Stephen does what he can to correct the (gulp) narrative




A few weeks ago, when Sinn Féin swept to its best-ever election results in our North-East Nest, the present Mrs C murmured “Next, the fusillade.” As usual, she had read the runes correctly. Stephen Collins ( no relative, I tell you, no relative)  in today’s Irish Times does what Stephen Collins does.

The title of his article – ‘Sinn Féin exploits Brexit worries to keep united Ireland centre stage’  gives you a hint of what is to come. While others worry about Brexit, Sinn Féin cunningly ‘exploit’ the situation.

And it carries on in that vein, “Sinn Féin’s decision to torpedo the Assembly talks belies all the fine words at the McGuinness funeral about the acceptance of compromise.”

Stephen isn’t very happy either with Bill Clinton’s summary of McGuinness’s life: I fought, I made peace, I made politics.“Yet that neat summary glamorised a multitude of sins. For a start it did not spell out what fighting actually meant. The car bombs, the kidnappings, the shooting of ‘informers’ was a savage business.”

But that’s OK, because Stephen rectifies Clinton’s short-comings by citing yet again the case of Patsy Gillespie, who worked part-time in a British army base and was said to have been chained into the driver’s seat of a truckload of eplosives, which were then detonated when he’d driven them into a British army checkpoint, killing him and five British soldiers. He even goes back to 1977 and a fictional work written by my fellow-townsman Benedict Kiely, which describes a similar event.

What is eating Stephen, as you may have guessed, is that Sinn Féin appear to be getting some good publicity.

“The orations at the McGuinness funeral were part of an ongoing project to rewrite the history of the Troubles in a way that justifies the campaign of murder to the present generation and future generations. That narrative is already taking hold and will become pervasive unless it is challenged at every turn.”

I have a suggestion, Stephen. Have a read of a volume called ‘The Good Old IRA’ – that’s right, the IRA which fought the Black and Tan War. There you’ll discover the fact that war is a ghastly thing and was just as ghastly back in the early part of the last century as it was in the latter part of the last century. During the commemoration of Easter 1916, did Stephen have any sense that the ‘narrative’ (God, I hate that word) of those days was being air-brushed a little? That southern journalists and politicians were solemnly honouring the creation of the southern state which was born out of savage violence? And that if the burial of O’Donavan Rossa wasn’t used for ‘propaganda’ purposes at least as much as the funeral of Martin McGuinness, then the history books have got it all wrong.

I’ll provide a link to Stephen’s piece. If you don’t detect a note of desperation running throughout it, maybe you should check with SpecSavers.

I wouldn’t want to credit Stephen with being the only anti-Shinner marksman but he is one of the most transparent. Anyway, as predicted by the present Mrs C, the fusillade has started. Stand by for more.

Here’s a link to Stephen’s wham-bang.


25 Responses to Stephen does what he can to correct the (gulp) narrative

  1. Michael March 30, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    He talks about SF trying to get the other parties to make concessions.
    What are these additional concessions?
    Could someone list them?
    Perhaps Mr Collins should have listed them in his article.
    Or, in reality, SF are looking for previous agreements to be honoured.
    What’s the point of going into joint power sharing when one party reneges on agreements?
    Therefore there can be no trust.
    He also talks of SF abandoning agreements.
    Perhaps he should concentrate on the fact that the DUP have abandoned many agreements they’ve entered into over the last 20yrs.

  2. giordanobruno March 30, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    As far as Martin McGuinness goes he seems to be spot on.
    The recent glossing over of the grim reality of his life is indeed typical of the revisionism that has been ongoing for a while now.
    History is written by the winners so they say.
    It would be a pity if the people of a future United Ireland,perhaps led by New Sinn Fein were allowed to forget the true nature of what Martin and his comrades did for Mother Ireland.

    • Belfastdan March 30, 2017 at 11:16 am #

      This not a case of “whataboutery” and is not intended to lessen the impact on others what Martin and his comrades may or may not have done, however they pale in comparison with the actions of those who served Britannia (one prisoner killing hero Sgt Blackman of HM Royal Marines comes to mind) and are mild compared to the founders of FG who showed a propensity to chain prisoners to landmines.

      At least the IRA ceased its activities Britain continues on regardless.

      • giordanobruno March 30, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

        I agree
        The British Army has been involved in killing many innocents, a great deal more than the IRA I would say.
        This week we are talking about McGuinness and I am arguing for an honest appraisal of his life. Why that meets with so many objections from commenters (and silence from Jude and Joe McVeigh) I do not know.
        I thought we all wanted the truth.

    • paddykool March 30, 2017 at 11:31 am #

      The real problem in writing about anyone from Norneverland is the idea of context, situation, timing and age.It is difficult to judge any man’s life without first hand experience or the ability to walk at least a mile in that person’s shoes. As even his contemporary in the DUP who shared that same city conceded….the only viable comparison was that they both breathed the same air. They were in many ways as different as two separate species…living vastly different lives.I can understand that having lived through the very same time period and being roughly of the same age.i actually know what produced two such diverse people and why they may have made the choices they had to make at that instant in time. That is not always obvious in many of the stories I’ve read. It makes me wonder just how much the writers really know or understand.

    • fiosrach March 30, 2017 at 11:49 am #

      War is bad. People die. Grow up.

    • Gearóid March 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

      Glossing over? Really Gio? Have we not been bombarded in the media both print and television?

      Even the recent spotlight programme was completely one sided in its portrayal of MMcG.

      Seriously Gio, how brain washed are you?

      • giordanobruno March 30, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

        Glossed over by this site.

        • Ryan March 30, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

          “Glossed over by this site”

          But its not glossed over Gio, anything Jude has written in these articles is factual. Did Martin McGuinness join the IRA just for kicks and laughs? No. Was he born into a normal and healthy society? err, no. Was there peace here before Martin McGuinness was even born? No. I could go on. BTW, I would be understanding of some people who joined the UVF who joined because they genuinely believed their community was under threat and wanted to protect it. Who I don’t have time for is sectarian psychopaths who simply joined paramilitaries to murder people as many admitted, that goes for all paramilitaries, Republican or Unionist. But what some Unionists can’t seem to grasp is that you don’t need to pick up a gun to murder someone, as Big House Unionism proved. They even used young Unionists as cannon fodder and betrayed them when they were put in prison. My point is paramilitaries were a symptom of the problem here, not the cause.

          Gio, Instead of making ridiculous and predictable claims, why not academically challenge Republicans views/perspectives on this site, in this case about Martin McGuinness? I haven’t seen a Unionist on this site yet come forward and say: “No Jude, your wrong in your article, here’s the proof….” in regards to Martin McGuinness. Its all been foolish comments like “gloss over” or “Pro-Sinn Fein” but with no challenge whatsoever. I’ll give you credit Gio, you’re one of the Unionists on here whose comments I always read but sometimes I feel you step to the right on issues. I’m not saying you need to support a Republican view point but you need to be fair and balanced on what happened here over the past 4 decades and even before that. Martin McGuinness didn’t join the IRA for a laugh, he was watching his people be shot off the streets, discriminated against and humiliated going back decades, even centuries. If the roles were reversed and it was sectarian Catholics running a sectarian state against Protestants I would be fair towards those protestants because that’s the decent thing to do.

          • giordanobruno March 31, 2017 at 6:53 am #

            Go back and read the piece by Jude after the funeral (a life well lived) or the piece by Joe McVeigh (champion of victims) on Martin’s life, or the rather silly tribute to the Derry Oak.
            Do you see any mention of the victims created by the IRA in Derry?
            I did not. Several coats of gloss.
            In general if someone had taken an innocent life would you say they had a life well lived, even if they spent their later years in peaceful activity?
            I would not.

  3. Mark March 30, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    Perhaps the journalist might also consider the First Cork Brigade, I.R.A. during the war of Independence.
    I agree wholly with what they did, I equally don’t try to hide behind misinformation.

  4. fiosrach March 30, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    Gio, where do you get your information? Surely you don’t judge a person on what you read in the papers? You,personally, know nothing about MMcG. Is it not unfair to judge?

    • giordanobruno March 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

      Come off it.
      His time in charge is not in dispute in Derry.
      The activities of the Derry Brigade are well enough known.
      But if that is the desperate level you are reduced to in order to avoid ever mentioning victims, well so be it.

      • fiosrach March 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

        I tried to step it up earlier. Is the king in waiting responsible for the murders that his paratroopers carried out in Derry? If not why not? I don’t know what MMcG did or didn’t do. There were victims. Of course there were. What more do you need to know?

        • giordanobruno March 30, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

          What more do we need to know?

          • fiosrach March 30, 2017 at 10:33 pm #

            You don’t need to know anything. Personal curiosity is not a reason. If you have a relative dead, does it matter who or how?

          • Ryan March 30, 2017 at 11:18 pm #

            I think all victims deserve to get the Truth regardless of which “side” they came from. I would also hope they would get Justice but with the passage of time that’s becoming more and more unlikely and the British Government will bring in an amnesty for all at the first sign of a British Soldier being put behind bars. Danny Morrison said as much when he spoke of the paper trail of collusion leading back to 10 Downing Street. That doesn’t mean to say we should just sit back and let that go unchallenged, of course. The Irish Government already made clear they wont accept an amnesty for anyone, including British soldiers. But maybe Truth instead of Justice will be the only option for all victims?….

            What I do have issue with is certain Unionist politicians speaking of “Victims” and exclusively and only referring to people from their community and people impacted by IRA violence. Indeed one such Unionist politician even went as far as openly declaring that only those killed/hurt by the IRA were victims, no one else. Some even refer to Protestants as “Innocent Victims”, whilst referring to Catholics as just “victims”, and that’s victims with a small v. That trend is becoming more and more common in Unionist newspapers.

            Ultimately, there will never be agreement on the past here, of course there wont. Republicans will never declare their campaign as illegitimate (Noel Thompson on Spotlight told Jeffrey Donaldson to “get real” when he suggested they should) and Unionists will never admit to the sectarian state they operated for 5 decades, Gregory Campbell was outraged when Stephen Nolan once asked him would he like to apologize to Catholics on air because of Unionist discrimination and he replied: “Apologize for what??!”.

            I just hope the hatred and sectarianism dies with those from the previous generation who promoted it because the only hope is with the new and younger generations from both communities.

          • giordanobruno March 31, 2017 at 6:47 am #

            Is that genuinely your view.
            For all victims or just those of the IRA?

          • fiosrach March 31, 2017 at 9:47 am #

            If you have lost somebody in the past 40 years, how will it help you to know who pulled the trigger,set off the bomb etc. If the IRA shot somebody as an informer you are not going to get the ‘why’. If a British army patrol was blown up what more do you need to know? This place has more than its fair share of uninvolved hangers on waiting to pick through the bones. Let it go.

          • giordanobruno March 31, 2017 at 10:02 am #

            You are not in favour of any investigations into British Army killings then?
            Should the victims be erased from history altogether as we have seen happening here recently or can we at least acknowledge that they existed before they got in the way of the great project of uniting our island.

          • fiosrach March 31, 2017 at 10:40 am #

            I would be interested in investigation into British state collusion with the local yeomanry but only to prove what a rotten state it is. Where a gunman – on camera – shoots a wounded prisoner dead but after an outcry he is found not guilty of murder but manslaughter as he had ‘issues’. Why was he on active service? A few years earlier he could have been over here in the British Territory Overseas shooting us. Investigating British Army killings in Ireland is /is not the equivalent of air brushing the victims out of history. What good did the Bloody Sunday tribunal do? We all knew that a bunch of armed savages (probably with issues) ran amok and murdered the locals. They have been doing this for centuries both here and in other countries. What good did enquiries do? Until the grubby hands of British state involvement are removed from this country, it will always be so.

          • giordanobruno March 31, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

            And victims families?
            They should just tell themselves that bad things happen and get over it?

  5. Perkin Warbeck March 30, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    All print newspapers , Esteemed Blogmeister, deal with Yesterday’s News Today, rather than with Today’s News Today.

    The Unionist Times is no exception.

    The reason one mentions this is because it is a preternatually solemn columnist of that Organ of Rex Accord who somehow has come to symbolise The Day after THE Day Before.

    We are, of course, talking here about Stephen Collins and St. Stephen’s Day.

    Or, is it still called St.Stephen’s Day by The Unionist Times?

    The solemn yet pugnacious Middleclass Champion of the Free Sothern Stateen, Stephen Collins, has skin in both the name and the alternative name of The Day after THE Day Before:

    -St. Stephen’s Day and Boxing Day.

    Now, an examination of his column today is of little assistance in determining which way his view is tending re the naming of December 26th.

    For, while the ,erm, fusillade of eleven metaphorical stones which he unleases seems, on the surface at least, to swing towards the maryrdom of his epoymous saint at the same time the sheer number of same seems to verge towards his inner Middleclass Champion , whose standard weight has been traditionally, erm, 11 stones.

    This matter of nomenclature is not at all unimportant to The Unionist Times . Apart from acting as an invaluable guide for us bemused Paddy Stinks and Mickey Mucks as to how ‘this most stress free stateen the world has ever seen is, at this moment in time, going forward, and how does she stand?’.

    Call it a kinda Napper Tandy Handy Guide to how the friendly rivalry between the Yunes, Southern and Northen, is working itself out: The Norn Yunes, in truth, appear to be making most of the punning:

    -Already, Mammy has given way to Mummy.

    -The Rising of the Moon has been replaced by The Mooning at the Rising.

    Now, whle superficially the Southern Yune might be seen to differ from his Northern counterpart in that Green is the national (sic ) colour south of the Black Sow’s Dyke (c.f. St. Stephen’s Green) the Northern Yune is quite happy to Endure the Verdure in the (gasp) Team of Us.

    Hardheaded, realistic, no nonsence Norhern Yune, don’t you know.

    For while the rivalry between the two variations of Yune is indubitable; that the same rivalry is friendly at all times, is equally indubitable.

    One has put to glance elsewhere in today’s edition of The Unionist Times to find this side-splitting wide-boy piece by The Man who is Thursday himself:

    -The Troubles did not find Martin McGuinness. He found them


    -Extent to which most got through the Northen conflict by ignoring them is bizarre to recall.
    Newton Emerson (for it is he !) goes on at great length to flesh out this thesis, a thesis which can be broken down without too much difficulty into three easy pieces:




    Newt truly is a Hoot and never fails to give the blues the Boot !

    This boy from the County Armagh, this Porte-Parole of Porty-down and of the Put Down alike,, certainly hails from a county which has a thing about Croppies and, indeed, Crops. Whether it is in the laying down of the former or in the raising up of the latter.

    Take, f’rinstance, the, erm, far-famed Arms Farm of Glenanne where the annual harvest is/ was food for thought. Its aggro-cultural , oops, agricultural ethos is akin to a, mine of the mind. It seeks to perusade by rational argument, rather than by primitive emotion, the necessity of Yuniting the People of this island rather than the crude Unity of Land.

    Ah, the sheer symmetery which the Yunified mind can find, in the inescapable logic of a Loyalist romper room, the deducitve reasoning of a Random Regiment , in the sublime syllogism of a Saracen.

    You miss The Unionist Times, you miss part of the Day before Today.

  6. Ryan March 30, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    Its the outstanding hypocrisy that is most startling. We often hear Unionists bashing Martin McGuinness’s actions but yet when it comes November they don the Poppy that honours the British Army, the same British Army that massacres MILLIONS of innocent people throughout their History. My mother’s childhood friend Francis Rowntree was murdered when he was 11 years of age by the British Army. His mother recently died aged in her 90’s and never got Justice, not a single day in prison did that British soldier do. Even when she was suffering from Dementia she always spoke of her child Francis, who just before his death was really looking forward to go to the “Big School”.

    Winston Churchill was one of the very first people to order the use of chemical weapons on Kurdish people, he carried out nothing less than mass state terrorism when he deliberately targeted German civilians in their thousands in Dresden in order to put on a show for the arriving Red Army. No wonder the man was an alcoholic (something usually kept secret) in order to block out in his mind the horrendous things he did. But yet Churchill is lauded a hero by Unionists and British people in general. Indeed he is officially ranked as the Best Briton Ever. Yes, an Alcoholic, racist, mass murderer is ranked as the No.1 Briton. And no, being in a War situation doesn’t give you justification to carry out atrocities against civilians, regardless if you’re Martin McGuinness or Winston Churchill.

    Ian Paisley Jnr repeatedly spoke of Martin McGuinness’s “murder campaign” in his early life on the spotlight programme. What Jnr didn’t speak about was his own father’s fundamentalist hate preaching and warmongering, even David Trimble said if any one person was responsible for the Troubles it was Ian Paisley Snr. But of course we never hear of this.

    Its the utter hypocrisy about the troubles that is most disturbing. Britain is the last country on this planet that has the right to lecture anyone on “terrorism”. The same goes for Unionists here, their history here in Ireland is nothing but oppression, slaughter and religious fundamentalism. That’s not my opinion, that’s historical fact. Of course not all Unionists were like this but a lot were and still are. But yet they actually believe that they can lecture on Martin McGuinness when they created the conditions where conflict could thrive in the first place.

    I hope that our future is a lot brighter for everyone here, regardless of religion/politics but that cant be achieved by Republicans alone, it needs Unionism/British Government to make changes. A good way to start is for them to look at the bigger picture, drop the tribal hypocrisy and accept the facts. I would urge everyone to do that but Unionism seems, by far, the most reluctant to do so.

  7. Brian Patterson March 31, 2017 at 8:25 am #

    I read the Collins article and marvelled that one large head could carry so little. The thrust of his thesis was that up to now the southern government was basically dancing to SF’s tune in relation to the north and that if SF did not stop this nonsense about a united Ireland they (the Blueshirts) should lay down the fiddle and take up the (Orange) flute. No mention of wood pellets, dismissal of the Irish language, witholding of Gaeltacht scholarships while refurbishing Orange Halls, references to crocodiles. How can a so-called journalist be so wilfully ignorant. “