Sunday lunch was cooked to the accompaniment of Inside Politics. But it was eaten to the background of an amazing half hour of radio – Call Sign GI3 GGY. (Not sure there really should be a space in the middle of the call sign.)
It was an amazing portrait of Jimmy Porter, an amateur radio enthusiast who has been active on the airwaves for more than 70 years. (He’s also been reading the news on the radio for over 50 years.)
At first the programme shone a light onto a little-understood hobby. Then it moved across to be social history and political intrigue as it examined the repercussions of Porter’s recording of army radio traffic (partially downloadable) on Bloody Sunday. And finally it switched to his personal story uncovering his past and finding out who his mother really was.
The tapes – which provide a very accurate timeline of army activity on the day – were ignored by the discredited Widgery Tribunal set up in 1972 to look into the events of Bloody Sunday. Afterwards, Lord Widgery advised Jimmy Porter to destroy the tapes. Instead Porter gave the tapes to an fellow radio ham across the border and then endured years of the army searching his electrical shop and home … and years of soldiers pretending to search his premises but instead drinking tea and listening to opera! It seems like the Saville Inquiry was paying more attention to the evidence Porter’s hobby provided.