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Oh East is East, and West is West

I listened the other day to an of Jamie Bryson, leading flegger shit-stirrer flag protester and putative European election candidate (that'll be a laugh).  Now wee Jamie is not exactly famous for his joined-up thinking (in fact there are probably those who would be pleasantly surprised if he has managed joined-up writing), but there was a section of the interview that got me thinking.

Jamie was asked to imagine a world where he was First Minister of Northern Ireland, and asked whether he would share government with Sinn Féin.  Unsurprisingly he immediately ruled it out; the interviewer (David McCann) pressed him if he would share government with parties linked to loyalist paramilitaries.  Here is Jamie's response:

Personally I believe that the IRA were terrorists who set out to destroy this country. Now if the British government had allowed the UDR, RUC and the British army to take on the IRA as they wanted to…there would never have been a need for the likes of the UVF. Unfortunately the British government did not let the good men of the UDR, RUC and the British army take on the IRA, so that is why Loyalist paramilitaries came into being.

David McCann then pointed out to Jamie that the UVF was formed in 1966 (partly in response to rising tensions surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising), three years before the Provisional IRA came into existence in response to the Official IRA's failure to protect Catholic families and homes from loyalist mobs during rioting in Belfast in the summer of 1969 (1500 Catholics were forced from their homes), and from the predations of the RUC and the 'B' Specials (Ulster Special Constabulary) - the quasi-military, and almost exclusively Protestant, reserve police force of the RUC.  (I'm not trying to engage in what John Hume used to call 'whataboutery' here, just providing context for those who may not be familiar).  The depressing chronicle below provides ample context.Read more »