Reform and Repression: August 1970–July 1971
By the autumn of 1970 it was clear that large-scale regular rioting in Derry was not likely to fade away of its own accord. The constant cycle of riot, arrests, dubious convictions and alienation presented the prospect of a perpetual self-sustaining conflict between the British army and large numbers of Derry youths. It was a conflict that could only escalate. While Catholic moderates identified the continued reliance on military policing against a background of unresolved grievances as a principal cause of the disorder, the British government was beginning to view the disorder itself as the principal problem in Northern Ireland. Unionists had argued from the beginning that the emphasis should be placed not on resolving Catholic grievances but on preventing Catholic disruption of the state and on reaching a solution through repression rather than reform. The British government had now moved much closer to this view.
KeywordsBritish Government Labour Radical Independent Organisation Conspiracy Theory Catholic Church
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