Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


UPDATE- Jamie Bryson-A rebel without a hope?

Mon 24 March 2014, 11:20pm

Tweet You might think I don’t have better things to do with my time but alas this evening I ventured out to conduct my second interview with Jamie Bryson. I was surprised when he contacted me saying he wanted to talk to me again, as our first encounter led him to be generally criticised but […] more »

Forget ethnic thematics: a straightforward response to Billy Hutchinson

Sat 22 March 2014, 8:10pm

Tweet Billy Hutchinson’s explanation for his sectarian murders has been covered below by David McCann. Unfortunately they degenerate into concepts like “Truth recovery”, “ethnic thematics” and such like. The News Letter have provided somewhat more direct responses. From the News Letter: Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said that Mr Hutchinson’s attempted justification of his […] more »

Mr Hutchinson and Ethnic Thematics by Cillian McGrattan

Wed 19 March 2014, 6:06pm

Tweet This a guest post on Billy Hutchinson’s recent interview by Dr.Cillian McGrattan of the University of Ulster When it comes to dealing with the past, the PUP have often been seen as one of the more upfront political parties – that is, less inclined to indulge in ideological double-think, smug condescension or obfuscation about […] more »

McGuinness: in the city of Belfast the UVF, the PUP and the Orange Order are one and the same thing // Robinson responds to the “dictator” deputy First Minister

Thu 16 January 2014, 10:59pm
BBC The View Martin McGuinness

Tweet The moment that draft seven of the Haass proposals went into the shredder may well have been at 10:45pm when BBC NI’s The View broadcast deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness telling Mark Carruthers: Mainstream unionist elected representatives have told me that they accept my analysis that in the city of Belfast the UVF, the […] more »

The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there #spotlightNI

Wed 30 October 2013, 9:19am

Tweet If you have not watched last night’s Spotlight programme I would strongly urge you to do so. In our drive to project a modern and peaceful Northern Ireland, we sometimes forget about some of the criminality that still plagues our province. Stephen Dempster’s report leaves a lot of questions for the PSNI, politicians and […] more »

PUP Conference encouraged to be self-critical; recognises another marginalised community & adopts pro-Equal Marriage policy

Sun 13 October 2013, 9:05am
Billy Hutchinson speech

Tweet The PUP conference left Belfast this year and headed to Brownlow House in Lurgan. More motions, more members speaking up to propose or support those motions, more women, more men in suits and ties, more delegates than recent years with lots of new faces from the new Mid-Ulster branch. If was a conference that […] more »

PUP-Is there anyway back in from the cold?

Sun 29 September 2013, 10:59am

Tweet The PUP has not had a very happy post-Good Friday Agreement existence. Since 1998, they have suffered an electoral decline that would make David Trimble blush. Yes, Northern Ireland’s voice of Loyalism has been out of sorts and out of political influence since it lost its last remaining assembly seat in 2010 when Dawn […] more »

The PUL Community and the Peace Process: An Audit

Tue 21 May 2013, 8:35am
PSA working class loyalism  workshop

Tweet The third session of the all day PSA/Fellowship of Messines workshop – Has the Protestant Working Class lost out in the Peace Process? – looked at the peace process through the eyes of two loyalist leaders and an academic. Strong views on the Social Investment Fund, how paramilitary actions gave unionists confidence in the […] more »

Taking years off your life – NI life expectancy deprivation gaps show increase over last decade

Fri 17 May 2013, 12:04pm
bus route life expectancy - CRC's NI Peace Monitoring Report

Tweet When I asked Billy Hutchinson on Wednesday about the lack of publicity around any PUP campaigning on health and life expectancy, I was thinking about the kind of life expectancy figures that have been released yesterday by the Department of Health in their Inequalities Monitoring System/Life Expectancy Decomposition comparative report: Chapter 4 deals with […] more »

Billy Hutchinson: talking at rallies and protests doesn’t necessarily make you a leader

Fri 17 May 2013, 8:30am
Billy Hutchinson

Tweet Billy Hutchinson – leader of the PUP – said during a workshop on Thursday that the media often used the word “loyalist” as a shortcut to mean “criminal”. He quoted the example of a DUP councillor up in court for some misdemeanour who was described in a newspaper as a “loyalist” rather than a […] more »

On the lack of unionist leadership – what would Paisley in his prime made of it?

Tue 8 January 2013, 12:20pm

Tweet As Paul Bew has pointed out in the Times(£),  with the NIO a rump and now lacking historic memory in depth, there’s not much Theresa Villiers can do to affect the flags disturbances directly, with day to-day responsibility for law and order devolved to Stormont.  Unless that is, the protests gain wider political traction as […] more »

UVF campaign of ‘flying riots’ leaves Unionists isolated…

Thu 6 December 2012, 2:25pm

Tweet All’s far in love and war. Sammy Wilson’s intemperate allusion on UTV last night to his own Justice Minister being carried around in a police landrover might have landed more squarely if there wasn’t a series of ‘flying riots’  going on around the place. Today there’s talk of more disruption, yet to be confirmed, […] more »

Round-up of the PUP conference (including audio from speeches)

Sun 16 October 2011, 9:00am
Billy Hutchinson speaking after taking over as PUP leader

Tweet The Progressive Unionist Party’s annual conference was held on Saturday morning in the large conference room in City East this morning. About 60 people attended. This year exhibitors hadn’t been invited, curtailing a conference revenue stream, but also keeping the focus on party business. I’ve a theory that most party conferences are identifiable from […] more »

Billy Hutchinson is the new Progressive Unionist Party leader

Sat 15 October 2011, 2:12pm
Billy Hutchinson - newly elected as PUP leader

Tweet Billy Hutchinson was the only nomination for leadership and was elected unopposed at this morning’s Progressive Unionist Party conference held in East Belfast. You can watch his first interview as leader and hear his comments on what the PUP stand for, where the party is going and whether the PUP has the energy to […] more »

PUP conference preview

Fri 14 October 2011, 9:32pm

Tweet On Saturday, the Progressive Unionist Party will hold their annual conference. It’s been a year of change for the PUP. In the May elections, neither the PUP’s leader Brian Ervine nor independent Dawn Purvis won a seat in the Assembly. Instead the East Belfast loyalist mantle seemed to pass across to Sammy Douglas, who […] more »

Gusty Spence (1933-2011)

Sun 25 September 2011, 4:33pm

Tweet Gusty Spence died in hospital this weekend aged 78. He served in the British army for five years and was stationed in Cyprus. He was approached to join the UVF in 1965, and soon became its leader in the Shankill. Under his watch, terror raids by local UVF men resulted in the death of […] more »

Healing Through Remembering (new chair Dawn Purvis) refused PEACE III Funding

Sat 13 August 2011, 12:10pm

Tweet When Dawn Purvis was defeated at the Stormont elections, a number of commentators on slugger including myself predicted that she would end up with a job in the quango / do-gooder industry. Indeed I suggested that far from helping those whom she claimed to represent (working class unionists in East Belfast) her time especially […] more »

Brian Ervine resigns as PUP leader

Thu 2 June 2011, 6:13pm

Tweet After the PUP’s failure at the Stormont assembly elections Brain Ervine the leader of the PUP has announced that he is going to stand down. This will be the third leader the PUP has lost in little over two years. Dawn Purvis of course resigned over the murder of Bobby Moffett after having become […] more »

The defeat of the PUP and Dawn Purvis

Sun 8 May 2011, 1:19am

Tweet Throughout most of the election campaign there was a large billboard on the lower Newtownards Road with a picture of a young woman and the following quote “One year on still no one has delivered for working class unionism; that’s why I’m voting PUP.” As it turned out of course relatively few working class […] more »

PUP leader Segways onto the wrong side of the law?

Fri 29 April 2011, 2:29pm
PUPs Brian Ervine on a Segway on an East Belfast pavement

Tweet Posters and Segway scooters. With less than a week to go until the election, candidates will have sore feet, lost weight and be counting the hours until polling closes on Thursday night at 10pm. The PUP is certainly pulling its weight when it comes to election gimmicks. Last week they unveiled a poster featuring […] more »

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