Well, that was a bit of a surprise. Had you asked, I would have predicted a far weaker report. Shame it took so long. Cameron has responded well.

The Bloody Sunday killings were unjustified and unjustifiable, the Prime Minster has said. Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration. Fourteen others were wounded, one later died. The Saville Report is heavily critical of the Army and found that soldiers fired the first shot. Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “deeply sorry”. He said that the findings of the Saville Report were “shocking”…

No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire; None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers; Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying; None of the casualties was posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting; Many of the soldiers lied about their actions.

As to what to do now: I’d be for saying “that is good enough”. The lawyers have got fat enough feeding the inquiry; there is no real point in letting them snout more at a trial.

Comments

  1. #1 Tony Sidaway
    2010/06/16

    I’d forgotten all about this–not surprising, I think. I suppose everybody else not directly following the politics of the Province had forgotten it.

    Cameron’s response goes a long way towards convincing me that the political map has changed for the better.

    The Monday Club and similar groups on the right used to wield considerable power within the Party, and a Prime Minister of any party who openly criticised the actions of the British military would once have brought deep divisions within British politics to the surface.

    It’s fashionable now to criticise Labour for its many terrible errors, and such criticism is well deserved, but in those early days towards the close of the century the Blair government caught the national mood and gave it a voice that continues to reverberate. Things really did get better, overall. The Conservative Party definitely did!

  2. #2 deconvoluter
    2010/06/17

    Yes Saville was good (at last).

    But I wonder how long it will be before truth and reconciliation is extended beyond the UK?

    One example less than two decades earlier concerns the UK’s role in the run- up to the Central African Federation. One day there were demonstrations all over Rhodesia and Nysaland. Britian was still more or less in charge. The army probably suffered from the same sort of blindness as on Bloody Sunday. Fifty people died. This shameful episode has got obscured by the noise of even worse events which followed it after independence.

  3. #3 Carl C
    2010/06/17

    any politician would have said something similarly touchy/feely so I don’t see how you can crow that “the political map has changed for the better.” Frankly wasting a few hundred million on a 5000-page report nobody will read seems ludicrous. It would have been better to just put the money aside for the victims.

  4. #4 Tony Sidaway
    2010/06/19

    In 1992 Prime Minister John Major reiterated the careful British line that those shot should be considered innocent of carrying firearms or explosives at the time they were shot. I don’t think Major could have said in 1992 what Cameron has said now: that the killings were unexcusable. There was always before the understanding that the government was bending over backwards to be scrupulously fair to people who were really assumed to be in bed with the Provisionals.

    Does nobody remember how controversial it was even to fight against the wrongful convictions of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six?

    Even within my local Labour Party in the safe Labour seat of Sunderland South, which chose longtime civil rights campaigner Chris Mullin as its candidate for 1992, the notion that the overturning of those convictions was merited by anything other than a judicial technicality was widely regarded as leftie nonsense.

    It took a new generation of politicians, military, and voters to create the current climate.