New Loyalism..Combating The Cancer Of The Three “C”s.

 

NEW LOYALISM – COMBATING THE CANCER OF THE THREE   ‘C’s

 

Former Blanket columnist, Dr John Coulter, in   the latest in his exclusive series, outlines the case why his ideology of New   Loyalism should embrace Biblical Christianity as its core belief rather than   trying to create a secular society in Northern Ireland.

 

New   Loyalism radically needs to put God back into the famous maxim – For God And   Ulster.

I am attempting through New Loyalism to   give the loyalist community a fresh direction and a solution to the political   and social cancer which has bedeviled it since 1974. I have branded this   cancer ‘The Three C’s’ – Complacency, Compromise and Catastrophe.

 

Even the opening paragraph of this article   on New Loyalism may be enough to get many heckles raised from the loyalist   community. Hopefully, this article will not be dismissed as yet another Bible   Thumper trying to preach to the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist (PUL)   communities.

Many in the PUL community will quite   understandably take the view that there has been too much religion in Ulster   politics and a secular society is the only solution to maintaining a stable   peace process in Northern Ireland.

Loyalists have every justification for   expressing the view – how many from the PUL community have ended up in prison   or an early grave because they listened to the religious rantings of   Christian Tub Thumpers, warning them about the dangers of so-called Rome   Rule?

How many from the PUL community were   fooled into thinking the Official and Provisional IRAs’ and INLA’s campaigns   against that community were in the cause of the mythical notion of ‘Holy   Mother Ireland’.

That notion died with James Connolly when   General Maxwell ordered his execution in 1916. Connolly was a devout   communist, more influenced by the atheistic rambling of Karl Marx than the   sermons of the Irish Catholic Bishops.

Connolly wanted to take religion out of   Irish nationalism. The late 20th century off-shoots of the Irish   Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army – namely, the Stickies, Provies and INLA,   and the even more wacky IPLO – were dominated by Marxist rhetoric, not   Catholic nationalism.

The Bible Thumpers within Protestantism   managed to fool many in the PUL community into thinking the war against   republicanism was a loyalist jihad against Irish Catholicism. It seemed some   of these Bible Thumpers wanted to recreate the ethos of the Middle Age   Crusades when thousands of young Christian knights travelled to the Holy Land   to literally lock swords with the Middle Ages’ equivalent of the extreme   Islamic Taliban.

In reality, the Provisional and Official   republican movements as well as the republican socialist movement of the IRSP   and INLA were nothing more than the 1970s Marxist Red Army Faction from West   Germany under an Irish banner.

Such Hell fire preachers conveniently   forgot to mention the war against the IRAs and the INLA was a war against   communism, not Rome. Instead of joining the security forces to defeat this   communist threat, many in the PUL community joined loyalist paramilitary   groups as they mistakenly misinterpreted these Hell fire sermons and speeches   as the need to confront ‘Rome Rule’.

The ‘leave it to the security forces to   defeat the communist IRA’ had been the tactic which the Stormont Government   had employed when the IRA embarked on its disastrous Border Campaign of   1956-62. The famous RUC B-Specials, or B-Men, played a frontline role in   defeating the IRA in that campaign.

The Nationalist Party at Stormont   certainly did not offer the same SDLP or Sinn Fein-style criticism of the RUC   during that Border Campaign.

Loyalism then began to suffer over the   years of the conflict since the late 1960s from ‘Grand Old Duke of York   Syndrome.’ This was where those pumping out these Hell fire messages would   encourage the PUL community to mobilize and take action, but after they had   led the loyalists to the top of the hill, they would either lead them down   again, or distance themselves and run away. Is it any wonder bitter   experience taught many in the PUL community that Biblical Principles was ‘a   dirty phrase’?

In the late 1960s, a vigilante movement,   the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, was nothing more than a well-conceived   publicity stunt to undermine O’Neill’s liberalizing policies. The same   criticism could also be pointed at another loyalist vigilante group which   emerged in 1981 – the Ulster Third Force.

And in 1986 in the wake of the previous   year’s Anglo-Irish Agreement, loyalism against mobilized at the whim of Bible   Thumpers to unveil the red berets of the Ulster Resistance Movement. Certain   political leaders were photographed with their red berets marching side by   side with loyalists.

Yet as soon as the so-called Paris Three   scandal broke over alleged weapons sales and a huge shipment of guns was   brought into Northern Ireland from apartheid South Africa and masterminded by   the now dead double agent Brian Nelson, the Unionist parties dumped their   public links with Ulster Resistance quicker than rats leaving a sinking ship.

As Ulster’s jails began to fill with   loyalists who had been influenced by Hell fire rhetoric, many began to   question if religion had a place in the loyalist mindset.

During chats I had with the late Gusty   Spence and the late David Ervine, I got the distinct impression their   socialism was really aimed at finding a radical alternative politically to   the Hell fire preaching which had landed so many loyalists in jail.

Middle class Unionist fundamentalists were   making the enflaming speeches and sermons, but it was the working class   loyalists who were serving the jail sentences.

Some elements within Protestant   fundamentalism have tried to brand the Progressive Unionist Party as hardline   socialist, even Marxist in orientation. I recall one fundamentalist cleric   referring to the PUP leadership on the Shankill Road as ‘the Shankill   Soviet’.

Left-wing the PUP certainly is, but if   Spence and Ervine had wanted to go the whole way about their socialist   agenda, they would have called the PUP the Communist Party of Northern   Ireland.

Essentially, I believe the modern-day   socialism of the PUP – even those policies which could be ideologically   aligned to atheistic Marxism are more a defence mechanism to prevent   firebrand preachers or fundamentalist politicians leading the working class   loyalist community up another hill – and then deserting them there.

In an earlier article entitled Pastoral   Loyalism, I argued the need for the Protestant denominations to re-engage   with the loyalist working class who now feels both alienated and deserted by the   mainstream middle-class dominated Unionist parties.

The rapid rise of the directionless Ulster   People’s Forum is really many in the PUL community giving a two-fingered   salute to the mainstream Unionist leadership. This is how complacency has set   into the PUL community. The Unionist leadership had the political ‘bull by   the horns’ in 1974 when it used the working class loyalist community to pull   down the power-sharing Sunningdale Executive with the SDLP.

In 1974, had the Unionist leadership   provided the alternative of a voluntary coalition with the UUUC, or Unionist   Coalition, and Gerry Fitt’s SDLP, Sinn Fein would never have got off the   ground politically.

To make the new Right-wing UUUC/SDLP   power-sharing Executive work, the British Government would have happily used   the SAS at great lengths to permanently eliminate the IRA’s terror campaign.

By being complacent about a replacement   for Sunningdale and arguments as to who would be the then equivalent of the   First and deputy First Ministers, the Unionist Coalition effectively laid the   foundation for a process which now sees the DUP in a partnership Stormont   Executive with Sinn Fein.

This is where the second cancerous ‘C’ has   crept in – concessions. The alienation process between the loyalist community   and the Unionist leadership did not begin with the Good Friday Agreement, but   with the alleged side deals which were agreed between Sinn Fein and the DUP   at the St Andrews Agreement in 2006.

The DUP also swallowed the bait from the   Dublin and London governments that a so-called ‘Plan B’ existed that if   Stormont failed, it would not mean a return to Direct Rule from London, but   Joint Authority between the Dail and Westminster.

Combining these scenarios has had the   resulting effect of the third ‘C’ – Catastrophes. These include Sinn Fein in   government, a dissident republican terror campaign, loyalist working class   areas seemingly receiving less peace process benefits than their nationalist   counterparts, Unionist voter apathy, the erosion of the state grammar sector,   and many from the PUL community feeling their Britishness is being eroded and   they have no political champions to turn to.

During the Victorian era when Britain   expanded her Empire across the globe, the core element of that greatness was   Biblical Christianity. The words of Jesus Christ in the Bible, not the   rantings of atheist communists Marx and Lenin, were central to Britain’s   colonial agenda.

Just as the Unionist parties now realize   that they can no longer march people up and down the political hill, the   loyalist working class must re-embrace Biblical Christianity as its core   pillar and realize that atheistic socialism, or Marxism fell years ago with   the Berlin Wall in Germany.

The Churches have a major part to play in   this healing process in restoring the true ethos of ‘For God And Ulster’.   They, too, must embrace the agenda of ‘God For Ulster.’

The creation of a secular society by   politicians or parties weighted to either Liberal Unionist, extreme   socialist, or atheistic Marxism will lead to a further dilution of   Britishness among the Unionist family.

New Loyalism is not seeking to unleash a   fresh generation of Bible Thumping clerics upon the PUL community. New   Loyalism recognizes that just as a rift exists between the PUL community and   mainstream Unionist parties, that same rift exists to a large degree between   the PUL community and many of the Protestant denominations – especially those   Churches which in the past supplied many of the Hell fire preachers.

New   Loyalism seeks to heal that rift. There must be more dialogue and interaction   between the Churches and the PUL communities. Perhaps what is needed as a   start is a new uniformed Christian youth movement, or revamping existing ones   such as the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades.

I know the power and influence of both   these Christian movements. I began my journalistic career in the late 1970s   as the Boys’ Brigade correspondent for my local newspaper, the Ballymena   Guardian in north Antrim.

New Loyalism seeks, therefore, to put   personal pride back into the youth of the PUL community. More importantly,   restore proper political and Christian pride back into that famous maxim –   For God and Ulster.

 

 

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