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Thread: 1974 Harold Wilson and the unionist "spongers"

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    Politics.ie Member SlabMurphy's Avatar
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    Default 1974 Harold Wilson and the unionist "spongers"

    Interesting clip from Youtube on British PM Harold Wilson's views of unionists. He accuses them of " spending their lives sponging on Westminister and British democracy ".

    Do you think that Harold Wilson was just about summing up the feelings of the vast majority of ordinary, decent English people ?


    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1XbfR-yaqA"]YouTube - British PM Harold Wilson calls Ulster Loyalists "Spongers"[/ame]

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    Politics.ie Member Fides's Avatar
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    Actually Slab I don't think I've ever agreed with you on anything before but Wilson had a point and that point is still relevant today. The NI state relies on bureacracy funded by Westminster to exist. They need to be weaned off it and are about to be anyway by budget cuts.

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    Politics.ie Member picador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlabMurphy View Post
    Interesting clip from Youtube on British PM Harold Wilson's views of unionists. He accuses them of " spending their lives sponging on Westminister and British democracy ".

    Do you think that Harold Wilson was just about summing up the feelings of the vast majority of ordinary, decent English people ?


    YouTube - British PM Harold Wilson calls Ulster Loyalists "Spongers"
    The downside of that famous speech (which I have never heard before) was that the unionists got ultra-paranoid and went on a killing spree (with the encouragement of MI5 elements who thought Wilson was a KGB agent). Even Cosgrave, Fitzgerald, Cruiser and co flipped out cos they thought the Brits might withdraw.

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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    He very much summed up the mood at the time. The speech came after some of the worst violence NI and the Republic had seen in years, caused by the loyalist strikers. There was obvious united anger in Labour and the Tories at this, and they viewed it quite rightly as a direct challenge to Westminster's authority.
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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by picador View Post
    The downside of that famous speech (which I have never heard before) was that the unionists got ultra-paranoid and went on a killing spree (with the encouragement of MI5 elements who thought Wilson was a KGB agent). Even Cosgrave, Fitzgerald, Cruiser and co flipped out cos they thought the Brits might withdraw.
    The speech was partially made in response to the Monaghan bombings, and the extended ongoing violence. They'd already started their spree.

    What the speech actually did was improve the support for the loyalists amongst the public. In the end of course the UWC won the day. Not a proud chapter for Rees or Wilson.
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    Politics.ie Member picador's Avatar
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    Text in full:

    CAIN: Events: UWC Strike: Wilson, Harold. Speech, 25 May 1974

    I have never heard that speech before. The bitterness in his voice is palpable when he says 'Who do they think they are?'. Faulkner was on the brink of quitting at that stage.

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    Politics.ie Member SlabMurphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by picador View Post
    The downside of that famous speech (which I have never heard before) was that the unionists got ultra-paranoid and went on a killing spree (with the encouragement of MI5 elements who thought Wilson was a KGB agent). Even Cosgrave, Fitzgerald, Cruiser and co flipped out cos they thought the Brits might withdraw.
    Cosgrave, Fitzgerald, Cruiser and co were only quislings anyway. The fact that they participated in the coverup of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in their own juristicion says it all the 'independence' of the govt of the 'Republic'.

    Wilson actually was pressing for a British withdrawal in 1974 but didn't gain cabinet approval due to the influence of Callaghan and Healy.

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    Politics.ie Member ne0ica's Avatar
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    Nothing new here. I thinks its in the Ulster Scot genealogy. Just like in the US where the states that largely live off the largess of the federal government and taxes from New York and California coincidentally elect so called small government Republicans. Just like in NI where the DUP is the most hostile party to the EU in Westminster with an official policy to leave the EU, yet happily takes handouts from the EU. Time for Billy to pay his own way.

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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    Still relevant today:

    The people of Northern Ireland and their democratically elected Assembly and Executive have the joint duty of seeing this thing through on the only basis on which true unity can be achieved - democratic elections, constitutional government and the spirit of tolerance and reconciliation. And in doing that they will have the support of the British Government, with our responsibilities within the United Kingdom and our responsibilities in world affairs, for law and order in Northern Ireland. We intend to see it through with them.
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    Politics.ie Member SlabMurphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sync View Post
    He very much summed up the mood at the time. The speech came after some of the worst violence NI and the Republic had seen in years, caused by the loyalist strikers. There was obvious united anger in Labour and the Tories at this, and they viewed it quite rightly as a direct challenge to Westminster's authority.
    The loyalist violence was orchestrated by Brit military intelligence and actively participated in by the myriad of secret forces such as 14th Intelligence, RUC Special Branch, SAS, FRU etc. The whole period was planned, organised and abetted by the upper echeleons of British administration in Westminister, Whitehall, Sandhurst etc

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