Briefly return to Pat Finucane……just to note that Ken Magennis and Ruth Dudley Edwards are among those suggesting that Pat Finucane came from an “IRA family” and/or was a “servant of the IRA”.
On the general subject of the IRA. In my 1970 A Level class, there were two lads who would later be killed as IRA members. That last year at school was quite strange. The Troubles had broken out in August 1969. And not long after we went back to school, there were rumblings about a “new” IRA having been formed. In retrospect, many were presumably asked to sign up. Yet there would have been around 150 or more boys from school who did their A Level and two of the (as far as I know) three from the school who died “on active service” were in my class.
It seems odd that the stereotype of IRA man is of a man from the underclass ………but back then several were “grammar school” boys.
The first of the two to get killed. …was a major surprise. He was a short guy…not very athletic and hard to imagine as a “gunman”. I attended his funeral. As it turned out his father had been a 1940s, 1950s man and although I had no idea he was from an “IRA family”, by the mid 1960s……that concept was known to me. Circa 1966, before the Troubles broke out, it was certainly possible to call for a friend to go to the Falls Park, or to pick up records or to go to a Church thing……..and see that there was a print of (say) Kevin Barry on the wall, alongside the more often seen Pope John XXIII or President & Mrs Kennedy.
Yet in the particular case of that first IRA funeral I attended, I had no idea that my decesaed friend was from such a “family”. In contrast, I did not attend the second funeral. Few did. It was a private affair. The deceased’s own family had no idea of his involvement in the IRA.
So let us get that one out of the way. The biography of a lot of deceased IRA men and women suggests that many were following in a family tradition……whether in West Belfast, Derry or South Armagh.
But the worse allegation seems to be that Pat Finucane…..was a lawyer……a very good lawyer……who took rather more than a professional interest in legality or Justice. That he was actually “on the side” of his clients. And this might go to the heart of the Debate over a “Human Rights” lawyer. By its nature…….a Human Rights lawyer in Putin’s Russia, or Karzai’s Afghanistan IS taking a political stance. There is a certain British/unionist resentment that Norn Iron is a place that actually needed or still needs “Human Rights” lawyers.
For the majority of us, we dont really have to deal with lawyers much. The odd car accident maybe or occasionally in the nature of our own jobs we are (rarely) required to be in a courtroom.
Lawyers used to be…..discrete. On British television, they did not advertise until I guess about twenty-five years ago. Nor did they appear on TV……….or make statements to the Press outside courts.
Nowadays lawyers seem to have two catchphrases. One is “my client will be vigourously defend himself against these unfounded allegations”……..made a couple of days before the client changes his plea to guilty. The second catchphrase is “no amount of compensation will be adequate to make up for the distress…..” and this is usually heard a few days before the client accepts a nice round figure.
We dont like traffic wardens. We dont like lawyers and the notion that Mr Lewis representing Sienna Miller against the News of the World or Gareth Pierce representing Gerry Conlon are “human rights lawyers” sits badly with right wing newspapers and the British Establishment……both of which like to spread the myth that Britain is the kinda place where Human Rights are not infringed.
So Pat Finucane (and Rosemary Nelson for that matter) is a hate-figure.
Lawyers do not do well out of TV Drama either. Fifty years ago they were respected. Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) was the kinda man who fought for the Innocent on American TV and Boyd QC (Michael Dennison) was the kinda man who did the same for the Innocent in Britain.
Yet aside for all those anonymous “extras” in The Bill who sat beside their clients, silently making notes…….lawyers no longer seem to get good TV. I have never watched the usually watchable Maxine Peake in “Silk” and much as I respect Martin Shaw, Judge John Deed seems a bit too liberal to be authentic.
But for those of us who watch “Law and Order”……the surest sign that an accused is guilty is the arrival of a stereotypical New York lawyer saying “not another word”. And it is surely the same on British TV……
And locally……the comedy show “Give My Head Peace” was written by three Belfast lawyers but significantly when loyalist Uncle Andy needed a solicitor for his dodgy compensation claim………he (to paraphrase) wanted a Fenian solicitor because they will say anything. A running joke in the Law Library and indeed the public at large that Catholic lawyers were both efficient and often represented “unpopular” people.
In the jargon…..these people were “briefs” and no doubt when the CID office at Castlereagh, Armagh, Strand Road wherever……were notified of the arrival of Pat Finucane or Rosemary Nelson had arrived at the front office.
As they have been saying in Lurgan for over a century. “Say nothing to Gallery gets here”.
But what do we really learn from this?
In the 1970s the British State was telling us that it was all just a matter of Law & Order. A criminal conspiracy against a democratic state. Those of us like me……..metaphorically a dog in the street in Ballymurphy (or Crossmaglen or Derry) knew differently.
By the 1980s the narrative had changed. Enough Peter Taylor documentaries, statements like “Lord” Denning’s “apalling vista” and books like Mark Urban’s “Big Boys Rules” brought the British public and unionist community to the point where they might believe that some nasty stuff was going on. But still……those of us who were dogs in the street knew just a bit more than that.
But the Finucane Report takes it all a step further. The fact that a BRITISH Inquiry reveals that 85% of “intelligence” held by UDA, the terrorist organisation was sourced to the British themselves is devastating. Collusion is now admitted (and yet denied as “insitutional”) and really we have now moved to the point where Collusion is a tip of the iceberg……which involves Direction.
And I think that this is the message we must taken from unionist commentary and their letsgetalongerist apologists. Take away any semblance of Law and Order from the analysis of the Troubles and you are left with the (IRA) Analysis that it was a very nasty Civil War/Conflict……..where neither side had a monopoly of the moral high ground. And you were left to choose your side on the basis of your own (political or national) interest.
Anyone who tales RDE & Co. seriously should look at the derision they inspire on southern political sites. Like GB’s Peter Hitchens or that clown, Jeremy Clarkson, (not to mention our own David Vance) they are perpetrators of that horrible 21st century industry, the contrarian.
These people use murders, disasters, starvation, wars, rape, child abuse, lies and obsfucation as the tools of their vile trade.
Steady on now……I have been called a contrarian a lot. LOL
That grand exponent of the art, Ann Coulter, is exemplifying how savage they are via her tweets about Newtton, right now.
At first, I saw Maginnis and RDE’s pieces and was naturally very angry, however, the more I think about the more I say to myself, ‘I want people like this around coming out with this nonsense, keep them out in the open.’ Why? It shows people what Nats are REALLY up against and keeps the heat up on our own side. We are up against what can only be described as lunatics who push this nonsense and if we look over on Bullshit Mountain/SOT, people like Fick seem more concerned with comparing numbers killed rather than Nats being entirely vindicated in their views on collusion or the fact that calls may even be raised that it wasn’t collusion at all but DIRECTION by the British authorities.
I think that Finucane Case has moved the narrative considerably. There is no point in unionists talking about a “few bad apples” in the so called security forces. This was DIRECTION.
I commented on the RDE article in my own blog in relation to the assassination of Pat Finucane by a British death squad (as we can now, unarguably, characterise it). Her opinions are those of a “sympathiser”.
Unfortunately her opinions reflect the wider British reaction. Jon Snow of Ch4 News is very well-known as a centre-left journalist and something of a doyen to the liberal media in Britain. Yet I found his interview with Michael Finucane, Pat’s son, symptomatic of the British reaction to the report in general. Hostile, begrudging, critical, uncaring. The events in the British parliament didn’t even lead the 10 o’clock news on the BBC, the premier news broadcast for the network. Instead Syria was suddenly a headline news item again after weeks of taking the number two or three slot. Say’s it all really.
The British conducted a counter-insurgency war in Ireland with state-terror at its core – and they just can’t come to terms with it. It doesn’t match their image of themselves. Therefore they dismiss it.
“Don’t mention the war…”
I didnt actually see that Channel Four item. But a few have mentioned it. There was quite a lot of strange stuff going on last week.
Menzies Campbell said something along the lines that it was the most depressing day he had spent in the Commons. And I think that this is perhaps reflected in Jon Snow’s attitude.
To some extent the LIBERAL ESTABLISHMENT learned something about Britain last week. They realised that Britain is not the beacon of democratic light with occasional lapses which can be addressed by a documentary or a short mini series like “A Very British Coup”.
The Liberal Establishment sees itself as the guardians keeping the Right Wing EStablishment in order….but really they have been deluding themselves. Last week the British accused the Russians of state sponsored terrorism but as well as the Finucane findings, it paid out £2 to a Libyan dissident who is now in Government. There are too many dodgy thing s at the heart of the British Establishment….phone hacking, Jimmy Savile, Hillsborough are all part of a pattern.
In some ways in Ireland we always knew the British were unprincipled bastards……but BBC puts on “Spooks” to reassure the British that they are the good guys.
I see Ruth’s employers the Barclay Brothers just had a whole BBC programme Panorama devoted to them. Unlike Ruth they seem to be very fond of lawyers.
Largely concur, one quibble is with your reference to “with the (IRA) Analysis that it was a very nasty Civil War/Conflict…….”
I think the use of the ‘C’ (and ‘W’ ) words in relation to the ‘troubles’ feeds in to the perception of the neutral honest broker British keeping warring religious tribes apart.
I think I worded it badly. The IRA has always believed they were fighting a “war”. It was always the British OFFICIAL view (and of course unionists) that it was a Law & Order issue. Really from the moment in the 1970s, when we could hear British and Unionist politicians….aided and abetted by BBC journalists…..lie thru their teeth about events we had seen outside our own front doors……..the myth of British honest brokers was long exposed.
Events like the Birmingham 6 and enough documentaries and dramas were produced to feed the British myth of honest brokers who occasionally got it wrong. The notion of “big boy rules” was used as a means of saying “well of course we had to get our hands dirty …….SOMETIMES…..” but Bloody Sunday and Finucane have stripped away any vestige of respectability from that British “good guy” image.
The Brits were as much a player as anybody else. The Establishment…Liberal AND Conservative….happily propagated that myth. Its in tatters.
With honourable exceptions, journalists bought into that. And their synthetic anger that they were somehow duped…….is laughable.