Throwback on Talkback

Not too long back a comment appeared on this blog suggesting that it would be worth listening to BBC Talkback’s discussion around the ongoing imprisonment of Marian Price. When I eventually found it, the suggestion turned out to be good advice. It was like one of those ‘what if?’ scenarios that historians sometimes fascinate over, where a figure from the past could be put in a studio with one from the present. The historians might go on to manufacture the exchange in order to give us a feel of what it might have been like.

There was no need to do that here. Assailing our ears was a Neanderthal determined to hug the past like a child does a comfort blanket. By opting to ignore what had happened in the meantime he rendered his perspective as antiquated as the black and white television he recalls getting his last news bulletin from.

Maurice Morrow is a prominent DUP backwoodsman who courtesy of the Good Friday Agreement has served as a British micro minister for social development in the North. Imagine those arduous nights on the blanket protest as we consoled ourselves against deprivation with thoughts of a future free Ireland. Had we envisioned rule by Free Presbyterianism we may have broken our necks in the race to reach the conforming blocks and spare ourselves a lot of wasted effort. What a sorry outcome. Try telling us it really was worth it. Name one republican who lay in those dungeons 24/7, year in, year out, who entertained the notion that Maurice Morrow heading up the Justice Committee serviced by a deputy who once wore the blanket, was something worth the exacting effort. A rebellious spirit would have balked at that, not so a crushed one.

In Morrow’s DUP biog, among his interests listed are ‘church activities.’ We know the type. Given the Flintstone views expressed on Talkback this throwback probably hankers for the day when ‘church activities’ could cover witch burning. That would certainly put an end to the debate about the political imprisonment of long standing republican activist Marian Price. Tie her to a stake, read a passage from the Old Testament and cleanse her with the flames of purification. Throw Pauline Mellon in alongside her for engaging in such witchy activities as ... well, supporting witches. If you support the rights of a witch that makes you a witch too and you should suffer the same fate. Right on.

Mellon, for those who missed the broadcast, is a Derry woman who has lent her voice to calls for the release of Marian Price. On Talkback she reminded listeners that that British Tory politician, Owen Paterson - her prosecutor,  judge and juror in this case  -  has never clarified why she is in jail.

Morrow, perplexed, that anyone could entertain such an ungodly notion argued that Price should never have been released from prison in the first place. Yes, almost 40 years after she bombed London as a teenager, she should still be in prison (with no curtains either) to please this Neanderthal. He insists that her supporters ask themselves why she is in jail. Well, duh, Lord Morrow, Where have you been? This is what they have been asking for almost a year, not only of themselves but also of the British Secretary of State. To date they have received no satisfactory answers.

So, oblivious to anything that might resemble facts – she is a republican and that is a good enough reason for holding her – Morrow explained that Price was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. She was actually released 18 years prior to the GFA, something presenter Wendy Austen was quick to point out. Which probably enraged the good Lord Maurice, now that he had discovered Price had served 18 years less than he had previously thought.

Totally ignoring the fact of her solitary confinement Morrow claimed that Marian Price had luxuries that other prisoners do not. He failed to tell us that when some of these ‘luxuries’ were introduced he was first out of the traps to howl about them. Anyway, the Secretary of State has the info and everybody else should just shut up about it.

Phil Scraton, a professor of criminology at Queen’s University, hammered him on these matters, pointing out that Price’s then confinement in Maghaberry was in violation of clear international standards. Knuckles scraping the floor, Morrow, in his disdain for intellect, could only grunt ‘the professor.’ Scraton, unperturbed, made the case that it is dangerous for society to acquiesce in the logic that if the government says there is a good reason for holding someone that it is automatically a good thing. 

Scraton also rubbished Morrow’s professed desire to move away from the past when he was wholly critical of events like the Good Friday Agreement on the grounds that it subverted due process by allowing for political prisoners to be released from jail early. No acknowledgement from Morrow that due process was a serious contributing factor to the past conflict, just a longing for a return to it.

How the current dispensation was negotiated by people on the republican side will tax the minds of many for years to come. It actually allowed for people like Morrow to head the Justice Committee while former IRA prisoners like Raymond McCartney had to serve as deputy.  Second class citizenship, how are you? When McCartney was a republican prisoner it was the type of scenario he would only have read about in a bleak Kafka or Orwell novel. It was absent from any strategic vision he possessed.

Here’s the beef: Morrow is a vengeful bigot who is hooked on retribution and punishment. He has been elevated to positions of authority by a political arrangement strategically crafted to hollow out republicanism. As that hollowing out proceeds unabated people like Marian Price will be thrown into the mouth of revanchism to keep the beast satiated.

The clocks change at the end of the month. We can expect Morrow to set his watch back to 1690.


  1. Brilliant piece just exactly what happened, of course with a fair portion of sarcasm which makes for great reading, Its hard for the normal person to take in when listening to the clown, but what has always frightened me when I hear these rants is these people really believe what their saying is the truth, which can be very dangerous for the nationalist community. Remember the Big Man from Ballymena he bellowed like that.

  2. Anthony a cara your posts are in the main really good and thoughtful,this post surpassed those others informative, cutting, funny and more than anything else so very true, excellent a cara, thats you at your very best, if it were,nt so scary that qsf would want to administer brit rule here alongside the likes of Morrow McCrea etc,and turn their backs on Marian, Martin Corey,Gerry MC Geough,one could be forgiven in thinking this is some sort of a sick joke...

  3. Mc Feely sold you out yesterday, same old story.Interviewed by Sunday times!LOL.

  4. Talking about neanderthal men.I see a letter from Sean Cahill PRO The James Connolly Republican todays Irish News asking the chairperson of the west Belfast district policing partnership" if he had raised with others the fact that a public meeting being held to hold policing to account is not now public as psf are barring people from attending" it seems that the well know neanderthal qsf cheer leader commonly known as Bob Doh Brains has been at his work again doing what he does best i.e, looking and acting like a thug,he was ably assisted by those in the pay of the party and who are employed as doormen in the local pubs,big Bob used the same tactics at a meeting with the hunger strikers families to ensure that only the party line and faithful was heard,he should be aware of the old republican saying "beware of who you stand on ,on your way to the top ,because your going to meet them on your way back down again,hopefully the likes of Bob Doh Brains and Morrow and the rest will soon be a thing that one sees only as an exhibit in a glass case.

  5. Anthony..have you ever head about the Peter Principle???A psychologist, last name Peter says this is when people are promoted beyond their ability to perform. I've always believed Stormant and SF were full of of these people. The Peter Principle personified.
    Let me know if there are any petitions online I can sign for Marion and Gerry.

    Have a great day.

  6. Lucille the Peter Principle should be renamed the Judas Principle when referring to those people,come to think of it we would have to drop the principle as well ,just like qsf..

  7. Mackers,
    I was just wondering did people know that an event being held in St Pauls GAA Club on International Women's day for Marian has been cancelled.
    The venue was cancelled by St Pauls committee after thousands of leaflets went out informing the public of the event.
    The meeting has now been re-directed to Conway Mill at 7-30 on the evening of the 8th. Just thought it would be better if people could be alterted to this!

  8. Here is something from the Cork Prisoners Solidarity Group:


    Marian Price,long time revolutionary and republican activist has been kept
    in solitary confinement/isolation for the last nine months,and only
    recently was she moved from Maghaberry to hydebank prison.

    'This move has been made in light of Marian's deteriorating physical and
    mental health. It must be highlighted that the British government have kept
    Marian in isolation for nine months in an attempt to break her
    psychologically. This has resulted in her health deteriorating to the point
    that the prison doctor had refused to allow her to be transported to court
    on medical grounds.'(IRPWA)

    Marian Price has been interned,there is no other way to describe it. Because Marian Price doesn't fit in with the new 'Northern Ireland' and continues to promote genuine anti-imperialism and Republicanism like many others she has been taken off the streets and locked up.

    'The facts of Price's detention, taken together, suggest she is being held indefinitely not because there is evidence that she is guilty of serious crime, but because the Northern Ireland Office believes the state is better off with her out of the way – that, in everyday language, she is in internment. We thought we were done with that in Northern Ireland. Marian Price should be freed forthwith.'(Eamonn McCann)

    The British state has no justification for this nor does it need to justify it because the British state is not genuinely concerned with peace only the
    pretense of peace and the continuation of its normaisation policy and the containment of militant republicansim.

    The PSG aims to celebrate and mark International Womens Day by having a
    solidarity vigil for Marian Price at 4.30 Daunt Sq on Thurs 8th of
    March. If you believe in feminis and internationalism, and oppose internment come along and show your support. Beir bua!

  9. Nuala,

    Pauline Mellon had been posting about it on the web. She raised some very serious questions about the role of St Pauls in this affair. It just smells like Official Sinn Fein have been applying the pressure to stop any swell in grassroots discontent.


    I was unaware of the Peter Principle. But I think you are right. I know that Brits officials were even concerned at one point about the lack of quality coming through. The implementation of British policy was not as efficient as the British wanted.


    Same old, same old.


    Thanks for alerting me to that Talkback slot. It was indeed worth listening to.

    Boyne Rover,

    That is the problem – they believe it. The problem is they seem to be convincing some Shinners into believing it too. Did you notice the complaints about David Cullinane apparently claiming the North and South were two different countries? That is why they can push the Tory agenda in the North but a radical anti-austerity in the South.

  10. Last night or dinner time,a white line picket took place on the Falls rd,those who had gathered there were prepared to endure the dour wet evening to show the passing public that they cared about the plight of Marian Price and the other republican prisoners,as I stood among those hardy souls the thought came into my head ,that standing with us was a lass from Scotland who was on her first visit to Belfast ,now she could have found other things to do or see on such an evening but this woman wanted to do something however small to highlight Marians situation,and then I thought of our SMH of TPQ our Mary is based down under in Aus yet she is going to make sure people dont forget Marian on st Paddys day,and then I thought of Marians erstwhile comrades sitting down to well subsidised dinners in Stormont or the Dail,the evening paper carried a picture of Martyboy Mc Guinness and sidekick Mc Cartney sitting in the directors box at Windsor park home of that sectarian club Linfield,and then I knew why I was on that line, simply because it was the right thing to do and wasnt it a pity that those well heeled bastards couldnt do the right thing as well.

  11. Mackers,
    The whole St Paul's thing stinks. It just smacked of absolute sabotage. Last Thursday myself and other women met in Belfast City Centre and gave out hundreds of leaflets.
    Other ex-prisoners done the door to door drops, the banner went up at the old Andy/Town barracks site and then St Paul's committee pulled the plug.
    People know who is behind it. They should hang their heads in shame.

    Fair play to your friend and everyone else of course.

  12. Nuala,

    it reminds me of a similar attempt to sabotage support for prisoners a few years back in the Fiddlers. You and the women did a great job as did Marty and his colleagues

  13. Nuala st Pauls gaa grab all association, and their decision to withdraw the use of their premises for the public meeting to highlight the ongoing internment of Marian Price is a clear example if needed how corrupting the filthy lucre from prefidious albion really is, this is the same association that boasts it is at the heart of the is interested in nothing more than profit and position just like its sidekick qsf,the millions that has been granted to the gaa from Stormont will most certainly find its way into the bank accounts of a few, and some well placed cronies will get well paid jobs ,but its a fair bet to say that not a lot of that money will be of benefit to the people of west Belfast ..When Casement park was occupied by the brits in the 70,s we protested ,rioted, fought, played hurling /football outside on the main Andersonstown rd for as long as it took to get the brits out of the park, those who had been associated with the park /club took themselves down the road to the bowling/tennis club,only to reappear when the club in Casement reopened,when my mates and I called in for a drink one evening we werent allowed in because we were not members, a small example of the mentality of those who would be the hierarchy of that organisation,they are anything but community orientated..

  14. Anthony excuse me for drifting of post here but here is a few announcements I have been asked to pass on a cara ...
    ROSEMARY NELSON ANNUAL REMEMBRANCE EVENT..On the 13th Anniversary of Rosemary,s murder..
    DATE 14TH MARCH 2012..
    TIME 7PM

    Belfast launch of
    The family of Lurgan man, Sam Marshall,murdered in highly controversial circumstances in March 1990,have launched a book this week detailing previously unknown details about the killing.The launch of the book coincides with the 22nd anniversary of Mr Marshall,s murder,Mr Marshall,s family were represented by Rosemary,prior to her own murder at the hands of similar shadowy forces.
    There will be a powerful Presentation detailing the role of the state and their use of agents in the killing of civilians. there will also be a number of contributions from family members of victims of state killings and survivors of attempted state killings.Concluding remarks will be made by Eamon Mc Cann journalist.

  15. Dear Sir/Madam/Secretary,
    The Dominic and Mary McGlinchey Memorial Committee is organising a commemorative parade and wreath laying ceremony on Saturday 7th April 2012.This year is of particular poignancy as it is 25 years since the murder of Mary.
    The parade will start from Deerpark Road Bellaghy at 6pm.
    A family headstone is to be unveiled with wreaths being laid on behalf of the family,friends and comrades of Dominic and Mary.
    A friend of the family will then speak on the reasons for gathering,commemorating the past and working towards future unity.
    The attendance of your organisation is welcomed and banners are encouraged on the is respectfully asked that banners are not displayed within the grounds of the cemetery.
    It is asked that organisations indicate their intention to Parade Convener,John O Neill. contact no 07980686148......
    yours faithfully..D McGlinchey
    "I am an ordinary republican socialist,who is determined to strive for a free socialist Ireland.I am also an internationalist as all true socialists are".Dominic McGlinchey

  16. Marty,

    that is fine. It needs to be done and this is one of the limited ways in which these matters can be publicised.

  17. Just heard that 14 youths have been stoned to death in Iraq for wearing emo clothing (whatever that is) kinda puts a different complexion on kneecapping..

  18. Marty,

    just read about that. Religous maniacs imposing their writ - if true