast recalls Nigel Dodds’ obvious delight when the PSNI broke up a UDI colour party at the Alexandra Bar.

    But on my original point, what do you consider the best way to promote law and order: a) urge people to assist the police; b) slag off the still-grieving victim’s family; or c) claim the DoE took them away?

  • nmc

    I think it refers to a DUP councillor telling the papers that Michael was destined for hell, due to his religious beliefs, Bertie. However I could be mistaken.

  • bertie

    nmc it doesn’t seem to fit. Saying that if someone is not “born again” they are not going to heaven is not quesioning anyone’s unbringing, or slaging off the family. I’m not “born again” and would be on my way to hell in the view of this man. I wouldnlt consider it slaging my family off or a comment about my upbringing if he said it about my demise. I would be angry (or rather my family would have every right to be angry), if he had gone out of his way to make that view public and specific at that time. However asking a Christian fundamentalist what his view is on ho gets to heaven will result in him stating the criteria, which he considers that we are all subject to. He was also speaking as a Christian fundamentalist not as a politician.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    Answer (a)

    What comments are you referring to in regard to the McIlveen family?

    nmc

    If you are correct, I have no intention of defending Roy Gillespie’s remarks even if the descriptions of them are gilding the lily, he shouldn’t have given that interview or said what he did within it.

  • slug

    “It’s simply the case that most unionists don’t want to hear about collusion”

    I think when the troubles were raging – and in the period immediately following them – this may well have been true, with people thinking in terms of the priority of a counter-terrorist effort against the IRA.

    However nowadays, now that we are in times of political stability and peace, priorities change. Largely speaking personally here I would say a lot of people, whether they describe themselves as ‘unionist’ or not, would consider it highly interesting and desirable for the state to be more open about what happened during that time.

    Furthermore there is nothing really at stake for most people in the state coming clean about what happened; yes there was support for strong counter terrorist efforts against the IRA but yes there would be support for the truth to come out subsequently regarding collusion, the loyalists involved, the reasons, and its context.

    The problem would not be for ordinary people such as myself or my friends; rather the problem would be for a fairly small number who were powersul in the establishment at the time of the troubles who would personally suffer were it to
    come out.

    It would be similar to learning about something done in wartime – interesting and worth getting out in the open.

    At the moment we are not looking back at the troubles very much in the media. I hope that in future, maybe in 5 or 10 years, there will be a lot more reflection on the troubles, the human costs, the individual stories, the wrongs done on both sides. We have a lot to get out in the open and as time passes it is easier to look at it objectively.

  • An Bearnach

    The real point about Feeney’s piece is that he totally misses the point. Sinn Fein have been holding out on policing for nothing, and next to nothing is what they will get. The fact is that almost all policing power is devolved and has been for nearly six years – to the Policing Board. When Adams and Kelly met Orde they said they wanted to talk about closing barrracks – but he had to tell them to go talk to the Policing Board, which decides on closures. The British may give them a fig leaf or two to cover their embarrassment at all those years of holding out, but it will not add up to much. They might even get something on MI5, but they came very late to that issue when all the heavy lifting had been done by the SDLP. Oddly, Sinn Fein may be preparing wriggle room by saying they will not accept any role for MI5 in ‘civic policing’. They don’t have such a role anywhere.

    According to the Oversight Commissioner, the Patten Programme is 86% fully or substantially accomplished. What exactly do Sinn Fein think they are going to get for nationalists on policing that was worth waiting for? And the rape point is valid -in 2005 Sinn Fein said they could not advise people to go to the PSNI over the rape of a schoolgirl in West Belfast.

  • Ulick

    “What exactly do Sinn Fein think they are going to get for nationalists on policing that was worth waiting for?”

    A policing and justice ministry with the possibility of a nationalist running it.

  • fair_deal

    Ulick

    “with the possibility of a nationalist running it.”

    D’hondt has that possibility already covered. There is no reservation of departmental briefs.

  • Ulick

    There’d be no possibility of a nationalist running the ministry if the department didn’t exist, which it will do if unionists want their toy Parliament back.

  • realist3

    realist2

    “He was murdered by other republicans – during the feud, which doesn’t make things any easier but you are right there has been changes. Would I trust a copper then or now NO.”

    wtf u crying about bitch ????

    its the law of the jungle, and what goes around……………

  • fair_deal

    There is no possibility of anyone running without it being devolved. However the principle that it should has been agreed the debate is on when.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “The truth is that of our major media organs here (BBC, UTV, Irish News, News Letter, BelTel) only the Irish News does not have a very obvious pro-union and pro-unionist tendency.”

    oh grow up billy p.

    The BBC is famously anti-Unionist, and if being part of the public service network of the UK makes it pro-Union, then so is the Royal Mail, the National Health Service, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Remind me of the last time the BBC said “You’re better off with Britain”. Probably just after Lord HawHaw was hanged.

    UTV is salivating over advertising revenue in RoI, and is as Unionist as the Ulster Bank.

    Yeah the small circulation News Letter is pro-Union, you got me there- strike 1 to the MOPEs

    The BelTel? Owned by well known Orangeman Sir Anthony O’Reilly, it has all the strident political views of a wet lettuce.

    Oh, and the owner of the “irish news” is a member of the Ulster Reform Club- one of the membership requirements being… support for the Union!!

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    FYI what Paisley had to say about co-operation with the police on the McIlveen murder

    “This was an horrific attack on this young man and all right-thinking and law-abiding people in Ballymena totally condemn it,” he said.

    “Those who have been responsible for this must have the full rigour of the law applied to them.”

    He appealed for anyone with information on the attack to contact police.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4983634.stm

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Darth

    “The BBC is famously anti-Unionist…”

    Round my way, the BBC is “famously pro-unionist”.

    Not much of an argument, is it?

    As I said, I’m not whinging or moping about it, just making an observation.

    “Remind me of the last time the BBC said “You’re better off with Britain”.”

    In so many words? Or just generally? Jesus, if the lack of such a statement is your basis for declaring the BBC “famously anti-unionist” then all I can say is that you are remarkably literally-minded…

    As I said, I wouldn’t accuse the BBC or UTV of flat-out bias – just a clear pro-union tendency that is manifested in the way they go about their business, stories they deem newsworthy, approaches to issues etc. I can appreciate that you don’t think they’re unionist enough, but that’s another issue. I think you’re criticising the BBC for not displaying an explicit pro-unionist bias – something I would not accuse them of either.

    But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a, shall we say, unionist-minded organisation. (Again, not a criticism, just an observation.)

    “The BelTel? Owned by well known Orangeman Sir Anthony O’Reilly, it has all the strident political views of a wet lettuce.”

    Owned by that well-known republican Sir Anthony….

    Again though, just look at what your criticism of the BelTel is – that it isn’t strident enough. Which again isn’t the same as denying a pro-union leaning that informs everything about it.

    On the ownership issue, whatever else O’Reilly is, he’s a businessman. Sure, he could relaunch the Telegraph as a republican newspaper, but if he did, sales would collapse and he’d lose millions. Not gonna happen, is it?

    Again I stress, I’m not criticising here. The Telegraph is a unionist paper for a predominantly unionist readership, and like any other commercial enterprise, it is in the business of giving the people what they want.

    By and large, that means providing pro-union reporting to a largely pro-union readership. It mightn’t be strident enough for your liking, but that’s another matter entirely.

    “Oh, and the owner of the “irish news” is a member of the Ulster Reform Club- one of the membership requirements being… support for the Union!”

    I did not know that!! You learn something new every day.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    FD

    Sorry to interrupt, but I just wondered what you made of Daily Ireland’s tactics in approaching Gillespie for an interview at the time of the McIlveen murder.

    I know a lot of unionists on here were very critical of DI and accused them of playing politics, engineering controversy, showing clear political bias and so on. Perhaps you were one of them? Can’t remember off hand.

    The point is this: republican politicians seem to get Gillespied (to coin a phrase) on a regular basis by the mainstream media, in much the same way.

    Which I think is what Feeney was trying to say. And I think it’s a fair point.

  • BP1078

    Billy
    Sorry for the late reply.
    This was Brian Feeney’s original comment:

    In this line of questioning the north’s unionist-dominated meedja unquestioningly follow the unionist line and avoid the real issue

    The “media” for me is anybody who reports to anyone who wants to listens, that includes (hopefully)objective journalists right down to rabidly-biased columnists. Taking that into consideration, (and any quick look at the day’s Nuzhound will confirm)it is patently untrue that only the “unionist line” is available for public consumption here.

    It’s simply the case that if a given reporter happens to be a unionist, he just won’t think about a story or approach it the same way a given nationalist reporter might – or the way a given nationalist reader might wish it to be approached.

    Surely it is not the reporter, but the editorial board of UTV, the BBC, the Tele (I exclude the Irish News and Newsletter here because both are preaching to their own individual congregations and make no claim for impartiality) who makes the decision on how such stories are first selected and then approached?

    And simply from a commercial point of view, (regardless of the individual journalists’ integrity, which you haven’t questioned)it would make little sense for such organisations to follow a partisan line in which stories they select and how such stories are followed up. Too strident a Unionist line on the Beeb, UTV or the Tele would have simply resulted in a haemorrahage of nationalist viewers and readers to RTE and certain of the ROI papers and probably dear old Daily Ireland would have lived to fight another day against Brit oppression- neither of these scenarios have materialised.

    And just as a side-note,I’ve had a quick shufty at the UTV newsboard- 8 out of the cuurent 20 stories come from south of the border and it’s informing us of the present weather situation in Limerick-which I haven’t really got a problem with because if that’s what their viewers want to read, then fair enough…but it does seem a bit, I don’t know, Lundyesque of a pillar of the Unionist-dominated media to be reporting such events…

  • fair_deal

    Billy Pilgrim

    This is what I had to say about the Gillespie issue at the time:
    “Roy “Get-a-moronic-quote” Gillespie strikes again. Insensitive, ill-judged and plain wrong. It is also a misrepresentation of evagelical Protestantism’s attitude to salvation and plain wrong. No one of any denomination gets into heaven automatically it is always on the basis of individual salvation. Also Mr Gillespie should remember it is God who judges what is in a man’s heart no one else.”

    As you will see I didn’t blame DI but the person who said it.

  • John East Belfast

    Pat McLarnon

    “What is so dishonest about that contribution is that the SDLP are not mentioned in the whole article.”

    are the SDLP not Nationalists ?

    was he just talking about SF when he was going on about Nationalists always being in support of Law and Order etc

    Why didnt he mention SDLP – is Feeney as spokesperson for SF.

    Most people in NI know what is being talked about in terms of unionist/loyalist and nationalist/republican.

    I wouldnt want the line blurred between me and loyalist paramilitarism and I am sure the SDLP would not want it blurred between them and PIRA.

    There is this re-writing of history that Republicans constantly try to do so as to justify their nasty and ultimately useless murderous campaign.

    Such as Kadenza

    “That the RUC engaged in acts of unlawful killings and torture. That the Judges presided over a judical system that was outside of what could/should be expected from a western democracy. In effect that the interpretation that republicans could apply is that the policing and judical systems were during the “30 years” more akin to a country at war, or a miliatry dictatorship than a western democracy.”

    Do people honestly really believe this kind of thing or is it just propaganda.

    Undoubtedly bad things happened including matters which democracies should be ashamed off.

    But in the overall balance if it was weighed in the see saw scales of justice I think the UK Govt and Security Forces would catapult the PIRA campaign into oblivion.

    This includes over 20,000 people given due process and who were convicted by the courts of crimes.

    PUHLEASE !!!!

    Not to mention the many hundreds of terrorists who were convicted of crimes and served time as a result of the ROI criminal justice sytem. – the very people PIRA were trying to unite with.

    Can you not face it your ‘war’ was illegitimate ?

    Now that you are embracing legitimacy you are also having to reject your past and embrace that which you were trying to destroy ?

    The latter means you have either surrendered or now agree that you were mostly wrong all that time

    Can that message not get through ?

  • drummer

    > Too strident a Unionist line on the Beeb…

    The BBC never had a “strident…Unionist line”, it was (is?) much more subtle than that. News items would be omitted, acts of violence would be reported as “sectarian” if committed by loyalists while a similar act by Republicans would be reported as “terrorism” which sounds much, much worse.

    Because I subscribed to Irish newspapers I would read about events that many people in the UK would not if they depended upon the national press. Sometimes I would hear about an event days before it would get into the British mainstreram meedja.

    The BBC has admitted that omitting news items could skew information and attitudes about events and that it has practised this as far back as the 1930s and not just about Irish matters.

    One thing I have noticed is that there was never any public call for mainland Brtitish people to have a say as to whether they would like to hang onto Northern Ireland or not. Even parliament was silenced – the opposition of the time (Labour, then Tory) agreed not to debate any government decision on NI.

    The only time anything would slip out was in programs like “Any Questions?” (BBC4, Friday evenings) when the occasional panellist would say they would favour returning the six counties to Ireland, or a caller on the Saturday section would say “why can’t I have a say on whether we want to keep that place.”

    And why can’t we have a say on this – we are supporting NI with taxes and have suffered loss of life and property. And the “loyalists” seem so foreign. Londoners do not march in bowler hats carrying huge drums in remembrance of a king who died a long time ago. Sure the mainland police may have biases, but not against half of the population (yet).

    It was a bijotted and undemocratic mistake way back in the 1920s to have split Ireland. Think of all the suffering we could have avoided. There would have been no 30 year war from 1969 on, it would have been sorted out in the 1920s and probably with a lot less bloodshed.

    Ken Livingstone would be in favour of rectifying this error, and so would quite a few other British people here on the mainland if someone started a vociferous campaign. It is undemocratic to exclude British people from having a say on whether we want to keep NI or not. And on this the majority of *British* votes should prevail, not just NI loyalist votes.

    Anyone interested in starting this campaign?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    BP1078

    “Taking that into consideration, (and any quick look at the day’s Nuzhound will confirm)it is patently untrue that only the “unionist line” is available for public consumption here.”

    Sorry, but I haven’t suggested that “only the unionist line is available for public consumption here”. I have argued though, that with the exception of the Irish News, all of the main NI-wide media organs here very much unionist-minded.

    I would also argue that it’s very easy – in fact, all too easy, and with consequences that make societal progress more difficult – for unionists to live in ignorance or denial of the issues that are of massive concern to the nationalist community. Collusion, and the conduct of the state during the troubles, is a good example. Kadenza says: “The RUC engaged in acts of unlawful killings and torture. That the Judges presided over a judical system that was outside of what could/should be expected from a western democracy. In effect that the interpretation that republicans could apply is that the policing and judical systems were during the “30 years” more akin to a country at war, or a miliatry dictatorship than a western democracy.”

    John East Belfast responds:

    “Do people honestly really believe this kind of thing or is it just propaganda?”

    This is what I’m talking about. I’m not a SFer, never have been. I’m no apologist for the IRA’s insane, murderous campaign. Yet I fully endorse Kadenza’s sentiments. An overwhelming majority of nationalists would. The reason most nationalists would agree with this analysis is that a) it tallies with our experience; and b) there is a growing mountain of evidence to support it.

    Given this context, you see how remarkable it is that JEB – who is well-informed on most things – can ask if anyone really believes this? You see how insulated he is from what nationalists think? You see how insulated he is from the reality of what the state got up to here? How do you think that has come about?

    The converse is simply not the case. It’s easy for unionists to ignore the Irish News – not so easy for nationalists to ignore the BBC, UTV, Belfast Telegraph and News Letter.

    “Surely it is not the reporter, but the editorial board of UTV, the BBC, the Tele who makes the decision on how such stories are first selected and then approached?”

    Generally it’s individual reporters who initiate stories in consultation with their immediate superiors. It would be a rare story indeed that the top brass would have to get involved with.

    “And simply from a commercial point of view, it would make little sense for such organisations to follow a partisan line in which stories they select and how such stories are followed up.”

    I’m not accusing them of taking a partisan line or being stridently unionist – I’m saying they are unionist-minded, dominated by unionist views and values, and this is evident in the journalism they produce – and in what they ignore.

    It’s not that nationalists are alienated by it – just that they understand exactly where these media organs stand.

    “And just as a side-note,I’ve had a quick shufty at the UTV newsboard- 8 out of the cuurent 20 stories come from south of the border and it’s informing us of the present weather situation in Limerick-which I haven’t really got a problem with because if that’s what their viewers want to read, then fair enough…but it does seem a bit, I don’t know, Lundyesque of a pillar of the Unionist-dominated media to be reporting such events…”

    It would be b1goted for any media organ to try and pretend NI is an island – and indeed it was extremely b1goted for them to do so all those years. I’m not accusing UTV of being a b1goted organisation – far from it. However that doesn’t mean it isn’t still unionist-dominated. It is.

  • The Pedant

    BRITISH COUPLE DIE IN PARIS CAR CRASH

    Had the Ulster media not been pro-Unionist then the above headline would have sufficed ten years ago. Yet nationalists must continue to endure a surfeit of media coverage of Diana Windsor’s tragic death, while truly important and relevant stories are either poorly reported or ignored by all save the Irish News.

  • heck

    John EB

    That the RUC engaged in acts of unlawful killings and torture. That the Judges presided over a judical system that was outside of what could/should be expected from a western democracy. In effect that the interpretation that republicans could apply is that the policing and judical systems were during the “30 years” more akin to a country at war, or a miliatry dictatorship than a western democracy.”

    Do people honestly really believe this kind of thing or is it just propaganda?

    DOES ANYONE DENY IT OR IS THEIR HEAD UP THEIR ASS?

  • BP1078

    drummer

    The BBC never had a “strident…Unionist line”, it was (is?) much more subtle than that. News items would be omitted, acts of violence would be reported as “sectarian” if committed by loyalists while a similar act by Republicans would be reported as “terrorism” which sounds much, much worse.

    Even if you’re right (bit before my time I’m glad to say), “ Child killed in terrorist attack” and “Child Killed in Sectarian Attack” both sound equally horrendous to me.

    And good luck with your campaign to energise the Great British Public on the subject of N. Ireland.

  • BP1078

    Billy

    Sorry, but I haven’t suggested that “only the unionist line is available for public consumption here”. I have argued though, that with the exception of the Irish News, all of the main NI-wide media organs here very much unionist-minded.

    Ok fair enough, but I still read that as Feeney’s argument. And I still believe he’s wrong.

    I would also argue that it’s very easy – in fact, all too easy, and with consequences that make societal progress more difficult – for unionists to live in ignorance or denial of the issues that are of massive concern to the nationalist community

    Given this context, you see how remarkable it is that JEB – who is well-informed on most things – can ask if anyone really believes this? You see how insulated he is from what nationalists think? You see how insulated he is from the reality of what the state got up to here? How do you think that has come about?

    It’s the nature of the society that we live in I’m afraid that we will all have our own interpretation on our shared history. Do I think that the average nationalist appreciates how offensive the Hunger Strike Commemoration in Casement Park was to the average Unionist? No. Why do they not know? They didn’t read or hear Unionist opinions in the media? Again no. They choose (be it subconsciously or not) to ignore these opinions. And so, whether John believes collusion took place or not is not dependant on what he has read on the media. Countless articles have popped up over the last few weeks on the subject. With the internet we are all now masters of what news story we read and more importantly what interpretation we want on that story, he has decided not to believe what he’s read. The story has been covered (imo as a unionist) adequately on the BBC, UTV and the Tele.

    The converse is simply not the case. It’s easy for unionists to ignore the Irish News – not so easy for nationalists to ignore the BBC, UTV, Belfast Telegraph and News Letter.

    In the internet age, yes it is, there are dozens of other news sources of news out there. And also the viewer or reader of today is a much more proactive beast. If they disagree with a news story, they let the news media concerned they disagree with it. And if enough people are unhappy with a particular news outlet, then it would be commercial suicide for it not to change how it conducts itself. If there is this Unionist ethos you mentioned, the BBC, UTV and the Tele still seem to attract Irish Nationalist viewers and readers.
    Why have they not been more proactive in making their voice known?
    Why in this particular area, have they been so apathetic standing up for their rights?

    The Pedant
    Yet nationalists must continue to endure a surfeit of media coverage of Diana Windsor’s tragic death, while truly important and relevant stories are either poorly reported or ignored by all save the Irish News.

    Kinda same message as above…they are all commercial organizations. Type them an E mail. If enough customers are unhappy with their coverage they’ll soon change it. We live in the age of internet democracy!!

  • ciaran damery

    I was at a public meeting in Ireland in 2001, shortly after my exit cuz of my ‘extra cirricular activities’.

    Brian Keenan said,”The GFA will either work or it will fall, if it falls, it falls. But until we reach our goals of equality and liberty we will use each and every phase of our struggle to achieve our aims” he added that “the revolution will never end until we have our country and that we have consigned British imperialism to the dustbin of history”.

    Today I am mindful of those comments and sincerely hope that the strategy of Irish Republicanism will not change, that we are not weak and will succeed in our prosecution of revolution.

    That was in 2001. We have not lived up to Brian Keenan’s goals. Shame on us! We have not used “each and every phase of struggle to to prosecute the revolution towards those ends”

    Brian went on to say that the war will never be over until we have our country back and until british imperialism is where it belongs, in the dusbin of history”.

  • The Pedant

    BP1078

    “Kinda same message as above…they are all commercial organizations. Type them an E mail. If enough customers are unhappy with their coverage they’ll soon change it.”

    With respect, that is naïveté. Sectarianism seldom bows to economic considerations. Being irrational by nature, it cannot see the logic in doing so.

  • DK

    “Brian Keenan said,”The GFA will either work or it will fall, if it falls, it falls. But until we reach our goals of equality and liberty we will use each and every phase of our struggle to achieve our aims” he added that “the revolution will never end until we have our country and that we have consigned British imperialism to the dustbin of history”.”

    I think that if Brian wanted to join the PSNI, as a catholic he would have a better chance than a prod, so it looks like he has exceeded equality. Well done Brian – victory at last. Also, the British are keen as mustard to get the hell out (and have been for a very long time). It’s only the threat of war keeping them back (Notice how the troops numbers fall during peacetime) – so once again, by stopping the war Brian has removed more Brits than shooting them, another victory.

    Seriously Ciaran, thank fuck you are away from Ireland. If you were here, you would see that it is marxist revolutionary thowbacks like Brian who are actually in the dustbin of history.

  • John East Belfast

    Billy & heck

    Your conspiracy theory that the entire British establishment & judicial system was in on the torture and oppression of nationalists is delusional and akin to saying that the desert has a wet climate because it occasionally rains there.

    Perhaps there was collusion, perhaps there were bad apples but the vast majority (95% +) of incidents were subject to due process.

    The facts speak for themselves – 20,000 + convictions and how many disputed killings over 30 years – less than 50 I would say.

    Meanwhile PIRA had no due process, showed little restraint and no mercy.

    And you are not honestly saying that because I dont take your version of events that I have been brainwashed by the Belfast Telegraph !! – wise up and wake up and smell the coffee.

    Everyone the world over with the exception of Cuba, Gaddaffi and Eastern European countries with a Soviet agenda considered PIRA to be illegitimate – were they all in on a British conspiracy too – and as I said earlier the ROI authorities as well ?

  • GavBelfast

    Ciaran, there’s an old saying “about as funny as toothache”.

    I’ve read your latest musing (above) and, as someone with a toothache, I forgot about it momentarily in howls of laughter.

    You’ve excelled yourself, which, given the track-record, is really saying something.

    Generally, as threads go, this has strayed further than most. From a silly wee rant from Brian Feeney to nationalist suffocation at the Diana & Dodi coverage nine years ago and since (did anyone REALLY feel that way, or just bored like a lot of us?), tangental could have been invented for the way this thread’s meandered with increasing irrelevance.

    Too many here just love disagreeing to difer.

  • bertie

    JEB

    “Everyone the world over with the exception of Cuba, Gaddaffi and Eastern European countries with a Soviet agenda considered PIRA to be illegitimate – were they all in on a British conspiracy too – and as I said earlier the ROI authorities as well ? ”

    You’re not doubting the power and influence of the Belfast Tele are you? 😉

  • ciaran damery

    Those who sneer at Brian Keenan’s comments ought to remember that his role in the most recent phase of armed struggle is unequalled. His role as ‘The Dog’, id est, a leader of military republicanism, a guide for Irish revolutionaries, for the Irish diaspora and a leader of those who pursued armed struggle.

    Those who sneer at me, ought to know that I am one of many republicans who disagree with the current project. To be honest, it’s pretty easy being an OTR. But we cannot settle for the British/Paisleyite bullshit politics.

    Anyway one thing’s for sure, occupied Ireland needs a republican military force to protect the indigenous Irish and to engage the occupier and it’s Orange spawn when needed. Continuation of direct rule and the denial of POW status to Republican militants is a recipe for disaster.

    Finally, as a resident of Beruit, I frequently witness the altruistic, heroic and selflesness of Hezbollah. Despite western media’s critical view of Hezbollah, it is a movement that would put today’s Republicans to shame.

    God save Ireland – Allah Ackbar!

  • BP1078

    Yet nationalists must continue to endure a surfeit of media coverage of Diana Windsor’s tragic death, while truly important and relevant stories are either poorly reported or ignored by all save the Irish News

    With respect, that is naïveté. Sectarianism seldom bows to economic considerations. Being irrational by nature, it cannot see the logic in doing so

    The Pedant,

    You honestly believe UTV’s continued (tedious) obsession with Princess Di is driven solely by sectarian reasons?

    The New York Times did another article on Monday about the whole affair, even went as far as to call her Princess Diana and not Di Windsor.
    Did they do that simply to stick up 2 fingers at Irish nationalism?
    Sectarian conspiracy at the New York Times?
    Or the kind of news their readers are (still) interested in reading?

  • ciaran damery

    Sad to see the NY Times act like a Murdoch tabloid. The days of a dacent broadsheet with news rather than fairy tales seem to be gone. Only the Starry Plough and Andytown news are papers with integrity and devoid of bias.

  • Reader

    Drummer: And why can’t we have a say on this
    But you do. The English have an indisputable right to leave the UK. What they don’t have is a right to expel anyone else.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    BP1078

    “I’m afraid that we will all have our own interpretation on our shared history.”

    You’re right. I’m just making the point that this is just as true of journalists as of anyone else, and their interpretations of our shared history informs their journalism.

    In NI we have a unionist-dominated media and that means that the narratives we are treated to on BBC, UTV, BelTel etc, are narratives informed by a unionist perspective. Look, for example, at the recent special coverage of the disbandment of the RIR – presented as a “homage to heroes”, with extended coverage of the “sad day” and lots of human interest stories about brave fallen comrades etc. And two sentences from Alban Maginness just hinting that there might just perhaps be another side to the story.

    From a nationalist perspective, the coverage was outrageous. You ask whether nationalists understand how unionists feel about a Hunger Strike commemoration – I think the answer is yes, nationalists understand very well. (Some may not care, others may see unionist objection as a raison d’etre, but very few would be unaware of how unionists would feel about it.)

    Whereas conversely, I have serious doubts about unionism’s ability to grasp how nationalists felt and feel about state forces. JEB refers to issues collusion, state dirty tricks and so on as a “conspiracy theory” – despite a mountain of evidence and open-and-shut prima facie evidence to show it was very real. These issues are mainstream within the nationalist community, yet are laughed off as preposterous by most unionists. One can’t help but think that the information that exists out there isn’t getting through.

    And whose job is it to get that information out there?

    “With the internet we are all now masters of what news story we read”

    Yes, but I’m specifically talking about the traditional mainstream media – which are still after all the most powerful media organisations around. Slugger’s good, but I’m sure even after a few brandies Mick wouldn’t start claiming that he was bigger than the Beeb.

    “And if enough people are unhappy with a particular news outlet it would be commercial suicide for it not to change how it conducts itself.”

    Thing is, most Telegraph readers are unionists, and if they have a criticism, it’s that the BelTel isn’t unionist enough for their tastes. However it also has a minority nationalist readership who they aren’t keen to alienate – so we get a small ‘u’ unionist product that steers a careful path between ensuring that nationalist readers aren’t insulted whilst sending enough signals to the broader unionist audience that it’s on the right side.

    Which is, I think, not a bad description of the BelTel, UTV and BBC. Conversely, I think the same is true of the Irish News, though with the labels reversed. Again, this is not a criticism, just an observation of what you rightly point to as simple business realities.

    “the BBC, UTV and the Tele still seem to attract Irish Nationalist viewers and readers.”

    As I said, it’s not that nationalists are militant or alienated by it – but they do understand exactly where these media organs stand, and they filter the information accordingly.

    “Why have they not been more proactive in making their voice known?”

    I remember when Armagh won the All Ireland in 2002. It was a dramatic, historic, era-defining, county-consuming breakthrough and in journalistic terms was the biggest sports story since Ulster won the Heineken Cup. Indeed it would have been reasonable to lead on page one with it – as the Telegraph did when Northern Ireland beat England – as the sheer magnitude of the event made it a news story, not just a sports story. Even the News Letter carried a full page report on the game ffs.

    Yet that Monday, the Telegraph’s sports lead was Chelsea v Tottenham, or something like that. The All Ireland got a minor piece at the bottom of the page and the reports were carried inside.

    To Armagh people it was nothing less than an insult. I heard countless people swearing that they would never again buy the Telegraph. People were furious about it.

    Later, I heard from a reliable source who had discussed it with the Telegraph’s then-sports editor. (I know, a once-removed conversation, Chinese whispers etc….) He said that if the Belfast Telegraph was ever to give a back page lead to Gaelic games, they’d lose 10,000 readers overnight.

    So I suppose the answer to your question is this: the unionist-mindedness of our media pisses off nationalists but any lessening of that unionist-mindedness would piss off unionists.

    If you’ve got to piss off somebody, it makes sense to piss off those who don’t usually buy your product anyway. It makes zero sense to piss off your regular customers.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    JEB

    “Your conspiracy theory that the entire British establishment & judicial system was in on the torture and oppression of nationalists is delusional and akin to saying that the desert has a wet climate because it occasionally rains there.”

    No it isn’t. There is compelling prima facie evidence that the murder of Pat Finucane, for example, can be traced all the way to the cabinet table in Downing Street. We do know that the British army was involved in Abu Ghraib-style torture and “experiments” in the 1970s. (The “Hooded Men”.) We do know that high-ranking members of every single one of the “security services” was involved in the murders of innocent people. None of these observations ought to be controversial (well, perhaps the Finucane thing…) yet they are still treated as such. Why? Because very few people are aware even of the information that’s in the public domain.

    That this should be the case in relation to such profound matters represents a serious indictment of our media.

    “Perhaps there was collusion, perhaps there were bad apples but the vast majority (95% +) of incidents were subject to due process.”

    Can I give you some advice? You should never use the phrase “bad apples” to a nationalist. It just makes us want to start swinging. Honestly.

    “Meanwhile PIRA had no due process, showed little restraint and no mercy.”

    You’re measuring the state’s conduct against standards set by the IRA?

    And you are not honestly saying that because I don’t take your version of events that I have been brainwashed by the Belfast Telegraph!!”

    I said nothing of the sort – and it’s tiresome having words put in my mouth.

    I’m saying that your interpretation of events is affected by the media you consume – and that the media itself is affected by the interpretations of powerful forces within it. And that in NI, those powerful forces are generally unionist-minded.

    “Everyone the world over with the exception of Cuba, Gaddaffi and Eastern European countries with a Soviet agenda considered PIRA to be illegitimate – were they all in on a British conspiracy too – and as I said earlier the ROI authorities as well?”

    What does this have to do with anything?

    I’m anti-provo. The IRA campaign was insane and murderous and totally wrong. I’m glad the IRA has disarmed and wish whatever remnants remain would vanish forever. I’m was also always strongly anti-army, anti-RUC, anti-UDR and am sceptical of the PSNI (though I think they need to be accepted and reformed from within).

    I think the Provos record during the Troubles was shameful, but I don’t accept the argument that the record of the state (army, RUC, Special Branch, B Specials/UDR, SAS, MI5 and the loyalist murder gangs employed by the state to liquidate enemies and terrorise the nationalist community as a whole) was any less shameful. I think that body count is usually a reasonable indicator, and on that count the two sides break about even.

    No doubt you will find this suggestion outrageous, going as it does against all the officially-accepted received wisdom of the unionist-dominated state, unionist-dominated media and unionism in general. But you should think about it – it’s not that far from the mainstream in the nationalist community. Instead of reacting furiously you should consider just what it would mean if I happened to have a point.

    Imagine how different reporting here would be if the BBC, UTV and BelTel were informed by this kind of thinking, instead of the usual “forces of law and order tackling terrorism, few bad apples” narrative which DOES inform them.

  • drummer

    Reader:

    By your logic the then British Government had no “right” to allow the 26 counties their independence (note that the Brits never asked the Irish permission to invade Ireland in the first place and they expelled a few thousand of them to places like the West Indies as slaves, and to Australia, etc.)

    Those in NI who don’t want to become citizens of the Republic of Ireland are quite welcome to go east and live on the big British island next door.

  • ciaran damery

    Dick tries to make fun of the former leader of Oglaigh Na hEireann. Dk when you talk few if any listen, you represent yerself and with a bit of luck a few orange clowns. Brian keenan, meanwhile is not somebody who can be easily dismissed as a “marxist, fascist” and the usual pejorative terms.

    [edited moderator]

  • bertie

    “Drummer: And why can’t we have a say on this

    But you do. The English have an indisputable right to leave the UK. What they don’t have is a right to expel anyone else. ”

    Reader I was just going to start a campaign to expel Drummer from the UK because I don’t like him and he isn;t like me, but you are right.

    Pity!

  • bertie

    Drummer

    “By your logic the then British Government had no “right” to allow the 26 counties their independence”

    that is not by his logic. His logic is about not having the right to throw part of a country out. The right to leave is a different thing.

    “Those in NI who don’t want to become citizens of the Republic of Ireland are quite welcome to go east and live on the big British island next door. ”
    Why the hell should they ? Most people in NI want lo live in the smaller British bit of the Island to the west of GB.

  • DK

    Ciaran Damery: “Dk when you talk few if any listen, you represent yerself and with a bit of luck a few orange clowns. Brian keenan, meanwhile is not somebody who can be easily dismissed as a “marxist, fascist” and the usual pejorative terms.
    [edited moderator] ”

    Well, Brian Keenan has very little relevance to me or 99% of the people in Ireland except as a sad relic of history gone by. That you seek to worhip at the temple of his purple head is up to you. The rest of us are living in the present. I work in a cross-border organisation, so your term “orange clown” is as far from me as you probably are. But I actually live in Ireland and you seek to kill people in it. Think of that. Try and direct your energy somewhere positive, like community relations or the environment. After all – global warming may flood this island: slightly more important than the location of internal borders I think.

    I don’t know what comment of yours was moderated, but can only assume that I have been added to your hit-list, along with Matin Ingram and god knows who else. I think that you have more urgent personal problems that you need to prioritise before the jihad against the enemies of your imagined Ireland.

  • John East Belfast

    Billy Pilgrim

    You havent said anything in your last post that does not make me believe anything other than a system of law, due process and democracy – which was under attack by an enemy that played by no rules other than its own – endeavoured for the overwhelming majority of the time to abide by acceptable law.
    That lines in the murky world of intelligence and counter terrorism sometimes got blurred – especially following public outrage and anger for “something to be done” – is probably true.

    The difference for me is by and large it was the undesired exception but for you it appears to have been the norm and indeed you are almost now inferring was the actual cause of the problem.

    What I would say is there is no point in terrorists crying about their members getting killed by anyone – law abiding citisens could complain yes – but not SF.

    In any event if you compare the UK with how the US deals with Al Qaida, Israel with terrorists, Spain with ETA, Italy with Red Brigade, Germany with Biader Meinhoff ete etc I think the UK comes off pretty well.

    I dont believe this because I have been influenced by the media but because to me it is common sense and supported by the facts.

    20,000 + convicted prisoners and Hundreds of Millions spent on legal aid.
    As for you assertion that the security forces killed as many people as terrorists that is rubbish.

    My take on this is there are two reasons why Republicans go on about collusion.

    One is understandable propaganda and the other is all about legitimacy.
    They crave, if even in their own thinking that what they did was legitimate when it wasnt.

    It was interesting that Pat McLarnon pulled me on thinking that Feeney was talking about SDLP when he oft referred to Nationalists as if that mantle is also Sinn Fein. We see the reverse of that when people start talking baout unionist paramilitaries.

    Its this blurring of the lines between what was right and what was overwhelmingly wrong.

    I will resist that where I see it – and it was why I opposed the ‘alliance’ between my own party and the PUP.

    Republicans can believe all they like about what they did – we drew a line under it at the GFA and the state and community showed them mercy with their sentences.

    However any attempt at shifting the burden of WRONG in the 69 to 96 period should be strenuously resisted.

  • lib2016

    Let’s not forget that when discussing the record of successive British governments we are talking about the Thatcher government which denounced Mandela as a ‘terrorist’ and cooperated with BOSS (the South African secret police who were implicated in arming unionist paramilitaries) and the facist dictator Pinochet, not to mention the current regime regarded as a rogue government by most of the world for it’s murderous and illegal invasion of Iraq.

    If anyone one is imprisoned in the future as a ‘war criminal’ it won’t be Brian Keenan.

    As for the minimisation which unionists persist in when talking about their own guilt? Anyone who has ever met a petty criminal will be familar with that pattern of behaviour. Sad but to be expected and the reason why we should have some kind of a Truth Commission.

  • BP1078

    Billy Pilgrim
    Re the three specific examples you used:

    Collusion

    It was two BBC documentaries, one in 1992 (Brian Nelson)and one in 2002 which were principally responsible for bringing the topic of “collusion” to a much wider audience.

    Armagh’s Victory in the All-Ireland

    Armagh won the Belfast Telegraph’s “Team of the Year” in 2002. I also have a feeling they featured on the front page of the paper, but I can’t access the archives.

    Reaction to Disbandment of the RIR
    SF’s opinion was broadcast.

    The reason I’ve listed these (apart from the fact that I’m a pedantic sod!) is that your memories or recollection of events from each case has been selective. Collusion has been covered by the BBC, Armagh’s victory was given proper credit by the Bel Tel and the republican reaction to the RIR was sought and broadcast.

    From a nationalist perspective, the coverage was outrageous.

    The coverage wasn’t exactly as nationalists would have wanted, but it was there.

    We’re looking at events through different tinged glasses, I believe coverage has been fair and balanced in each of these cases (indeed, I can only imagine how a widow of a UDR soldier, murdered by the Provos, felt about the SF’s reaction being broadcast). On the other hand, it’s a perenial complaint amongst NI fans that UTV devotes negligible coverage to a team that a fair proportion of the population follows- cue guffaws of disbelief from the anti-GAWA brigade…but it’s a perception nevertheless and a strongly held one.

    The point I’m making, in a roundabout way, is that in a divided society how we interpret the news will always be different, but I believe that the three organisations, for the sake of their own viewing and reading figures if nothing else, make a pretty good stab at impartiality. And the proof as I said before, which you didn’t really address, is that if the bias or ethos was too much for nationalists to stomach, then alternative sources would be sought. The one attempt to address this perceived media bias, Daily Ireland, failed miserably.

    Yes, but I’m specifically talking about the traditional mainstream media – which are still after all the most powerful media organisations around. Slugger’s good, but I’m sure even after a few brandies Mick wouldn’t start claiming that he was bigger than the Beeb.

    I was referring to the mainstream media which can now be accessed on the internet. I can read papers now that I wouldn’t have dared to have asked from my local newsagent 5 years ago. The BBC (along with the Guardian) is the most internet-savvy media outlet in poss the world. They want as many readers as possible to click on every day- they also know specifically in NI, there are now, more than ever before, alternative outlets for disaffected nationalists to click onto. It’s not in their interest to piss off either too many unionists or nationalists. My main criticism of their (and the Tele’s) coverage would be not their political bias, but that in every case they try to present two sides of a story, when it is not always justifiable and also they pander a bit too much to middle-class concerns (ie the grammar school debate).

    You ask whether nationalists understand how unionists feel about a Hunger Strike commemoration – I think the answer is yes, nationalists understand very well. (Some may not care, others may see unionist objection as a raison d’etre, but very few would be unaware of how unionists would feel about it.)

    Here you kind of indirectly prove my point about Unionist public reaction to collusion and how that is connected with the perceived lack of media coverage. In their hearts, they know it occured… the proof is there and it has been covered extensively all over the local media. But as in the case of many nationalists/republicans refusing to publicly acknowledge the hurt caused to many by the IRA campaign (how many times does that happen here on Slugger?), the majority simply belittle its effect or refuse to acknowledge that it even happened. We’re in the middle of a cold war and one of the fronts of that war is the propaganda one-surrender too much on any issue and you may well lose the entire campaign.

    But all this is not the result of a lack of media coverage, simply each group’s selective public interpretation of our shared history…