Blackcat2 said. "4) Sorry to bring up Bobby Sands Threat again, but if you look, many of the comments in that thread were compliments to the vast majority of the posters, thakinging them for keeping it a civil, intelligent and honest debate. It was a remarkable discussion - one in which I am proud to have been involved."
I am sorry Blackcat2, this is not a personal attack on you or your pride in being involved, but I have seen it said so many times how wonderful this thread was but just by saying it and repeating it does not make it so. The fact that it may be seen as a civil, intelligent and honest debate is mainly due to the restraint of the majority of Mudcatter's who did not contribute to it (not because they do not find the subject of interest) and the great care taken by those that did.
The main reason I stopped posting regularly here was because I did not think that the issues arriving from all the conflict in Northern Ireland could be discussed here in the same way that we were able to treat other equally divisive subjects, a fact that saddened me greatly. As I said in the first post, I have read that thread very carefully, in the hope that we could now manage to do that very thing. It is with great regret and disappointment that I have come to the conclusion that we still cannot. I may hold a minority view (as I note that many of the contributors took great pains to state what a great thread it was) but that does not make me wrong.
The best evidence, I would suggest, is not in the number of Mudcatter's that did contribute but in the number that did not. Despite it being stated in the thread, by Big Mick that he did not believe that people were afraid to post their views there, I can assure him that I for one was. I don't know if afraid is quite the word. I don't think I was prepared to be either patronized or bullied in the way that many that did contribute were. I would also refer you to the comments made earlier in this thread by mcmoo.
There were some fine contributions made there. There was one, brave posting, which made me cry but received generally, a pretty hostile reception, which I found very puzzling. Maybe someone could explain that reception to me? I greatly regret that I did not read this until the thread had ended for I would have supported those views. It was as if actually describing the horror of witnessed events resulting from the conflict of views, was somehow 'below the belt', when surely this kind personal testimony is exactly what threads like these require.
Again what's done is what's done, the only thing left to do is to learn from it, so we can do it better in the future. That can only be done if we are honest.