Iron Lady

Tonight the Pensive Quill features guestr writer self proclaimed Revolutionary Unionist Dr John Coulter who casts a critical eye over the supposed blockbuster on former British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher.

Hollywood screen legend Meryl Streep will have to made a second blockbuster flick about British PM Maggie Thatcher entitled The Real Iron Lady. While the current film featured numerous scenes with Maggie chatting to her hubby Denis's dead spirit, it is the Irish ghosts which are sadly lacking in this potentially Oscar-winning masterpiece.

In reality, the Iron Lady is just a cheap publicity stunt simply to get Streep an Oscar. The 1981 hunger strikes are briefly glanced over, and especially Maggie’s secret talks with the IRA to end the death fast.

While republicans demonise Thatcher for the deaths of the 10 Maze inmates, it is becoming clear the Provo leadership of the time deliberately sacrificed a number of the hunger strikes simply to milk the propaganda for Sinn Fein to the maximum.  A scene was needed in which Maggie’s contacts put the prisoners’ demands to the Provo command and they were snubbed by the IRA bosses.

Another scene required Maggie confiding in her security chiefs that she could not afford to let Paisley and the Unionist community know that she was secretly talking to the IRA behind their backs, otherwise the loyalist death squads would go on the rampage, sparking a second Irish Civil War.

But the real disappointment with The Iron Lady was the pathetic treatment of the INLA murder of Maggie’s right-hand man and Colditz war hero Airey Neave. Neave died in a booby trap car blast at the Westminster car park a matter of weeks before the Tories' election win which saw Maggie swept to power.

Had he lived, Neave would have become the ‘no-nonsense’, hardline, Right-wing Northern Secretary, implementing a security policy built heavily on ‘shoot to kill’ which would have left a legacy of nationalist bitterness lasting for another 800 years.

There was no mention of any of the conspiracy theories surrounding Neave’s assassination. Given Neave’s enthusiasm for a military crackdown on the IRA, he was certainly the key Conservative politician who could throw a spanner in the works of secret deals with the Provos.

The person tasked to organise Neave’s assassination was INLA leader Ronnie Bunting, the Protestant son of former Paisley political lieutenant Major Ronald Bunting.  On the surface, Bunting junior was a committed republican socialist who had turned his back on his dad’s fundamentalist Unionist politics. But he was always suspected of being a British plant within the INLA.

That suspicion was intensified after he was murdered by undercover soldiers under the banner of the UDA. Bunting junior’s death was necessary to plug any leak that British establishment figures had secretly plotted Neave’s removal.    At Bunting junior’s funeral in a Protestant cemetery, the aging Major Ronald – once the loyalist hardnut who provided muscle for Paisley’s fledgling political movement - publicly wept uncontrollably.

This was clearly not the behaviour of a staunchly Unionist dad who should have disowned his son, the INLA’s Director of Intelligence. Bunting junior had outlived his usefulness as a spy within the INLA and in the Irish ‘dirty war’ had to be disposed off.

A number of other republican socialists who had been Bunting’s comrades also died in mysterious circumstances to cover up the Bunting murder. These included IRSP members Noel Lyttle and Miriam Daly and Irish Independence Party boss John Turnley.

While Streep’s acting should gain her a bucketful of gongs, if Hollywood continues to produce lily-livered portrayals of key people in the Irish Troubles, then the real truth of the ‘dirty war’ will never be unmasked.

Imagine doing a Hollywood blockbuster on the life of Paisley which ignored his links with the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, Third Force and Ulster Resistance vigilante movements?


  1. John I dont buy into that theory that Ronnie Bunting was a brit agent,simply on the grounds that Ronnie was a clever lad and had he been working for the dark side he would have ensured his family were well looked after if anything untoward befell him,I know his family and I can ensure you that these decent people are not living in any kind of luxury as a matter of fact Suzanne was seriously injured in the attack on their home.though everything is possible and little suprises me anymore I really doubt Ronnie was a tout.

  2. No-nonsense article, took me a tad by surprise the directness of it. I do think recent discoveries about the hunger-strikes puts a different slant on what was Thatchers infuriating comments at the time. In that awful accent of hers saying the hungerstrikers were more valuable dead to the IRA leadership than alive. Serious food for thought there. [no pun intended].

    The book Deadly Divisions about the INLA was frightening when reading the rapidity of the 'executions'of its members by the brits.

    Maybe we'll get a movie about Gerry and the 'PEACEMAKERS' and how they were always working towards peace and love from 'outside' the IRA.

    Would love to know Dr. Coulters view on the Colin Duffy he being persecuted by loyalist members of the Lurgan PSNI or does Dr. Coulter agree with Paisley jnr and his assessment?

  3. The usual verbal diarrhea coming from John-perhaps he should take up screen writing for Hollywood as he seems to be getting quite a bit of practice in writing fictional "thrillers".

  4. I read in todays hang em high gutter tabloid The Sunday Life an anonymous piece alongside Barney Rowans article,this shit is almost two pages 4-5 headlined DUFFY,S much for faith in british justice or is it only the case when the verdict suits,we hear from the midget politician and ex udr/ gunslinger Jeff Donaldson orangeman and all round expert on these matters,he tells us that" there is huge public anger around this verdict" Jeff remember was one of the main backers for an inquiry into the execution of king rat Billy Wright and mp for Lagan Valley where mr Wright carried out some of those sectarian murders,the midget mp orangeman whose rants are loudest still when it comes to "justice for his own" but remains incredibly silent when similar calls for justice comes from his constituents around security force murders ie plastic bullet victims,and collusion. the Sunday Life is a crap paper but it has reached an all time low with this rubbish .

  5. Also from the same garbage Willie Mc Crea bemoans the fact that he was living close to a terrorist. Willie the lvf apologist obviously hasnt looked in the mirror.

  6. Haven't seen it John, but apparently the writers and directors are portraying Maggie as more rubber than iron.
    I always thought Thatcher was the personification of her iron title, yet now and especially in relation to the hunger strikers big questions hang over her off camera persona.
    In relation to spies and espionage she both met with and turned a blind eye to the antics of the bold scapp and no doubt several others agents.
    For me the real searching question about Thatcher would be. In the midst of all that was unfolding in 81 will she eventually emerge as having a more human face in relation to the hunger strikes than the sinn fein leadership?

  7. Fathers cry for sons no matter how much they may disappoint, at the side of their grave it is the most natural thing to give in to emotions deeply felt, all it shows is Ronnies old man was not as bad as most of us thought.I'm with marty on this one.

    There is not a shred of evidence as far as I can see. it is simply a case of sectarian thought.

    I think it is a mistake to believe the British establishment would have sacrificed Airey Neave, with respect I would say it was preposterous. He was British establishment to the core, he was the man at the end of WW2 who was given the honour of serving the writs on the Nazi war criminals.

    To suggest at that time British intel would have sacrificed Neave is not on, most of the senior spooks would have gone to school with him or his father. Besides, back then there was no serious push to bring the Provo's on side, Cheyne walk and all that was a typical Brit intel sizing up, as subsequent events proved.

  8. Thatcher had a grandmother from Kerry! Really.

  9. As someone who knew Ronnie very well I would just like to say that John Coulters comments are a disgrace and a personal insult to the memory of a committed Republian Socialist espeially with no foundation to these wild claims. Where is the evidence?

  10. There is no evidence for these wild claims at all.

  11. Where is the evidence for these wild claims?

  12. Kieran Thatcher had a grandmother well f##k me who,d believe that,

  13. didnt realise there was a doctorate in bullshitting. his self proclaimed title of revolutionary unionist, tells you he is a clown. mackers i,m sure that your not that stuck for posts.

  14. John Coulter's despicable comments that despicably allege that INLA Volunteer Ronnie Bunting was a British agent are only surpassed by the ridiculous and glaringly flawed hypothesis he attempts to introduce for his brutal assassination in 1980, along with Noel Little, by a pro-British death-squad!

    By Coulter's bizarre rationale and inference, victims of pro-British death-squads are now culpable in their own demise, in some unknown way. If this is an attempt to muddy the waters of British collusion in Ronnie Bunting's death, it fails miserably.

    The ideological journey that brought Ronnie Bunting to prominence within the Irish Republican Socialist Movement has always been deeply resented by elements within Unionism who viewed him as a 'rottten-Prod' and this is glaringly obvious in the self-proclaimed revolutionary-unionist (oxymoron) author's comments.

    Coulter should put-up or retract his toxic slur on a much respected Irish Republican Socialist activist who he has chosen to slur without producing a single shred of evidence.

  15. This man has not even attempted to put forward any argument, intelligent or otherwise to help prove his claim that Ronnie was a tout, nor have I ever heard this suggestion before from anyone connected to the RSM or even from any of its detractors, he is merely happy to smear the name of a INLA Vol, it is cheap and nasty and shames whoever allowed it to be published.

  16. I have a problem with this article appearing in the Pensive Quill containing, as it does, a scurrilous and totally unfounded claim that Ronnie Bunting was in the pay of the British. Coulter, without providing a single shred of evidence, casts aspersions on a man who was respected far and wide as a dedicated Republican Socialist hailing from a most unlikely background. The brutality with which he was dispatched by a pro British murder squad left a loving family shattered in its wake. Ronnie Bunting paid the ultimate price for his principled opposition to British rule in Ireland.

    I appreciate this blogs commitment to free speech, however, this should not give a licence to contributors to personally slander political opponents in such a casual manner.

    The only radical attribute I can ascribe to Dr Coulter is the sheer outlandishness of his views on most issues.

  17. Its called, Shit Stirring, just to get everyone at each others throats.
    If evidence was available, it would be found.

  18. Alec,

    the alternative was to censor John Coulter. I was not prepared to do that. I think the nature of the response demonstrates the absurdity of the allegation made against Ronnie. I felt the argument made in the article had a very tenuous logic weaved throughout. I found the responses much more challenging. But these things will always upset people. Was not amused myself when I read it but I can't suppress a piece because it irks me. I am sure there are some people who would take offence at the discussion on Ruby Davison that took place on the blog a while back. Recently you had to jump to my own defence against similar charges. We go a great lengths to allow controversial opinions. It is the type of discourse that we get on blogs. I think there is a greater danger in not permitting discussion.

  19. Anthony there is very little or no doubt that Ruby Davidson was a tout,there is not a shred of evidence that Ronnie Bunting was,his memory is and always will be that of a socialist republican,if John is into muck spreading then surely he must be fair game for a return of serve,might I suggest he lets us all know how he arrived at this spurious allegation,or who told him?

  20. John what next Adams was never in the ra!and Martyboy Mc Guinness is as trustworthy as a priest.

  21. Mackers. I disagree with you on this one. I do not believe a policy of non censorship entitles people to take the kind of liberties evident in this article. Perhaps your contributors should show more respect rather than it being an issue for you. Coulter is too free with his mouth.

  22. I agree with Alec here. AM, as an editor of this blog you are tasked with producing stimulating topics for open debate. I agree that censorship is a dangerous subject but as editor you have to decide if this blog is a Tabloid or Broadsheet metaphorically speaking. This article is trash talk of the worst kind which is why the responses have been entirely negative. It's the equivalent of knocking over a bee's nest at a picnic to generate open discussion about whether it should have been done or not. Poor, and as a previous follower of the blanket I expect little better political blogging than this.

  23. " Had he lived Neave would have become the no-nonsense hardline
    northern secretary " - not a chance- he would have shit himself like the rest of them-the last time neave was seen his head was flying in the AIR-ey

  24. Find it hard to believe with the 'control' the brits had during the dirty war on loyalist hit-squads big Ruby would have been hit in such a high position in the 'RA. Goes against everything else they were doing...scap, donaldson etc. Doesn't make sense. [to me]I'm not a Belfast man but knew Ruby in the crum'...didn't buy that smear when it happened. just a view.

    Can't comment on Bunting, i only appeared on the scene as a child few year later. But I know those guys were all legends. [nostalgia?]


    Better to let the good Dr. express himself. A fellow student interviewed [ very excitedly..Seana Walsh] as part of a uni project. When he asked if SF 'used' the hungerstrikers for votes the interview was terminated. I tried to warn him beforehand and he doesnt like to talk about it since. Musta been the 2 hr drive...4 hr round trip.

    Debate and difference is better than turning off the tap.

  25. Coulter needs to be confronted and asked to stand over his slanderous comments.

  26. Kieran I couldnt give a monkeys about L/pool winning anything,I follow the fortunes of Man utd,as for Irish politicians and balls well I,d have to agree with you on that one,as for a utd Ireland well qsf have made sure that such a thing is further away than ever.their cry of effective local leadership is as effective as tits on a bull.or Thatcher!

  27. I bet Thatcher would have been great in the sack....she would have sunk right to the bottom of the river.

  28. Hooray for Hollywood distinguished for its accurate depictions of truth as seen through the illusion of the big screen.
    Film critic and story weaver Dr. Coulter its Hollywood what else do you expect. They are in the business of selling pictures not resolving political conflicts.

    “While Streep’s acting should gain her a bucketful of gongs, if Hollywood continues to produce lily-livered portrayals of key people in the Irish Troubles, then the real truth of the ‘dirty war’ will never be unmasked.”

    Another mystery solved Scooby Doo, Extra; extra read all about Dr. Coulter cracks the truth about Hollywood and its role in covering up the British dirty war so Streep could win a wee statue!

    People generally watch a film to escape reality I think you wrote your article in a Galaxy far, far away.
    If I recall they made a film based on the Shankill Butchers wherein they showed these loyalist/unionist psychopaths as human. I digress without this cheap publicity stunt as you put it what exactly would your introduction be. The only thing cheap about it is your ridiculous article about a film that did not do enough to show Irish republicans as criminals. When in reality the flick is about Thatcher not the dirty war as far as Thatcher is concerned the only thing she liked about unionists is their vote.
    From what I have heard about the film so far hardly hints at a blockbuster I doubt the American audience would remember Thatcher let alone waste a few dollars going to see a boring turgid film. They prefer the likes of 300 where the Persian King Xerxes is a flaming drag queen they could careless for old boring British politics.

    The boring film aside, I had always suspected that the queen was behind the execution of the beloved Earl Louis Mountbatten she had him bumped off for the insurance money. I was severely disappointed that you neglected that completely made up “fact” my proof I said it. You could have at least tossed in the Royals bumping of Dianna for safe measure, as they would not want an Arab on the throne.
    If nothing else, Coulter should get the Oscar for best unionist patchy woven yarn.
    Not to worry Dr. Coulter I hear Dollywood is making a more accurate portrayal of the Dear old bag albeit a musical that will expose the British/Loyalist dirty war.

    On a footnote, maybe Hollywood is bias with their portrayal of Thatcher the Tory after all the yanks did kick the Loyalists/Tories out of the colonies.
    That would have been a better place to start with your strange Hollywood conspiracy sermon.

  29. Having considered the range of opinion here I remain of the view that publishing was the right thing to do. The same review appeared in the Daily Star where we can be assured no one challenged it. It also reached many more people than it did through this medium. The advantage of publishing it here is that there is a verifiable record of rejection of the allegations against Ronnie Bunting. Something we are unlikely to find in the Star. I think John Coulter failed to produce a single shred of evidence in support of his allegations. I also feel that he failed to address the criticism of his detractors. In my view his critics are right in their assertions that not one shred of evidence has been presented. As such the reputation of Volunteer Ronnie Bunting remains unblemished.

  30. Mackers,
    I remember having my post pulled on the RNU website. Not only did they pull my post, they pulled all other posts replying to what I said.
    I could not believe a site that was supposedly set up to air Republican and other views pulled a post because it was out of step with the general consensus of opinion on the site.
    I made the comment in relation to Brendan Lillis. It was in no way derogatory or at least it was never intended to be.
    I merely commented that I thought people were losing sight of the issue, that it was no-way a Republican issue but rather humanatarian.
    I can't remember the actual wording as the post was pulled so quickly, well after I was totally lambasted the post was pulled.
    Too be honest there was something very un-nerving about the whole scenario. I never once ventured to take away from the suffering of a prisoner or the suffering of a prisoners family, I just gave my opinion and I was accused of all sorts.

  31. Nuala,

    that was a bad experience. I don't understand why. We can't run around suppressing debate and differences of opinion. We don't permit spammers, fetishists, sockpuppets or trolls. Every day we get ads throuigh for products. They never see the light of day!

  32. Mackers,
    It was not nice, in fact even now I get a bad feeling when I think of it. They were practically saying, your out of zinc here f--- off!
    I remember one of the central architects of the website accusing me of 'raking the back out of a sick man'
    I was absolutely gobsmacked by this and some of the other responses.
    Then a whole page of posts and well-wishes to an ill man pulled, simply because they did not want anyone to read what I had said.

  33. Nuala,
    I'm very disappointed to hear that Nuala. If RNU's future is going to be built on Sinn Fein's past ie. censoring, they are doomed for failure. But my main issue is this, the 'free Brendan Lillis' campaign was being run as a humanitarian issue by his partner with support from republican groups.It was a humanitarian issue and there was nothing derogatory about your comment

  34. BKeane,
    I think it was because I said people were losing track of the issue.
    That something which was not essentially republican was being re-packed as if it was.
    I had said, Brendan's charges were not political which was true.
    I did however agree that he should be released immediately because of his reportedly serious condition.
    I also agreed it was essentially a humanitarian issue and should be given all the necessary support.
    Nothing I said prepared me for the response and I have certainly not forgotten it.

  35. Tain Bo,

    Classic response there chara.

    Sorry to see the name of a republican like Ronnie Bunting being dragged through the mud along with those of Noel Lyttle and the sadly overlooked John Turnley. Would John be telling jackanorys as they don't follow the warped views of what he beliefs his co religionists should uphold.

  36. MartyDownUnder,

    Without any factual evidence all coulter has proven is that too much education is not necessarily a good thing.
    Obviously, his concocted story reads like fiction, which covers up his true disappointment that the film about Thatcher did not spend much time on the great defenders of unionist/loyalist Ulster.
    Another unionist rant and true to form when all else fails “blame it on the Kelly’s.”
    I didn’t see any unionists posting to back up his claims so it would be safe to assume his sermon is intended for the true believers and defenders of the faith.

    Just out of curiosity mucker, have you tried one of those kangaroo burgers?

    Good to see you again.

  37. Tain Bo,

    Burgers, sausages, steaks I've ate the lot. Skippy isn't that bad, very lean meat practically zero fat as you'd expect from all the hopping around. It's ridicously cheap here given how many there are but wouldn't be that popular, maybe the Aussies aren't keen on tucking into their national emblem, lol.

    The Morning Star used to serve it if I remember right?

  38. MDU agus Tain bo what about greyhounds,its what the Koreans call fast food.....

  39. MDU,

    Poor Skippy, that had me in stitches especially the part about the Aussies not wanting to tuck into their national emblem.
    Now Skippy is fair game but the poor wee greyhounds not a chance.
    That was almost as funny as Coulters sermon.


  40. Marty,

    Too funny, that one would have my uncle rolling in his grave he used to breed Greyhounds for the races.

  41. Tain Bo,

    Mate of mine ate rat in Thailand, was the wild variety but still that's a step way too far.



  42. MDU,

    funny, as I see Kangaroos as giant hoping rats no offence Australia wouldn’t fancy getting a boomerang in the back of the napper for cracking wise about the beloved Skippy.