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BBC 4: The Troubles - A Secret History

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Tony L, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    The local version of events - take with whatever size of a pinch of salt you feel is appropriate given the vested interests/length of time since it all happened - was that Nairac did indeed endeavour to pass himself off as a local boy. If he did, his demise would have been entirely predictable. When it comes to the 'six degrees of separation' theory, Ireland as a whole probably has a maximum of two - and Northern Ireland perhaps even less :) Nobody trusts anybody until they know who they are and have reliable first hand knowledge of their provenance - preferably back to Grandparent level, and at least another half dozen brothers, sisters, cousins for good measure. Postive vetting, and then some. It's arguably still like that in many ways today - 20+ years down the line.

    I definitely wouldn't have ventured into any of the pubs in the local towns he was in back in the day, even ones supposedly on 'my own side'. In Nairac's shoes, it would have been brave and foolhardy in equal measure.
    twotone likes this.
  2. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Even here in Glasgow there’s places that are completely off limits if you don’t live there/kick with the wrong foot.

    Nairac was Irish though wasn’t he?
    wacko likes this.
  3. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    Yeah - Glasgow would be the same I'm sure :)

    Dont think Nairac was Irish - the Wiki says born overseas and then educated at Ampleforth, Oxford and Sandhurst. Seems to have spent a bit of time with friends in the West of Ireland, but definitely not one of our lot by any stretch of the imagination. More Planter than Paddy for sure.

    To get a feel for the enormity of the task he was trying to take on - for those not familiar with NI, it used to be easily possible to pinpoint locals to any one of half a dozen different villages within a 20 mile radius near us simply by their accents. Even the slightest hint of a 'wrong' accent, a misplaced vowel, or being slightly too vague about places or people who he could reasonable have been expected to know would have set alarm bells ringing. It would have taken one hell of an actor, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the local population and events going back a long way in wherever he claimed to have come from, and a vocal coach with the talents of Henry Higgins to even get close to being able to pull that one off. Despite being one of those who 'kick with the other foot :) ' - I always admired his courage, despite the naivety involved in letting him attempt what he did in the first place.
  4. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    He was playing both sides against the other though, think the big prize for him and the Uk intelligence services was to be deep inside the IRA which happened with stakeknife.

    Here in Glasgow I can tell almost immediately where someone comes from and which side of the divide they are from, sometime it’s simply a word uttered.

    We do have a load of NI loyalists living here now or more accurately they’re living in Ayrshire on the coast.

    People here are very guarded though and it’s obviously not that apparent these days with first names given the names young people have been given but even modern names betray their background.

    Parochial, Glasgow? :)

  5. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    Hadn't realised it was so similar there, but I guess the tribal backgrounds and similarities are almost identical. The wrong word, drinking the wrong beer, or Heaven Forbid, not showing enough enthusiasm at the wrong National Anthem..

    I think you'd feel right at home over in Norn Iron Tone :)
    twotone likes this.
  6. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Couldn’t stand it Alan, it’s bad enough here but over there it must be suffocating even after all of this time.

    During the troubles even getting on a certain bus was enough to get you murdered at least that never came anywhere close to happening here although there were bombs in pubs and in a house near where I lived back in the seventies and the IRA had a safe house in Shawlands back in the nineties.


    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  7. gassor

    gassor There may be more posts after this.

    In Glasgow anyone with a permanent bitter scowl on their face I take to be not sympathetic to my family background!
    twotone likes this.
  8. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    I didn't mean to press Like ! What I meant was "What a way to live."
  9. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    It’s the way it is here especially if your on the ‘other side’ most people here it doesn’t affect them at all so they probably don’t give a shit but for some people it matters.
  10. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    Having a piece of sports kit or other paraphernalia that identified you as such at any of the unofficial paramilitary 'checkpoints', or simply a name which marked you out as one of the other sort - Liam as opposed to Billy even - was enough to get you shot when things were at their worst. But it's not so bad now. A lot of the nugheads have turned their tribal hatred onto other more egalitarian racial / ethnic intolerances:


    Things are slowly but surely getting back to normal up there :)
    gavreid and twotone like this.
  11. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    The nephew of the guy who provided the explosives for the McGurk bar atrocity slit the throat of a young Celtic supporter.

    Mark Scott was the boy’s name he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was going to watch Celtic at Celtic park one Saturday afternoon wearing a Celtic jersey, he walked along London road through Bridgeton and there he met his murderer.

    Hundred of thousands of Celtic supporters wearing Celtic tops have walked that route before and after Mark Scott’s murder, which was a sectarian murder, and nothing like that has ever happened, thankfully incidents like that are extremely rare.

    He’s out now, the murderer Jason Campell, but sadly for Mark’s family they have to live with the consequences every single day.

    The parents set up the Mark Scott foundation in his memory.


    gassor and gavreid like this.
  12. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    ^ That's absolutely horrendous - even by the standards of the rest of the troubles. Sometimes it's easy to see why folk call for the reinstatement of capital punishment.
    My thoughts go out to the poor boy's relatives.
    twotone likes this.
  13. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Mark Scott came from a middle class family in Newlands, both parents are/were solicitors and I’m sure he went to saint Aloysius college in Glasgow which is a Jesuit private school but any one can go there.

    I’m almost certain that Mark wasn’t catholic.

    Such a sad event he had his entire life ahead of him cruelly snatched away because of sectarian bigotry.
  14. FireMoon

    FireMoon pfm Member

    I used to think a story an old mate of mine told me was just "one of those stories", when I pressed them on it they stood by it as true. That is, in the 70s when he was a kid, if Rangers lost an old firm derby, all the green glass in traffic lights in the Rangers half of town would be smashed.
  15. FireMoon

    FireMoon pfm Member

    BTW, there were a lot of ex service people who did tours in NI on the free festival scene. Late night round an open fire they'd some times open up and give you glimpse of what life was like back then. The reason they ended up on the road with the festivals was mostly because they simply "didn't fit in" in "normal society" after what they had been through. On more than one occasion they "outed undercover intelligence operatives" trying to foment trouble on the festivals.
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  16. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    If you can find a copy, Liz Curtis's "Ireland - The Propaganda War' is not only the definitive book on The Troubles and the media, it's one of the best books on news management ever published. Read it and believe even less of what you read and see.
    twotone likes this.
  17. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Think that’s maybe apocryphal to be honest.

    Where rangers play, Ibrox, is in Govan which, surprisingly is a mixed area and I’ve never heard of that sort of damage being done there after an old firm game however they did ban pepperoni with green wrappers and green football boots.

    Larkhall in Lanarkshire is a rangers/loyalist stronghold where they actually tried to make Asda change their colours and also subway who did change their colour to black and the park railings are painted red white and blue plus I’m sure the green traffic light has a guard on them so maybe that’s where your story comes from.

    Ironically though larkhall is the home of one of the most famous Celtic families, the McStays, Paul McStay played his entire career for Celtic and was one of the most gifted midfielders ever produced in Scotland, his brother, Willie, played for Celtic too and was a coach/scout (think he still is) and their grandfather was a chairman of the club.

    Nothing’s ever simple in Scotland particularly with regard to sectarianism.
    FireMoon likes this.
  18. SteveS1

    SteveS1 I heard that, pardon?

    Thought I'd give this a bump in order to recommend this series The Troubles: A Secret History.

    I finally got round to watching it all in fairly short order. I thought I knew a fair amount about the issues and many of the players involved, but this was packed with things that I was not aware of. There were plenty of views from all angles much of which made me think very hard and has informed my understanding considerably.

    I was also very moved by many of the experiences and much of the testimony. Some of that is hard going and upsetting but I do consider it well worth watching. In programme terms, it's an incredible achievement.
    Woodface likes this.
  19. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    I cam away from it thinking that there are a lot of people on both sides who have been 'forgiven' & allowed back into society which makes me feel very uncomfortable. Some of the interviews came across as sociopaths & I find it sickening that others ended up in politics.
  20. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019

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