Fuel on the Fire: The State Response to Nationalist Action
This chapter examines the state’s response to terrorist violence and considers why a repressive state response has been deliberately pursued by terrorist organisations to bolster support and sympathy for their movement. Having done so, it studies the British authorities’ response to nationalist campaigns—both violent and non-violent in the cases studied to show the substantially different state actions facilitated different responses. Key instances in Northern Ireland portrayed the British state to be brutal, biased and indifferent to popular sentiments. The introduction of the military and the militarisation of the conflict led to events such as the introduction of internment without trial and Bloody Sunday, which contributed heavily to the antipathy of many within the nationalist community to the British state and its representatives. By contrast, in Scotland and Wales terrorist incidents (admittedly on a much smaller scale) were met with police-led responses. Despite allegations that they were overzealous, the more measured response denied these groups the accelerant that they sought.