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No great surprises in the release of papers today December 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Perhaps they’re keeping their powder dry for the weekend.

Still and all, had to smile at what passes for political debate at the highest levels of government in these islands.

The Prime Minister [Thatcher] also said terrorists were getting safe houses in the South. Garret FitzGerald pointed out that “we have 200 people from the North in our jails,” and added “you can have them back any time you want.”

The Prime Minister countered with: “I don’t want them. You can have all the nationalists in the North if you like.”

Any other gems? The Guardian has a passing reference to a secret US stealth programme of some sort. Can’t find anything else about it online so far. All very mysterious.

Another top secret prime ministerial file on Project Moonflower is worded in such an obscure manner that its so-called black subject is not immediately apparent.

And for space science fans an interesting insight into the politics of space launch systems.

Files released to the National Archives in Kew on Friday show how UK ministers favoured the US shuttle launch system for military satellites over Ariane rockets.

A 1983 memo from the Ministry of Defence to the prime minister warns there is “French pressure on us to be ‘European’ and go for Ariane”.

Margaret Thatcher agreed that it was better to go with the American shuttle, which was cheaper and had a better safety record.


The MoD wanted to send two Skynet 4 military satellites, manufactured by BAE and Marconi, into orbit to provide communications across Europe and the Atlantic.

The shuttle launch was priced at £58m – £23m cheaper than Ariane.


The French Socialist prime minister, Pierre Mauroy, wrote to Thatcher pleading for the decision to be reconsidered and offered to reduce the cost. The issue, prefiguring the Westland helicopter affair, escalated into a diplomatic row over the UK’s international priorities.

Geoffrey Howe, the foreign secretary, wrote to Thatcher in December 1983 advising caution. “If we opt for the shuttle,” he said, “we must expect the French to make a fuss.

Events got in the way, as they tend to do.

Eventually the French were told the US bid had been chosen. When the next military satellite launch in 1986, however, Ariane was favoured. After the Challenger shuttle disaster, a No 10 memo stated there “is no other option but to use Ariane”.


1. Róisín - December 30, 2016

Not particularly surprising, but the papers do show yet another example of some particularly vile treatment of Traveller children in our schools:


It will be interesting to see how the State manages the transfer from the 30 year rule to a 20 year rule.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - December 30, 2016

Absolutely. And just thinking about it there is a surprise in a way in the fact that this came out at all and wasn’t hidden away as numerous similar incidents have been across the years.


2. Tomboktu - December 30, 2016

This from the USA papers

Liked by 1 person

3. roddy - December 30, 2016

The papers reveal that a top protestant lawyer ,now a senior judge told Dorr that the RUC at the time (1980s) was “worse and more sectarian than it had been for decades” ,emphasising “I know the police” He correctly stated that a bad sectarian element had joined in large numbers and could not be compared with many old style cops.I myself would be the first to admit that quite a few cops in my pre troubles childhood were in it for what they percieved to be a “handy number”. However most who joined from 1970 did so for base sectarian reasons and it really sickens me that counts like Fitzgerald were well aware of this and yet collaborated with and urged support for them.


WorldbyStorm - December 30, 2016

I’ve always found calls for cooperation with the RUC in that period and up to its disbandment to be very strange. It was clearly a problematic force – so much so that even the British recognised it had to be disbanded and started up again. Yet there sometimes seems to be a level of denial about all this. And yes, there were without question conscientious RUC officers and yes there were abysmal pressures but that’s still only a part of the story.


4. irishelectionliterature - December 30, 2016

These State Papers are making me feel old, remember 1986 all too well!

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 30, 2016

Heheh, likewise!


6to5against - December 30, 2016

I know! These papers used to be about history, now they seem to be dealing with current affairs…

Liked by 1 person

Michael Carley - December 30, 2016

I would have thought that the lack of distinction between history and current affairs demonstrates that Ireland is more politically sophisticated than England.


RosencrantzisDead - December 30, 2016

As the sole paid-up member of the youth wing of CLR, I am interested to know what happened when I was a toddler.


yourcousin - December 30, 2016

The cut off age for youth wing?


Liberius - December 30, 2016

The CLR youth wing is larger than you think RiD.

Liked by 1 person

RosencrantzisDead - December 31, 2016


the sole paid-up member…

::shakes collection bucket in your direction::


I believe it is set at a percentage of the median age.

Liked by 1 person

yourcousin - December 31, 2016

So the older Roddy and Joe get, the rest of us are younger in comparison?

Can’t handle that, or being associated with millennials. So I’m officially lobbying Joe and Roddy to make me an honorary member of the codgers club.


Liberius - December 31, 2016


the sole paid-up member…

::shakes collection bucket in your direction::

Rifles through pockets…

Liked by 1 person

5. roddy - December 30, 2016

Rosencrantz- a summary of the period in question- North mad,Britain bad, Free State sad !

Liked by 2 people

ivorthorne - December 31, 2016

Nicely done Roddy.


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