Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
Just how important are the findings of the Saville Report on Bloody Sunday for the Nationalist community of Northern Ireland cannot be overestimated. Bloody Sunday was a seminal moment in the history of the province. It created the gulf between the security forces and a significant section of the local population that was never healed.
The Provisional IRA was almost finished before Bloody Sunday. Its numbers were down to around 30 and its popularity within the community was on the wane. But Bloody Sunday reinvigorated the Provisionals and they never again lost support.
The extraordinary misjudgement of the Army and the Government has never been fully detailed before now. In our film, Secret History: Bloody Sunday, which was shown almost 20 years ago, we revealed the extent of the cover-up and the serious questions that still hung over the whole episode. During almost two years of research, we spoke to almost everyone involved, including a number of the soldiers and many of the officers as well as the victims and their families and hundreds of witnesses. Saville has backed up our findings and brought some further clarity to the events of the day.
I have no doubt that some of the soldiers – especially those around the front of the Rossville Flats – believed that they had come under fire. The sound of the first shots, fired by the Lieutenant over the heads of the crowd, reverberated from the front of the Flats and those coming up the central spine felt that they were under fire. The soldiers on the other side of the infiltration area – around Glenfada Park – almost certainly knew that they were not under attack and fired recklessly and with utter abandon.
Those soldiers had been wound up by the officers to a high pitch. They had not been fed for two days and then were given raw steak in the hour before the mission. As they unloaded from their armoured personnel carriers they were urged to ‘Go, Paras, Go – Go Get ‘Em’ by the senior officers. Any attempt to lay the blame firmly at the door of the squaddies would be misplaced. There is no doubt that some of the personnel acted viciously and with no provocation but they had been stretched to such a pitch by those in charge that it really is no wonder. If any charges are to be brought then they should be brought against the senior officers involved and possibly all the way up to higher echelons of Whitehall and Heath Government.
However, I know from my extensive dealings with the families that this is not the wish of the vast majority. They now have what they wanted – an admission that the whole exercise was misguided, unlawful and reckless. To bring individual charges against individual soldiers would open a whole new can of worms that extends throughout the time of the Troubles. While there has been no full ‘Truth and Reconciliation Committee’ in the Six Counties there is a widespread understanding among the community today that the Troubles are behind them and that to reopen old wounds would only cause a renewal of bad feeling and possible hostility – no one wants a return to violence.
Our film and the subsequent documentary by Peter Taylor of the BBC helped to trigger the renewal of calls for a full and open inquiry into Bloody Sunday and thus opened a door for the Good Friday agreement. Those films were the catalyst that began the process and I am delighted today that our findings have been vindicated. That it took 18 years after the films were shown for the results to be published is a damning indictment of our judicial system. £200 million is far too high a price for elementary justice and will act as a deterrent for others who wish to re-examine serious crimes of the past.
We now need to urgently examine the processes of our judicial establishment to determine a better way of running inquiries of this kind, for they are fundamental planks in the protection of our human rights. An inquiry into the inquiry may seem like a costly and needless expense on top of the huge sums of money already spent but it is absolutely necessary to re-establish a methodology for such situations.
In the meantime we should share the relief and joy of the families that justice has finally been seen to be done and look forward to a better and more peaceful future for an area that has suffered so much division and violence over such a long period of its history.
Tony Cook was the Chief Researcher on Praxis Films award-winning documentary ‘Secret History: Bloody Sunday’ shown in 1992 on Channel 4
What if it's not us who are sick, asks Rod Tweedy, but a system at odds with who we are as social beings?
Survivors of the fire are still relying on thousands of community volunteers, writes Dan Renwick - but the failed council is plotting a comeback
The people could reach a democratic and non-violent solution if they were freed from US meddling, argues Boaventura de Sousa Santos
A decade after the start of the crash, economic power is in our hands – we must take it, writes Ann Pettifor
Nick Dowson looks at the new wave of co-ops and community groups where people are building their own truly affordable homes
Hsiao-Hung Pai meets people affected by the fire, and finds sadness and suffering mixed with a continuing wariness of the official investigations
Chris Williamson MP, winner of the election's tightest marginal, Derby North, and recently reappointed shadow minister for fire services, talks to Ashish Ghadiali about Jeremy Corbyn, the housing crisis and winning from the left
The Corbyn-supporting group is preparing for another election at any moment, writes Adam Peggs – and now has the potential to create powerful training initiatives, union links and party reform efforts
With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas
Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world
A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle
Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune
Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi
Tory Glastonbury? Money can’t buy you cultural relevance
Adam Peggs on why the left has more fun
Essay: After neoliberalism, what next?
There are economically-viable, socially-desirable alternatives to the failed neoliberal economic model, writes Jayati Ghosh
With the new nuclear ban treaty, it’s time to scrap Trident – and spend the money on our NHS
As a doctor, I want to see money spent on healthcare not warfare, writes David McCoy - Britain should join the growing international movement for disarmament
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India, by Shashi Tharoor, reviewed by Ian Sinclair
A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour
A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder, by Grace A Musila, reviewed by Allen Oarbrook
‘We remembered that convictions can inspire and motivate people’: interview with Lisa Nandy MP
The general election changed the rules, but there are still tricky issues for Labour to face, Lisa Nandy tells Ashish Ghadiali
Everything you know about Ebola is wrong
Vicky Crowcroft reviews Ebola: How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic, by Paul Richards
Job vacancy: Red Pepper is looking for an online editor
Closing date for applications: 1 September.
Theresa May’s new porn law is ridiculous – but dangerous
The law is almost impossible to enforce, argues Lily Sheehan, but it could still set a bad precedent
Interview: Queer British Art
James O'Nions talks to author Alex Pilcher about the Tate’s Queer British Art exhibition and her book A Queer Little History of Art
Cable the enabler: new Lib Dem leader shows a party in crisis
Vince Cable's stale politics and collusion with the Conservatives belong in the dustbin of history, writes Adam Peggs
Anti-Corbyn groupthink and the media: how pundits called the election so wrong
Reporting based on the current consensus will always vastly underestimate the possibility of change, argues James Fox
Michael Cashman: Commander of the Blairite Empire
Lord Cashman, a candidate in Labour’s internal elections, claims to stand for Labour’s grassroots members. He is a phony, writes Cathy Cole
Contribute to Conter – the new cross-party platform linking Scottish socialists
Jonathan Rimmer, editor of Conter, says it’s time for a new non-sectarian space for Scottish anti-capitalists and invites you to take part
Editorial: Empire will eat itself
Ashish Ghadiali introduces the June/July issue of Red Pepper
Eddie Chambers: Black artists and the DIY aesthetic
Eddie Chambers, artist and art historian, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali about the cultural strategies that he, as founder of the Black Art Group, helped to define in the 1980s
Despite Erdogan, Turkey is still alive
With this year's referendum consolidating President Erdogan’s autocracy in Turkey, Nazim A argues that the way forward for democrats lies in a more radical approach
Red Pepper Race Section: open editorial meeting – 11 August in Leeds
The next open editorial meeting of the Red Pepper Race Section will take place between 3.30-5.30pm, Friday 11th August in Leeds.
Mogg-mentum? Thatcherite die-hard Jacob Rees-Mogg is no man of the people
Adam Peggs says Rees-Mogg is no joke – he is a living embodiment of Britain's repulsive ruling elite
Power to the renters: Turning the tide on our broken housing system
Heather Kennedy, from the Renters Power Project, argues it’s time to reject Thatcher’s dream of a 'property-owning democracy' and build renters' power instead
Your vote can help Corbyn supporters win these vital Labour Party positions
Left candidate Seema Chandwani speaks to Red Pepper ahead of ballot papers going out to all members for a crucial Labour committee
Join the Rolling Resistance to the frackers
Al Wilson invites you to take part in a month of anti-fracking action in Lancashire with Reclaim the Power
The Grenfell public inquiry must listen to the residents who have been ignored for so long
Councils handed housing over to obscure, unaccountable organisations, writes Anna Minton – now we must hear the voices they silenced
India: Modi’s ‘development model’ is built on violence and theft from the poorest
Development in India is at the expense of minorities and the poor, writes Gargi Battacharya