Jeffrey Donaldson: a real warrior


I enjoy Talkback, particularly since it’s been taken over by William Crawley. His most obvious quality is his intelligence, his next most obvious is his amiability, and I quite like his choice of music – it gives the programme a  kind of musical boost.

Anyway, yesterday I found myself on the programme discussing Winston Churchill. On the line as my sparring partner, so to say, was Jeffrey Donaldson, who was somewhere in Europe. Our topic was Winston Churchill, who as you’ll know died fifty years ago. The question was: could Britain, should Britain consider Churchill her greatest statesman?

In his favour: he was an outstanding writer (he got the Nobel Prize for Literature – not Peace); he was a great orator (We shall fight them on the beaches and all that); he was witty if sexist ( when a woman accused him of being drunk, he’s reputed to have responded with “The difference between you and me, madam, is that in the morning I will be sober while you will still be ugly”); and of course he rallied the morale of the British people in the fight against Nazism.

Some lesser-known facts about Churchill:

1. He was racist. Of India: “ I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”

2. He was Prime Minister during the Bengal famine. He refused to allow aid to be sent to these starving people. Somewhere between three and six million Indians died as a result.

3. He was truly an imperialist: ” I do not admit ….that a great wrong had been done to Red Indians of  America or the black people of Australia…. by the fact that a stronger race,   a higher grade race ….has come in and taken its place.”

4. He was a war criminal. He sanctioned the terrible bombing of Dresden and Hamburg, involving the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent German civilians, many of them dying  in the firestorm that followed the bombings.

5.He considered the Palestinians “barbaric hordes who ate little but camel dung”

6. He was prime minister during the detention and torturing of Kenyans. Men were castrated using pliers, woman were raped by having a bottle forced into their vaginas, tens of thousands were beaten to death.

These seemed to me pretty serious vices but Jeffrey saw things differently. “We all have flaws” was essentially his argument. And he defended the fire-bombing of Dresden and Hamburg by saying that Coventry, London and other British cities were bombed by Germans. When I pointed out that to defend your beating of your children by saying that Mrs Jones up the road beat her children was a poor defence, Jeffrey ignored the comment. He was too busy pointing out that I was merely “a keyboard warrior”  whereas he himself had been in uniform and prominent in the fight against terrorism.

He has a point. I have never belonged to an armed group like the UDR and I have no doubt the sight of Jeffrey in his UDR uniform must have struck fear into many hearts. At the same time, I wish I’d remembered to ask him to explain how he could be an ardent follower of Jesus, who urged his disciples to love their enemies, not join dodgy British army regiments.

Sad to say, this tendency to ignore brutal facts – in this case about Churchill –  and instead to engage in name-calling, is an unfortunate characteristic of some unionist politicians. Maybe eventually they’ll see that name-calling and screwing their eyes tight shut in the face of uncomfortable facts is counter-productive and self-harming. But then, if you talk to doctors, you’ll find it’s terribly difficult to wean self-harmers from their own destruction.

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63 Responses to Jeffrey Donaldson: a real warrior

  1. Norma wilson January 31, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    I truly hate this period we live in all this PC and Health and Safety.
    Call it like it is… Every body is a racist and bigot those who say they are not are liars.
    I dislike anything to do with arabs muslims and some of the things I have said would be too bad to print.
    Gerry Adams was true when he let the cat out of the bag in an unguarded moment, he called us Bastards and used the analogy Trogen horse, ( hope that is spelt correctly) we are all guilty it’s just some are more hinest than others.
    Winston did not need spin doctors or any such gimmicks. I was ten and a half years when he died, I remember it like yesterday.
    I am very proud of him. He told it like it was.
    As for his record a credit to him a true Brit he went he saw he conquered.
    At least he never denied what he was unlike some I could mention!

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

      So you’re saying might is right, Norma – or have I misread you?

      • Joe canning January 31, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

        Correct , a true Brit. as Jude has pointed out in the last section of his post.

    • Sherdy January 31, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

      Yes Norma, you have spelt horse correctly.

  2. Norma wilson January 31, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    ‘The secret of success is to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm’
    Churchill’s dictum.

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

      What are your thoughts on his being responsible for the deaths of millions of Indians, Norma. And would you go along with his notion that the Aryan race is superior? And that blacks in Africa and native Americans were rightly supplanted by the superior colonisers?

    • paul February 1, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

      At whose expense are these ‘failures” committed?

  3. Stephen January 31, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi Jude

    This is a typical unionist trait. However is this not a flaw in people themselves as whole. Countless people deny the facts that change there views on the world. They do not consider objectivity or truth to be worthy virtues. Whatever helps them maintain there reality.

    Don’t you think?

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

      Agreed. But some facts are so important and so obvious, it must take a pretty warped way of thinking to dodge them.And of course history and the media conspire to present one side or ‘narrative’ as we’re now supposed to call it. I studied History (including Churchill) for my A Level and as part of my degree; and yet it’s only now that I’m learning about these monstrous things. I disagree with paddykool ( you listenin’ up there, paddy???) that because there was a lot of racism around, it somehow makes Churchill’s less abhorrent. I remember Enoch Powell in the early 1960s and most of us thought his rivers of blood speech outrageous; that was only a decade after Churchill had been in power. And to have been complicit in starving to death millions of Bengalis, not to mention seeing the Aryan race as superior (he actually believed AND said that – no wonder Hitler really admired him in some ways) is hardly conforming to the mores of the time.

      • paddykool January 31, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

        Hey Jude ..I didn’t say i agreed with anything Churchill did. I was saying how he became part of our knowledge through the media that’s all .What he did , i find mostly abhorrent but the way it was portrayed in the culture at the time meant that we knew very little about his racism until later …nor his excessive boozing, for that matter.. He was portrayed as a big war hero and we were meant to feel grateful for that ..never mind what else he did …I don’t think that Churchill’s racism was any less abhorrent at all …it was the same kind of racism that trampled over the world from Ireland to India America to Africa…i always saw all of it as abhorrent..even when I was a little boy I had some idea that any kind of racism was wrong. It was part of the fabric of my home life to know that ..even though it was portrayed otherwise everywhere in the comics and on television .

      • giordanobruno January 31, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

        I think it comes down to our urge, our need maybe to create heroes for ourselves, perhaps for the same reasons we create gods.
        All heroes have feet of clay.
        From one perspective Churchill was a hero to many British people and yet, amongst other things, he oversaw the bombing of Dresden as you point out.
        Similarly Paisley Thatcher Adams, all revered as heroes by followers unable to see the wrongs they have done.
        So no more heroes anymore, I say.
        We are all in agreement about William Crawley I think. A huge improvement.
        I could do without the musical interludes though

        • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

          You always did have a tin ear, gio….Re all our heroes having feet of clay: I’m nervous of that. It lets us off the hook of detached and fair judgement. Just as one’s children are all (if we’ve more than one) individuals, quite different from each other, so too politicians are different. To say ‘They’re all the same’ is too easy – lazy thinking, maybe.

          • giordanobruno January 31, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

            Maybe so.
            If you give me a few names of individuals without flaw in their public or private life a I will consider them.

          • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

            So let me get this straight: referring to the Aryan race as superior to all others and arranging for 3-6 million people starve to death – those are flaws, right? OK. Have to consider that.

          • giordanobruno February 1, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

            And yet some considered Adolf a hero, further illustrating my point.
            Anyway I am still looking forward to those unalloyed heroes of yours??

          • Jude Collins February 1, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

            You mean people who aren’t racist and have killed less than 3 million people? Let me think…

          • giordanobruno February 1, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

            Don’t bother. I give up.

          • Jude Collins February 1, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

            Not sure what you’re talking about gio – but if you want to give up, by all means. It’s a free…No, wait a minute….

  4. paddykool January 31, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    Hi Jude …I think Churchill was a product of his times .I remember well his funeral .He had all but been forgotten by the general populace , of course and this funeral was quite a revival …a black and white ,very inclement day.I remember too ,the “Eagle” artist Frank Bellamy did a superb comic strip about his life in the late 1950’s …early 1960’s ..a beautifully rendered piece. I saw the film “Young Winston” too …which is worth a look to give some background to his character. He was a bit of an adventurist I thought..there was that in him …quite a boozer too..he’s been called a functioning alcoholic and that’s probably near the truth…So you see , we’ve all been touched in some way by his presence even though his life is distant to us . He was a great person to have during wartime because he lit the patriotism that was needed and put pride into the british people.He was a great orator , an excellent writer , even though he sounds corny and bumbling and lugubrious to our modern ears.
    Of course , he was a racist too. That wasn’t unusual then. That easy racism was part and parcel of the national character right up until recent times. You might say , it is still there in many people .There’s plenty of it around us yet . It was “acceptable” in his society back then .Indeed , if you cared to take a look back at the comics that us children were reading back in the fifties, sixties and seventies, you would find war stories full of “huns” and buck-toothed “japs”…stereotypes of allsorts he was a product of a different time …I still remember “Buy British” and the avoidance of Japanese cars ..many people would not buy anything Japanese or of German origin for decades after the war.
    .Like i say..Churchill was a product of his times….just as Jeffrey is a product of his times and particular environment. He readily joined an armed force, which was a normal thing to do in his circle … whereas someone of a differing background such as you or I , would have rolled our eyes in horror at the thought.
    I agree with you about William Crawley .I really like his re-making of the “Talkback” programme and his musical choices are spot -on.He has brought a balance, urbanity and fair-minded intelligence to it that I haven’t really heard since the days of David Dunseith.

  5. Patrick J Dorian January 31, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    He may have saving graces but I can’t stand that ‘holier than you’ voice and attitude. His views on Churchill are unsurprising, he probably agrees with most of the attitudes Churchill displayed in your list above.

  6. Colm January 31, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Jude, to your list of Churchill’s imperfections could perhaps have been added his responsibility for the Gallipoli disaster, for which he had to resign. His financial acumen was also less than perfect. Churchill’s decision in 1925 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequor to set the rate of the pound sterling at it’s pre-war value is thought to have worsened Britain’s economic slump in the 30’s. And as recently as 2010 a council in South Wales refused to let a street be named in his honour because of his 1910 decision, when, as Home Secretary he sent in the Army to help break a miner’s strike at Tonypandy.

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      Thanks Colm. I know about Gallipolo (‘The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane’ as the Fureys put it) but I didn’t know about the C of Exchequer thing or his anti-miner stuff. No wonder Thatcher loved him.

  7. John carlin January 31, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    Yo forgot about the destruction of the French fleet the French hate him for that

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Gimme a break, John – I squeezed in as much as I could…

  8. Norma wilson January 31, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Paddykool has summed this up beautifully.
    You are what you are Jude anti anything BRITISH and I am what I am irish/BRITISH.
    (Now I did not hit the capitals at all there) any way with regards to the India situation, do you honestly believe there was no irish men there committing these as you call it crimes, how pretentious of you.
    We all of us have gained from the rewards Britain brought back from foreign lands.
    Why if you look at the size of England in comparison to Ireland, one cannot help but wonder why we were so backward as a nation.
    I always wondered why the JEWS went so timidly to their death, and why if it’s true ( not the famine) we sent all the good beef and produce to England. It does make one wonder.
    Any way it’s all history now, am I proud to be part of it,you better believe it.
    Winston was a great leader as was Margaret Thatcher, both did harm to Ulster, but I still admire them.
    Another thing before I go, clean round your own patch first. Have you ever read Shogun I know it’s only fiction but based on facts. Those Jesuit priests could learn the BRITISH a thing or two they raped yes raped and pillaged all round them.

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

      Norma – please don’t accuse me of things without evidence. There are a considerable number of things that I admire about the English (which is what we’re really talking about when we say ‘British’- the big boy rules). I could list any number but English poetry, novels, plays, paintings, music – that’ll do for a start. So don’t say uninformed things about me. As to Irish men in the British army committing atrocities – I’m sure there were. We’ve had instances of it here – RUC, UDR, B men, etc. You may be right that many of us have benefited from Britain’s looting of the world – but what does that have to do with the validity or non-validity of looting entire countries. As that great Englishman George Orwell has an English character in his novel ‘Burmese Days’ say when explaining to a Burmese woman what ‘imperialism’ was: ‘It means going to someone else’s country, taking his stuff and killing him’. And Orwell knew, having been part of the British colonial administration in Burma. As to size: you’re old enough to know that size doesn’t matter, Norma. England’s bigness only benefits her (or used to) when it came to bullying smaller nations. As to An Gorta Mor – ‘we’ didn’t send the beef etc to England – ‘we’ were too busy starving. It was the merchant and ruling gentry who did that. Finally, repeating that someone was great or that you’re proud of them over and over doesn’t really advance an argument very much, don’t you think? As to Jesuit priests – I’m sure there have been many corrupt and cruel Jesuits, just as there have been many dedicated and selfless Jesuits. Since we’re citing fiction in support of a picture of the Jesuits, try Brian Moore’s ‘Black Robe’- a brilliant and balanced novel. Although I must disagree with your final point – NOBODY could teach (I assume that’s what you mean) the British about raping and pillaging. With the possible exception of Vlad the Impaler…

  9. Perkin Warbeck January 31, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    Dublin, Esteemed Blogmeister, must shoulder much of the blame for the racy of the soil element of the globe-mouldering Churchillian nature.

    Bearing in mind the old Jesuitical dictum of ‘give me the child and I will give you the man’, Dublin, SJ was given the boy Winston, from the ages of 2 to 6 (his). We know the rest, not as well,perhaps, the old chinas of Dresden, the barbecued burghers of Hamburg or the Mau Maus who provisionally (and allegedly) chose war-war over jaw-jaw among the paw-paws of Kenya..

    For most of the time in the Vice Regal Arus he was (perhaps, understandably) abandoned by his parents and left in the care of his nanny, whose goat the young Winnie never failed to get.

    That would have been the uber puller of the short-straw and straw-hatted ‘Mrs’ Elizabeth Ann Everest, a high-minded lady of low-threshold patience. Hence, every day was D-Day within the walls of the Podge-destined lodge, as her young charge engaged her on the domestic front: he fought her on the davenport desk; and he fought her on the drop-leaf table: he never surrendered.

    The hand-to-hand warfare was at its most intense and primitive at toilet time: hence the reason why WC, the future Prime Minister was never actually, erm, potty trained in the proper Victorian sense of that phrase. Hence also his life-long propensity to urinate on lesser nations without the walls.

    Still, even the most ferocious of warriors is prone to exhaustion on occasion and during these lulls in the in-house hostilities, the child-minder managed (after a fashion) to drum the 4 R’s into the skull of the child-monster.

    The Fourth R, incidentally, involved a short outdoor walk across the nearby polo grounds (located in Dublin SJ, which stands for Sliks/Jodhpurs) to study the basics of zoology in the Reptile House of the z. gardens in the Phoenix Park.

    As well as inculcating the basics of the natural sciences in Winston Og (which is short leprechaun for Ogre) it also helped to ameliorate his pangs of home-sickness during these pre-Harrow harrowing days. And to deepen his devotion to the denizens of the Reptile House in Buckingham House, as distinct from Buckingham Street in Dublin 1.Where even in those days, no hubcap was safe, and no petrol tank left unsiphoned.

    On a scaly scale of 1-10 the canny nanny known as ‘Mrs’ Everest managed to see that young charge Winston scaled up an impressive 11 in his studies of repiliana and other Windsors.

    For some unfathomable reason, young Winston’s nickname for his nanny was ‘The Woom’. Perhaps, because it rhymed with ‘boom’.

    With regard to Jeffrey not at all much to say really, apart from a few muttered words in relation to his oft-mentioned similarity in looks to Wee Daniel. Could it be, the question has often been begged, that O’Donnell and Donaldson are in any way related?

    Whatever about in DNA terms, this is decidedly not the case where their other initials are concerned: UDR and C ‘n W. The tailgating Fourth Estate of the Free Southern Stateen ,it would not be unfair to surmise, might be just a tad more inclined to throw the better word to the former and reserve the bitter word for the, latter.

    Hey ! a difference in taste which may be reduced to hay: Edward Norman Hay in one corner and the hayseeds in the other. ENH was the Belfast musician whose arrangement of ‘Garryowen’ no doubt was a factor in the Kilkeel warrior’s abandoning the keyboard. Coming from a rugby-watching background, Donaldson could hardly duck his military service and the chance to quick-march to the strains of the chins-up Garryowen.

    Not at all uninterestingly, the UDR slow march (also arranged by ENH) was – well, whaddya know – none other than ‘Oft in the Shrilly Night’.. Ought one be completely flapdoodled if Fianna Failures such as Senator Averil Power have picked up some squarebashing slang from the UDR such as ‘Sinn Fein/IRA’?

    Of course, big C ‘n W gigs don’t get staged in ovoid-shaped stadia and other Ovals. They do in bastions of bogball such as Croke Park, and then they don’t.

    First persmission is granted with a nod and a wink,and then withdrawn with the same nod but a different wink. The Onkel Dorf in Dublin City Council will brook no questions when quizzed by the the sophticates of the Free Southern Stateen hackitariat or rather non-quizzed. Instead the Faceless One gives his straight-armed salute before disappearing down the bunker.

    The large-girthed Garth is not the only one to get a taste of yokel democracy in the Four Green Fields: the same is true of GAA garths in the four corners of the compass.

    Croke Park, Dublin, where the unfinished Edwin Druid end stands forlorn; Pairc Ui Chaoimh,Cork where all sorts of hoops had to be dived through, and still may well be; Casement Park, Belfast which a less than charmed and magical path to improvement; and Pearse Stadium, Galway whose permission to erect floodlights has been treated as too bloodyminded to be granted.

    Croke, Caoimh, Casement, Pearse.


    Red-necks still under every bed.

  10. RJC January 31, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    There were a couple of professorial types on Newsnight the other evening discussing Churchill, his legacy and current standing. One essentially arguing for him, the other against. Also on the programme was Churchill’s grand-daughter who had to listen to some quite strong criticism of the man who used to dangle her on his knee. When asked how she felt about this criticism she said that she thought it was wonderful and healthy to be having these sort of debates.

    Another vote of confidence here for William Crawley. He comes across as a decent and fair minded fellow and God knows we could do with a few more of them around. Talking, talking, talking, and reasonable and nuanced debate is what we need a lot more of in this corner of the world. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more, RJC

  11. Wolfe tone January 31, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    There is simply no talking to terrorists like Jeffrey Donaldson,Tom Elliot etc. In fact they get habitually rewarded by whatever London regime that bes in power, for their past involvement in terrorism.

  12. Sherdy January 31, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    There have been so many votes of confidence in Crawly Willie I am sure poor Bendy Wendy is suffering from an inferiority complex!
    Especially as she was still trying to recover from the allegations, on taking over from the late lamented David Dunseith, that it was part of the BBC dumbing down.
    How cruel!

  13. Iolar January 31, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    Jeffrey, prominent in the fight against terrorism?

    Republicans did not invent the word ‘collusion’. The word appears regularly in British Army documents dating back to 1972. The UDR replaced the ‘B’ Specials in 1970, yet by 1972 it was known that members of the UDR were also members of the UDA. Questions remain unanswered about (dis)loyalist infiltration of the UDR. The de Silva Report (2012) failed to publish a complete assessment of collusion or the extent to which ‘a blind eye’ was turned to the activities of the UDR. The report did conclude that 85% of information acted upon by loyalist paramilitaries came directly from the security (?) forces. The report states that one of the weapons used in the murder of Pat Finucane came from the armoury of Belfast based 10 UDR in addition to 18 assorted weapons and ammunition.

    De Silva indicated that the RUC did nothing to prevent the UDA from obtaining UDR intelligence material and that UDA targeting could be traced to security force leaks. The Steven’s team found 1,350 adverse vetting reports on individuals seeking to join the UDR (1988 – 1989). It also confirmed that the RUC deliberately concealed criminal records in order to facilitate recruitment into the regiment. Thefts from armouries were frequent as were the loss of personal protection weapons. Official records state that between October 1970 and March 1973, 222 UDR weapons were lost. The thefts were described as “sporadic”.

  14. paddykool January 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    Hey Jude … i’m not really sure what is being lost in translation here , but i’d just like to say that just because i read a book about Churchill or even Hitler …and understand how and why they operated within their own times and why they were both revered by whole swathes of the populations in either country…I’d like to make it abundantly clear to everyone, including Norma …that I would never be on the same page as either of them…should it be Germany’s expansionism and slaughter of Jews or the British Empire’s, and therefore Churchill’s view of the rest of the world …as treasures to be invaded and pillaged.

  15. neill January 31, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    Well well well Winston Churchill has now joined the Alliance SDLP UUP DUP TUV FF FG the Conservative party the British Army the UDR and many other countless organisations and people criticised by Judes Blog.

    Strangely SF or the IRA have not been attacked or criticised perhaps Jude is just holding his fire before he lobs a grenade at SF (Pardon the pun) I suspect i shouldnt hold my breath…

    • Jude Collins January 31, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      That’s an interesting defence of Winnie’s racism and war criminality…

  16. Neill January 31, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    Coming from a man who claimed the Shankill bomb was simply manslaughter should make you an excellent defence barrister for Winston Churchill

    Why would you be concerned about victims anyway after all the party and its terrorist wing that you supported created enough of them

    • Jude Collins February 1, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

      Oh dear. With an effort I’ll be patient with you Neill. Listen carefully. Re Shankill bomb, I said that those carrying it were intent on killing (murdering, if you want to use that word) a UDA meeting that they believed was scheduled for above the shop. They may have seen the ordinary people in the shop as collateral damage or maybe they’d plans to give a warning and those downstairs would have had time to get out, the UDA wouldn’t. I don’t know and you don’t know. But we do know the people in the shop were not their target. Since murder is the premeditated and intentional killing of people, it’s hard to see how their killing – not premeditate and not intentional – was murder. Not that that absolves the IRA from guilt – if you bring a bomb into a crowded area, you bear responsibility for what happens. And of course the grief and pain is just as great, whether the killings were intentional/premeditated or anything else. I happen to believe that we should use words accurately. You like others have allowed the pain inflicted to blind you, intentionally or unintentionally, to the definition of murder.

      • Neill February 1, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

        Dancing on a pin head again Jude by using your logic the army was quite right taking out the IRA at Loughgall

        • Jude Collins February 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

          Well if you’d told me where I was making distinctions that are unreal (head of pin and all that) I might be in a better position to (i) understand you; (ii) respond to you. (Assuming I had the time and will…)

      • pretzellogic February 1, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

        We don’t know if the people in the shop were not intended targets. We know the IRA have said that’s the case. We know that people were murdered that day because people went onto the Shankill that day with a bomb to murder people. The end result was that people were murdered. Neill does you an injustice by saying you stated the bombers were guilty of manslaughter. What you actually did say on your original blog was that the bomber was guilty of attempted murder of the people above the shop – that’s all. As far as I know he wasn’t charged with the attempted murder of anyone above the shop. When you state “I don’t know and you don’t know” as to the IRA intentions that day then stick to that line instead of telling us the only people the IRA intended to murder were the people above the shop. As for using words accurately I agree with you on that.

        • Jude Collins February 1, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

          Thanks for thoughts, pretz. I hesitated to open up the subject again because people tend to hear/read what they want to hear/read. I said they had the UDA meeting as their target as that’s how it was reported at the time (not necessarily true for that, of course) and because, with some notable exceptions, the IRA didn’t target innocent unionists/protestants (as veteran English reporter Peter Taylor said on radio no later than today). Of course the Shankill might have been one of the exceptions. But the mission certainly didn’t work out as they’d intended, since it killed one of the bombers

          • pretzellogic February 1, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

            Thanks for your response. Indeed neither do I wish to open the debate again. With regards to Peter Taylor (veteran English reporter) I can tell you without fear of contradiction that on the Shankill Rd alone the IRA visited it on numerous occasions with bombs killing numerous people. That would be one stretch of road no more than a mile long. This was during the seventies and I appreciate you were out of Ireland at that time.

          • Jude Collins February 2, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

            You may be right, pretz. Maybe if you instanced the numerous bombs it might contradict my claim and Taylor’s. But in my experience of the IRA, they did tend to target people in the armed forces

          • neill February 1, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

            I`m interested in your defination of innocent unionists/protestants?

            Try reading Lost Lives many innocent unionists and protestants were killed by the movement you supported now I have no problem with you supporting the Republican movement but i will be dammed if i will let you try to rewrite history and make them good guys they were vicious secterian murderers who would as easily bomb workers going to work as they would murder and bury people in bogs in the Republic.

            You may admire them but even you most acknowledge how even the most liberal unionist despises them.

          • Jude Collins February 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

            Neill – I repeat, watch your language. I have never said I supported violence by the IRA or anyone else. Let’s get that clear and then maybe we can move on.

            I am not rewriting history. The fact is, the IRA did not aim primarily to kill innocent civilians. That its members did on occasion do so, I readily accept. But in general they focused on RUC, UDR, British Army, etc. Unlike the UDA, which by its own admission aimed to defeat the IRA by killing Catholics and thus drying up the pool of sympathy in which the IRA operated. I have never said the IRA were good guys and you will have to mind your tongue or I will simply stop putting up your comments. I’m all for vigorous debate but I won’t tolerate slander. Finally, I’d again refer you to the respected English journalist Peter Taylor. Two days ago he said essentially what I’ve said about IRA policy. Is he trying to rewrite history too? Try telling him that and you might get a sharper response than you’ve got from me.

          • pretzellogic February 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

            Jude. are you saying Peter Taylor used the term “with some notable exceptions” as that’s a term frequently used by you on this subject?. I would have thought you would have verified what I said yourself but for your future reference when you’re speaking of notable exceptions consider The Balmoral Showrooms, The Bayardo Bar, The Four Step Inn, The Moutainview Tavern and of course Frizzell’s fish shop. That’s a total of 25 people who died and the obvious high count of injured I’ve no idea of but one can guess. The Balmoral and Mountainview like Frizzell’s were all Saturday afternoon ventures so you can see a sort of pattern there. As I pointed out to you earlier this is on a stretch of road no longer than a mile long. There is a mural at the corner of Canmore St on the Shankill remembering those bombs and the victims Maybe Mr Taylor and whoever else for that matter should go and visit it.

          • Jude Collins February 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

            I can’t say those were his exact words, pretz, but they were certainly the thrust of what he said. And I think most journalists/ objective commentators would draw that distinction between the IRA and loyalist strategy. I can’t speak about the first four incidents you mention but I’ve commented on the Frizzell shop bomb as clearly as I can in a comment quite recently. I may be wrong but it has always seemed to me that the IRA’s target was a UDA meeting. That’s little consolation to the grieving relatives of those innocent people who were killed, but it does seem to me a bungled attempt at the IRA’s usual pattern of targeting military (or in this case paramilitary) people rather than a deliberate attempt to kill innocent people.

        • pretzellogic February 2, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

          I’ve no doubt the UDA offices were getting taken out that day. What I dispute is this notion that it was organised without the people knowing that Saturday afternoon shoppers were going to be most likely killed. My own opinion is that they were to get back to Ardoyne, the bomb not claimed and the UDA blamed for having a bomb in their offices which went off. That’s speculation of coourse. You speak again about the IRA’s usual pattern of targeting but I’ve pointed out their usual bombing pattern on the Shankill Rd. Now the Shankill Rd is not in isolation with regards to IRA bombing civilians as it happened across Belfast and further afield – the Klondyke Bar and the Crescent Bar in Sandy Row being two that spring to mind. There were pub bombings in England also. Finally, any journalist/objective commentator who claims that the IRA targeting of civilians were just notable exceptions is being neither objective or truthful. I suppose it goes back to what you said about some people tending to hear/read what they want to hear/read. I think Neill mentioned Lost Lives – it’s pretty comprehensive.

  17. Norma wilson January 31, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

    Ah Paadykool

    So you have joined the sheep…. I was wondering. So that’s that no change there then.
    I wonder where we would all be if WC had not taken in the nazis. Then again there was lots of traitors in the country.

  18. Am Ghobsmacht February 1, 2015 at 12:45 am #

    Dr C

    “could Britain, should Britain consider Churchill her greatest statesman?”

    You’ve rightly listed all his negative traits and in the modern age you can’t get away with such things thesedays (thankfully) but to me this shows what a watershed period WWII was, it tore the world away from a certain way of thinking and acting and paved the way for our current way.

    When you’re measuring something like statesmanship the negatives for this role are not negatives that you listed (awful as they may be).

    An awful statesman is someone who is weak, someone who fails, someone who doesn’t inspire confidence. If someone is a statesman and doesn’t have the above failings then racism, drunkenness, etc play 2nd fiddle.

    Being a wartime leader is not like being an HR manager.

    So, I think he was a great statesman; he may have been a drunkard (who wasn’t), a troublemaker (who wasn’t), a racist (who wasn’t, even Ghandi’s colleagues were racist/sectarian), a misogynist (who wasn’t) or (according to our very own Brooke) a ‘savant’ but he got the job done, what else would you want a statesman to do?

    He was the right man for the job at the time.

    In Mongolia they have a massive statue of Ghengis Khan and are quite proud of him, imagine scrutinising him under the microscope of modern morals? (Rapey genocidal maniac)

    Istanbul’s main airport is named after Attaturk, hardly a blameless man.

    In Uzbekistan they have a massive statue of Timurlane (even WORSE than Ghengis Khan)

    I suppose it says a lot for our society that we can see the ugly side of people regardless of their CV’s but it’s disheartening to see that the level of scrutiny usually depends on ‘which foot’ the subject kicked with e.g. I’d love to see the DUP turn their ‘perceived’ (for the lawyers) homophobic gaze upon King Billy, I don’t think they’d like what they’d find.

    Exceptional ugly circumstances throw up exceptional ugly men, it will be ever thus.

    • Jude Collins February 1, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

      No AG – a stretch too far. However Churchill may have touched a chord in the British people during WW2, I’m afraid I can’t consider racism (not your average-of-the-day either) and body count in the million as part of the make-up of a great statesman. Otherwise it’s move over and make room for Stalin, Mao and Hitler – all revered by their people

      • Am Ghobsmacht February 2, 2015 at 1:06 am #

        Dr C

        I’m not saying that racism is an integral part of being a great statesman, I’m saying that it is not (historically speaking) a great ball & chain (though it would be in the modern era).

        Although I wouldn’t regard Hitler as a great statesman (he didn’t need to be) he was a terrific leader.

        Same with Mao.
        Stalin, maybe not a great leader but certainly a strong one.

        Again, I place emphasis on the position in question (Statesman) and the relevant failings (weakness, inability to inspire).

        Awfulness doesn’t come into it I terms of failings but getting the job done does. And this he did.

        • Jude Collins February 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

          Mmm. Good point, AG – food for thought. Go raibh maith agat

          • Am Ghobsmacht February 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

            Ah, cheers Dr C, it’s the point of this blog though eh? To find ourselves in the position where we or others might go “Hells’ bells Margaret, I never thought of it that way”.

            For what it’s worth, that’s why I come to this blog to see other side of the argument(s) (and I do take a lot of it on board believe it or not…)

            BTW, Jeffrey’s ‘keyboard warrior’ comment was a blatant strawman comment, I usually just take strawmen comments as a sign that you’ve scored a point at some level.

  19. TheHist February 1, 2015 at 5:39 am #

    Oul Churchill – the detest of Jeffrey’s type just over 100 years ago. Rallied to Belfast in 1912, in opposition to his Father’s previous “Ulster call” to sell the Home Rule deal to Nationalists, resulting in him being sat upon by a mob of angry Loyalists who attempted to attack him and overturn his car. They even banned him from the Ulster Hall! … Prompting him to exit this place like a thief in the night! The same boyos responsibility for his darling Clementines mental deterioration! And not to forgot, a wee offer of a United Ireland to De Valera to breach Eire’s war time neutrality – I would have thought Jeffrey would have been more cautious and Ambivalent Towards a character like Churchill … Maybe he forgot this!!!!!

    • paddykool February 1, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      That’s the thing TheHist, Memories are very short .Churchill was thrown out into the wilderness by the great British public immediately after the war ended . He was a career politician first and foremost and was prepared to act in any way that would promote his career . He had a lot of ambition , probably steeped in his poor relationship with father …..and would have been loved by miners and the working man in the way Thatcher was loved by them …not a lot.!!!! His world was a rarified place compared to the working man .People forget how the public voted him out of office in 1945.Jeffrey’s also forgetting how he was perceived by unionism too.He was by no means popular with everyone in England either . .

      • TheHist February 1, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

        Totally agree PK – listened to the contribution on Talkback this afternoon and Jeffrey was out of his depth – he refused to offer a convincing argument in support of Churchill’s legacy … On reflection, he offered none! At one stage in defence of Churchill, Jeffrey basically blamed the people for not moving out of Dresden, prior to it being bombed! I laughed out loudly when Jeffrey took his hard line stance and gave us his justification for joining the UDR – haha still laughing – Jeffrey’s legacy … He saved Norn Iron, the very Norn Iron his idiol Churchill wanted to reunite! The unionists of Ulster, that same group Churchill was willing to move the British army in from the Curragh to “sort out.” Think a history lesson for Jeffrey is needed!

    • Am Ghobsmacht February 2, 2015 at 1:09 am #


      In addition to that, I believe that he ordered a war ship to Belfast Lough to ‘encourage’ the unionists to see the error of their ways.

  20. RJC February 2, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    Slightly off-topic, although in a vaguely similar ballpark, did anyone see this news about the ‘Sir’ Peter Hayman dossier which has just been released?

    The full, and frankly astonishing document can be found here –

    This story is still breaking, so there may be more on it in the next few days although it would appear to prove that the authorities knew absolutely everything about this man and did precisely … nothing. I’m surprised that this is not a much bigger story. How are the British government getting away with such a reluctant and tortured ‘inquiry’ when so much of this awful stuff is so obviously clear to anybody who wants to take a look?

    British justice, eh? You’ve gotta love it.

  21. neill February 2, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    Neill – I repeat, watch your language. I have never said I supported violence by the IRA or anyone else. Let’s get that clear and then maybe we can move on.

    I am not rewriting history. The fact is, the IRA did not aim primarily to kill innocent civilians. That its members did on occasion do so, I readily accept. But in general they focused on RUC, UDR, British Army, etc. Unlike the UDA, which by its own admission aimed to defeat the IRA by killing Catholics and thus drying up the pool of sympathy in which the IRA operated. I have never said the IRA were good guys and you will have to mind your tongue or I will simply stop putting up your comments. I’m all for vigorous debate but I won’t tolerate slander. Finally, I’d again refer you to the respected English journalist Peter Taylor. Two days ago he said essentially what I’ve said about IRA policy. Is he trying to rewrite history too? Try telling him that and you might get a sharper response than you’ve got from me.

    No offence to Peter Taylor I lived in Northern Ireland and I know exactly what the IRA did if you don’t believe the IRA were good guys then come out and condemn them for their crimes.

    • Jude Collins February 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      Neill – the fact that you lived here doesn’t mean a thing necessarily. Taylor worked here throughout the Troubles, investigating and reporting on the conflict. And you did….? Would it ever cross your mind that everyone, not just one side, bears responsibility for the pain inflicted here? And please – binary opposites, choose quick…Hardly worthy of George W Bush.

  22. neill February 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Would it ever cross your mind that everyone, not just one side, bears responsibility for the pain inflicted here

    Did I ever say that wasn’t the case?

    My point is that you are very quick to condemn the Army Police loyalists and yet strangely no mention of the group that killed the majority of the people in the conflict that is what I find galling in the extreme.

    Many times on this blog I have condemned loyalists why can you condemn the IRA?

    • Jude Collins February 2, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

      Oh dear, neill. I think we’ll draw a line under this one, if you don’t mind. For months, years, unionism kept demanding that republicans ‘condemn’ this or that incident. As pointless and meaningless as demanding republicans say their ceasefire was ‘permanent’. I personally would have neither the courage nor conviction to set out to kill another human being, or even to physically assault them. Other people think differently, otherwise we wouldn’t have armies. Asking people ‘Do you condemn the training of men – and now women – to kill?’ makes as much sense as your requests. End of.