In recent days memories have resurfaced for many of 'Bloody Friday' when PIRA exploded around twenty bombs in the centre of Belfast on 21 July 1972 killing nine, including five civilians and injuring 130. It had a profound effect on the wider population of Northern Ireland; in fact on the island of Ireland as a … Continue reading The Long War and the spies
Pundits suggest that the British establishment don't know what they are doing with Brexit, they are incompetent and have made many mistakes. All that is based on the assumption that what the British government say in public is a true representation of their real direction of travel ie they are telling us the truth and not concealing their true intentions from us. Is the British government normally this transparent?
What is being done in Ireland with Brexit by the English Establishment reminds me of that great film, The Sting in 1973. The operating principles in a political sting are no different from a straight forward financial sting. Watch the film and you'll see the principles at work.
Imagine you are shipwrecked and come ashore on a land you don't know. You are taken in by some kind people. You are naturally curious about where you are. So you start asking your hosts about the their country. Sooner or later you get round to politics. The conversation could go like this:
One family's history over two centuries in Scotland and Ireland through tumultuous times from ploughs to poppies and to a shattering of old beliefs.
In January 1974, while the institutions of the Sunningdale Agreement were newly formed, co-founder of the Democratic Unionist Party, close friend of Ian Paisley and leading barrister, Desmond Boal QC, announced his support for an end to the union with Britain and the creation of a federal Ireland. At the time unionism was badly divided … Continue reading Loyalist proposals to end the union
I remember October 5th 1968 well. I was 14. I wrote an essay on the events in Derry in school. I wish I had kept it. No, on second thought maybe I don't. In my boy's mind events in Derry in October 1968 are always connected to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in America three … Continue reading Educated ignorance
Fifteen to twenty years ago many old hippies like me got very vexed about something called 'Peak Oil'. Many 'oil experts', geologists and environmental pundits were telling us that the planet was rapidly running out of oil and within ten to twenty years our access to the stuff would be greatly restricted, if not non-existent. What happened?
If you accept that we increasingly live in a topsy-turvy world where many things are inverted - injustice is rewarded, might is right, good is bad and incompetence is competence - then you will also understand that we mistake words for actions. Politicians and spin merchants of all creeds use these twisted illusions of … Continue reading Who and what are the DUP?
Under the Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland politics became like a football match where neither team was sure which goal they should attack and which to defend. Now that particular game is over, the teams are wondering why they did not see things more clearly. The answer is they were spellbound by a master story-teller.
Some might say Belfast is a city in waiting, looking to find its identity in a new and more confusing era. Others would say it is a lost city being discovered by cruise ships, legal firms and location scouts for dystopian films. Henry Joy must be mightily vexed, publicly executed where today shoppers scurry about . Maybe we need to listen to him and his ilk..
If you accept that the corporate media in these islands is heavily controlled; that this state (UK) routinely lies to its residents, it fought a long war to prevent a united Ireland and went to enormous lengths to achieve a political settlement within the union only 20 years ago, then you must question why the trigger words ‘united Ireland’ have been allowed back into public discourse with such force. What are they up to?
Contrary to myth, there were many Irish Nationalist Protestants/Dissenters - given their percentage of the overall Irish population. They cannot be dismissed as a tiny handful of eccentrics and misfits, but part of the norm i.e. many Protestants wanted an all-island independent nation and actively worked collaboratively with their Catholic fellow countrymen and women to achieve such an outcome from the late eighteenth century until Partition - then Protestant participation greatly reduced.
In his retirement from being Northern Ireland's First Minister and DUP Leader, Peter Robinson hopes to use his freedom to nudge unionism in a new direction. Will his rebranding as an elder statesman allow him to lead unionists into a new arrangement with the Irish Republic or will he end his days as just another lundy?
Everything in the Brexit negotiations was faked by the British Government. It was a piece of theatre. It was always a preparation for the coup de grace, the unilateral withdrawal from the EU and the establishment of a government of national unity - a one party state.
What little history I was taught in school during the sixties told me that I lived under a 'constitutional monarchy'. I was told that the exercise of the Divine Right of Kings - an absolute monarch - ended when Cromwell and his supporters beheaded King Charles I of England in 1649. Ever since the monarchy … Continue reading Living under an absolute monarchy
The outworking of all their history is the development of a very toxic culture of despair among much of the Protestant working class - the loyalists. The paternalism of Big House Unionism left many in the Protestant working class lacking the emotional and political skills to deal with their situation positivein, in contrast to the Catholic community whose history is very different. Instead Loyalists now blame everyone around them and turn their bitterness on their Catholic fellow country men and women, rather than taking responsibility for themselves and their actions.
Northern Ireland - a region of the United Kingdom which it has until now largely been run as a colony - is publicly exposed as highly dysfunctional. Not only is its political class, or at least one half of it, seen to be highly incompetent, negligent and corrupt, abusing the system of devolved government; but more significantly, the local civil service has shown itself to be equally unsound. What do the British Government do?
The constitutional status of any country or region has rarely been decided by the people. It's nearly always been achieved by default as old orders collapse and, even then, decided by a political elite behind closed doors who present the people with a fait accompli.
Peter Robinson comes out of retirement to re-write history and his part in it. Are moves afoot for a comeback?