The unionist reaction to Saville is predictable understandable and incorrect

The unionist response to Saville has tended to be in one of two fashions. Cushy Glenn made a very valid point on another thread when he suggested that the majority of unionists agreed with Gregory Campbell. Campbell has been unafraid to say what many and probably most unionists think.

One reaction is to regard the Saville Enquiry as a “Blackwash” as opposed to the whitewash allegation levelled at Widgery by nationalists and republicans. Gregory Campbell has put this forward (from a unionist viewpoint) very effectively. He has questioned why the soldiers were disbelieved; they may have had reasons to spin the truth, but they are not the only ones who could be accused of having agendas. In addition he pointed to the fact that 25 years had passed between the events of Bloody Sunday and the beginning of the enquiry. Human memory is actually surprisingly fragile and people will genuinely believe things which are factually incorrect if told them often enough and for long enough. Hence, Campbell may have a significant point when he says that the actual truth may never be known. In this case, Pilate is actually correct when he asked Our Lord “What is Truth.” It is highly likely that the marchers believe that all those who died were innocent (I agree with them but more of that later) but it is also more than possible that the soldiers believe truthfully that 38 years ago they opened fired only on armed terrorists. Campbell has also noted that Widgery found remarkably similar facts though of course he came to a markedly different set of conclusions.

Hence unionists can retreat into a position of suggesting that Saville was set up by that most devious and cunning “straight sort of guy” to find exactly what Blair deemed was necessary for “The Process.” The last Government has something of a history of producing enquiries which have found roughly what the government wanted them to find: the Hutton Enquiry into David Kelly’s death being merely the most obvious other example. As such unionists can try to dismiss much of the enquiry as being utterly politically motivated and can cherry pick at it. They can point to the fact that Saville finds that there was no grand conspiracy at governmental or even military command level: in stark contrast to the claims made by the likes of Niall Ó Dochartaigh. In addition they can point to the simple fact that republicans have done much the same in terms of cherry picking. The very republicans who laud Saville still maintain there was a conspiracy and further of course Martin McGuinness has repeatedly denied the finding of his having been carrying a gun on the day in question. Furthermore although some are suggesting prosecution of the soldiers for perjury or more serious offences no one has yet pointed out that McGuinness held the enquiry in such contempt that not only does he now deny the findings but he could not answer for his whereabouts for part of the day and in addition refused to answer assorted questions in view of his supposed oath to a murder gang. That the oath to a murder gang is more important to him than the truth regarding the deaths of 14 of his fellow citizens should surprise no one since the deaths of Derry people (and others) have long been occurrences which McGuinness has been heavily involved in.

A modification to this strategy is that proclaimed by Tom Elliott as well as Gregory Campbell, which is to contextualise the deaths. It is fair to say that Saville did little of this and it is also manifestly true that the events in Londonderry did not occur as an aberration in an otherwise peaceful environment. Multiple members of the security forces were murdered before Bloody Sunday and Londonderry was in parts a lawless wasteland: something did indeed have to be done and the rule of law established; a theme I will return to.

The second standard unionist response is to point to all the other murders there have been and ask why no enquiry for them. Ulster’s other Bloody Sunday was when 12 other people were murdered in Enniskillen by an enormous IRA conspiracy. On the same day there was an attempt to murder several dozen school children in Tullyhommon, prevented only by luck / Grace of God when a tractor broke the command wire the IRA terrorists had intended to use to allow them to watch the Protestant school children die. I wonder did the IRA “volunteer” get a fizz of excitement as s/he thought of seeing the children’s bodies torn apart? Maybe s/he hoped to see some blown in half children shrieking for their mothers as they died. The counter claim that we all know who committed the Enniskillen bombing has some validity but equally the IRA still deny that they committed Kingsmills and try to claim that events such as the Shankill Road fish shop murders were something other than naked sectarianism. The argument continues that if £200 million was spent on Saville surely much lesser an amount of money would bring the truth to many a family. As I have said previously, however, the republican movement is not interested in anything other than quarter truth process.

Both of these responses may be understandable: however, the first one is essentially minimisation which unionists are right to be furious about when republicans use on them. It is the same sort of logic which leads to the perverse lies that Kingsmills was by anyone other than the IRA or that Enniskillen was set off by the army; that Claudy and La Mon were due to inadequate warnings etc. The second response is essentially a form of whataboutery and that is actually also unacceptable. It is reasonable to point to other murders but to do so at the time people are focusing on Bloody Sunday is somewhat crass to the relatives of those who died on that day. By the same token it would be pretty revolting for republicans to dismiss the likes of Enniskillen as being the inevitable consequence of the conflict and due indirectly to the likes of Bloody Sunday. The fact that both of these strategies have been used by republicans does not mean that unionists should lower themselves into the gutter along with the terrorists and their apologists.

As well as the above responses there has also been a reaction of anger. There is anger at what unionists see as the triumphalism exhibited in the Guildhall Square yesterday. There is anger at the sight of the relatives of the bereaved of that day hugging Martin McGuinness: in this case some of the metaphorical blood which has stuck cloying to that man’s whole body for all his adult life is in danger of sticking, at least temporarily, to those relatives. Many unionists I know had to turn off the radio or television, so sickened were they by the response and the media hype associated with it. The visit of the Methodist President and Presbyterian Moderator along with the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe to the relatives today will simply stoke this anger. In this particular case whataboutery is entirely reasonable and the question has to be asked when the church leaders, with the same media hype, last visited the bereaved of La Mon, Enniskillen, Teebane, Kingsmills etc. etc. When church leaders suggest that Gregory Campbell’s view is a minority one within Protestantism / Unionism, they, if they truly believe it, demonstrate just how pout of touch they are and why the three main churches now speak for but a minority of Protestants (and probably a minority within their own flocks). I have yet to hear of Norman Hamilton so publicly dissociate himself from his friend Fr. Aidan Troy, the man who tried to persuade Aine Tyrell not to make complaints against her father for paedophilia. Maybe if he tried apologising to Ms. Tyrell first rather than leaping on a bandwagon he might be taken a little more seriously.

All that anger and all those explanations are, however, not productive and not helpful and even if at some level understandable must be subdued and unionists must look at other utterly valid facts about Bloody Sunday: facts that if we are honest with ourselves we have known for some time. If we appreciate and accept those facts we can of course understand why yesterday was such an important one for the relatives of the dead. We may not especially like the republicans of Londonderry and when they are on the radio and television it may be highly irritating but we have to recognise these facts

The people who died clearly were not involved in an equal battle with the parachute regiment. One may have had a nail bomb in his pocket, maybe some had thrown stones. However, absolutely none of that could have justified the parachute regiment opening fire on them. The parachute regiment members did not have nail bombs or stones: they had SLR rifles which fired what is in effect a light machine bullet at well over the speed of sound. Had the paras been firing at Martin McGuinness with his submachinegun the fight might have been unequal but few would have shed tears at its inevitable outcome. However, those who died clearly did not have guns or all but one even nail bombs and as such they should not have been shot. Even had those killed been throwing stones they should not have been shot. Participating in an illegal march does not make one guilty of crime and it certainly does not merit a death sentence: still less one imposed summarily.

Unionists do not regard the British Army as the moral equivalent of the IRA or the alphabet soup of loyalist killers. As such we must require much better of our soldiers. Hence, we must regard what happened on Bloody Sunday as utterly unacceptable. Furthermore it seems completely clear that some of the firing was reckless as Widgery found all those years ago. Those killed in Glenfada Park look remarkably likely to have been unlawfully killed as shooting unarmed people with high velocity assault rifles is illegal. Very few British soldiers have ever committed crimes in Northern Ireland: 250,000 served and a very, very small number seem to have committed crimes. In actual fact we owe it to the soldiers who never did anything wrong and the ones who died in the defence of liberty and democracy against the likes of the submachinegun totting McGuinness to state that those who shot people on Bloody Sunday were in the wrong and did wrong.

Furthermore the vast majority of the members of the parachute regiment who went into the Bogside that day did absolutely nothing wrong: they did not shoot anyone; they did not intend to shoot any civilians. Just as they did before and afterwards they went in to defend law and order and did so with courage and restraint. A few of their number did not do that; some may have made mistakes but it seems that some few may have made mistakes so grave as to make them legally culpable.

We can try to contextualise Bloody Sunday, we can point to flaws in Saville but the simple overwhelming fact is that people were shot by members of our army and it seems shot whilst posing no realistic threat to our soldiers: that is wrong and we must not be scared to state that it is wrong. Furthermore our attempts to contextualise look like attempts to minimise. Rightly do we despise Adams and McGuinness for trying to explain away the murders of our kith and kin and rightly then we should avoid beginning down their nauseating road. Rightly do we despise Eames and Bradley for making the murderers the same as the victims, for pretending that we were all involved in the conflict: therefore we cannot do other than make clear that those who died on Bloody Sunday were innocent of crime and should not have been killed. Rightly we denounced the lie from Eames that we must all take responsibility for the actions of the past: therefore we must pin the blame where it belongs and exonerate the innocent, both the innocent soldiers and the innocent victims.

Bloody Sunday was wrong. The events of before it do not fully explain the events of that day and even to the extent that they do, they in no way excuse the wrong done to the victims. In exactly the same fashion not one of the events of Bloody Sunday justified any murder or violence after it; some people may have joined the IRA supposedly because of Bloody Sunday but they hold absolute personal responsibility for joining the sectarian murder gang which gorged on death for 30 years here. The wrongs of the past do not in any way excuse the committing of later wrongs.

There are other issues which we should bring to light. The RUC, that force so denounced by republicans as a sectarian force, recommended against going into the Bogside. Had the advice of our police officers, the people whom republicans denounced and murdered, been heeded then there would have been no Bloody Sunday. It is maybe also worth noting (though a bit tasteless to the families) that as Paul Bew noted on Good Morning Ulster the army were horrified by the supposed whitewash of Widgery and regarded it as showing that they had killed people whom they should not have killed. That realisation produced a change in army tactics to ensure it would not recur. Such a conclusion points to the honour and intelligence of our armed forces and their leadership. Set beside the behaviour of McGuinness’s pretend army of murderous bigots that shows who is morally in the right. It also, however, shows that individual soldiers had done wrong.

More than anything, however, we need to note that despite all its slowness, all its difficulties; the wheels of British Justice have ground exceeding fine if exceeding slow. The Widgery tribunal may have found largely similar evidence to Saville but seems to have produced a difficult to believe conclusion. Saville may be a bit too severe on the soldiers but Widgery was surely too lenient.

The question arises should the story be left at that? Some of the families want prosecutions, some do not. Currently all the soldiers are innocent, they having been convicted of nothing. However, we rightly demand that attempts are made to bring the murderers of the past to justice. Rightly we are pleased that someone is on trial for the 1981 murder of Jennifer Cardy. As such if crimes were committed on Bloody Sunday then they should be assessed. The correct place to assess such and come to an appropriate conclusion is a court of law. Saville was not a court of law and cannot call anyone a murderer. However, if there is evidence against anyone, be they soldiers or civilians then that evidence should be assessed by the DPP and if appropriate tested in court at the trial of those accused. If found guilty those guilty should be punished, if acquitted then they leave the court room innocent. Justice must be equal for all. That may mean prosecutions but we must demonstrate that in our society if the forces of law and order make a grave enough mistake they will, if found guilty, be punished: yet again a contrast to Adams and McGuinness’s rag tag band of butchers who when they killed the wrong person issued a half apology and that supposedly made it all alright.

The Bloody Sunday families have suffered greatly. Gregory Campbell has rightly said he has compassion for them. However, compassion is not enough. We as unionists may find their campaign over the years irritating; we may feel that their case has been highlighted more than many others. We may not always like those who supported them; we may not like the company the victims’ families kept. We may feel that whilst demanding justice for their loved ones they were willing to be seen with those who had committed countless murders and had never faced justice. However, unionists must realise that what happened that day was wrong, those who died were innocent and if there are people to be prosecuted then sadly but grimly and determinedly we must support the rule of law and the fair trial and if appropriate punishment of the guilty. That is why we were, are and will always be morally better than the gunmen and bombers. It is when it is difficult and painful to support it that the light of truth and justice needs tended most.

This author has not written a biography and will not be writing one.

  • Excellent. Well stated.

  • mick o kelly

    Cry me a river, ffs ,you so called loyalists/unionists seemingly don’t even trust the findings of the British Government you claim to love so much,get over it,your anti-Catholic bile is nauseating in the extreme,if you don’t like Ireland then go live in England but you know as well as I do the English hate you Unionists more than the Scottish or even the French.

  • Driftwood

    Many ‘unionists’ cannot respond Turgon, because we ‘ protested’ , but I’m sure Mick will allow his followers to respond against you.

  • Mick Fealty


    Did you actually read to the end? We need all commenters to read the comments policy below. Half baked man playing is not welcome here.

  • Nunoftheabove

    “Campbell may have a significant point when he says that the actual truth may never be known” – surely this isn’t anything other than an attempt to indirectly repudiate the truth that Saville has painstakingly been able to tell ?

  • Alias

    The best article by far that I’ve read in reaction to Saville. The unionist perspective was interesting. There is a sectarian bun-fight involved where “We were right and you were wrong” comes into play rather than any real consideration for the victims or for issues of justice and holding the State to account.

    The last paragraphs were excellent, and at odds with what appears to be majority unionist sentiment. It’s the old mantra that justice must be done and be seen to be done. The State must not be allowed to declare that it can shoot its own citizens with impunity, just as long as it can hide its denial of justice under some expedient but meaningless peace-processing label such as “closure” or “moving-on.” Let the Court decide.

  • boris1

    I dont think there was a single syllable of “anti catholic bile ” in that entire post. The only bile is coming from yourself. [text removed – play the ball please boris – mods]

  • King Kai

    The Saville inquiry lost all crediblity the day Martin Maginnis refused to answer questions about what he did that day. The word inocent is branded about a lot the last few days yet its not mentioned in the report? How can someone with nail bombs in his pocket not pose a threat?. The fact that we have seen pictures of gunmen on the day ment nothing to saville?. The term not posing a threat at the time for me means they were posing a threat at one time but ran away when challanged.

  • This is just another grim, extended (and poorly disguised) piece of whataboutery. Or maybe it’s satire.

  • slug

    I think its hard to guage what “majority” unionist sentiment is. But I and I think a lot of others agree with Turgon’s final paragraph in which the Bloody Sunday report and its uncovering of the truth , however difficult that truth may be, deserves to be welcomed.

  • Mick Fealty

    You are right John. It is a kind of ‘whataboutery‘, but one with a twist.

    The killer line in the standard form is “but, we aren’t any worse than themuns!’ Whilst Turgon’s line is “we must be better than themuns’!

    It’s no less combative (or even irritating). But the respective outcomes are/should be rather different.

  • Overall an excellent post, Turgon.

    I get the feeling that most unionists won’t disagree with the findings – the general outline of what happened has been common knowledge for quite some time. The reactions of many unionists to Bloody Sunday have long been of a nervous nature – I believe the vast majority do understand that the killings were wrong, and that knowledge makes some uncomfortable, hence the temptation to distract attention using whataboutery. It is often difficult to admit that your political opponents are right on any issue – the fear being that if you concede one point then the whole edifice will crumble, when in fact a refusal to concede anything at all invariably makes one’s case weaker.

  • SwanVsDalton

    What an excellent post. I must say, personally, it’s the kind of writing that redeems Slugger in the light of some of the crass comments being made in the last couple of days…If more took Turgon’s attitude, on both sides, then the better off we all would be.

  • Jimmy McGurk

    Once again Turgon has given a valuable insight into the Unionist mindset in his detailing of Unionist reaction to Saville.

    His call for Unionists to be ‘better’ than Nationalists, by not showing double standards in the way they approach the reality of the past, however uncomfortable, is a refreshing change to the schoolyard bickering that dominates so much of political discourse around Northern Ireland.

  • Dewi

    ..whereas Turgon’s political leader says:

    “…..Thus today’s jamboree over the Saville Report throws into very sharp relief the unacceptable and perverse hierarchy of victims which the preferential treatment of ‘Bloody Sunday’ has created”

    It’s the “jamboree” word that’s really touching….

  • Mick Fealty

    Oscar Wilde on leadership:

    “Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob”…

    Question is: where is the mob headed?

  • Mick O Kelly

    Read between the lines,this article instead of dignigying the memory of the Bloody Sunday victims and commiserating with the families by letting them have their day after 38 years seeks to drag up every atrocity that happened in N Ireland in order to deflect from the orgy of murderous violence committed by the British Army that day. Turgon states ” There is anger at what unionists see as the triumphalism exhibited in the Guildhall Square yesterday “,I think he mistakes triumpalism for elation that their family members were finally exonerated and truth came out that all the dead were brutally murdered by crown forces,he obviously doesn’t understand the mindset of the Derry people,it’s not Portadown or Coleraine,the Derry people are more civil in manner .I was born and raised in the Bogside ,was present on Bloody Sunday and knew quite a few of the young teenagers shot that day including Michael Kelly who was my room-mate when we attended college in Belfast,living in digs on the Antrim Road,Mickey was 17 when he was murdered,it was his first time on any march.I knew him very well obviously and knew he was never associated with any paramilitary goup ever.After Bloody Sunday Paratroopers situated their vehicles outside the school we had attended in Belfast to jeer and try to provoke me into retaliation,they were completely remorseless and gloated over their evil deeds,could you imagine the Shankill bombers coming into the Shankill to mock the victims of that awful day.So for all you armchair analysts sitting by your computers writing as you theorise remember you are talking about real people who lost their lives and families shattered,hearts broken and deep sadness carried for almost 40 years.

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon’s analysis is to be welcomed for the insight it gives to many unionist’s view of the situation. Some of the comments from anti-Turgonists are simply wrong. I have always found him to be consistent in his forthright condemnation of lawbreakers no matter where they come from. And he has done that again today; he does not spare those paratroopers who committed those terrible deeds.

  • Anonin

    Again a respectable, if not entirely agreeable, and well developed point. My hats off, Turgon.

  • Sean Og

    Unionists feel rightly agrieved about the atrocities listed in the above article, and after each incident the full forces of the security services went after the perpetrators. Where nationalists feel agrieved is where the British government covered up the incident, lied about the murders comitted and actually promoted most of the individuals involved. How can this then be equated to the likes of the Enniskillen bomb ?

  • joeCanuck

    Sean, could you not bring yourself to say the Enniskillen MURDERS?

  • aquifer

    British citizens were murdered on the streets of a british city. There is no death penalty for attendance at a peaceful if illegal demonstration.

    The britishness of so called loyalists is provisional, conditional on them having the whip hand.

    Their position is indefensible morally, but also militarily when a small armed sectarian gang can disrupt the entire region.

    They threaten the political economy of the modern multiracial multi-ethnic trading emporium that Britain has become.

    No wonder the English want shot of them.

  • Nunoftheabove

    It seems beyond mainstream unionist politicians to adopt a pespective of Bloody Sunday that is other than narrow, parochial and demagogic. I have heard nothing from them about the equal rights of citizens within the state to which they give their allegiance, democratic standards and principles. All of this oddly consistent with the position of mainstream unionism towards the civil rights movement. Denial, superiority, sectaraianism.

    The responses have in the main been characterised by meanness of spirit, whataboutery, thinly veiled attempts to cast doubt on the integrity of the outcome of Saville (‘we all know what ‘really’ happened’ etc), appeals to ‘forget the past’ and ‘move on’. It’s really dispiriting that they appear unable or unwilling to salvage something positive from a badly needed and long awaited good day for truth and for morality for fellow UK citizens.

  • I think it’s illuminating but I wouldn’t call it combative. Given that this is coming from the TUV corner of the house, I’m not going to treat this as mainstream unionists sentiment (indeed MSU rejected the TUV). To date, the response from most unionism channels has been understandably muted.
    Particularly towards the end the absence of a meaningful moral compass is one thing but the hand wringing along the ‘we must be better route’ is simply crass. On such moral high ground there would be condemnation of the systemic failures. Saville only examined Bloody Sunday, the failure here includes Widgery and the coroner’s inquest and none of the three can be unpacked from the other. Such finely honed regard for democracy and process would be outraged at the failure at every stage to have corrected the injustice (and done so by 1973).
    The final backing of Saville at the end is so heavily qualified by what precedes it as to be meaningless.
    Having read both previous missives on collusion (sic), I’m genuinely begining to wonder if Turgon is actually Danny Morrison being ironic.

  • fin

    “There is anger at what unionists see as the triumphalism exhibited in the Guildhall Square yesterday”

    Thats the line that says it all, I think ordinary decent unionists, the British government, the Irish government and nationalists realise that at the fagend of both extremes there are people for whom there is no hope and its the large body in the middle that drive NI towards something better.

    Dang Taigs celebrating their relatives been found innocent after 40 years of slander. Althought the pipebomb theory still lingers under this particular unionist inhabited rock.

    I get the impression that the unionists that Turgon knows actually turned the TV off in disgust when the minutes silence was called for, for ALL the victims in NI or possibly when the crowd cheered the primeministers statement, afterall, actions like that make these people harder to hate and it makes it harder to make your neighbours hate them, and if this element of unionism can’t whip up hatred than people might actually start getting along, and we can’t have that can we.

  • The problem for Unionists who want to quibble about Saville is that they have been outflanked by Cameron and left with no ground on which to attempt a refutation. without appearing eccentric. If even a Tory PM thinks the paras ran amok and killed innocents, then who Gregory or anyone else to say different?

    And why can’t Unionists see that if the army that was supposedly serving their demand for law and order was actually murdering civilians, then it was letting them down; it was reneging on the task it was charged with – by them?

    And few are going to want to hear this, but the paras murdered others, in Ballymurphy, Springhill and on the Shankill. Either there was a coterie of psychopaths in that regiment or there was a culture of easy killing. It might suit the army best to concede that now and let a few of those killers take the rap.

    The government and the army have to concern themselves with the reputation of forces in Helmand and to demonstrate that they are clean – not like those dirty paras of the past.

    And with tension set to rise between the government and the forces over defence cuts, the army might see that it’s best interest lies in endorsing Saville and agreeing with Cameron on this and starting thre cuts negotiations without bad blood between them.

    In short; if I was an old smouldering para psychopath with blood on my hands, I might now expect to be the expendable part of the whole set up.

  • dmcoop

    Some of the reaction here is very unfair and borders on an unquestioning hatred of unionism.
    Turgon has tried to explain his community’s various feelings and has clearly said that the killings were wrong and the victims innocent. He is not preaching hate.
    I don’t agree with everything Turgon says, but his response here is spot on.

  • kevin moran

    Turgon you are a fool, a useful fool but a fool nevertheless. You attempt to engage with people who are so soaked in sectarian bitterness that they view any argument that seeks to explore how Saville is viewed outside the ghetto of republicanism as unacceptable. They will shout you down and providing them such an opportunity to do so is foolish.

    These warped individuals view the past as a place where they were the principle victims notwithstanding that their community were responsible for the vast majority of the dead. It is also worthy of note that whilst the unionists rejected the murderers republicans voted them into office.

    So Turgon give it up. They are not interested, they never will be, ignore them and get on with your life and leave them to wallow in their hypocrisy.

  • willis

    “They can point to the fact that Saville finds that there was no grand conspiracy at governmental or even military command level: in stark contrast to the claims made by the likes of Niall Ó Dochartaigh. ”

    I must admit that I was surprised that Col Richard Kemp said:

    “It sounds more like what you’d expect from a Nazi stormtrooper than a British Paratrooper. We should repudiate in the strongest terms the soldiers who acted in this barbaric way on Bloody Sunday.”

    When the dust settles Turgon, have a look at how the Paras were being used.

  • Johnny Boy

    It’s a call for Unionists to be better than “gunmen or bombers” why do you read this to be Nationalists?

  • bigchiefally

    Great post.

    I can see how people can disagree with parts of it but to call it sectarian or bigoted reveals more about themselves I think than Turgon.

  • Laura

    My only criticism of this article is it almost seems to equate protestants with the army and catholics with the IRA. As a Catholic woman raised in Derry, I feel offended that we seem to be all tarred as IRA sympathisers. I find the attrocities the IRA have committed through the years no less disgusting than any Unionist, and I view the Unionist parlimilataries in exactly the same way. As Christians we are all taught to turn the other cheek. Derry has a long history of Nationalism, for a long time they were treated as second class citizens in their own city. Violence especially against innocent victims or police or army officers is a digusting way to attempt to solve this. The people killed on Bloody Sunday however were trying to do it the right way, to gain their equal rights in a peaceful way. There is no comparison between a gang of militants with an ethos of murder and an army who has worked hard to maintain the peace. The people of Derry needed to stand up and be able to say those men and young boys were innocent. It has never made me prouder to be a part of Britain than to have a leader who can stand up and say that their army made a mistake. The dignity and integrity of the young army officers fighting so hard for their country relies on that.

  • Cushy Glenn

    I don’t think Unionists want to quibble about Saville at all. They fall in to the following camps

    1. There will be a small section that thinks “we don’t care- themmuns deserved all they got”.
    2. There is a more nuanced version of this, to the effect that tough action needed to be taken to restore law and order , and the casualties were collateral damage. This view may no longer be widely held, but it was certainly the view of most middle class Unionist in the 1970s. Working class Unionists- having been on the receiving end of some heavy handed policing excused by this line. Gregory seems to be articulating this line, with the subsection of it who won’t consider the suffering until there is parity of sympathy to reflect the parity of pain.
    Both of these fall on the “get over it” line of the argument

    3. Then you have the people who are just annoyed in spite of themselves by the narrative context. I include myself in this category- though I would have been in 2 for many years. I accept that Bloody Sunday brought the end of Stormont, an uprise in recruitment to the provos, and an industry in bad Pilger-esque tv documentaries, books, and songs by U2. We want to show our sympathy but we’re sure as hell not going to be seen on a platform with McGuinness and co, and we can’t understand why the relatives don’t see that allowing themselves to be so linked makes it harder for Unionists to move from 1 or 2 to 3. It wasn’t our responsibility, as Saville proves- it was not an orange conspiracy, but soldiers at a relatively low level acting out of control

    4. then we have the usual guilty Prods. Our revolting churchmen in particular, who are probably itching to apologise for the Plantation nevermind their own churches. If they could, they’d organise boycotts of spuds from Ballymena because they’re worried might be seen to be condoning sectarianism, if the farmer who sold them was an Orangeman. Not only are their gestures crass and inept, they’re false, because they fool noone. Republicans see useful idiots who provide bit parts in their narrative, like the nice Anglican cleric in “the Quiet Man” who was friendly with the local ex-IRA men. They are politically imept, because they feed the delusion that there is a mentality within Unionism that will graciously walk if the umpire raises his finger, no matter how dubious the call. They still think of themselves as part of the establishment, and their instinct ( whether prompted or spontaneous) is to do what they believe it wants. It’s not Christian, it’s not radical, hell it’s not even well done. True Christians would have been out in January 1972 and at every opportunity since seeking to console and minister to the families

    In fact many many Unionists are generally seething about the broader political script being played out, and the fact that we have never had- and never will- “days like this” to see a recognition of our suffering (easy enough to choreograph by spin doctors) and the admission of culpability which Cameron managed to pull off to the satisfaction of most ( never going to be forthcoming in the present context).
    Garden centre Prods are presumed to be liberal non-sectarian types. But in truth there’s a huge tranche that despair of the defeatism of their community leaders and won’t vote for anyone anymore. But the mistake is to imagine that acquiescence is consent. Increasing our alienation from the world won’t make us any more compliant. If we couldn’t manage to accommodate 500,000 bolshie nationalists in the 1970s, what makes anyone think some day in 2016 or thereafter 900,000 Unionists , brought up to believe “noone likes us-we don’t care”, will be any more obliging.
    And that’s the long term cancer that the campaign which led to Saville and the trend it follows has done nothing to answer. It’s not about a zero sum game at all, but how everyone in the community as a whole can profit. Saville offered nothing to Unionists- (of course not, how could it?) . But what could nationalists have offered to reach out the hand of friendship and reconciliation. When has a bishop met FAIR for instance? Ah but Willie’s a nutter, obsessed with the past, won’t move on, seeks revenge for the losses his family’s losses. And all of this is bad. While the families of Glenfada Drive are dignified, saintly, gracious and hug Martin McGuinness. Do the math, and work out why Turgon is right..

  • Laura

    This was not about the suffering of Catholics in Northern Ireland at the hands of Unionists it was the suffering of those families.
    “In fact many many Unionists are generally seething about the broader political script being played out, and the fact that we have never had- and never will- “days like this” to see a recognition of our suffering”
    The findings of the Saville support or the speech by David Cameron did not recognice the suffering of anyone affected by the IRA/UDA/UVF/UFF. There was disgusting attrocities on either side. It does nothing for anyone to bring up instances.
    This was needed because members of the army were responsible for those deaths that should never have happened, and certainly should not have been lied about after.

  • vanhelsing


    Most Unionist commentators have welcomed Saville whilst admitting the culpability of the soldiers on the day. I wish a few republicans would ‘get over themselves’, stop whining and realise that Unionists now want to move forward.

  • bigchiefally

    Another good post.

  • Jimmy McGurk

    should’ve said republicans not nationalists.

    I was referring to Turgon’s line:
    “the fact that both of these strategies have been used by republicans does not mean that unionists should lower themselves into the gutter along with the terrorists and their apologists.”

  • Johnny Boy

    Republicanism is using it as part of a propoganda war to absolve themselves from their atrocities.

  • Nunoftheabove

    It is only true that Saville had nothing for unionists if you are unwilling or unable to see it.

    (i) The British state has been held accountable for an unjustifiable wrong its forces committed. Good.

    (ii) IThe state lied about its role and its own accountability for over 30 years and has been brought to admit that it did so and that it was wrong. Good.

    (iii) Representatives of the British state have taken responsibility for its role in this atrocity and have apologised reasonably graciously for its actions. Good.

    (iv) The rights of UK citizens have prevailed and democracy within this state this week means something for all of the citizens of the UK. Good.

    (v) There is much less chance that this could happen again to any group of freely assembled UK citizens as a result and that lessons have been or will be learned. Good.

    There is only nothing in saville for unionists who are (a) disisnterested in human rights generally; and/or (b) who are ambivalent about the unlawful killings by the forces of the state – employed to protect all of its citzens – by the state in which they live and to which they give their allegiance, of fellow citzens who happen to be catholic.

    Blithe indifference to democratic rights or blind bigotry are the only two reasons I can think of for concluding that Saville holds nothing for unionism.

  • Laura

    Johnny Boy says:17 June 2010 at 11:21 amRepublicanism is using it as part of a propoganda war to absolve themselves from their atrocities.

    Who is saying that they should be absolved for any attrocities, I have yet to read anyone say that the army killed innocent civillians therefore the IRA were correct in what they did. I do understand where the association is in this instance.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Has mainstream unionism as yet actually put forward a formal structured proposal for any form of truth and reconciliation type institution or body or are they content for the HET/PSNI to do its thing ?

  • Laura

    Aplogies I do not understand the association is in this instance. For instance I can see the parrallels for a UDA and a IRA bomb but the army is completely different. The Catholic community who have had family members killed by unionist parlamilitaries could just as easily claim they want their justice just as many have mentioned of those poor souls taking by the IRA.

  • Bemused Southerner

    But Johnny Boy, that’s what Republicans do.

    We should not allow them to delegitimise the things that they hijack.

  • madraj55

    MF. I was listening to Nolan this morning, and thought he seemed to go along with the ‘whataboutery’ line that public Inquiries should be called into atrocities already owned up to. Nolan surely knows that the State uses these for investigating it’s own wrongs only. Yet he let Donaldson and others away with this spurious nonsense.
    Nolan asked JD if he accepted the findings of Saville, and when JD zreoed into the side issue of McGuiness, Nolan failed to confront him with the central truth that Carruthers confronted Campbell with.

  • Brilliant post Turgon .

  • Cushy Glenn

    -but the state has not been held truly accountable – noone has yet answered for these alleged offences, nor have they been afforded a fair trial to establish possible innocence. Arguably they could not now do so, given the publicity. The state could have been held responsible vicariously by a civil suit or criminal injury claim but this was never done apparently

    -the state did not lie about it’s role or accountability- though there is a high degree of probability that members of it’s armed forces did. Even Widgery didn’t exclude that possibilty. The state initiated what turned out to be a woefully poor inquiry, though 12 weeks after the event one wonders how many witnesses would have come forward

    Representatives of the state have correctly apologised as you say, but they perviously had done this, Blair being the first.

    There was much less chance of this happening again within hours of the full scale of the incident becoming known. Saville hasn’t changed that. But “shoot to kill” still applied to terrorists “on active service” ( and not just republicans- vide Brian Robinson for example)

    The old saying- used by one of the relatives-:”Let right be done, though the heavens fall” must mean- if human rights apply to all- that charges are laid against Martin McGuinness too for his involvement in human rights abuses.And we all know that’s never going to happen.

    Human rights here are like the GAA -theoretically open to all, but in practice dominated by the ethos of one side of the community, who think it’s enough to say “Of course you guys can play too” while doing nothing more than paying lip service instead of practical outreach, so one side obtains disproportionate benefit. Good for them, but not good for universal access. Is that healthy ? Where have CAJ been on RAAD in the past few years for instance? Or the Quinn murder?

    I revert to Willie Frazer. He has been mocked , slandered, threatened and even assaulted for decades. His persistence is a remarkable example of courage even if for all i know he is as mad as a bag of snakes ( and I’ve never met him, so I don’t know) If he ever gets closure will there be a platform erected in Newry city centre for him? Will Sean Brady come to his home and extend sympathy? Will there be extended live news feeds round the world? Hey, will the IRA even muster up a smidgeon of Dave’s statecraft and apologise? And will any poster on this thread lose a minute’s sleep after today when his daily suffering is consigned to the casualties of history ward? And he’s one of the very few who has tried to play the human rights game!

    Human rights is the one issue that demands whataboutery, because until noone can say “whatabout x’s lost rights?” the job is incomplete.
    Well I’m a whatabouter on this, and proud of it

  • madraj55

    VHS That’s odd. I have heard no UUP figures commenting on Saville since it’s release. Since they have no seats in Parliament, they could address the report there,but there’s been a deafening silence from that quarter. and DUP put’s up only londonngregory? Is that it form them?

  • sean og

    Is atrocity not good enough for you joe ?

  • I have my (political) differences with Turgon, but he has pretty much summed up my own opinion, much more so than those who would set themselves as either my communal witchdoctors (aka the various protestant churchleaders) or political spokesmen.

    The nature of the attacks on him and Unionism generally here are instinctive, pure and knee-jerkery and have been made by those, I suspect, that had trouble moving beyond seeing a Unionist name on a post re Saville.

    Piece of advice for them, for the sake of their own blood-pressure and the quality of debate on here: in future read what’s actually written and not that which you are outraged hasn’t been written.

  • “Human rights is the one issue that demands whataboutery, because until noone can say “whatabout x’s lost rights?” the job is incomplete.

    Well I’m a whatabouter on this, and proud of it”

    Brilliantly put.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    As a Conservative I felt immensely proud of the Prime Minister and his unequivocal response to the Saville report.

    I feel no need to use other atrocities to in anyway detract from the Saville report nor the Saville report to some how detract from other atrocities carried out in different circumstances on different days.

    Let us all accept the Saville report which says the dead were completely innocent and express our regret that it happened.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Yes. And one is not prevented from doing so AND calling for truth and transparency in other incidents where there were no investigations and prosecutions, or in some cases even just investigations. It’s both, not either/or. Unionist politicians, do please try to understand this point.

  • Mick Fealty

    Read Eamonn’s post on Robinson last night…

  • Jean Meslier

    Cushy Glenn
    First of all I found your initial post to be a good appraisal of unionist response to the conflict and what it entailed.
    The Ballymena spud farmer piece was brilliant.
    We, I believe, also share a common trait in our distaste for Bono and his foray into politics via “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”
    However I do believe that the Saville report gives all of us who live in this corner of a very small island the chance to look to the future differently than before.
    All of us must embrace change as we move on. You acknowledge your move from category 2 to category 3 which has to be hailed as positive by any genuine person reading your article.
    The Legislative Assembly is the vehicle to produce a better way of life for everyone. The equality agenda is a template for all communities, ethnicities and classes.
    There can be no advocacy of a return to the failed past.

    Can I also say that I have met William Frazer and yes he is as mad as the maddest thing in the mad house. But his biggest problem is he lacks credibility in all communities including his own. This is an essential difference I feel I must point out especially as you did compare him to MMcG who, like him or loathe him, oozes credibility.

    However re; a platform erected in Newry city centre for Willie?
    i would lke to see the day when a platform in Newry could accomodate relatives of everyone who died as a result of the conflict – full stop – period. But there cannot be any other conditions attached.
    The problem with Willie is he claims to campaign for relatives of “innocent” victims when he doesn’t qualify even by his own criteria due to his relatives association with the notorious “Glenanne gang”.

  • Laura

    I would love the opportunity to see M McG tried for his crimes but I don’t believe a he probably has a gun and possibly fired it is likely to lead to a conviction. Where as you shot the unarmed civillian in the back as he ran away arms held high has more liklihood. I personally believe a criminal investigation would not help the suituation.
    Nunof the above I could not agree more. I think there is so much to be gained for everyone involved here.

  • Laura

    dmcoop says:17 June 2010 at 9:22 amSome of the reaction here is very unfair and borders on an unquestioning hatred of unionism.
    Turgon has tried to explain his community’s various feelings and has clearly said that the killings were wrong and the victims innocent. He is not preaching hate.
    I don’t agree with everything Turgon says, but his response here is spot on.

    I understand that it may appear that way, he has certainly not said anything to take away from the lives lost that day. My only issue is whether deliberate or not it seems to have largely lumped in the whole of Catholicism with the IRA and the wahaboutery is unreal. If you want to discuss whatabout this whatabout that mention a time when an unarmed protestant was shot by the army while posing no threat.

  • willis


    What an utterly brilliant typo!


  • vanhelsing


    Think you’ll fine that PR has made a statement – in fact I’m nearly sure it’s here on Slugger.

  • Laura

    :s completely by accident obviously

  • madraj55

    VHS I know about PR’s statement, but I see it’s from himself rather than his party, or was he making it as FM? That, he didn’t feel he could speak for the DUP is telling. I thought he did a good job of it, and I agree with PR that this should really be left here and Bloody Sunday marked up in it’s place in history..

  • Brian

    To be fair to Bono, he later would announce “This is NOT a rebel song” before singing Sunday, Bloody Sunday. It is more an anti-conflict song in my opinion.

    (During the bridge of the song, U2’s vocalist Bono angrily condemned the Remembrance Day bombing:

    “ Well let me tell you something! I’ve had enough of Irish-Americans who haven’t been back to their country in twenty or thirty years come up to me and talk about the resistance; the revolution back home, and the glory of the revolution and the glory of dying for the revolution. Fuck the revolution! They don’t talk about the glory of killing for the revolution. What’s the glory in taking a man from his bed and gunning him down in front of his wife and his children? Where’s the glory in that? Where’s the glory in bombing a Remembrance Day parade of old-aged pensioners, their medals taken out and polished up for the day? Where’s the glory in that? To leave them dying, or crippled for life, or dead under the rubble of a revolution that the majority of the people in my country don’t want. ”

    Bono then led the audience in the traditional “no more!” chant.)

  • dodrade

    Very good article Turgon, I do believe you’ve mellowed considerably in recent weeks.

  • madraj55

    malachi. I read or heard an army source at the 30th anniversary coverage who claimed that the Parachute had one company set aside for oddballs and pschos [as they saw them] and that company was the one that tended to get sent here.

  • Blue Hammer

    Brian Robinson. Murdered by the Army on the Crumlin Road having been rammed off his motorbike by said Army unit.

    The fact that he had just murdered a totally innocent Roman Catholic at Ardoyne shops is, in Saville terms, irrelevant. He was sprawled on the ground, injured, and posing no threat to the Army who could easily have arrested him. They didnt, choosing instead to empty their weapons into his prostrate body.

    I lose no sleep over the death of a scumbag like Robinson, but Laura, you asked the question . . . .

    So can we do some whataboutery now?

  • Comrade Stalin

    You’re not comparing like with like. The BS victims were not running away having shot someone.

    If you want to get into whataboutery on that level, you might want to ask the unionists who (quietly) lobbied for an inquiry into the death of Billy Wright.

  • Michael

    I see Vance has joined a group on FB to make his opinions clear, just incase anyone was in any doubt 😉

  • Alan N/ARDS

    As a unionist I don’t have a problem with the findings of the Saville report. These people have been proved innocent. I was disappointed( to say the least) to see the families of these innocent catholics embrace the the former leadership
    of the organisation which killed hundredes of innocent people including more catholics than the British Amy. That would have been like the families of the Bloody Tebane murders embracing former leaders of the UVF or UDA. I found it quite nauseating.

  • Blue Hammer

    So having completed an act of terror is more deserving of death than going prepared for such an act?

    Robinson was a scumbag murderer, but the point is that at the point of his execution he had no weapon, and was prostrate on the ground. Much like Saville suggests some BS victims were. I am surprised that you draw a distinction rather than acknowledge the similarity.

    Since when did the BA assume the role of state executioners for those suspected of paramilitary activity? And if they did, why arent more scumbags dead?

  • Gary Wilson

    King Kai

    Please read Volume 10 of the saville report, Martin Mc Guinness answers questions about his where abouts for the full day, it clearly shows the questions he was asked and answers given.

  • Big Maggie

    I tried your link but it says I have to join the group first.

    Erm, I don’t think so :^)

  • Alias

    Some blog owner (whom I won’t name) recently accused me of having a penchant for stating the bleedin’ obvious, so I should point out that there isn’t one nation in NI because if there was then that nation would be united in condemnation of those who attacked it rather than fragmented into two nations, with the attack being seen by one nation as the other nation’s state attacking and the other nation defending its state.

    The British prime minister might have pulled the rug out from under one nation, with the State seeming to support the attacked nation, leaving those from the other nation who defended the actions of the State landing on their asses. But that doesn’t amount to one nation united in condemnation of those who attacked it. There remains two nations, as divided as they ever were.

    The unionists might see that the State is siding with itself alone. It is protecting its national security interests by continuing its old policy of failing to prosecute state actors who commit crimes against its own citizens, nominally to defend the realm. It’s agenda is not to please unionists by upseting its Catholic citizens. It’s agenda is to trick those Catholics into thinking that it has given them justice when in actuality it is denying them justice.

    In this regard, it has downgraded justice from the status of a right to something that is nearer to being a commodity: subject to market forces such as demand, cost, and useful purpose. This is a very retrograde developement.

    It should be remembered that the marchers who lost their lives did so while defending their civil rights from abuse by the State. They believed that the State’s citizens should not be arbitrarily deprived of their freedom by the State. That was a noble cause, and even one that was worth dying for.

    However, 38 years on from their attempt to protect their rights from the State, even the right to justice itself is now denied to citizens by the State. So far from making progress, things have down from bad to worse. They died defending rights, but those who killed them will not be held accountable for what they did to them.

    And instead of protesting this denial of justice, the catholic nation is now in the role that it formerly condemned the unionists for assuming: defending the injustices of the State because they beleive that the State is on their side.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    It is indeed very apt that the Unionists ask what about the victims of the IRA … and to equate and place in the same context the callous murders committed by the renegade low-life IRA scum to the callous murders committed by the British Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday.

    In all cases, the innocent victims were shown no mercy by their murderers.

  • mark

    As a broadly nationalist man, living in Derry I agree – although the proud to be part of Britain may not sit easily (I’m pretty agnostic on this).

    I particularly agree with the point that not all nationalists supported the IRA and not all nationalists vote for SF – consequently SF does not speak for the whole of nationalism or indeed the people of Derry. As much as Adams and McGuinness were present so too were John Hume, our 27yo SDLP Mayor, Bishop Daly, countless longstanding civil rights campaigners and thousands of local people who have never subscribed to or condoned the methods of the IRA.

    The atmosphere in the Guildhall Sq was more one of relief than victory – the most common explanation being one of a cloud or weight being lifted. Few there would have seen it as a day for SF but rather a day for the families and a day for the communities who have lived under this cloud for 4 decades.

    Of course it would be stupid to say that there isn’t bigotry and sectarianism in our city – but I think the unionist community would find a lot of support in the Bogside, Creggan and throughout the nationalist community for their own efforts to find comfort.

  • joeCanuck

    Fair point, Sean. I apologize.

  • mark

    Which is perfectly understandable – but I don’t think anyone has the right to be disappointed in them, we can only wonder how we would react in their shoes, both on Tuesday and over the last 38 years.

  • Laura

    I don’t believe murder is ever right especially in the case of an unarmed man, however your point only serves to show why the families of those victims fought so hard for this enquiry. The people killed that day were not murders or terrorists or anything of that ilk, why should they have them remembered as the same as Brian Robinson.

  • Laura

    I fail to see what the murders commited on Bloody Sunday has to do either with Nationalists or Unionists, it is only about the families of the people who were shot that day. None of what happened before or after that day condones any violence on either side but what is so wrong with having an innocent person declared onnocent. I wonder if your 17 year old brother was shot down in cold blood by the army how much it would mean to you that their memory not be tarnished in such a disgusting fashion. Their is no equation with the IRA, infact what the families fought so hard for was for their loved ones to be distanced from the IRA and acknowledged as civillians.

  • Cushy Glenn

    The Brian Robinson case is indeed interesting for human rights proponents. It seems to me that was clearly a case of shoot to kill, going by the accounts of the time. I see little distinction between his death and those of the IRA men at Loughgall which Gerry Kelly raised on H&M last night in that he had just committed a murder, and they were attempting to murder. Most Unionists lose little sleep over the killing of him or them for the reason that they want the state to take strong action against actual or would be killers.

    Human rights are not absolute of course- at some point it is necessary to infringe on them if necessary and proportionate for the protection of others. Perhaps the soldier who shot Robinson genuinely believed he still posed a threat, in spite of the dubios evidence. Clearly it is politically impossible for Kelly to express concern about someone who had just committed an evil murder, and frankly I doubt too many of us cared much at the time for Robinson-I certainly didn’t.

    But that’s the problem with human rights. You have to extend them to “scumbags” too. I remember as well the police shot dead three armed robbers on the Falls Road several years ago. Possibly that was a disproportionate response too, but there’s going to be no campaign from Sinn Fein about that because they are only interested in human rights when it suits their narrative. Hoods’ rights don’t matter in that.

    Jean Meslier’s earlier reply to my point about Willie Frazer was also interesting. Mention was made of “his” victims’ connection to a gang as somehow explaining why he’s so vilified. But that’s not the point. Jackie Duddy was a Fianna member when he was killed. I don’t make any distinction between his family and the other victims’. The question- comprehensively answered by Saville- was whether he was a threat to the paratroopers at the time, and clearly he was not. Kelly mentioned other IRA members shot when inspecting an arms dump. The same standard must apply to them as to Frazer’s relations surely? But Kelly’s party colleagues wouldn’t even hire out council facilities to Frazer for a meeting! Frazer raises uncomfortable questions that the majority in his community want to ignore, while the BS relatives have had the unquestioning support of their community. Neither is more deserving, but his courage-and no one can deny that- is at worst sneered at or at best quietly ignored by virtually every shade of nationalism. Why Jean? Is it because sometimes the communal desire to don the mantle of victimhood is more important than the need to recognise we all have colluded in depriving others of their human rights?

    A wise judge once said that the law of rape isn’t there to protect the good girls, but the bad girls too , when a lawyer tried to run the defence that the victim was asking for it by her conduct. And that’s what we all need to take on board before we are truly supporters of human rights.

  • Big Maggie

    I wonder if your 17 year old brother was shot down in cold blood by the army how much it would mean to you that their memory not be tarnished in such a disgusting fashion.

    Speaking of disgusting, I see that over on A Tangled Web that resident charmer Andrew McCann is pouring out his usual poison. I don’t normally mind him too much but this time he’s taken a photo of Jackie Duddy’s sister with Martin McGuinness and called her Hypocrite of the Week. There’s sensitivity for you.

    His caption: Kay Duddy, shortly before collecting her ‘Hypocrite of the Week’ Award in Londonderry on Tuesday – 15.06.10

    I don’t understand McCann’s awful hatred of the Irish. Who knows but some Irish girl once mocked the diminutive size of his manhood. How else can you account for that level of loathing?

    We should be thankful for unionists like Turgon who show a lot more understanding and compassion.

  • Laura

    Couldnt agree more the Unionists who are happy to believe the truth not just when it is for Protestant people really show how far this country have come and we should all be following suit.

  • Laura

    I agree equal rights are for everyone. The point here is that his death was acknowledged as he was not posing a threat at the time of his death. The simple truth is that an innocent victim is easier to feel compassion for.

  • madraj55

    JmcG. I watched Question Time last night and it started with this very story which has dominated even news in Britain. When I saw Jeffrey Donaldson on the panel I recorded it to see how his predictable response would be greeted by the audience in ‘Whitney’ [no idea where that is except it’s in England. JD ctainly got a hard time, apart from that woman from NI at the back whose comment was greeted with silence with one man in a forward seat turning his head to see who this was. I think it’s a bit rich for some Unionists who have no problem with orange marches and their triumphalism, whingeing about alleged triumphalism in Derry. Mick has pulled Turgon up on this point.

  • madraj55

    Michael. Is this an effective admission that the Terminally Useless and Vile Party has finally given up in disgust at their fellow Protestants refusing to go back to the good old days pre ’68 with scunnered Jim and himself? There’s hope for us all yet then.

  • Big Maggie

    My husband always says it’ll take another thousand years before normality comes to the North. I tell him he’s a bloody pessimist but at the same time I understand where he’s coming from—literally.

    I was brought up in the South and so didn’t grow up surrounded by people by an unnatural antipathy towards “themmuns”. I don’t think northern people are sectarian by choice but they pick up this stuff from family and friends at an early age. And you know what the Jesuits used to say: “Give me the boy before the age of seven and I’ll give you the man.”

    It only takes one parent from this generation to say “enough is enough” and the intolerance is gone from that family line for good. It really is that easy in theory, but in practice…?

  • Big Maggie

    > surrounded by people with an unnatural antipathy

  • Big Maggie

    Wrong place! Should be under my last comment:

    surrounded by people with an unnatural antipathy

  • This is exactly why an end to the segregated education system can’t come too soon. One of the most important functions of early schooling is teaching children how to interact with each other and thereby how to become part of society. In other countries where society is not segregated, then separating schools by religion does less harm. In NI, where both school and outside society are segregated, we ingrain these fault lines into children before they understand why.

  • stewart1


    I think you’ll find that Brian Robinson is held in high regard by the Orange Order. His terrorist murdering past has little bearing to the brethren who march behind his image every summer.

  • madraj55

    Big Maggie I always thought, since first hearing the adage, ‘Give me the boy…..’ that it was Franco who said it. But i’ll take your word.

  • Laura

    I dont think the north is as bad as some people believe. There will always be people like Gregory Campbell whose very breathing seeps bile into our country but most people are not like that. I gew up a Catholic girl in the Protestant area of Kilfennan in Derry and I have found Derry a much more tolerant city than most. I never had any problems in either making friends in my own area or introducing those friends to those that I later met at a Catholic grammar school. Indeed in any group of friends I have in Derry they are always mixed. There is extremes but surely the fact that most of us do not feel that some of the pessimism is undue.

  • Cushy Glenn

    .. and I’ll take lectures from you when I hear you take a similar view about the hundreds of memorials, Gaelic grounds, GAA competitions etc named after IRA members.

    But let’s not play your game and go down a road of muck throwing
    IIf you really want to have universal human rights then you have to extend them to odious killers like Robinson, or else they are only applicable to nice people. Now, would you like to try to engage in debate on the point?

  • madraj55

    Speaking as someone from the same coummunity as yourseldf, there are other DUP figures from the NW like Willie Hay and Mildred Garfield who at least have manners, but with Londongreg, it’s all in upbringing.