Letters to the Editor

Blame everyone but Britain mindset cannot be taken seriously

Trevor Ringland wants others to get past “flawed political ideologies” (January 25). He links the Ballymurphy Massacre, legacy inquests and violence outside the law, then blames internal six county politics for all the north’s troubles. By turning a blind eye to Britain’s role in events, he merely proves he cannot get past his own deeply flawed political mindset.

Mr Ringland writes that 11 Ballymurphy Massacre murder victims were “killed by soldiers of their own state”. Others may see it differently. Would British paratroopers have massacred a priest, grandmother and eight others over a three-day killing spree, if troopers  had not seen Ballymurphy as some sort of foreign Irish territory?

Would it have taken so long to order a halt, if troopers had been running amok and shooting down people British commanders regarded as really their own? 

He wants us to begin “an important act of remembering” by forgetting that British paratroops were unleashed to open fire in places like Ballymurphy or Derry because people there were marked as guilty of being Irish. 

He preaches “violence for political purposes outside the law was always wrong and unjustified”. What does he mean? The Ballymurphy murders were violent acts committed for the political purpose of terrorising areas hostile to British rule. However, the Ballymurphy killings, like most British Army murders were not “outside the law”. At least they were not outside British law for the Irish.

These killings were declared legally right and justified. British crown courts, Royal Military Police and inquests made these killings legal. The families have fought to overturn verdicts wherein the Crown branded their innocent loved ones guilty to cover-up for killers.

Mr Ringland is right to blame “deeply flawed politics” and “deeply flawed politicians” as the biggest problem. He is wrong to blame everyone but Britain, ignoring the flawed politics and politicians really responsible. 

Edward Heath, his British cabinet and military unleashed British troops to begin Internment, Hooded Men torture and the Ballymurphy Massacre. Deeply flawed politicians backed Brian Faulkner with terror and repression because of deeply flawed Orange state politics underpinning British rule. 

These families have waited 47 years. They waited as the British stonewalled, shouted witch-hunt and withheld inquest funding behind a make believe DUP veto as a pretext. Mr Ringland’s blame everyone but Britain mindset cannot be taken seriously.             

New York


Alternative mechanism for solving the backstop

On the Andrew Marr Show (January 23) Liam Fox repeatedly said that we need an alternative mechanism to keep the Irish border open.

Here is just such an alternative mechanism, a simple alternative mechanism which I have been proposing for the past 14 months. The solution I suggested was “…the UK government to give an undertaking to the EU that it did not intend to allow its territory to become a source of unsuitable goods placed upon the EU which would force them to meet EU requirements or suffer penalties under UK law, with the possibility of EU officials being invited to assist in investigations”.

This is basically the same solution that I still suggest and in practice rather than theory, as pointed out in past letters, including some copied to the Prime Minister Theresa May. This is how the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland can be kept open for free movement of goods – a case which UK officials were said to be studying as long ago as last May.

Andrew Marr kept pressing Dr Fox to agree that the UK government should compromise, but it is the EU which needs to compromise by accepting that what matters for the integrity of its Single Market is not what goods may be in circulation with Northern Ireland but only what goods cross the land border into the Irish Republic.

It is now the established EU mindset that you can only have frictionless trade in goods between two countries if they have full regulatory alignment of their entire economies. In fact that was not always the case and it was largely through eurofederalist ECJ judgments that it became the EU norm to insist that standards must be “approximated” or “harmonised” whether goods are for domestic consumption or of export to other member states.

Berkshire, England


I was just wondering

The majority of people know the biblical story of how Delilah, eye candy for the men, and Samson, eye candy for the women, finally got the muscle-bound judge, warrior and leader to reveal the secret of his phenomenal strength. He revealed to Delilah that his strength lay in his fine head of hair but if someone was to give him a number three, four or five he would be left rudderless and have the strength of a seven-stone weakling.
Now, I was just wondering ... yes, just wondering, if Sammy Wilson was to lose the wagging index finger of his right hand would he lose the power of speech? Like I said, ‘I was just wondering’. But one thing is absolutely certain, if Sammy’s famous, wagging, index finger was to go missing, or made redundant, he would struggle trying to eat his chips.

Belfast BT12


Informed electorate

Before we ever have a border pole in NI we should first have poles in Britain and the Republic to see what they want or wish would happen here.

Of course only the result of the subsequent pole in NI would matter politically but at least before the NI population got to vote they would know what the people in the rest of these islands thought regarding them.

How would nationalists’ votes be affected if they knew the Republic would only consider unity if Britain continued to pay the NI subsidy for many years? Or that they would only take on NI if the sides here came quietly without our often destructive  antagonism.

How would unionists vote if they knew in advance that the people of England didn’t really want us? That they resented subsidising us.

Of course the above examples are just speculation.

Such advance information could, however, help to stop the NI people being too introspective and at least inform us before we marked our ballot papers.  

Portrush, Co Antrim


Unification a priority

Malachy Scott (January 29) claims that it would be wrong to force unionists into a united Ireland against their will because they hate the very idea of it. I agree with him but I’m sure that Malachy knows that back in the day when our country was partitioned nationalists/republicans hated the very idea of it. I also argue with him that those who claim to represent us seldom mention the fundamental and crucial issue of Irish unity. Their attitude seems to be keep it in mind but don’t rock the boat. Free state political parties don’t care about us so we need to keep pressuring those who got our votes to do more about the national question. Keeping it on the back burner is not good enough. Unification needs to be their priority and at this moment in time it definitely is not.

Newry, Co Down


Twisted fantasy

Yet another aggrieved letter from David McNarry (January 28).

Now he has linked May and Corbyn with Varadkar, Barnier and Juncker to a supposed cabal trying to hinder his twisted fantasy of a glorious resurrected English empire.

I note he fails to mention a politician or party group that may deliver and relieve his self-pitying distress.

Craigavon, Co Armagh 

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