Finding out who started the Troubles?

Paul Evans started a bit of a fire that hasn’t really taken off yet, I think. The mapping whataboutery thread has turned into another interesting debate on the desirability or otherwise of the phenomenon of evasion. But for those who engage directly with the debategraph there is an opportunity for people to comprehensively map the problem of how the whole damned thing got started. For it to work we need people to jump into Debategraph and really have a go at not only point the finger at the other side but to provide supporting evidence for why that might be so… What’s there at the moment is only pointing the finger at loyalist paramilitaries, but I know that’s neither fair, nor balanced nor an accurate reflection of the opinion of the people who read this site… So come on people, let’s work out just who’s fault it actually was? If we do it properly, someone’s got to mention 1169 and counting… (the date not the blog fool – ed) The problem being is that, in this case, you’ve got to put the work in to actually get there…

  • arx

    what need is there to drag such emotional scars out in the open, it is neither beneficial or productive since all it will do is fuel arguements from both sides you just have to look at the comments of that thread to see, instead shouldn’t we debate who is to blame for current events like regular poltics.

  • latcheeco

    Mick,
    Sorry I don’t mean to sound sanctimonious but that intro. read like a sales pitch for a Christmas board game or a “text in your answer” gameshow question and, even for a black souled cynic like me, seemed not a little crass. O.K. Audience, who killed more people? Who destroyed more lives? Lets spin the fun webwheel and find out?

  • Different Drummer

    As I said about using the debatograph it says more about your willingness MICK to keep the debatograph going. You give a person a tamagotchi and explain how it works and say if you refuse to use it that they are ‘missing out’ I beg to differ.

    Still not convinced?

    OK here a practical demonstration.

    Many here are practiced in the art of debate and posting some show good wit now again – I value that and the opportunity to see just how much social progress has been made in the last 40 years…

    Now if they have ever worked with consultants will know that one of their ‘tools’ is the bubble map. They ask those present to contribute a relevant bubble. It is totally unsatisfactory way of conducting a debate as those present relate to the diagram and not to each other…

    The consultant then steps back from the diagram and says

    “well those are the things that you are thinking about….’

    Well I know what the TUV are thinking about and they certainly don’t have me or my community’s welfare at heart.

  • just the facts mick

    The Troubles kicked off in 1966 when loyalist Gusty Spence shot dead an 18-year-old Catholic boy in Belfast. The young man, Peter Ward, was murdered outside The Malvern Arms bar on his way home from work.

  • RepublicanStones

    Mick, with the title and tone of this thread it seems you seek to cocoon the most recent incarnation of the Irish/British conflict, commoly referred to as ‘The Troubles’, in its own little bubble. Pretending as if events previous had no bearing on it whatsoever. Of course such historical blinkers are encouraged by some, precisely because it helps fit a certain narrative.

  • Drumlins Rock

    dont like it Mick, maybe there is a place for this debate, but this seems to be very crude and devisive way of doing it.

  • phil

    It’s all their fault

  • Mick Fealty

    I understand the discomfort about this. Honestly. And maybe my tone was a bit off. Those of you who know me over the long term know I have spent days and nights fighting the tendency towards whataboutery.

    So why am I asking people to engage in it now?

    Simply because I think the debategraph gives us an inclusive (PERHAPS, even a comprehensive) way of mapping those thoughts without the usual moral evasion.

    This is the kind of crap that fouls up any cultural (esp sports) thread on Slugger. On those occasions I’d be happier if people would talk sport rather than take up blatantly stereotypical sectarian view of one another.

    On this occasion (and this only) I am *deliberately* asking people to think through their sectarian assumptions and map them alongside those with rival views.

    Trust me, this is not a tamagochi exercise (as DD has now said on half a dozen occasions in the last hour and a half).

    That said, I am not sure where it will lead. Or what outcomes there might be. I only ask those who feel inclined that they make their contributions honestly, succinctly and clearly.

  • Mick Fealty

    And, it should go without saying, without the usual animus…

  • Different Drummer

    honestly, succinctly and clearly Mick in the direct words of sport
    get rid of the tamagochi – Just Do It!

    Another reason to do it is I will be eager to show those that do take up your invitation just how useless debatograph actually is and you are for believing in it….

    So here goes..gamesmanship versus intelligence round four..

  • RepublicanStones

    Mick the outcome of this debategraph, we all could probably draw on a piece of toliet paper whilst we’re dropping the kids off at the pool. It seems to be just a nice pixalated version of what has occurred on inumerable threads on Slugger over the past years. If you think having a few bubbles and arrows is gonna decrease the amount of finger pointing through prose, you’re ‘avin a laugh.

  • Mick Fealty

    RS, to paraphrase Blair: it’s worse than that; I’m deadly serious.

    The trouble with the comments on this and the previous thread is that they’re composed by people standing on the outside commenting on something they don’t like the idea of.

    Personally, I don’t know what the outcomes are going to be. I can guess at some of the stuff that will go in there, but not necessarily what the map will look like.

    The trouble is that it won’t be worth damn if everyone is too afraid to jump in the map left to be built up by just three or four individuals.

    For me the process of engaging with it is valuable in that you have to think about what others have put down before you add your own contribution. Everything relates to everything else.

    And, importantly, there is no space to go off on one. Rather it is like a big game of collaborative chess…

  • Mick Fealty

    DD,

    No. Next question?

  • WTF?

    This ‘project’ remains crass bullshit, no matter how many times you choose to actively censor that truth.

    ‘Let’s find out how started the troubles using a gimmicky, but mostly useless, piece of technology’ – it’s like something right out of Brass Eye or another Morris masterpiece

  • joeCanuck

    You got the date wrong, Mick.
    It started when the murderous thugs invaded and took over England in 1066. Ireland was a logical (to them) extension of their pillage. And to now think that their revered descendants are regarded as our “nobility”.
    And we are still paying Danegeld to our own thugs.
    Bah, humbug.

  • NCM

    It was Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick.

  • RepublicanStones

    something they don’t like the idea of.

    What don’t they like the idea of? Seeing a focus group graphical adaptation of their finger pointing? Im also pretty sure each side is well aware of the ‘counter-argument’ at this stage Mick. As regards what the map will look like. It will either tilt toward themmuns narrative or usns narrative with the reality stuck somewhere in between. A more interesting model might be to get a group of tourists to give it a stab.

  • Different Drummer

    Now Mick I don’t want to scare anyone off in fact I am now very amused that you seemed to have found a new religion that you want to defend that will somehow clarify our history.

    …it won’t as it a device of make believe that the ‘what’ (the factors) of politics can be substituted for the ‘why'(social forces) of politics..

    BTW you still have not declared your interest here.

  • Mick Fealty

    Joe, (let’s say theoretically) you might get into the debategraph. But you’d have to have to fill in the gaps between now and then. For me that’s why the meme is worth mapping. NCM’s (playful) slap down is not sustainable in the context of the debategraph.

    That’s precisely why it is worth doing.

    Is *anybody* getting this, or am I still in a small minority of two or three? Or are we all just too middle class to admit our own prejudicial views in such an unplugged manner?

  • latcheeco

    I don’t buy it Mick. Whataboutery is Slugger’s heartbeat (albeit victimry is its soul). If you took it away there’d be nothing but tumbleweeds and a mission bell and you know it (much as you might plead otherwise).

    As for the cathartic bubble chart, ffs even to ignore it as crass and patronising, what end would it serve? They’re never going to accept its (all) their fault(too).

  • DC

    RS, to paraphrase Blair: it’s worse than that; I’m deadly serious.

    Never mind Tony Blair’s memoirs, he should release his book of soundbites, what a little cracker of a Xmas stocking filler that would be.

    You’d be able to soundbite your way out of serious difficulties in work and at play.

  • Dave

    Mick is the leading guru of applying new age media to an old age conflict. If this latest attempt at absolution of the British state can be used to blame it all on the the EU instead then I’m all for it. Is there no end to how HTML can improve our lives?

  • Mick Fealty

    What interest DD? Money? 4IP? On yer bike! DG is as free as the air. (Though I am long overdue a proper lay out of what the 4IP deal is all about).

    It’s only struck me this evening just how useful this exercise could be, even though I’ve known about it when they trialled it for Number 10 a couple of years ago.

    Look, if you don’t like, don’t touch it. It’s not for you. And if no one gets involved then, hey… it’s not worked… That would be a shame… but horse to water etc..

    I’d rather people gave it a go and see where it takes us…

  • Mick Fealty

    Night all… I never meant to stay up this late… But seriously, give it a go… if you’re brave enough to reveal what you really think… 😉

  • Dave

    “Whataboutery is Slugger’s heartbeat (albeit victimry is its soul). If you took it away there’d be nothing but tumbleweeds and a mission bell and you know it (much as you might plead otherwise).”

    It gets very tiresome very fast. Most of us, I suspect, are self-trained to ignore it but it must be a real pain for casual visitors. As Mick rightly points out, it serves no purpose other than shutting down a debate that may lead to some insight that folks would rather not have, leaving them safely in their comfort zones.

  • Mick,

    Simple answer. The unionists are to blame for creating a regime based on discrimination, and sustaining it in the face of mounting calls for British rights for British citizens from the NILP, elements of the British political establishment, and groups like the Campaign for Social Justice and NICRA from around 1963. Blame must also attach to the London governments that permitted this circumstance to persist, especially in the aftermath of October 5th 1968. The unionist cabinet then set about frustrating reform as best they could, while London allowed them to succeed in doing so; London must also take considerable blame in allowing the security forces that they already knew required reform to run riot in August at the direction of Stormont.

    That’s how things got started. The persistence of the Troubles is a much more complicated story.

  • Mick Fealty

    [Damn, still not in bed] Gari,

    Then find a place to put in the graph. It’s no use on this thread since no one else can contextualise it.

    I agree with most of what dave said. Whether people see it or not, the intention here is to invert the meme and use it to open up rather close down.

  • Mick Fealty

    Latch,

    “If you took it away there’d be nothing but tumbleweeds and a mission bell and you know it (much as you might plead otherwise).”

    Oh no, no, no… Rather it would open up more space for people who actually have something interesting and useful to add to the debate… whether it be on football, politics or whatever…

    Whataboutery is essentially a barfly activity with little appeal to anyone beyond those who just love to indulge in it…

  • RepublicanStones

    Mick, I gave it a whirl, it was like a Bazooka Joe bubble gum, fun for a minute, but ultimately unrewarding.

  • latcheeco

    Dave,
    Not sure I have your faith in the majority. I imagine deep down we all enjoy a little bit of whataboutery now and then.

    Neither does it seem clear that the average punter’s whataboutery (yourself and Mick obviously excluded) isn’t preferable to Mick’s enthusiastic call not to let the other side get away with blaming Gusty Spense for it all by playing his wee computer game.

  • Different Drummer

    Mick if you are tired of the way we say things here then it’s time for you to move on to what you really want to do.

    The fetish that you have developed is a bit like Newsnight’s Jon Snow’s obsession with his computer graphics:

    Now I’m not saying this is what we will see but let’s just try this for a bit of fun.

    Mick I’m beginning to think now that you simply do not understand your punters – that is fatal in any business or cultural enterprise.

    If you ever listen to some of the best choice phrases on here –
    (latcheeco above is a very good example)

    then you would know that Ulster is rich in oratorical influences – the king james bible – Irish – scots english it is a very rich and deep tradition as Tom Paulin has pointed out.

    Do you really expect someone who is especially from here to forego that and boil it down to a ‘three dimensional chess game’….

    BTW we have other bad middle class habits here. Being an advocate of Compulsory Fun can be one of the most loathsome..

  • Mick Fealty

    Well RS,

    Let’s see where it goes. It will be unrewarding if too few others rise to the challenge. It won’t be much use if it gets too one sided either. But many thanks for the contribution!

    It’s the contextualisation process that it seems to me, will prove the reward. Or not, as the case may be.

    As I say, I understand the reaction at the top of the thread, but mapping a problem is a good way of understanding it, defusing it. And even finding viable ways of getting around it and moving on.

  • The thing is way beyond my comprehension Mick I’m afraid.

  • Mick Fealty

    DD,

    You misquote me. ‘Compulsory’? Really? Where did I say that?

    “Do you really expect someone who is especially from here to forego that and boil it down to a ‘three dimensional chess game’….”

    Yes. I am *asking* strong minded individuals to volunteer their help to map a series of conflicting group views of a single problem.

  • latcheeco

    Mick,
    We’ll never know either way unless you take a chance and ban for life everyone who engages in whataboutery :).

    But it never struck me that Northern Irish politics was full of your target audience (look at who gets elected) or that their cogent and intelligent debate would make a damn’s worth of difference even if it was.

    Some might be better at disguising it Mick but whataboutery is intrinsic to the debate and the settlement. That’s why the victimologists Eames and Bradley were given a brief.

    The debatograph your cheerleading for is still whataboutery it’s just a slightly higher class of spank mag.

  • pete whitcroft

    For those who are prepared to be truthful and listen, this may be educational.
    I think that money and power hungry people, monarchs, religious leaders and capitalists were generally to blame. Also those who enjoyed murder torture and war.

  • Mick Fealty

    Gari,

    Go to the ‘The IRA started it’ bubble and you begin to see something like a group mind map emerging.

    I think it may need some tidying up as we go, but I would encourage people to keep picking at it until they feel any one given proposition has as complete an answer as the form will allow.

    Otherwise, I have as much experience of working this as anyone else. Although it might help some get it if they use mind maps for other things already.

  • Mick Fealty

    You’re way too cynical for your own good Latch. I only ban people reluctantly, and for good reason.

    Night all…

  • Different Drummer

    Mick Writes

    “As I say, I understand the reaction at the top of the thread, but mapping a problem is a good way of understanding it, defusing it. And even finding viable ways of getting around it and moving on.”

    As you said Mick why don’t you just say how that can be done without a visual aid….

    ***that*** is the reason I said you should ‘declare your interest’ so the real political debate can begin..

    Fun? the debatograph is this your idea of fun!?
    as I said Mick you don’t understand your punters

    time to leave off and go to bed or join the BBC’s News24 they have some lovely graphics on there…

  • Joe

    God started it.

  • KieranJ

    I’ll let others opine on how this miserable situation began but I promise you it will not end and will ignite once again into wholesale violence unless and until this province is reunited with the three others.

    Case closed.

  • joeCanuck

    Mick,
    I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to add 840 or more years of history to that graphic.
    I can do no more than highly recommend Robert Kee’s “Ireland, a History” even though it only goes up to 1973.

  • latcheeco

    Mick,
    I’d even bet if you did a “Best of Slugger Whataboutery Awards” it would be your biggest success yet. The winners would be legends. You could even flog it as an annual in Eason’s at Christmas and it would do more good than that poxy flow chart nonsense.

    ps Of course if it was a success the idea would be my (anti)intellectual property:)

  • Adolf

    Who started the Second World war? Hitler, Versailles or the horrors of the Great (sic) War. The fact is Germans and Austrians were tried and hanged after the war and the Germans were made hang their heads in shame for many years afterwards.

    Ireland’s Nazis, Ulster Loyalists and members of their self styled churches, got off scott free.

    PIRA, the MI5/G2 counter gang, could legitimately be compared to Bomber Harris, Winnie Mad Bull dog Churchill or any of the other thugs who brought the hour horsemen to Germany.

    Who started the Vietnam war? The native aboriginals when they resisted.

    Let’s face it. Orangies are immoral outcasts.

  • Mick Fealty

    Joe,

    But no one is asking YOU, or I to be comprehensive. Rather the format encourages you to be small and partial.

    Try reading what’s up there now. Then have a look at Adolf’s post (no offence A, who is trying for grand narrative domination in one short post). Then you’ll see why concision is such a virtue, and how the debategraph does something that this kind of linear discussion cannot achieve.

  • Adolf

    We are short of books here as the Soviet are outside raping away. However, an excellent book is How wars Begin. Amazon it.

    Many wars begin “accidentally”, the Great (sic) War, where I fought valiantly being a case in point. The Austros gave Serbia no real chance to respond before blasting them.

    As regards The Troubles, things like the UVF’s provocative bombing (trying to pin it on Micks), Paisley’s 1960’s preaching etc have all been well documented.

    It serves no purpose to put these on a diagram without weighting them. From a republican/counter gang perspective moral right is always with the the rebels (Adams approved) because of the nature of the evil they faced with the British and their local thugs.

  • Doctor Who

    I can´t believe Republicanstones is complaining about an opportunity in engaging in “whataboutery”, considering his record and indeed his first contribution to this thread.

  • igor

    The belief in absolute truth in here is very touching. Slugger must be infested with clergy

  • igor

    Why do we never debate who is going to finish the Troubles? Isn’t that more interesting?

  • 33rd County

    i’ll blame humanity…

  • Mick Fealty

    To be fair to RS, he stopped complaining and finally took part. And, also to be scrupulously fair, he added a great deal of value (as well as a gentle piss take) in the process.

    Have a look. It changes quite radically each time someone adds material (like an exceptionally good thread does on Slugger from time to time).

    It would be great if others (particularly those of a different view) tried the same.

  • kensei

    I tried it. I clicked on “The IRA started it” and it showed some mess of stuff with greta insights like “this is related to tha GAA provided support”. So I clicked on thd IRA started it again to dig deeper, and um, nothing. Call me in a month if people botger.

    Most accurate one? Slugger O Toole perpetuates it > Mick Likes graphs

  • Scaramoosh

    It was him that did it …

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s so ‘Mike TV’ ken.

    If you scrape to the bottom and find there is nothing there: then fill it yourself. Who else do you think will do it?

  • kensei

    Mick

    I don’t really care who started it, and I sinscerely doubt it’ll come up with any great insights. And the tool doesn’t seem particularly user friendly, particuarly on the crap screen on my home computer.

    Stick up one in a topic I’m interested in and maybe I’ll try it. The 11+ maybe?

  • Ultimately, Cromwell started the Troubles.

  • Mick Fealty

    Guys, you are throwing your pearls away by not putting it on the Debategraph… I could act as stenographer and put your stuff up there but: one, no one is paying me to do this; and two, actually registering and engaging with the map raises the possibility that you might be able to ‘fix’ problems elsewhere.

    Ken,

    I take your point. And I think that would be a great theme to have up and running. I’ll see if Brian or someone would like to set one up on that.

    But I’m interested in people who are interested in this one first and the Irish budget next. But I’m not going to start building more and more of these things if we find the basic proposition doesn’t work for something as basic as ‘whataboutery’.

  • Rory Carr

    Surely if anyone is to take the credit for starting it all then it must be Austin Currie. We know this is true because he has told us so often enough.

    As to who is to take the blame well, that’s a horse of a different colour and I must admit to having had a little ride upon his back meself once upon a time.

  • Mick Fealty

    Get in there Rory… And we NEED more unionists in there, otherwise it WILL get pulled all out of shape…

  • RepublicanStones

    Sorry Doctor Who, you can criticise those of us wishing to acknowledge history’s hand if you wish, anything else to add?

  • Mick Fealty

    BB, it was the normans according to the map… if you only read that bit… even with just a few contributors its really coming on…

    More please… There’s lots of arguments and counterpoints going a begging…

  • greagoir o frainclin

    “…..who started the Troubles?”

    Our parents and their parents parents and their parents parents and their parents parents and their etc….

    So let’s try and put a stop to it here and now.

  • exile

    Well done Slugger: you’ve finally managed to unite both nationalist and unionist in common contempt for this pointless, puerile thread.

  • The Big Bang. Everything since then has been incidental.

  • joeCanuck

    Mick, why does your post at 6:37 on the debategraph appear under my name? Did I inadvertently do something?

  • LURIG

    What’s the big arguement? As someone else has already said the Troubles started when the UVF murdered an innocent Catholic in 1966; burned to death a Protestant pensioner on the Shankill believing her to be a Catholic; bombed electricity and water sub stations in the 1960’s; murdered the first RUC man Constable Arbuckle on the Shankill and when Paisley threatened to lead a Loyalist rabble on Divis St when an Irish Tricolour was flown in 1966. In reality the Troubles started when the illegitimate Frankenstein gerrymandered Northern statelet was created in a test tube in 1920. Truth be told while it exists there will ALWAYS be conflict on this island. Like South Africa and Israel it was a bastardised illegal entity founded to appease an apartheid, colonial minority at the expense of the native majority.

  • joeCanuck

    Lurig,
    Your first sentence could be a fair description of the build up to the latest troubles (some will undoubtedly disagree) but it does go all the way back to the Norman adventurers attack and success on England in 1066.

  • Adolf

    Here in the Bunker, I was watching a documentary on the Ku Klux Klan, those other great defenders of the Protestant way of life. They have so much in common with the Ulster rabble: defenders of the faith, anti civil rights, not averse to stiffing ther Nigs.

    “Dr” Paisley has his honorary PhD from the terrorist Bob Jones Uni. Hatred is bred into them.

  • Well Mick, it depends how you define “the Troubles”. If it means the sectarian strife, then ultimately Cromwell started that by expelling the Catholics and replacing them with British Protestants. The Israeli colonisation of Palestine is having the exact same consequences.

  • Democratic

    Ireland/South Africa/Israel unfree will never be at peace…….boke!
    The 1980’s called lads – they want their cliches back……

    “Here in the Bunker, I was watching a documentary on the Ku Klux Klan, those other great defenders of the Protestant way of life”

    Your in no position to throw stones “Adolf” remind us again which particular religion you grew up within and whos current lead man today was one of your understudies as a lad back then…..

  • Democratic

    One more thing – why do Republicans think they hold all the keys when it comes to promising when and if there will be “peace” round these parts? There are always two parts to any such puzzle and
    history has always borne out that peace is impossible without either the pacification or the total obliteration of one’s adversaries – and let’s face it neither outcome is at all likely as far as any of us are concerned……unfortunately. That’s not to say a United Ireland will never happen of course – merely that it would be a very optimistic to think it the end for all our troubles….

  • Adolf

    Democratic

    As it happens, the area in Austria I came from had a lot of converts to Protestantism (though I did serve as an altar boy).

    If you were around when Ben got the Papal job, you will remember what his brother George, also a priest, said about Germany in the 1930s. I had to draft them into the defence forces as I needed the bottom of the barrel. Ben deserted by the way. Not much of a soldier.

    Thanks for your sectarian rant. With blinkers like yours, troubles will never end.

    I too am a victim. I wanted to be an artist but the slaughter of the Somme made me into the man you like to caricature.

  • Brian MacAodh

    I blame Nixon

  • Adolf

    And by the way, the late Pope John Paul 11, the Polish Pope, got along well with Pop Ben. The sectarians are wrong, as usual.

    Leave these chants to David Norris, the Daily Mail ansd other w–kers.

  • sunder

    @Garibaldy

    Simple answer. The unionists are to blame for creating a regime based on discrimination, and sustaining it in the face of mounting calls for British rights for British citizens from the NILP, elements of the British political establishment, and groups like the Campaign for Social Justice and NICRA from around 1963. Blame must also attach to the London governments that permitted this circumstance to persist, especially in the aftermath of October 5th 1968. The unionist cabinet then set about frustrating reform as best they could, while London allowed them to succeed in doing so; London must also take considerable blame in allowing the security forces that they already knew required reform to run riot in August at the direction of Stormont.

    The immediate riposte to that is rather obvious, and since Godwin’s Law has already been broken I’ll put it this way:

    What you say is rather like justifying Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia by saying it was to unify with the Sudetan Germans. “British rights for British citizens” was what 1974-ish? IRA stopped in what 1994?

    So what was the other 20 years about? Or in the analogy “what was the invasion of the rest of Czechoslovakia about?”. What was that written in the Green Book about a “united Ireland” well before 1968 all about? Or in the analogy “what was that written in Mein Kampf about lebensraum all about?”.

  • latcheeco

    Sunder,
    I would have imagined the side that spawned pogroms, a one party state, discrimination against minorities, and Vanguard would run a bit shy of crappy Nazi analogies.