well this is one of my pet issues. i'm neither irish nor of ebglish descent, i'm scott's gael and french but i have read a bit on the troubles and was in belfast in 1970(or maybe 1969, i'm getting old and losing my memory without a date book).
i'd like to make two points . first i witnessed , as a young backpacking tourist, the protestant mabs going up the streets of cathloc neighbourhoods, and buring people out of theit homes. as a canadian, of stated descent, i couldn't believe what i wsaw. the police and army who were armed and only out numbered by the crowd by about two to one(the crowd was unarmed,) did nothng but cheerr them on. this altered my views of "the mother of parliaments" ever since. so i'm with big mick on his interpretation of events in the north.
also i would like people to go out and read the tripartite report on human right's that was published by the european commission on human rights in the eighties. (the three in the tri were the european high court of justice, the european commision on human rights,and the united nations commision on human rights. extensive excertps were published by the economist magizine--hardly a pro rebel source. there it was found that the british army was regularly using torture, arrest without trial, and assination. the internal security wing of british intelligence were found to be giving their security files on suspected rebels to the protestant paramilitary and then arming them. it was estimated that about 3500 people were assinated. mostly union leaders, and other community organizers who had nothing to do with sectarian politics. when questioned in parliament the british governemt would not deny the allegations.
these finding resulted in fines against the british government as a violater of the euro union standards of human rights. terrorist are not good guys but sometimes people are left with little choice. the continuing willingness of the british governmant to engage in such tactics,and as an historian i can attest these are ancient tactics,is damning.
they have been able to get away with it due to their controll of the media but that's ending and europeans, and others no longer buy the propaganda used to cover such antidemocraqtic tactics.
oh yeah the commission also stated that there had never been a free election in northern ireland that would meet euro community standards.
now i come from a country with a lot british parliamentary influence and like to believe the best of that tradition, but i can't deny these kind of abuses.
please excuse my terrible typing--i have rather poor eyesight