Monthly Archives: March 2013

New Loyalism-Unionist Unity by John Coulter

Former Blanket columnist and Radical Unionist commentator DR JOHN COULTER insists that loyalism must also be included in any Unionist unity strategy. He writes this article exclusively for Long Kesh Inside Out.


Loyalism must ensure it is not either ignored or left behind in any forthcoming Unionist unity strategy.

The Mid Ulster Westminster by election, although won by Provisional Sinn Fein, proved that Unionist unity worked as the agreed candidate pushed up the Unionist vote in a predominantly republican constituency.

I have made no secret of my desire to see a single Unionist Party to represent all shades of pro-Union opinion. This single party is a core principle of the political think tank I formed shortly after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 – the Revolutionary Unionist Convention (RUC).


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Billy Miller: 30th Anniversary of Unlawful Killing

Not Worthy of a Mention?


Belfast–Wednesday 16th March 1983 was an overcast early spring day.  It couldn’t be classed as an ordinary day because no such thing existed in Belfast or Northern Ireland in those fearful times.  The Provisional IRA showed no sign of letting up in their murderous campaign.  The Loyalist war went on unabated as well with and we witnessed a shift—away from random sectarian targets to more selected objectives.  Politically there was a seismic change taking place particularly within the Nationalist camp and most notably Sinn Fein.  In the wake of the failure of the Hunger strikes two years previously a mammoth effort was being made by Adams and Co to ensure domination of nationalist voters for that party.  As usual Unionism was fractured and the political future for the country seemed to perpetually driving into dead ends.  A week previously the SDLP had proposed a New Ireland Forum..just the latest in the clutching at straws scenario that abounded then.


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The Good Friday Agreement is Starting to Become Part of the Problem.

This post first appeared on


Lucius Winslow is an MA Politics student at Queen’s University Belfast, who takes an intensive interest in his subject. He also writes things.

Readers, I am sure, will be astounded to know that I dislike the Good Friday Agreement. This is for a myriad of reasons, not least for compromising with murderers. But let’s not go into that. That shoddy compromise is done, and isn’t going to be undone.

So let us proceed with the assumption that I supported it at the time as a means of bringing peace and so on and so forth. But  something happened in the Assembly on Tuesday which should be deeply concerning to those who value good governance, or at least a good legislative process. And people should be particularly concerned, because what happened on Tuesday has happened before, repeatedly in fact.


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History Repeating Itself?

The following letter appeared in todays edition of the Belfast Telegraph and indicates the level of concern shown from the loyalist working class public at the antics of the Historical Enquiries Team in the hounding of Protestants, whilst seemingly showing a disregard for republicans.


Over the past few weeks I have seen history repeat itself before my very eyes, a journey which many have taken before and if we don’t suitably address the issues of the past in a constructive inclusive manner, many may walk their footsteps again.  Many ex-prisoners from the troubles era now play proactive roles in the management of the peace process; many others have successful businesses whilst some have vanished into almost obscurity leading quiet family lives. We have ex prisoners at the seat of power in government organising the policies of the country.   No one is condoning their actions of the past, but what must be recognised is that almost to a man they endorsed the Good Friday Agreement and the beginning of a new era in our troubled history for our young.  Of course my point surrounds the actions of the Historical Enquiries Team (H.E.T), never mentioned in a referendum voted by the people of this country and brought onto the scene in 2005 after the St Andrews agreement between the four largest political parties.  The majority of those arrested have already served long prison sentences for other offences, which leads me to the question – What are we achieving by locking these old men away for a token gesture of two years? Hardly closure for loved ones.   If this is allowed to continue, where will it end.  A futile, destabilising and costly process for all communities who voted unanimously to move forward in the name of peace and prosperity after so many troubled years.


David Whiteside


The ACT Initiative responds to Sunday Life article

According to the ‘Sunday Life’ newspaper and one of its journalists, Ciaran Barnes, as reported in the article ‘UVF peace group on last legs’ (10-03-13), the UVF/RHC conflict transformation programme Action for Community Transformation, ‘The ACT Initiative’, is in serious trouble. The author asserts that his source within ACT informs him that after the imprisonment of Bobby Rodgers, a vital ACT participant, following an HET-led enquiry into a political murder in 1973, other key participants within ACT are withdrawing their support. Read more »


Getting Beyond No.

Below is a review of two recent books on Loyalism.  One is the recent Tony Novosel book–Northern Ireland’s Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism and the other is by Pete Shirlow–The End of Ulster Loyalism?. The review, by Connal Parr first appeared in the prestigious Dublin Book Review.  Connal is an academic and freelance writer based at Queens University Belfast and is the Grandson of Paddy Devlin.  Connal graduated from Oxford University , gaining a BA in Modern History and also from Queens gaining an MA with distinction.  Connal is a welcome new contributor to these pages and I certainly hope he provides us with more articles in future.


The principal significance of these two works is that both confirm the existence of a progressive political ethos within Northern Ireland’s Protestant working class. The trick of repetition may be one their ideological opponents perfect, but the fact that a Loyalist vision of some originality and discernment did – and still could – exist is such an exotic notion in itself that it demands reiteration.


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Prisoner Profile from Magahaberry

This is the forerunner of, hopefully a series of profiles of some ot those political prisoners currently incarcerated in Northern Ireland’s prisons.  The first of these offers an insight into Mark, a Portadown man currently held in Maghaberry.  He has served five months of a five year sentence.

Name: Mark
DOB: 3rd April 1975
Home: Portadown
Sentence: 5 Years
Employment:  Worked as part of a family business and luckily the job is secure for when he is eventually released.

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Last Monday, we the old Volunteers of the early seventies, had the privilege of providing a Guard Of Honour at the final parade of our fallen friend and loyal comrade Tucker McKeown. Tucker entered Crumlin Road and Longkesh as an eighteen years old RHC Volunteer in early 1973 in the company of his equally young friend and comrade the late, Volunteer Noel Baker. Tucker arrived in C wing complete with his trademark crombie overcoat, with the statutory red hankie in its top pocket, wide skinner jeans with the statutory braces hitching the wide bottoms of the skinners up above the top of his big DM boots and a Billy Connolly style, headfull of wild long frizzy hair, amusing now but the height of fashion back in 1973.
You won’t read about Tucker, in any of the books relating to the troubles, he didn’t leave behind any statements of  profound political literacy, or poetry but just like his big friends and fellow comedians, the late Davy Kirkwood and the late Sam Ferguson, Tucker was an essential component part of compound 18.      During the dark stressful early days of Political Status and the battles for political segregation and humane prison conditions, when confrontation with the army and the prison authorities was a regular occurrence, it was often the banter and pranks from these three loveable eejits, that made life bearable and victory achievable.
It was Tucker who nicknamed the Late Davy Ervine, “the Professor,” because of Davys love for big books and even bigger words.  He reverently nicknamed the late, Gusty Spence, “the auld boy”, he christened Fergie Robb the “Clumsy Drug, the Late” Billy Hammill “CoCo” and myself “Charlie Brown”. Billy Hammill got his revenge by nicknaming Tucker “Corporal Clott”, because of Tuckers obsession with always trying to please our compound 18 Commander, the Late Danny Strutt.
From shortly after his release and for the rest of his life Tucker suffered from serious illness, but in the true spirit of the old Compound 18 battle cry, “Get yer boots on”, Tucker battled on regardless and never let his illness stop him from living life to the full.   Right up until shortly before his death he was still working at house renovations with his life time friend and fellow comrade Fergie Robb, who he was still bantering right up until the very end from his hospital bed.



And Another Thing….

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has apologised for his sexual behaviour which of course led to his resignation recently.  He says he realises that he has fallen behind the standards expected of him.  I would say that is open to conjecture.  The former highest ranking Roman Catholic cleric in Great Britain is the latest in a long line of Catholic clergy to fall below these so called standards–and a great deal of those priests were very high ranking.  From an outside point of view it looks like there ARE certain standards required and many priests are living up to them rather than falling below.  And like many of the other sexual miscreants in the that profession he never apologised or admitted to his deviances until he was actually caught out.

A little memo to the latest three apprehended would be bombers in Londonderry—conveniently labelled reality a branch of the omnipresent and good old fashioned IRA. You are as well sitting in the house and voicing your discontent on twitter or facebook.  Are you missing the glaring consistencies here?  Virtually everytime you go to do something or on the odd occassion you actually complete an “operation” arrests follow.  From time immemorial the Republican movement of whatever ilk has been riddled with informers and it now seems that there are more people talking than not.  Give all them guns and bombs back to your bosses and tell them to do their own dirty work!!

Who said that the Alliance paty are a pack of fence sitters? After years of ridicule and derision directed at them about having little or no input on anything of importance they gave the best possible response during a Belfast Telegraph poll of delegates at their recent conference.  When asked about their thoughts on a Border Referendum 42% stated that they had absolutely no opinion on whether they remained in Britain or became part of an united Ireland.  So there.  That’ll silence the critics!!

One final thought.  It seems that wee Jamie has finally ended his hunger and thirst strike–after two and a half days!!  Farley’s Rusks and Fruit Shoots all round then?


Roy Garland’s Attack On Unionism

Once again, Roy Garland the original token Prod at the Irish News, has raised his head above the Alliance Party parapet, to verbally assault the Loyalist Working Class.  In the Irish News  1/3/13 edition, Roy shovels up another shovel full of his famous anti-Loyalist Working Class hobby horse dung, for his gluttonous republican audience.  He implies that the Loyalist Working Class and the innocent victims of indiscriminate IRA terrorism, should remain impassive and totally un-offended in the face of the deliberately perpetual, antagonistic actions which are constantly directed at them, by the British Government employed, professional IRA Terrorist/politicians up at Stormont and on Belfast City Council.
As an excuse Roy keeps on flogging the same old long dead donkey; IE; “ The Union has never been safer.”   The reality is of course that nothing is ever even remotely safe, in the hands of self-serving politicians.  The Alliance party proved that when they colluded with the IRA representatives on Belfast City Council, to totally ignore the results of the EQIA polls and lower the National Standard at Belfast City Hall, against the clearly expressed will of the people.

The self-righteous all-knowing Roy, then goes on to attack the Unionist Forum, which he describes as a route back into the sectarian cul-de-sac.   For Roy’s information the Unionist Forum as far as the RHC is concerned, is a genuine opportunity, for all Loyalist groupings and organisations including the Peoples Forum and Church’s  to co-operate in a genuine attempt to seriously address the many problems effecting Loyalist Working Class Communities; IE; unemployment, under-education, poverty, insecurity, homelessness, drug abuse, hopelessness, suicide, political apathy, parades, the National Standard dispute and the perpetual attempted erosion of Loyalist Working Class Culture and history.

Roy then goes on to praise the latest two fraudulent unionist rats to desert the sinking Unionist Party Ship, but yet again the self-righteous Roy quickly succumbs to his own pompous ego and attempts to rewrite their new parties policy for them. ( Roy always knows better.)

Roy then concludes his attack by suggesting that Stormont should adopt the Modified Borda Count, as an agreed form of consensus Government.      All very strange coming from Roy because he recently rubbished the results of the EQIA, Modified Borda Count, which was used and the results ignored by the EQIA and the Alliance Party, as they bent over backwards in their attempts to find a Gerrymandered electoral system, that would produce the desired result for the EQIA, the Alliance party and apparently Roy Garland, with regard to the flying of the National Standard at Belfast City Hall.   The end result of the polls showed that out of fifteen and a half thousand respondents, less than 10 supported the EQIA and the Alliance parties preferred option, of flying the National Standard only on designated days.

I suspect that Roy’s support for the Modified Borda Count, is based on the fact that it usually results in such a massive mix up of maybe, possibly and if, multi preference selections that, self-righteous academic elitists like the Alliance party and Roy Garland, can manipulate it to gerrymander democracy, in a totally undemocratic manner.

Strangely enough, against all expectations the EQIA, Modified Borda Count, with regard to the National Standard resulted in a massive majority in favour of, no change in the flying of the National Standard at Belfast City Hall.         As expected the unelected EQIA and the totally undemocratic self-righteous elitists of the Alliance party, totally ignored the democratic results of their own polls and proceeded to lower the National Standard, against the will of the electorate.

This blatant abuse of democracy has resulted in massive economic damage to Northern Ireland and hundreds of young defenders of democracy being dragged before the courts, but it has galvanised the Loyalist community into a unity that has not been seen since the early seventies and despite the dishonest support that the Alliance party has received from the Belfast Telegraph and the Sunday World, I have absolutely no doubt that the Alliance Party will be wiped out of all Loyalist Working Class areas, at the next election, regardless of which gerrymandered electoral system is used.

Charlie Freel.