AT THE Drum, Bob Ellis brings his fabled command of truth and fact to a review of the The Iron Lady, accusing the film of…
…skimping the war with Argentina, the war on the IRA, the war on the miners' unions, the starving-to-death of imprisoned Irish heroes, the targeted assassinations of terrorist suspects and the trashings of the northern towns that she, like a kind of twinsetted Saddam Hussein, made her calling-cards in her years of rogue adventurist whisky-breathed power that changed, and deranged, the western world.
So Lady Thatcher starved Bobby Sands and the other mad Paddies?
Not according to today’s Silly:
LONDON: Margaret Thatcher's secret attempts to end the IRA hunger strikes are revealed in official documents made public for the first time yesterday.
If anyone bears responsibility for the deaths of Sands and the rest, it is people like Ellis – the plastic Paddies safely removed by distance and generations from Northern Ireland, the ones who never failed with their cash donations and moral support to encourage Provo thugs to further acts of murder and mass slaughter, all the while justifying those outrages and lionising their perpetrators. It was easy and safe for Ellis, stuffing his pockets with slung cash from Labor mates in SA and NSW, to urge others to mayhem. No risk, no danger and, best of all, no conscience to be troubled by even the faintest whisper of responsibility.
In the Kingdom By The Sea, author Paul Theroux wrote of his visit to Northern Ireland. Theroux can be painful to read at times, all smug peevishness and not half as clever as he imagines. But he nailed the Troubles with this passage:
LET THEM DIE was scrawled on bricks all over Orange Antrim, and ten hunger strikers had recently fasted until death in the Maze Prison. Then there was the so-called Dirty Protest. I could not imagine a preoccupied and overworked Irishwoman dreaming up this loony tactic. But it was easy to see how a maddened and self-hating Irishman might decide to act out his frustration by smearing the walls of his prison cell with his own shit, and refusing to wear clothes or have a bath or a haircut. “Take that!” they cried, and pigged it in those cells for months, innocently believing they were getting even with the British government by stinking to high heaven.
I thought: this behaviour is so strange, there’s probably no name for it. But surely it was profoundly childlike? This was how small children behaved when they felt angry and abandoned, when they wanted to be pitied….
…I did not believe it was religion as a Christian doctrine that was at the bottom of it all. Ulster was a collection of secret societies to which only men were admitted. The men dressed up, made rules, beat drums, swore oaths, invented handshakes and passwords, and crept into the dark and killed people. When they were done, they returned home to their women, like small children to their mothers.
They remain Ellis’ heroes. Figures, doesn’t it?