Saville and Bloody Sunday

The official report can be found in searchable form at

I don’t think the report gets to much, though it does collate a readable  account of Irish/British history and some of the fears British Army personnel would be under after the escalation of ‘the troubles’ and previous sniping attacks in the area before Bloody Sunday itself.  The report easily condenses into a description of panic amongst the Paras, leading to unjustified release of rifle fire and the relevant deaths and injuries.  Soldiers’ accounts are dismissed.

I haven’t been able to read enough yet to know if it’s all more or less a whitewash that just throws the Paras of whatever toothless justice is waiting after 38 years.  It feels like that, with people not in the line of fire making decisions easy enough to make when one is not.

It’s good to see the families getting some satisfaction after all these years and Cameron’s apology has been sensitive to years of injustice, something far too many will fail to be.  One or two relevant people have been able to forgive my involvement elsewhere in NI and accept it was innocent, at least in that my belief I was trying to help was sincere.  This has been substantial comfort, and many of us would do well to offer what we can in this sense to the innocent victims and those genuinely concerned to establish civil rights.

The money spent is a disgrace.  We could do something better in Wikipedia style instead of the quasi-legal manner that feeds lawyers and others who are undeserving.

The whitewash that is being missed is that British systems were not able to cope peacefully with great injustice and that so little was done to bring decent people together to avoid the troubles.

To move forward we need to grasp the wider significance of British establishment enquiries and complaints systems being so crap the ‘truth’ can be contained by them for nearly 40 years, and perhaps that the great cost of such enquiries is used to prevent many happening at all.

We have a current scandal involving the inability of the IPCC and PSDs to conduct meaningful enquiries at reasonable speed into complaints against police.  Stockwell, in some ways is a repeat of Bloody Sunday, with a similarly concocted set of excuses by armed personnel who panicked, and no responsibility ever shown by those in high rank.

We still seem to want to protect blundering rather than get to the truth across our services and this is surely what we should bring into focus once the delayed grieving over Bloody Sunday is over.  The treatment of our soldiers’ who died or were wounded in NI remains a disgrace, something a quick Panorama could establish.  They are as entitled to ‘closure’ as anyone else.

I believe there was some fatal, conspiratorial nexus at work that took ‘the troubles’ beyond their idiot (British) history and parochial sectarianism.  Saville denies this, but I can’t find any understanding of what this might have been in the report, though the Black and Tans (a sort of British Ton Ton Macute) get a brief mention in the history lesson.

The report is only impressive in length to those who don’t have to read much.  I would send it back to Saville, were he one of my students with corrections to reduce it by two-thirds and with several questions to address at length.

Prosecutions should not follow.  The money wasted on this undergraduate report should already have been spent on truth and reconciliation. A wonderful day for the people of Ireland and the people of Britain interested in truth says Gerry Adams.  We should agree and stop acting out of hatred and misplaced pride.  I’m sure he would see the joke in my assertion it would have been cheaper to sell ‘the land of the troubles’ for development by the people of Hong Kong when we had to give it back to the Chinese. Too many of us can’t laugh in the face of the real farces we get into.

I don’t think Saville is a really good piece of work, but at least there isn’tthe same kind of devastating prejudice towards believing police (here Army accounts one finds in PSDs and the IPCC – the similarities between bias shown in our public enquiries and performance management suggest a strong incidence of lying by people in positions of power.  We need something like the Office of Budget Review to assess our public sector and vested commercial interests – a body to stop the government of the day appointing its own people as “independent”.

I hope those of us with memories of seriously bad people in NI let the victims of Derry have teir time in peace now.  I still want to know whether I was there as a result of cock up or conspiracy and who perverted the mission from quelling an idiot police riot to the suppression it became.  There are a few candidates, none the people of Derry.

If we need to prosecute someone, I’d suggest Widgery.