Paisley main obstacle to settlement in 1976

A document released into the National Archives in Dublin under the 30-year rule records a meeting between an Irish government minister and then Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher. The memo, carrying a note attributing it to Ireland`s Foreign Minister Garret FitzGerald, shows he told senior Tories the political realities meant Mr Paisley was the main obstacle to a settlement in October 1976.
It appears from this memo of a meeting with Thatcher and Whitelaw that Paisley refused to attempt to work or share any form of power with the catholic minority of the time because he was under the impression from Airey Neave that a majority Unionist government could be returned to Stormont.

I said I thought the major problem was Paisley,” the memo (by Garrett Fitzgerald) stated.

“She (Mrs Thatcher) seemed extremely surprised at this, though Whitelaw assented with my view.

“I said that while certainly the continued activities of the IRA made it difficult for politicians in Northern Ireland to reach agreement on joint government, this was not in my view the main obstacle to agreement – the main obstacle was Paisley because of his dominant position and because of the fact that he had brought down successive leaders of the Unionist Party who seemed willing to compromise with the minority.

I don’t think any of the cynics out there should ever for a moment doubt how far we have come.

  • parcifal

    hey missfitz you got it the detail, well done.
    How is Paisley now to rein in the dissenters?
    Does his party have any control over “rogue” announcements, completely out of step with the St.Andrews Agreement, as we’ve heard recently from the like of McCrae, Allister and Morrow, not to mention the breast-beating from Dodds and Ian Paisley jnr.

  • P O’Neil

    Paisley being an obsticle to reaching an agreement…. now there’s a shock. Not only was he the main protagonist to the troubles, he, his DUPed lackies, and his paramilitary organisations, which he later try to distance himself from, have kept the kettle boiling for the last 30 plus years, and at the cost of thousands of lives. And for what? More power? Maintaining Protestant rule? More scarred arses on his church pews? A way of herding a fractured prostant community against a fictious, common enemy (hmmm, sounds familiar – Osama Bin Goldstein springs to mind).

    Politically, who knows what will happen this year, whether Sinn Fein will formally move on policing and finally call Paisley’s bluff, and then we’ll see if this old dragon has changed it’s spots. If Paisley doesn’t go for the power-sharing deal, then hopefully the resting rest of the people will wake up and see him for the 30 year obsticle to peace that he is.

    At the moment, Iraq seems to be the new paradigm of a fledgling democracy, may be we should follow their example, and do what should have been done a long time ago….. and that’s hang the old bastard.

  • John East Belfast

    The irony in all this is he castigated every UUP leader for dealing with moderate Constitutional Nationalism so that he could sit down as leader of partnership government in Northern Ireland with a former PIRA Chief of Staff as his Deputy.

    We are slaughtered for initiating partnership government of Trimble – Mallon so that the DUP can have a Paisley – McGuinness set up.

  • Crataegus

    I hope there is a hell.

  • willis

    Please Guys

    If there had not been an electorate out there willing him on the DUP would be as popular now as the Free P’s are now.

    The Unionist people have sown the wind etc etc.

  • CS Parnell

    I look forward to the day paisley dies for many reasons. Not the least of which is the unravelling of the Paisley myth.

    As the man said “we know what colour your wallpaper is”.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Paisley and Hume the 2 men to whom we owe the last 35 years….. when history comes to be written with 20:20 hindsight these 2 will be seen as the godfathers of the troubles.

    The may not have used guns and bombs but between them they created the climate of contempt and loathing which led to their use and gave those who did use them the oxygen to last for so long.

    Neither man can look back with a clear conscience at what they did.

  • lonely pint

    Reasons for citing Hume, please FD?

  • dalek

    hard to work this one out i agree with lonely pint..

    Hume devotes life to creating agreement and Paisley devotes life to frustrating agreement..Where’s the equation???

  • Frustrated Democrat

    No!

    Fitt was a real man of peace and Hume destroyed him in pursuit of power.

    Look back at the real situation in the 60 & 70’s Hume never tried to reach accommodation with Unionists. He as leader of the SDLP could have looked to to the UUP and Alliance to form a centre ground, he had ample opportunity to do so but spurned them all in favour of his Pan Nationalist ideals.

    Do not be taken in by the spin look at the real situation back then, look at John Major’s autobiography, look at other contemporary materials and then reach a judgment.

    As I said when history is finally written with 20:20 hindsight neither Paisley or Hume will be left with any glory, but then neither will many of the politicians in NI.

    Although not a supporter of Trimble, I would suggest among all the politicians of the last 30 years, that from dubious beginnings he did try to reach out. Unfortuately his mangement and judgement did not match his foresight.

  • dalek

    first spake of 2007!

  • crataegus

    In a general sense humanity isn’t a noble beast. Our strongest instincts are self interest and fear. For me people who pursue self interest by stirring up and feeding on hate, division and fear are the lowest of the low. They don’t build they destroy; they are the personifications of evil. They are the biblical demons and they create hell for us all. To say that their conduct is OK because people vote for them I think misses the point. Better to say they stir up fear and create the conditions where people vote for them and their interests are served by the continuance of division.

    FD

    I agree with your assessment of Hume. People like Fitt and Paddy Devlin seemed decent enough characters to me. Hume and his politics were divisive and his slavish adherence to the pan Nationalist perspective is the reason why we have some of the less attractive parts of the agreement. Parity of esteem soon became parity of veto and institutionalised sectarianism. The irony is that his legacy could lead to the destruction of the SDLP.

    I also agree with you Trimble did try.

    As for Paisley difficult to find words suitable to fully express one’s opinion. What a dismal track record. Decades wasted and good opportunities destroyed and in the end what do we have a poxy little agreement to save face.

  • I wonder…

    Paisley’s acceptance and sealing of a deal is the point after which he can ass on (up or down) to his final Home.

    Should there be no resolution before that day, the fighting over what he WOULD have agreed to will tear to the DUP apart.

    Such fighting would usher in a SF First Minister and Mr Allister’s ambition tempered with only the achieavable prize of being DFM. 🙂 (That sound you hear is me rubbing my hands with glee.) Perhaps those seeking such a situation should encourage the nay-sayers and applaud ATW to the rafters?

  • I wonder…

    …Oh dear, a Fruedian slip: that should be “pass” not “ass”. Can’t think what was on my mind… 🙂

  • dalek

    Crat

    i think you are being a little unkind to Hume and perhaps with a little hindsight you could reconsider. Certainly many of his utterances and actions would look out of place today but they were said and done in a time and a place. And yes he made mistakes but to err is human to refer to the old chestnut.

    Agree with you on Fitt and Devlin and its a pity there were not more single minded independent voices of reason on the Unionist side to stir the pot a wee bit!

    As far as Trimble is concerned the jury is out.Paisley used him as a whipping boy and then stole his clothes…..

    Cant wait till Paisley and McGuiness skip up the drive to Stormont hand in hand like a modern day Morecambe and Wise……..

  • Garibadly

    Agree with Crat. He took the SDLP in a more tribalist direction, where it remains. Except that now it is being out-nationalisted by another now respectable party. As is the UUP. Different shades of the same thing – sectarian politics.

  • History is wonderful, and we should never forget its lessons. But the difference between the past and the future is that the past can never change while the future has possibilities – it also has dangers.
    What people seem to forget is that there are people out there who are more Paisleyite than Paisley – despite being much more respectable. I think Paisley might even accept it if a referendum showed a majority in favour of unity …but what do you thing Bob McCartney’s reaction would be?

  • I wonder…

    Oskar:

    Bob and his acolytes would consider repartition, irrespective of logic, economics or democracy.

    Mind you, a senior UU politician did whisper something to me recently about the good man which would lead one to wonder how long his views will be seriously considered by anyone…

  • Thrasymachus

    It seems that many of the posters on this thread are as ignorant as Fitzgerald about Unionist politics. Airey Neave was an intergrationist, the idea he was going to return devolved rule is laughable.

    As for the disgusting attempts to smear Paisley I think posters such as P O’Neil should remember the IRA was opposed to any settlement with the majority, who it was waging a sectarian murder campaign against.

  • Doctor Who

    I do agree with Frustrated Democrat to a certain degree.

    Throughout the troubles Hume and Paisley rejected every idea being floated.

    It is true that while many within the SDLP wanted to create a kind of centre ground, Hume rejected this in the favour of pan nationalism. During the criticism by Unionists during the Hume, Adams talks, John counter argued he was doing it to try to get the IRA to stop the armed strugle. Gerry Adams on the other hand always maintained the talks where designed to find commom ground within Nationalism.

    This was particularly hard to take by Unionists from someone whom they considered “The Incredible No Man”, spurning every Unionist advance.

    His talks with Adams have now backfired, reducing the SDLP to the second nationalist party, they do not see Hume as the man who delivered peace, but they see PSF (rather foolishly) as the guys who have delivered the UI pipe dream.

    When it becomes apparent to the moderate Nationlists who crossed over to the dark side to support Sinn Fein, that they will never deliver a UI, only then will Humes legacy be fullfilled.

    However I do take exception to FD in blaming Hume and Paisley for the last 35 years of terrorism. It´s letting the terrorists completely off the hook.

    Are we to believe that just before the Enniskillen bomb was detonated (example) the bomber thought to himself, “shit, I don´t want to do this but that John Hume made me.”

    No it is Sinn Feins and Loyalist paramiltaries refusal to take responsibility for the suffering that they have caused, and to keep blaming others, that leaves a bitter taste of the last 35 years.

  • I wonder…

    The Hume Adams talks began AFTER Enniskillen and indeed were prompted by that atrocity.

    The process that began then DID lead to the abondonment of the IRAs campaign.

  • Thrasymachus has a point – so have those who point out that Paisley was a nay sayer. But let’s just leave those two points cancell each other out and look at the here and now. I’m not out to prove that Paisley, the Provos or whoever were bad people or good people. What’s relevant today is where people are at today – and we all know everybody’s in a different position now from in 1976.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Doctor Who

    ‘However I do take exception to FD in blaming Hume and Paisley for the last 35 years of terrorism. It´s letting the terrorists completely off the hook.’

    I think if you read what I said – ‘they created the climate of contempt and loathing which led to their use and gave those who did use them the oxygen to last for so long.’

    This is not letting the terrorists off it is just stating why they were able to exist – there was no leadership in mainstream politics that was working for a consensus, particularly after Sunningdale. Had Sunningdale been allowed to continue by Paisley where would the terrorists have been then? Hume was part of Sunningdale under the leadership of Fitt

    John Hume however made no attempt to embark on a Sunningdale Mark II after he got rid of Fitt in 1979 following the debacle of the NICC, he then followed his Pan Nationalist ideals.

  • bertie

    FD

    I agree with you about Hume and Fitt.

  • P O’Neil

    Thrasymachus

    I think you missed the crux of my post, so I will try and keep things as simple as possible…

    “Paisley was the main protagonist in the troubles” ie he, whether directly or indirectly, he was responsible for the troubles. However, Paisley lacks the courage of his convictions, ie a pair of balls, and therefore, was never the man behind the trigger, but rather, the man behind the man behind the trigger. Through his decit and lies he manipulated niave Unionists into taking up arms against a fictious enemy (a bit like Bush and the Neo-cons). When the perverbial s**t would hit the fan Paisley convientely distanced himself from the actions of his flunkies. If this were not bad enough, he is then the main obsticle to achieving a peace settlement to the conflict which he instigated in the first place.

    Paisley got his July 12th wish, the Red Hand of Ulster has been stained a deeper shade of red, unfortunately none of it his. No matter how mush he may wash, scrub and disosociate from his own actions, the blood of those killed during the troubles is on his hands. When he finally shuffles off his mortal coil, he is going to need all the help he can get. To those ends, I may even have a Mass said for him.

  • Today it is the NeoCons who dominate the main political parties in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, etc. And what are the NeoCons? They are a sort of political resurrection of Anglo-Israelism, (with a few adjustments such as allowing the Jews, as opposed to just the ‘real’ Israelites, the WASPs, into the camp). And it is Anglo-Israel mission and Manifest Destiny to fight the Great Satan of Islam (this has certain, purely coincidental of course, minor economic advantages such as most of the world’s dwindling oil supplies lying in the lands of these Infidiles. And how can the sacred lamp be kept alight without oil? We must not be like the foolish Virgins who failed to tend their lamps). The Muslims are barbaric (they are poor and ignorant, they are ignorant because they are poor, and poor because … well let’s just say that political and economic imperialism, monopoly capitalism, might have had some tangential negative effects). They are in need of SALVATION, in the form of liberal democracy (which, as Rev. Fukuyama teaches us, is synonymous with that great fulfiller of Thymos, ‘the free market’ – though heretics might point to China’s economy and its lack of the signs and wonders of regular elections and many parties)

    According to the ancient scriptures, the Irish were deemed to be in the grip of Roguery, Popery, dopery, wooden shoes and brass tacks. The hand of the Almighty had to be extended to protect His chosen Ones (ie the Prods) in that benighted and blighted Isle. But then a great wonder did occur. The Irish gained possession of that magical substance which washes whiter than even the Blood of the Lamb (money). And they did also effect a mini-Reformation of secular sorts. Then they did raise a band of warriors (the Defence Forces) which that Righteous Gentile Michael McDowell wants to raise even higher and make ‘deployable’. And in whose interests should such a Band of Warriors be deployed? Would it not be wonderously wasteful if it were not in the interests of Rigtheousness in opposition to Evil Doers (particularly given the over-stretched nature of the Heavenly Hosts in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the Mission Fields of Somalia, Sudan, Iran, North Korea – and possibly even Venezuela – crying out for soldiers of Righteousness).

    Now if upon mature reflection the jew-boys could be admitted into the ranks of the Israelites, might not a further Revelation allow the Micks a similar dispensation (for verily there are certain advantages to be had …). But what then should be the attitude of Anglo-Israel to those it had earlier deemed the Righteous in Ireland (the Prods)? And after much prayer and meditation (on economic, military and strategic factors, and the respective sizes of these things) did it not become clear that the followers of the Prophet Paisley were by no means to be esteemed over the followers of the Profit McDowell (for truly has McDowell been blessed with Sheckels and soldiers and Shannon – and whence cometh such things, if not from GOD? Are these blessings not a certain Sign and Proof of salvation?)

    And thus did the Elders and Scribes of the Lost Tribes re-evaluate, and in secret and Holy Conclave, write the secret Codex of a United Ireland.

    Such are the ways of geopolitics and Monopoly Capital, and they are indeed Holy.

  • crataegus

    Dalek

    Hume’s commitment to non violence and his work with Credit Unions I applaud, however I agree with Jerry Fitt’s assessment of the SDLP as being more Nationalist than Socialist, indeed I would go a lot further and say that it has sod all to do with socialism. There were conditions in the 60s that caused Hume to form his perspective and to head down the path he did, but the positioning of that party though it brought short term gain I believe was divisive and Mr Hume should take much of the credit. Indeed long term it now finds itself in a political cul de sac and it would perhaps need to reform and become a truely cross community party along the lines Fitt would have preferred.

    On the bringing in of SF from the cold I think this was not entirely altruistic and has to be seen in the overall context of Hume’s personal agenda. Like many others he underestimated SF and I doubt if he really understands the mindset of Republican Belfast. Those with University educations should view working class academic achievement as a poor indication of true ability. The yokes may not have formal qualifications but it is not because of any lack of ability, but because of lack of opportunity in upbringing. Hume was advised that what he was doing would ultimately lead to the likely displacement of the SDLP. I don’t think he fully saw the potential or comprehended the true nature of the problem.

    As for Unionists inability to produce politicians that reach beyond their community, this has always puzzled me for I believe that there is a potential vote in Unionist circles that is based on class politics. Indeed lack of such politicians may have left the SDLP of the 70s in a position akin, or mirror image of, the Alliance Party now. There was no balance at the rudder.

    The inability of Unionists to move beyond sectarian head counts is a deeply sad indictment of lack of courage of the leadership. They fear the loss of support from internal interest groups and fail to make the reforms necessary to belatedly enable them to argue their case in all communities. We are thus stuck with 4 main parties that look to their tribal base and no further and an Alliance Party that finds itself with a support base in decidedly Unionist constituencies. The Alliance vote I find interesting as it indicates to me that there is some flexibility in areas that are overwhelmingly Unionist. Is there an equivalent vote pattern in safe Nationalist areas?

    As for Trimble being a whipping boy, I would suggest that Trimble’s position was undermined by the likes of Donaldson, and it was the inability of such people to see that there really was no other option on offer that has led us to the current farce. Indeed it Donaldson and co had held the line the DUP would have had nowhere to go. It is Donaldson that created the openings for the DUP to exploit.

    We all have times when we regret past deeds, and I often wonder what Paisley thinks his own achievement actually were? The destruction and division of Unionism? A political career built on fear?

    What exactly has he achieved in 40 years? We could have been here 30 years ago but for people like him. As I said originally I hope there is a hell.

  • lib2016

    Hume realised not only that there was no cross-community consensus but that the violence of both sides was the real problem for his generation. He concentrated his entire political career on building a nationalist consensus against the use of physical force in pursuit of political ideals, together with building international links which made it impossible for the British to continue using force to impose a solution.

    We owe it largely to him that we face a peaceful future, whatever that future may be.

    As for what history will say about Paisley? – That’s what we are about to find out! 😉

  • Hm

  • Doctor Who

    P. O´Neill

    “However, Paisley lacks the courage of his convictions, ie a pair of balls, and therefore, was never the man behind the trigger, but rather, the man behind the man behind the trigger.”

    Oh yeah it takes a big pair of cannon sized balls to shoot someone in the back of the head.

    Your innuendo that the IRA was not the enemy of Unionism is completely laughable and it´s about time republicans like yourself took some responsibility for the pain you have caused.

    Your constant finger pointing at nothing more than a loud mouthed rabble rouser wears a bit thin.

  • crataegus

    Oskar

    Where we go from now is interesting.

    The coming election is likely to be dismal and be a continuance of the past. Post Paisley there will be a major shakeup in Unionism, but I doubt if Unionism will make serious efforts to increase catholic support.

    The very concept of Unionist parties I find absurd as given the choice, and considering their alleged perspective, what makes more sense being a Unionist or say being a member of the Conservative Party? It seems to me they are perhaps less Unionist than they like to think.

    There is a ceiling on SF support North and South due to their particular brand of politics, and also as many simple will never vote for them. Many of their leading lights are greying and the centre of gravity of the party could move south. Hard to see a pivotal future role for the party, perhaps more destined to become another side show in Irish politics.

    The SDLP are going nowhere. I am not sure that being the good Nationalists that don’t shoot anyone is good enough. Like Alliance I think they need to reconsider their position. They need to take a gamble and try to attract sizable Protestant support. If either of these parties fail to re brand they will slowly fade.

    With the agreement I fail to understand why we cannot have parties that have people of Nationalist and Unionist opinion. After all the border will be decided by a referendum and in the meantime there is a job to do. I also fail to comprehend the aversion to co-operation on this island and these islands. If it is for common good do it and stop reading National politics into the road network or Energy supply. Equally others need to stop playing National politics with such issues. A bit of maturity is needed.

    I see no reason to be optimistic, there is little sign of new forces and fundamental change in the short term, but I do feel there is an undercurrent. In my opinion a lot of people feel well pissed off. The farce of the negotiations and the salaries for an Assembly that did not exist has simple added to the mix. Change when it comes, and it will, could be swifter than many expect all it needs is a catalyst.

  • crataegus

    Lib2116
    Hume realised not only that there was no cross-community consensus but that the violence of both sides was the real problem for his generation.
    Sectarianism and discrimination were the issues of Hume’s generation.

  • crataegus
    You make a lot of sense, but I can’t see it happening. The problem is that the ole constitutional question is still up in the air – too many unionists fear they might lose and too many nationalist hope they might win. Joint Sovereignty without any future referendums (ie, we’d be stuck with it) would end all that, but I don’t see it happening.
    Re unionist versus the conservative party. exactly, unionism is much more ulster nationalism than it is unionist – but the support of britain (the union) is needed, the only alternative is a united Ireland (or an independent NI, which only loonies seriously consider)

  • lib2016

    crataegus,

    ‘Sectarianism and discrimination were the issues of Hume’s generation.’

    I would agree that they are the issues he would have preferred to tackle, and even that they are the issues which first brought him into politics. Sadly circumstances intervened.

  • Thrasymachus

    ““Paisley was the main protagonist in the troubles” ie he, whether directly or indirectly, he was responsible for the troubles.”

    Which of course is total crap. Terrorists made a positive decision to murder and bomb. They weren’t automatons lacking free will as the Demon Doc exercised a mind control spell over them.

    Let’s put the blame where it belongs, with the criminals.

    “Through his decit and lies he manipulated niave Unionists into taking up arms against a fictious enemy (a bit like Bush and the Neo-cons).”

    And every bit as rubbish as that conspiracy theory. I’ve listened to Paisley numerous occasions and haven’t gone out and murdered a Catholic, nor has any other Unionist I know or indeed the vast majority of Unionists in this country.

  • bertie

    Thasymachus absolutely and totally agree and I dispair that it even needs saying.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Regarding the peace process, I have long felt that Hume was acting out of self promotion. He wanted to be known as the man who brought about peace in Ireland. The IRA knew that and gave him the keys to realizing it. Hume swallowed the bait, and the SDLP paid the price in the form of their near-dissolution as a serious political force. I only say near-dissolution since SF’s voters have seen it fit to waver slightly following the Northern Bank robbery and the McCartney murder.

    Thrasymachus, bertie, what is disturbing about unionism is the way that loyalist paramilitaries murdered people indiscriminately, and unionist politicians failed to use their influence or exercise restraint to stop them. More often than not, they acted as their political representatives. That’s why the Doc has a share of the responsibility, though it would be going too far to say that it was all his fault.

  • Thrasymachus

    “Thrasymachus, bertie, what is disturbing about unionism is the way that loyalist paramilitaries murdered people indiscriminately, and unionist politicians failed to use their influence or exercise restraint to stop them.”

    Has it occured to you that Unionist politicians simply don’t have the influence to make them stop? In the same manner that the SDLP was unable to make the IRA stop murdering people?

    Unionist politicians don’t approve of Loyalist racketering or drug dealing that causes so much misery to their constituents. And guess what, they haven’t been able to stop that either.

  • lib2016

    Thrasymachus,

    At different times we’ve seen the leading lights of unionism – Trimble, Paisley, Robinson et. al. in their uniforms. We’ve heard an even wider selection of leaders such as those very reverend gentlemen Smith and McCrea threaten us from public platforms on a regular basis. We’ve seen and heard unionist leaders urge the men with the cudgels onto the streets to show their power. We’ve witnessed their success in overthrowing the rule of the Westminster Government to whom they claimed loyalty…..and we’ve buried our dead.

    It’s too early for revisionism – there are too many witnesses still alive.

  • bertie

    CS

    “Thrasymachus, bertie, what is disturbing about unionism is the way that loyalist paramilitaries murdered people indiscriminately, and unionist politicians failed to use their influence or exercise restraint to stop them. More often than not, they acted as their political representatives. That’s why the Doc has a share of the responsibility, though it would be going too far to say that it was all his fault. ”

    just to add to Thrasymachus’s response, which I agree with – I’m not sure what acted as their political representatives means. They endeavor to advance unionism, which these thugs are also suppose to advocate, when it suits them.

    I agree about Hume though. Perhaps the biggest ego in politics in NI and that is saying something. I wouldn’t mind it was based on morality.

  • Doctor Who

    lib 2525

    “It’s too early for revisionism – there are too many witnesses still alive.”

    The first true words uttered from you on these threads, so why are you constantly trying to revise.

    Comparing knee jerk reaction organisations like the third force or Ulster resistance to the well formed international terrorists of Sinn Fein/ IRA is down right stupid.

    What these Unionists felt they where doing at the time (wrongly I might add) was to mobilise like a kind of home guard to protect Ulster Protestants who at the time where cannon foder to republicanism. The real loyalist paramilitaries where doing their own thing just as “efficiently” as their republican counterparts. Although at the beginning of the eighties they where not very active.

    You add

    “We’ve witnessed their success in overthrowing the rule of the Westminster Government to whom they claimed loyalty”

    What in Beelzebubs balls are you talking about. If you enter a marraige of convenience and it then becomes inconvenient you leave. The very nature of political pacts. No need for oaths and swearing loyalty, and i´m afraid you are exaggerating the power of modern Unionism in Westminister.

    But yes there are too many witnesses still alive, I witnessed an IRA murder of a Police Officer when I was six years old.

  • kensei

    “In the same manner that the SDLP was unable to make the IRA stop murdering people?”

    Thing is though, John Hume did a hell of a lot to pull Republicans into the process and ergo stop the violence. In fact, a lot of the credit for developing the peace process and the current situation has to go to him for having the courage to reach out. He must have known it entailed, at a minimum huge political risks to himself and his party.

    I fail to see even the shadow of such a figure within Unionism.

    “And every bit as rubbish as that conspiracy theory. I’ve listened to Paisley numerous occasions and haven’t gone out and murdered a Catholic, nor has any other Unionist I know or indeed the vast majority of Unionists in this country.”

    The specific does not prove the universal. There are people who smoke and do not die of cancer, but that doesn’t mean that you can draw the conclusion that smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

    There are people who clearly were influenced by Paisley, and more to the point the whole “end is nigh” siege mentality that seems to always pervade Unionism. But there were a lot of other factors. Culpability is another matter.

    “Comparing knee jerk reaction organisations like the third force or Ulster resistance to the well formed international terrorists of Sinn Fein/ IRA is down right stupid.”

    Not when the topic under discussion is the rank hypocrisy of Unionism’s attitude to violence.

    “But yes there are too many witnesses still alive, I witnessed an IRA murder of a Police Officer when I was six years old.”

    Why is this always a zero sum game?

  • Thrasymachus

    “Thing is though, John Hume did a hell of a lot to pull Republicans into the process and ergo stop the violence.”

    Kensei the idea that Hume sat Adams down and talked some sense into him is recognised as a myth these days. Adams knew the IRA was being defeaten, and traded in the “armed struggle” for political gains while it still had some lead in it’s pencil.

    “I fail to see even the shadow of such a figure within Unionism.”

    There has been, for example when Trimble talked to Billy Wright at Drumcree to try and bring an end to violence. I believe there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from Nationalists at the time.

    It is also worth noting that attempt failed, showing you how much influence senior Unionists exert over Loyalist terrorists.

    “There are people who clearly were influenced by Paisley, and more to the point the whole “end is nigh” siege mentality that seems to always pervade Unionism.”

    Again people have free will, a speech by Paisley is not enough to turn someone into a murderer and it is ridiculous to suggest that it is. Also it is worth noting that these same Loyalist terrorists weren’t influenced by Paisley when he criticised their violence.

    “Not when the topic under discussion is the rank hypocrisy of Unionism’s attitude to violence.”

    Third Force killed nobody, to argue it is the moral equivelent of the IRA which murdered 2000 people is absurd. The only rank hypocrisy here is those who will whinge about Third Force but happily support SF/IRA and the sectarian murder campaign it waged against the Unionist community.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Thrasymachus: “Which of course is total crap. Terrorists made a positive decision to murder and bomb. They weren’t automatons lacking free will as the Demon Doc exercised a mind control spell over them.”

    Accurate, as far as that goes, sadly enough. Were it so simple a problem, the Foaming Mouth could simple dispel his hex and that would be that. Unfortunately, Paisley deals in demagougery, not thaumaturgy.

    Thrasymachus: “Has it occured to you that Unionist politicians simply don’t have the influence to make them stop?”

    Or the balls to draw a hard-line, politically and societally? Instead, they contemplate bids on how much danegeld to pay them, forgetting that once you pay the danegeld, you seldom are rid of the Dane.

    Doctor Who: “Comparing knee jerk reaction organisations like the third force or Ulster resistance to the well formed international terrorists of Sinn Fein/ IRA is down right stupid. ”

    Intent counts for something as well, Doctor. Just because Big Ian lacks the organizational skills and contacts to do the job well doesn’t mean the intent was not there.

    Doctor Who: “What these Unionists felt they where doing at the time (wrongly I might add) was to mobilise like a kind of home guard to protect Ulster Protestants who at the time where cannon foder (sic) to republicanism. The real loyalist paramilitaries where (sic) doing their own thing just as “efficiently” as their republican counterparts. Although at the beginning of the eighties they where not very active.”

    Defending the status quo requires less effort. Likewise, if one reviews the statistics, Loyalists were not as “efficient” as their Republican counterparts, showing a distinct tendency to targetting civilians — some 80% of their “production” were non-combatants, as opposed to about 30% for PIRA — a marked difference.

    Thrasymachus: “Again people have free will, a speech by Paisley is not enough to turn someone into a murderer and it is ridiculous to suggest that it is.”

    Is not “incitement to riot” still a criminal charge in the UK?

  • lib2016

    Thrasymachus,

    There is an unbroken series of links between the defiance of the Westminster government by the original UVF through the B Specials and other Orange institutions right through to the PUP/UUP links of today and the attempts by Dodds to defend the UDA against PSNI raids or by McCrea ppearance on an LVF platform.

    One has to tread carefully to avoid legal consequences but surely even unionists know what the Ulster Clubs were about in the 80’s and who was described as their ‘political adviser’ in his autobiography.

    Your attempt to ‘spin’ Trimble’s intervention at Drumcree when he successfully negotiated for the Orange Orders and the unionist paramilitaries to march down the Garvaghy Road is interesting. Mo certainly got introduced to what the unionist idea of ‘law and order’ meant.

    As for your reference to ‘modern unionism’ and it’s influence at Westminster? There isn’t one – a Conservative Party which is busy distancing itself from the likes of the Monday Club, the various British racist groups and even organised anti-European associations is not about to compromise itself with links to parties even more repugnant to decent people.

  • Thrasymachus

    “Accurate, as far as that goes, sadly enough. Were it so simple a problem, the Foaming Mouth could simple dispel his hex and that would be that. Unfortunately, Paisley deals in demagougery, not thaumaturgy.”

    I hate to break it to you but the Bene Gesserit voice that allows its user to control the actions of others is a piece of fiction invented by Frank Herbert. Paisley has no more capable of making someone a murderer than you or I am.

    “Just because Big Ian lacks the organizational skills and contacts to do the job well doesn’t mean the intent was not there.”

    The idea that Paisley lacks organisational skills is also nonsense. He has managed to build a church with an international membership and organise the most successful political party in NI, one that shattered the once monolithic UUP.

    At the end of the day Paisley never intended the Third Farce to rival the IRA’s sectarian murder campaign. He never promised to murder 2000 people. And you don’t have a shred of evidence he ever intended to.

    “Likewise, if one reviews the statistics, Loyalists were not as “efficient” as their Republican counterparts, showing a distinct tendency to targetting civilians—some 80% of their “production” were non-combatants, as opposed to about 30% for PIRA—a marked difference.”

    Yeah as shooting an off-duty UDR soldier in the back as he goes to work requires far more bravery and skill than shooting a civilian…

  • Thrasymachus

    “There is an unbroken series of links between the defiance of the Westminster government by the original UVF through the B Specials and other Orange institutions right through to the PUP/UUP links of today and the attempts by Dodds to defend the UDA against PSNI raids or by McCrea ppearance on an LVF platform.”

    Considering the original UVF killed nobody, the IRA has murdered more people in one bomb attack than the B specials did in 50 years I hardly think they are examples of Unionist links to terrorism.

    The PUP/UVF-UUP link was widely criticised, both by members of the UUP and the main Unionist party. It is also worth noting the abysmal support PUP/UVF recieves at elections shows what Unionists think of their squalid murder campaign against Catholics. It’s just a shame the Nationalist community doesn’t extend the same courtesy to Unionists and reject SF/IRA, isn’t it?

    “One has to tread carefully to avoid legal consequences but surely even unionists know what the Ulster Clubs were about in the 80’s and who was described as their ‘political adviser’ in his autobiography.”

    Why tread carefully? It is only libel if it is untrue. Spit it out and tell us what the Ulster Clubs were about instead of petty insinuations, somehow though I think you are grasping at straws..

    “Your attempt to ‘spin’ Trimble’s intervention at Drumcree when he successfully negotiated for the Orange Orders and the unionist paramilitaries to march down the Garvaghy Road is interesting.”

    It isn’t spin, no serious attempt has been made to claim Trimble’s meeting was anything other than calming tensions. And the fact Nationalists simply used as an attempt to smear him shows they aren’t interested in Unionist politicians engaging with Loyalists to prevent violence.

  • lib2016

    Thrasymachus,

    Your claim that the original UVF had clean hands is so preposterous that there is no point in continuing with this conversation. It was a sectarian militia in a long tradition of those bodies and it did what sectarian militias do right up to the very recent past.

    The refusal of unionism to confront the reasons why we need a new beginning underlines and emphasises the reasons why unionists will never again be allowed to exercise power unsupervised.

    The DUP leadership appear to be venal opportunists which makes them a thousand times better than the zealots of the UUP though neither group has any backing or support outside NI.

    Maybe it is time for the realists of your community to reappraise their position. You need to find a way forward that your children can believe in if they are to be tempted into staying and becoming part of whatever we all build together.

    The Celtic Tiger is storming over the border and Newry is becoming part of Greater Dublin – Portadown will not be far behind. In the end the marginalised community on the Garvaghy Road could not have routed the Orange Order there without assistance from the Protestant middleclass who knew what was best for the prosperity of their own children.