Earliest political memory of the day #62

epm-62I was at primary school in the late 1960s.  I vividly remember standing in a crocodile line of classmates,  being shepherded by two teachers –  one at the front,  one at the back – across a main road. As we waited to cross,  our very tall and terrifying (to me) teacher at the front bellowed to her colleague at the back ‘How that man can call himself a reverend I don’t know.  He’s not a man of God,  he’s a monster!’  I remember being shocked and puzzled, and then picturing in my mind the man in a dog collar I’d seen on TV, shouting to camera in the loudest voice and strangest accent I’d ever heard, against a backdrop of images of people lying in pools of blood or covered in tar and feathers.  I didn’t dare ask the teacher,  but went home and asked my Mum. The reverend,  of course, was Ian Paisley,  leader of the Protestant Unionist party,  and this was the outbreak  of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.


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