The Ideology of New Loyalism

 

 

Former Blanket   commentator, DR JOHN COULTER, in the first of a series of exclusive articles   for Long Kesh Inside Out, outlines his ideology of New Loyalism, which he   believes will give the entire Protestant community a fresh and positive   political direction.

 

While there is much talk about the so-called loyalist   revolution which is taking place within the Protestant community, the core   challenge to loyalism is that it needs an ideological direction.

Entire articles   can be devoted to the faults of loyalism, the failures of political unionism,   and Protestant apathy. We can all list what loyalism opposes, but the   Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist (PUL) community needs to radically address what   it supports and stands for.

 

As someone from a   mainstream Irish Presbyterian, Ulster Unionist, Orange background in North   Antrim, I can easily document what loyalism is ‘agin’. Equally, loyalists can   easily explain what Irish republicans’ ultimate aspirations are – a   32-county, democratic socialist republic.

But surely there   must be more to loyalist aspirations than merely avoiding the scenario of the   long-term republican aspiration of a united Ireland? Loyalists need to ask   what they are loyal to, and why? What are the political aspirations of   loyalism?

The Union flag   crisis sparked by the so-called pro-Union Alliance Party in Belfast has once   more thrown Ulster loyalism into the global media spotlight. There is only   one, solitary, democratic way for loyalism to pay the Alliance Party back for   its vote in Belfast City Council – do not give loyalist transfers to   Alliance, or vote Alliance ‘X’ ever again.

With increasing   apathy among pro-Union voters, Alliance has recognised the need to survive   politically by shifting its emphasis from being a ‘small u’ unionist party to   becoming a ‘small n’ nationalist party.

From Alliance’s   point of view, there is a need to attract transfers from middle class   Catholic voters of the SDLP and working class republicans of Sinn Fein than   from the so-called ‘Big Two’ unionist parties. Even Stormont First Minister   and DUP leader Peter Robinson has recognised that given Protestant voter   apathy, he must make the DUP more appealing to the voting Catholic Unionists.

The vast majority   of Alliance’s elected representatives need Unionist transfer voters to win   their seats. The polling booth, never the petrol bomb, is the method to   ensure a long-term Alliance defeat in forthcoming Stormont, council and   Commons polls.

Practically,   loyalism must be asking itself, how does it take the flags protest off the   streets? Where does the Unionist Forum and People’s Forum initiatives go now?   Tactically, the current PUL community finds itself in exactly the same place   which the Catholic community in Ulster and the Afro-Caribbean community in   America’s Southern states in the mid to late 1960s.

There is a real   need for loyalists to both register as voters – and actually follow that up   by voting in the vast numbers in the same way they turned out for the two   Westminster General Elections when pro-Union candidates took every seat with   the exception of Gerry Fitt’s West Belfast stronghold.

Is being a   loyalist two current aspirations – loyalty to the English Throne being Protestant,   and ensuring political Ulster remains in the Union of the United Kingdom? Is   the loyalist ideology as it presently stands, therefore, ‘agin’ anything   which threatens either of these two basic aspirations?

If this is the   case, it is not new leaders, a new party, a new direction which loyalism   needs, but it requires a new ideology. The ideology of New Loyalism seeks to   plug that vacuum.

It is based on   the long-term aspiration that we should take back what is rightfully our’s;   the land which was won during the Glorious Revolution of the 1690s when the   Williamite campaign set the political foundations for the Protestant   Ascendancy across the whole of the island, not just six counties in the North   East of Ireland.

New Loyalism   emphasises that the Republic – not Northern Ireland – as a political   experience has failed. The Republic is financially bankrupt; its greatest   export is its people as thousands emigrate to seek work, particularly in   Australia.

Morally and   religiously, the Irish Bishops no longer hold any sway over the Southern   people because of the Irish Catholic Church has been globally discredited as   a result of the clerical abuse scandals.

The 1998 Good   Friday Agreement established a series of British-Irish institutions which covertly   give the United Kingdom a practical say in the running of the South. The UK   has its biggest influence on the Republic since partition in the 1920s.

Unionism made a   huge mistake in 1985 when the Anglo-Irish Agreement established the Maryfield   Secretariat in Belfast. While Unionists tramped the streets of Ulster to   protest at what they perceived to be the South having a say in the running of   Northern Ireland, it failed to return the serve by establishing a rival   Unionist Embassy at Dublin’s Leinster House.

In the 1980s, the   South’s Celtic Tiger economy was only in its infancy. Any supposed gained   from Maryfield have been wiped out by the total collapse of that Celtic Tiger   and the South’s reliance on European Union handouts to stay financially   afloat.

New Loyalism   recognises that Ireland – north and south – must and should be a Unionist   island. Only by rejoining the Commonwealth can the 26 counties of Southern   Ireland avoid the world humiliation of deteriorating into a fifth-rate,   African-style banana republic.

New Loyalism’s   agenda and long-term aspiration is to persuade the South to join the   influential Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as a first step to full   Commonwealth membership. New Loyalism must be to the fore in building a New   Union whereby the South comes back into UK membership.

This year will   see many loyalists commemorate the centenary of the campaign against Home   Rule in 1913. In that era, ‘Home Rule Meant Rome Rule’. One hundred years   later, the grip of the Irish Catholic Church has been broken with the   Protestant-influenced Elim Pentecostal movement being one of the fastest   growing denominations in the Republic.

As well as   building a stronger Union with the UK on this island, New Loyalism will also   have as its core the maintaining and expanding of Biblical Christianity   throughout Ireland as the Christian faith comes under increasing pressure   from secularism and pluralism.

However, this   should not be misinterpreted as New Loyalism seeking a return to Hell-fire   preachers who influenced so many working class loyalists into actions which   resulted in them ending up in jail or the cemetery. Rather, New Loyalism   seeks to get Christian churches – especially in Protestantism – to re-engage   with their flocks, especially in working class areas. New Loyalism will seek   to bring true Biblical meaning to the maxim – For God And Ulster.

To help with the   mobilisation of the PUL community, New Loyalism wants to see the introduction   of compulsory voting, as exists in the Commonwealth nation of Australia.   Under New Loyalism, citizenship is not about how many cash benefits can be   squeezed out of the system, but how a citizen of the British state can   actively take part in the political process. Under compulsory voting, every   loyalist voter is important.

New Loyalism will   promote the concept of Pride in British Citizenship, whereby to hold a   British passport, a citizen will have to swear and Oath of Allegiance to   assist the state in whatever way it he/she can.

Ultimately, one   of the principal aims of New Loyalism will be to restore the concept of unity   among the PUL community. The history of that community is littered with   failed initiatives which uttered bucketloads of well-spoken, but totally   empty rhetoric.

The long-term   aspiration of New Loyalism is to create a single, united political movement   to represent all shades of pro-Union, pro-Commonwealth and anti-EU thinking   on this island.

One of the most   successful unionist unity organisations in the past half-century was the   hardline, Right-wing Vanguard movement. But its fate was sealed the moment it   ceased being an influential pressure group and launched itself as a political   party, thereby further fragmenting the pro-Union vote.

The initial aim   of New Loyalism’s pressure group, the League of Commonwealth Loyalists, is to   mobilise the PUL community into getting on the electoral register and making   a pledge to vote in all and future democratic elections.

The present   severe street unrest was caused by the removal of the Union flag from Belfast   City Hall from flying 365 days per year. As the ideologist writing New   Loyalism, I hope the Good Lord spares me long enough to see the Union and   Commonwealth flags flying over Leinster House and Dublin Castle.

Don’t dismiss   this aspiration as meaningless and impossible. The PUL community should   remember the historic speech by a DUP leader in 1985 which included the   famous pledge ‘Never, Never, Never, Never.’ Just over a quarter of a century   later, that same DUP leader entered a power-sharing administration at   Stormont with Provisional Sinn Fein and unleashed the era of ‘The Chuckle   Brothers’.

Some day, the   Occupied 26 Counties which now form the failed and bankrupt republic will   re-enter the Commonwealth.

 

 

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One Response to The Ideology of New Loyalism

  1. John,
    I often read your articles on the TPQ and your views are sometimes (more often that not ) left of centre..

    It is based on the long-term aspiration that we should take back what is rightfully our’s; the land which was won during the Glorious Revolution of the 1690s when the Williamite campaign set the political foundations for the Protestant Ascendancy across the whole of the island, not just six counties in the North East of Ireland.

    The land wasn’t ‘yours’ in the first place to take..

    The Republic is financially bankrupt; its greatest export is its people as thousands emigrate to seek work, particularly in Australia.

    And the North runs at a profit? The island of Ireland is bankrupt (both parts)..And how many ‘Northerners’ leave for the same reasons…?

    New Loyalism’s agenda and long-term aspiration is to persuade the South to join the influential Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as a first step to full Commonwealth membership. New Loyalism must be to the fore in building a New Union whereby the South comes back into UK membership.
    Why should new loyalism forge stronger ties to the UK, when the vast majority of UK residents don’t give two flying fcuks about them or feel any kindred spirit towards them?

    As well as building a stronger Union with the UK on this island, New Loyalism will also have as its core the maintaining and expanding of Biblical Christianity throughout Ireland as the Christian faith comes under increasing pressure from secularism and pluralism.

    No offence John but the religious angle you always try to inject into your arguments is part of the reason, we are a divided society..

    Last point you are an Irish Presbyterian, not a British one (your words not mine)..Why don’t you preach what another Irish Presbyterian wanted. Instead of wanting to keep people as subjects and divided with some misplaced loyalty to a throne and Gov. that really doesn’t care…

    To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country–these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissentions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in the place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic, and Dissenter