Monthly Archives: February 2013

What Makes Me A Loyalist?

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What Makes Me A Loyalist?


‘The Principles of Loyalism’ have laid out quite clearly what it means to be a Loyalist and how this should be upheld, but what are today’s perceptions of Loyalism?  Are there practical and theoretical differences in Loyalism?  Is it more acceptable in today’s society to be termed a Republican as a legitimate political position rather than a Loyalist?  A brief look at the make-up of the Northern Ireland Assembly would suggest this to be the case, there are no MLAs who would describe themselves as ‘Loyalist’, while Republican representation continues to grow.


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When Is A Terrorist Not A Terrorist?



From our contributor S.Row



In the moments following the recent punishment shooting in the Republican Ardoyne district of North Belfast, the PSNI had no hesitation labelling the attack as ‘paramilitary linked’.

This was no surprise to anyone; as such attacks occur with shocking regularity in Republican areas across Ulster.

It was a surprise though, that following the arrest of IRA bomber / Sinn Fein activist Sean Kelly in connection with the incident, the PSNI hastily withdrew the ‘paramilitary’ tag, practically rendering the offence as mere domestic!

There can be no question whatsoever, that this move by the PSNI, was geared specifically to minimise embarrassment to Sinn Fein, and to quell the destabilising ripples that the involvement of a prominent member of the IRA in a gun attack, would undoubtedly have upon society in general!



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And Another Thing……..

Just a few random thoughts on things currently out the news..or otherwise.  Firstly, have you seen the hoo-haa going on over the Tweets from James McClean?  He, of will he, wont he, fame regarding whether to play for Northern Ireland or the Republic.  McClean tweeted that his favourite song was The Broad Black Brimmer–a Nationalist ditty.  He prefers the Wolftones version, apparently.  Personally it wouldnt get in my top three but sure. Predictably he was castigated for his choice by Gregory Campbell, who amongst his other vocations seems to have added that of censor of popular culture.  Gregory seemingly went as far as to contact McCleans football team, Sunderland to ask what they intended to do about the offensive tweet.  Offensive to Campbell of course.  Another Northern Ireland defector, Shane Duffy, chipped in on behalf of McClean–again predictable. It’s hard to say who out of the trio is worst.  McClean reinforces his childishness every time he goes to print.  Duffy should stay out of it and Campbell shoud stop acting like the stiff collared pedantic, control freak he is.

I came across a short letter in yesterdays Irish Daily Mail from a Sean Healy, a resident of Waterford town.  He is highlighting the fact that Sinn Fein have written legislation for a National holiday in memory of everybody who has fought for Irish independence.  Now I am surmising that this legislation is for Eire–the Republic of Ireland.  Although if they get the green light there it is a sure thing that they will be looking a repeat in this jurisdiction–the part of Britain known as Northern Irleland–where they administer UK rule.  So, are they serious suggesting that alongside individuals like Patrick Pearse–Wolfe Tone–Arthur Griffiths or James Connolly they aim to include Dominic McGlinchey–Dessie O’Hare–Gino Gallagher or Freddie Scappiticci.  Didnt they all claim to have fought for Irish independence at one stage or another?  It would be interesting to hear what the Politburo at Connolly House have to say on the matter.


Finally we await with baited breath to hear the name of the newly formed Unionist party comprising of Basil McCrea, and John McAllister.  Or maybe not.  It will be more difficult than you think because surely most of the acronyms consisting of the same three letters have been used up?  It is a fair bet that whatever the title it will have an “O” or a “U” in there somewhere.  No prizes given but what about a little competition to see who comes closest.  I will start the ball rolling with my own opinion.
SOUP…Socially Ostracised Unionist Party.  It has a nice ring to it.  And if Basil and John dont live up to the hype then they could also be in it.  The soup I mean–not the party.




Book Review in the Big Issue..Tony Novosel



25 FEB – 3 MAR 2013








(Pluto Press, £17.99)


Did some important figures in the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando (RHC) develop a political analysis in the 1970s that could have paved the way for a viable peace agreement in Northern Ireland much earlier? Novosel asks whether the commonly held view of working-class Loyalism as apolitical and merely sectarian is a myth. The University of Pittsburgh professor challenges accepted wisdom in this fascinating book.


Why did you write this book?


I have friends on both sides of the divide and as an American I was sympathetic to Republicanism and Nationalism. I had always assumed that unionism/ loyalism was a monolith and neo-fascist at best and I could not understand why anyone in Ireland wanted to stay part of Britain. When I discovered that Unionism had different strands and heard about the Progressive Union Party’s (PUP) vision in the 1990s, and of people such as Gutsy Spence, then I wanted to find out more about Loyalism.


Did Loyalists recognise earlier than Republicans that the military conflict would have to end with a compromise political settlement?


The UVF/RHC and the PUP were saying this in the 1970s whilst the Provisional IRA did not publicly state they were prepared to compromise until 1992. The Official IRA were different and influenced the UVF’s political development as they realised they were not going to get a united Ireland from the armed struggle until the working class of both traditions united “within the context of Northern Ireland”.


Why attach importance to David Ervine’s statement: “Did stinking polluted politics come before paramilitarism? I think the answer to that is: ‘Yes.’”


Because it makes clear how Unionism let down its own working class and those who sought reform in Northern Ireland. In essence, Unionism created a state based on disenfranchising the Nationalist population and at the same time keeping its own working class in a subservient position and only slightly better off than its Catholic neighbours. In a land where the conflict was over scarce resources it was, as Bernadette Devlin once said, a conflict between “those with two and a half pence versus those with two pence”. Divide and conquer. As Ervine points out, if Unionism had not reacted the way it did when the Civil Rights movement began in the late 1960s, and instead had reformed the state, there would have been no need for the IRA and no need for the UDA and UVF. If you are going to explain the violence that breaks out in 1969, you cannot simply blame those on the streets or with the guns committing the violence. You have to look at those who created the conditions that led to the violence.


What was the basis for peace put forward by more progressive UVF and RHC volunteers in the 1970s?


They recognised that Northern Ireland’s history was, indeed the history of “50 years of Unionist misrule”. People lived, for the most part, totally separate lives. Therefore, integration had to occur at all levels of schooling and had to be taken out of public life. There should also be an end to discrimination in jobs and housing.















Dont Let The Fact’s Stand……again.

Don’t let the facts stand …etc.


Now another ‘ace reporter’ Sullivan in the Weekly Liar has been taking liberties with the facts. Talking about the Loughisland pub shooting he says in paragraph 3 that Bobby Rodgers shot and killed Eileen Doherty.  Did he not read or just ignore what Judge Horner said?  I quote Judge Horner;

Although he (Rodgers) did not pull the trigger of the gun that shot her dead, he was an integral part of the joint enterprise.”  (BBC news 14.2.13) News of the trial and this quote were carried in a number of proper media sources. How vile and insidious that Sullivan now sets the ground work to say that Bobby actually shot the girl when the court and judge accept that he didn’t?

In the main body of the article (which is less than 500 words) he tries to say that here is a break in the Loughisland case which is related in some way to Bobby’s case. I have read the article several times looking for the break in the case. New eye witness? New fingerprints? New CCTV evidence? I only picked up that Michael Maguire will carry out a new investigation. Here we have classic examples of gutter press. Linking stories by insinuation.  Blurring the truth. However this is the best case of ‘churnalism’ i.e. regurgitation, I have seen in a while.  It is not news. It’s all been in the media before.  I also notice on line 5 of paragraph 1 that he has repeated the word ‘the’ twice in a row.  Does he not have a grammar spell checker on his laptop?

And just while we are on the weekly liar, what about page 2. ‘We don’t  bum about it’ yet go on to bum and blow that they have a great circulation. Of course we are not told who actually verifies the ABC circulation figures. Would it be the World by any chance? And we learn that the Slippery World has a million readers (are you serious?) after an official readership survey. Official? Who by? Fancy giving some details about that? Who paid for it? Any independent view on that? Have you ever been asked to do a survey on the Sunday world?

Finally we are greeted with the fact (?) that 54,938 copies were bought in Northern Ireland over the last six months of 2012. Is that so? On the positive side that means the vast majority of adults in Northern Ireland did not buy the rag.

“According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, the average circulation of the Sunday World, for the period January 2012 to June 2012, was 246,875. This represented an 8% decline on a year-on-year basis. “Wikipedia.  And given that on page2 they say that they sold 217,141 on both sides of the border then that represents another drop in circulation. In fact there has been an on-going drop in circulation generally of newspapers due to factors such as the rise of the internet, etc. Some people have suggested that the newspaper will disappear. I feel sad at this losing the good newspapers and journalists like the great Hugh Mc Ilvanney    However that is tempered by the hope that maybe just maybe someday the Sunday World and the gutter writers will go the way of the glorious News of the World.


Gaudeamus Igitur


Ballymacarrat Somme Society Function.

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Don’t Let The Facts ………etc:

Don’t let the facts stand ….

Billy’s Weekly liar (10.2.13, page 5) is at its usual tactics of smear, spin and outright lies from its many mysterious sources. However I am intrigued by the rather lax adherence to fact in the recent article “I’m out of here”.  The Hateful World, in its northern edition (how many loyalists know that the money for this rag goes straight down to Dublin into pockets of some dubious and unnamed people?)

As per the scurrilous tactic of picking someone they hate and then running a never ending campaign of vilification they picked on a man with cancer, in this case Jimmy Campbell, who was the only man convicted of the Mc Gurks bombing.  And obviously it didn’t bother the rag to talk about Jimmy only days after he had died. Having been incarcerated with Jimmy and knowing him well I’m glad to say, I’m proud to have known him.

The article by the chief ‘rent a lie’ says correctly that Jimmy was sentenced in 1978 having been arrested in 1977. In the latter paragraphs Irelands own ‘Josef Goebbels’ says that Jimmy served less than 15 years. So, if arrested in 1977 and he served 15 years then I calculate that he would have got out in 1992, which is true. How then could Jimmy be released under the Good Friday Agreement in 1998? (see second last paragraph)  A further 6 years after he had left prison?

Which leaves me to ask just how accurate is the rest of the guff he churns out?  How could he get something so simple, so wrong?  Maybe in Mc Dowell’s eagerness to smear and discredit he forgot to get the calculator out?  So go ahead Billy Liar, how do you explain this away?  Or just ignore it like so many times before?  Of course that is the shameful prerogative of the gutless and non-responsible gutter press.


Gaudeamus Igitur


Bobby Storey on IRA ” Heroes “.

Bobby Storey on IRA ” Heroes “.


This weeks Anderstonstown News carries a column by IRA enforcer Bobby Storey–yes the same Storey who is Chief Provost Marshal–and was an accomplished bank robber amongst other various vocations–none of which were legitimate.  The column is a tribute to the three would be indiscriminate bombers whose plan was to detonate a bomb aimed at the British Army in Gibraltar but which would also have killed or maimed an untold number of tourists/civilians.  Mid March sees the 25th anniversary of the killings in Gibraltar and the subsequent deaths at Milltown cemetery and the two soldiers trapped in their car at those funerals.  There are republican plans to commemorate those who died–apart from the 2 soldiers I would imagine–and these include marches and white line protests in West Belfast.  Hopefully these will pass off peacefully and I see no reason why they wont given that anything that Sinn Fein organises of late seems to get the nod from both Stormont and Knock Headquarters.  See Sean Kelly and Padraig Wilson for proof.  In an era where we are being urged to put our differences behind us to look for a shared future, a pluralist society and that to compromise is the way forward to the rosy society that Sinn Fein envisage-Storey does nothing to entice this section of the community. Whilst it is okay to demonise anything Loyalist including bloody flag protestors–who have incidentally become the reason for all Northern Ireland’s ills including the economic seems to be okay to elevate those who were hellbent on destroying this country–and others, in their murderous campaign.  McCann Farrell and Savage were not just content to kill and maim here but obviously were prepared to go to great lengths to slaughter innocents abroad.  Thankfully they were intercepted and in keeping with their own form of summary justice, taken out.  This of course led to much finger pointing and inquiries but the reality is that it was no different to the IRA shooting what they classed as legitmate targets in the security forces–either on or off duty. The IRA claimed to be involved in a war against the ” Brits “–so it is rather duplicitous to claim wrongful killing.  The point is that while there are those who would further divide our society on a daily basis what are the realistic chances of a coming together of an already polarised population? Same chance I think as the three bombers in Gibraltar once the SAS had them in their sights on the 7th March 1988.


South Belfast ACT Initiative.

Just a short mention for the valuable and sterling work being done around the Donegall Road and Pass areas recently. This area has produced one of the more active and forward thinking ACT initiatives.  The latest venture is to establish their own blog..let’s all give a bit of help for a really worthwhile project………………


Northern Ireland’s Lost Opportunity-The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism.

This book is released at present but will be formally launched in early March.  It’s author, Tony Novosel, a professor of politics at Pittsburgh University has kindly answered some questions in relation to the book, posed by LKIO.

  1. 1.        There has been little or no interest in Loyalist Politicisation either from the past or at present?  How and when did you become interested?


As I said in the book, I had a very narrow vision of loyalism and unionism and did see it as fascist at worst and as a monolithic bloc that could never be anything but sectarian at best. It was only around the 1994 ceasefires that I began to read about the PUP and people like Gusty Spence, Billy Hutchinson, David Ervine and on and on.  There was a brief time in 1987 when I got hold of a copy of the UDA’s Common Sense document, that gave me another view of loyalism, but there was not much else that I thought about loyalism.  Anyway, because of what I read/heard after the ceasefires, I eventually arranged to meet Billy Hutchinson.  This really gave me a totally different insight into loyalism and its relationship to unionism.

I do remember one time in 1998 being out to dinner with some friends and telling them I wanted to do a history of the UVF.  But, at the time, it seemed little more than an idle hope because, there was little time for me to do any work on this until about 2006.  My work and personal life prevented that. But, it was always in my mind


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