Lady MacBeth Villiers

Martin Galvin with a letter that initially featured in the Irish News on 3 October 2013

A chara,

As Richard Haass ended Belfast talks on parades and flags in time to miss Orange feet parading flags through Belfast, it was said the past could be a sticking point. Certainly anyone could be stuck trying to bridge the divide between the past nationalists lived and the English rose-tinted version Theresa Villiers wants delivered for her Westminster statutory re-write.

Britain’s colonial secretary is duly committed to truth about the past, she solemnly proclaimed in a speech to the British –Irish Association, unless the facts are unduly critical of uniformed crown forces, unduly costly or unduly glorify terrorism. By unduly Villiers seems to mean ‘the least bit’, while her last bit are the new code words meaning speak nothing but evil of the men and women that many of us honor with pride at Easter Commemorations.

James Connolly said of the British troopers who were about to shoot him, that he would “pray for brave men who do their duty according to their own lights”. Cardinal O’Fiaich said of those in Long Kesh, that their beliefs were deeply rooted in the country’s past and most would have never seen the inside of a prison but for the extraordinary circumstances of the country’s conflict.

Equality of esteem between those for and against British rule would reflect such compassion, and allow that there were honorable individuals from opposing backgrounds and allegiances acting to maintain the right as they saw it, in the extraordinary times of 1969-98.

Instead Villiers attempts to foist a "parody of esteem", in which Britain is blameless albeit 'fully prepared to apologize where the state failed to uphold the highest standards of conduct.'

Like a modern Lady MacBeth, Villiers imagines she can rub away the bloodstains from Britain’s hands by whitewashing all misdeeds out of the Haass talks; all the while proclaiming the British 'will not be party to attempts to re-write history.'

Amnesty International just published a report which includes sections on unlawful killings by British crown forces, torture, and state collusion in murders carried out by loyalists. Amnesty concluded that the repeated failures of the British to prosecute or make its forces accountable amounted to "impunity". The families of victims may not see impunity for crown forces as the “highest standards of conduct”.

The endgame strategy is obvious. Robinson will push the case for Britain. Haass will press nationalist parties that he cannot return home without something agreed by Robinson. Villiers can further exonerate Britain in her Westminster legislation. Any recognition of wrongs done to nationalists can be taken back later by Florida post on Robinson’s next holiday!


  1. Lady Macbeth, how very apt!
    Lady Macbeth finally succumbed to the totality of guilt though, Villiers on the other hand, will drag on here achieving nothing and only following the preset steps of those who went before her.

  2. Nuala,

    watched her last night on The View and found her wooden. Seemed to grasp the North as well as you or me grasp Nuneaton.

    Watching Pat and Alban on the same show conjured up an image of two baldy men arguing over a comb.

  3. Mackers,
    She permantely looks startled as if she has left home without a pre programme, thought Potts was bad but she even surpasses him.
    Maybe she's just taken back that the Irish peasantry would dare question English aristocracy

    Pat always looks and sounds as if he would rather be somewhere else, at this time of year I think it's the ski slopes.

  4. Nuala,

    Pat knows that from a republican perspective it is bollix but I think he came to terms with it a long time ago. There was always that tendency within republicanism to go Stick.

  5. Mackers,
    You said Pat was of the opinion the campaign was over when he was in jail.
    Which is an opinion he is perfectly entitled to.

    My problem with people like Pat is his inability to speak outside the Sinn Fein box.
    At Finbar's 25th anniversary he spoke at length about injustice, every injustice except those going on in the North.
    He never ventured a word about Marian or Martin or the prisoners or all the others enduring the tight grasp of colonial rule.

  6. Im not sure who Martin Galvin is referring to regarding “the past could be a sticking point.” but I assume it possibly was Haas or Villiers. That reference and to orange feet marching is another wrong perpetrated ,endorsed by Britain allowing their Nomadic Sectarian cultured Orange/Loyalists hoofs trot the streets . This is a sticking point of British creation. His referral to Villiers Truth is representative of her Govt`s distancing procedure on past British wrongs. However the truth works both ways. No matter what the truth costs ,it dramatically reduces those higher expenses of withholding or lying less of past wrong acts. The reference to James Connolly ,Cardinal O Fiach is simi8lar by what I heard a man recently quoting “ordinary Lads growing up in extraordinary times”
    Im not sure if Villiers referred to !916 but Padraig Pearce wrote when he knew the end was near "When we are all wiped out, people will blame us for everything, condemns…..(but) in a few years they will see the meaning of what we tried to do.” Theres an Irony here regarding the present as Padraig Pearce quoted.

  7. "There,s always a tendency within republicanism to go stick, Anthony a cara its more of a headlong rush,