I’m beginning today with Prince Harry and his duchess, who have been concerned by the disastrous plunge in their popularity in the US where the public have become fed up with their endless whinging and litigation.

Published: 23 May 2023

Hence the ludicrous episode in New York where their attempt to relaunch brand Sussex by having Meghan (wearing $12,000 worth of clothes and many diamonds) awarded a ‘Woman of Vision’ award from an organisation hardly anyone has ever heard run by a newish friend.

It was for “lifelong advocacy for women and girls”, which appears to have amounted to diddly squat.

They got plenty of attention though for the press release about their ‘near catastrophic car chase’, with ‘multiple near collisions’, but since the city is in permanent gridlock, and witnesses were unhelpful, this has been another own goal. You can overdo the comparisons with Diana.

Their problem seems to have been that their desire to show themselves as victims has long since tipped into fantasy, and what they would call ‘their truth’ bears little relation to reality.

This is something we are well used to in Ireland, where republicans have been banging the victimhood drum and distorting history for more than a century.

Unfortunately they were much better at it then the Sussexes, as their latest brilliant operation against the nationalist middle-ground demonstrates. The constant sneering at constitutional nationalism has paid off.

And in slandering unionism, they have not only had the priceless advantage of caring not at all for truth, but they’ve had the assistance of opponents who dislike grievance-mongering, view seeking good public relations as rather discreditable and don’t bother to vote.

And so despite all the evidence from historians and journalists challenging the stories peddled by the Sinn Féin hierarchy, the young now have little idea what suffering was imposed by paramilitaries, and merrily sing ‘Up the Ra’.

One of the small army who fight the lies on social media goes by the name of Sage Despatches and tells the grisly truths about Troubles murders. On Sunday he tweeted that he had been told by a Sinn Fein supporter he shouldn’t be commenting on the past. “Meanwhile the party she supports will be commemorating PIRA terrorist Raymond McCreesh, a sectarian bigot who was involved in the Kingsmill massacre”.

Indeed, on the 21st, the republican propaganda sheet An Phoblacht reproduced its front page from 1981 recording the recent deaths of four “brave Irish martyrs”, including McCreesh, “who died at intransigent British hands, for their republican beliefs”.

(They had, of course, committed suicide on hunger strike, sacrificed by their ruthless IRA leaders.)

That was not how events had been described at McCreesh’s funeral, of course, where Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, one of Mary Lou McDonald’s predecessors as Sinn Féin president, claimed in his oration: “We are gathered here to perform a last, sad but proud duty for that great Irishman and human being, Raymond McCreesh.”

The British government had “callously” murdered “this quiet, shy and good-humoured republican who had fought imperialism … the enemy of mankind”.

The Sinn Féin Bookshop today offers a Raymond McCreesh badge for £4.50 with a heavily censored account of his violent paramilitary career, for the Sinn Féin strategy these days is heavy on disinfectant.

Sage Despatches fills in some of the gaps, explaining that four months before Kingsmill “the same PIRA unit from South Armagh, was responsible for another sectarian attack, the Tullyvallen massacre …Today his cult will be ignoring the facts about his past and commemorating his death”.

That, he said, “is the reality of the unvarnished past, that Sinn Féin supporters would prefer we didn’t talk about. Is it surprising that the Disneyfied version of their past is acceptable but the awkward historical facts have to be suppressed?”

Sir Reg Empey said at the weekend that it is “a constant battle” for unionists to sell their product: “We’re very bad at it and we need to start appealing to those who are open-minded about Northern Ireland’s constitutional future.”

Yes, we can. And we need to be positive. But truth matters and we need to challenge the lies that republicans keep repeating. Like Sage Despatches, we need to shine a bright light on “republicans’ truth”.

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