UPRG miss Paisley’s Twelfth speech, head to Dublin instead…

PETE flagged up what the loyalist delegation to Bertie Ahern would say, and it was accurate – concern over the increasing likelihood of the November 24 deadline for devolution being missed and current moves towards facilitating ‘joint stewardship’. Bertie, the old smoothie, has told them what they want to hear, and the UDA UPRG boys seemed happy enough with his statement. In fact, they sounded positively pro-Agreement, which might make a few DUP members take note, as it creates an interesting dynamic in the peace process…Paisley’s speech in the Twelfth Field was criticised by all the other parties, and now by the UPRG, who now appear to regard the Good Friday Agreement as a bulwark against perceived Joint Authority. The UPRG statement after the Ahern meeting was reminiscent of PUP leader David Ervine’s past comments about the DUP.

David Nicholl told the BBC:

“(We want) to persuade people there is no sell-out plan, that there is no betrayal, that there will be no imposition of any further agreement. There is one agreement. People must sign up to it.”

Mr Nicholl also said the taoiseach had given them assurances there would be “no imposition of an Anglo-Irish (Agreement) mark two”.

“The Good Friday Agreement is the only way forward and we welcome all the support that he has given us on our journey and transformation as well and we look forward to working with him in the future,” he said.

If the perceived threat of Joint Authority now within the two largest loyalist paramilitary groups means their political representatives are in the pro-Agreement camp, it leaves the DUP politically isolated within loyalism and unionism as the only anti-Agreement faction. It seems that in the event of political meltdown, the DUP could no longer rely on loyalist paramilitary muscle. The DUP “can’t be bought” and does not see the November 24 ‘threat’ as real, while loyalism needed assurance (and a few investment promises), but seems to be moving in a different direction from Paisley.

Will the loyalist constituency now be weighing up the Agreement against the ‘threat’ of Direct Rule evolving into Joint Authority? Can the DUP hold out until next year?

I reckon they’re thran enough to give it a go, but expect the pressure to continue.

  • Donnacha

    Insteresting times indeed. I was pleasantly surprised to see Nicholls deliver a robust rebuff to Paisley’s “over my dead body” rant.

    “But loyalism is not going to fill the grave or fill prisons for the next 35 years on anyone’s behalf.

    “If there is blood to be spilled then let Dr Paisley spill his own blood, because it will not be our bodies he is climbing over.”

    About time somebody realised this, I would have thought, but better late than never.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    I wouldn’t hold my breath, Donnacha.

    Its still muppet season, the locals are still restless, and there are two Loyalist fraticidal conflicts simmering — the standard UVF / LVF feud and the possible UDA “house-cleaning.”

    Its all talk — good talk, admittedly, but talk nonetheless. Let’s get some deeds in before we declare them sane and moving in a useful direction.

  • Rubicon

    BG – You refer to the DUP as a “faction” and loyalism as a “constituency”. Are you letting your opinions get in the way of your judgement? The DUP have 33 seats in the Assembly and have reduced UUP representation in Westminster to a single seat. The UPRG have no representation in either the Assembly or Westminster.

    This makes the DUP the leading voice within the unoinist constituency and that didn’t happen by chance. Time will tell, but the UUP/PUP pact does not seem to have been a popular move within unionism.

    The UPRG supporting the GFA will be read by many unionist voters as the judgement of corner boys and thugs. Hardly a ringing edorsement – whether it’s progress – I’ll reserve judgement until actions follow.

  • smcgiff

    Most interestingly I thought was when they said they would help keep the peace in Northern Ireland if the November deadline was missed.

  • phil

    4. The support for the GFA by an organisation with no significant political representation is no accident either, of course…the GFA gives them a potential weight no elections ever would.

  • Peking

    Unionism can now sleep soundly in it’s bed after the UDA has said there will be no joint authority.
    Someone should explain what de facto means to these morons.
    On another point, is the cosy UDA/DUP realtionship of the last few years starting to crumble?

  • Stephen Copeland

    I think people are ascribing motives to the UPRG that may not be entirely correct. Their support for the GFA may be opportunistic, but it may not. Lets not forget that the UDA (behind whatever front or cover-name they were currently using) have traditionally been quicker to think outside the unionist box than the ‘mainstream’ parties. OK, some of their ideas were pure crazy (their 1970s version of independence, for example), but at least they looked. That is more than can be said for the nay-sayers of the DUP and the UUP.

    Perhaps their support for the GFA is genuine. Perhaps they really do feel that it is a fair compromise for the time being. It is certainly an avenue that needs to be explored, and it is a lot better than seeing them in balaclavas dancing to the mad mullah’s tune.

  • Ian

    “On another point, is the cosy UDA/DUP realtionship of the last few years starting to crumble?”

    It was more of a cosy North Belfast UDA/DUP relationship, judging by Nigel Dodds’ outrage at the raid on the Alexandra Bar. Now that the rest of the UDA have booted out the North Belfast ringleaders, the relationship seems to have faltered. Newton Emerson did a very incisive piece a while back which suggested the DUP was trying to undermine the ‘doves’ in the UDA whilst cosying up to its ‘hawks’ (relative terms of course).

  • loftholdingswood

    Davy Nicholl’s statement is but a prelude to some fundamental changes that are occurring within Loyalist areas. It is gratifying to see the UPRG finally grasp the nettle and state what many members have stated for years; why are we mere pawns in a larger political game? Our members have never had a “cosy” relationship with the DUP. What we have had (and only now have the clarity of thought to see) was a bastardised version of a “kind uncle” relationship where the uncle would slip us some encouragement from time to time but basically wanted to use us for personal gain. How many times have I spoken to various DUP people when there has been a crisis that needed the “heavies” bringing out only to be rebuffed when we have asked for help in our particular estate or area? The relationship, if there was one, was based on mutual distrust and downright hostility. Drumcree was an example of being dragged in to something that was truly not worth losing people over. And before anyone mentions it, yes there are those that would go out of their way to look for a row in a telephone box and who would always dance to the DUP tune. But those days are gone.

    These are mere words of course. Just as the UPRG statement is merely words of intent. But these have been well received words in the rank and file and resonate in the working class areas who only see the DUP on the week before elections. We will see as always whether the words can be turned into deeds but, looking as I am from having the quietest 11th and 12th I have ever known (quite as in no trouble), the hard work being undertaken by the UPRG and fellow community representatives (PUP must also be acknowledged) is beginning to bear fruit.

  • Peking

    I was referring to their over-confident claim that failure to agree by November 24 did not mean joint authority because Bertie assured them it didn’t. It could be argued that we have had JA for many years now and the sky hasn’t fallen in.
    Bertie might have said de facto but with his broad north Dublin accent they thought he was talking about some factory.
    Or more likely, they don’t give shit what happens because Bertie promised them lots of money, continued immunity from prosecution and a few more ego boosting meetings.
    As for the UDA/DUP love in, it was happening in an awful lot more places than North Belfast. For a while it was hard to find somewhere it wasn’t going on. It is possible that Nicholl’s remarks weren’t part of any agreed script and he got carried away with his moment in the sun and repeated what PUP spokespeople have been saying for years about Paisley.

  • Peking

    loftholdingswood

    Was the beating half to death of a pub doorman a few days ago by a 20-strong team of south Belfast UDA men part of this new look organisation? Or the sick UDA video on the killing of the wee lad in Ballymena?

  • loftholdingswood

    “Was the beating half to death of a pub doorman a few days ago by a 20-strong team of south Belfast UDA men part of this new look organisation? Or the sick UDA video on the killing of the wee lad in Ballymena?”

    The first part I can answer and the answer is “NO”, it was wrong and should not be part of the new era that I am talking about. I understand that people have been arrested and will be charged. A prison term obviously awaits.

    The other part of your question I know nothing (or have heard nothing) about – a video glorifying/wallowing in the death of anyone is dim in the extreme.

    My decrying of the two points you highlight will not change what has happened though. My earnest endeavours in the area I represent will hopefully change some hearts and minds and move things away from the type of activity you describe. The consensus is that we have made progress. It is not enough. But those progressive thinking people will just have to try harder.

  • Allen R Butler

    The general consensus on this issue is ” Actions speak louder than words”.

    Me, I’m an optimist and hope that what the UPRG are saying is truth rather than fiction. But time will tell.

    AL

  • Peking

    “a 20-strong team of south Belfast UDA men”

    One or two crazies acting off their own bat can be explained away, just about. But 20 UDA men wrecking a bar and beating nearly to death a doorman a few days after a couple of members were ejected has to have been pre-planned. Where does this put the media loving, infamous golfer and president’s friend who runs that part of Belfast in respect of your bright new future?
    This had to be okayed by him, or is the claim now going to be that he needs more money and support because he’s losing influence?

  • gg

    loftholdingswood

    While I don’t think we can completely forget the pain the UDA et al. have brought upon their own areas, I genuinely hope you (plural) can deliver.

    The thing is, though, if you set yourself up as a community representative, you have to deal with that community in more ways than repainting a mural. This week has reminded us of the work which needs to be done in dealing with the virulent anti-Catholic sentiment that still pervades working class areas. What solution is there to the things like the flag on the bonfire in Ahoghill? What actions can be taken? I just wonder if some paramilitary leaders would actually classify these things as being wrong – if they had wouldn’t the McIlveen flag have been removed?

    I’m not criticising your efforts, I’m just interested in what the next steps are.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “The first part I can answer and the answer is “NO”, it was wrong and should not be part of the new era that I am talking about. I understand that people have been arrested and will be charged. A prison term obviously awaits.”

    Really? One would have thought that a prison term awaited the Shoukri brothers, but the prosecutors are already working on a second bite at the apple. Likewise, one would have thought the Whiterock rioters should receive at least a slap on the wrist as a minimum, yet prosecutorial incompetence conveniently reared up to let them off the hook.

    LHW: ” The other part of your question I know nothing (or have heard nothing) about – a video glorifying/wallowing in the death of anyone is dim in the extreme. ”

    Why thank you, Sgt Schultz… what did you make of the bonfires celebrating young master McIlveen’s death, then? A video would not be out of the realm of probability — plenty of stupid thugs out there.

    LHW: “My decrying of the two points you highlight will not change what has happened though. My earnest endeavours in the area I represent will hopefully change some hearts and minds and move things away from the type of activity you describe. The consensus is that we have made progress. It is not enough. But those progressive thinking people will just have to try harder. ”

    Pretty words do not paper over foul deeds with any great efficacy.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Donnach.

    “About time somebody realised this, I would have thought, but better late than never.”

    I echo much of what loftholdingswood has said @ 11:18 AM. David Ervine has been saying much the same for years. I know some people with Loyalist links and they have known the truth of this for years about the abusive relationship between unionism and Loyalism. The fact is that they hate the idea of outsiders knowing all about it.

    Loyalists preach to each other about “divided we fall” and other such nonsense, whisper the truth to each other, but will rarely admit the truth to outsiders. I’m afraid examples like this have stunted any kind of real disscussion for a long time, as dissension leads to splits. And the seige mentality tells them that splits will leave them isolated to attack from the cunning fenians. As if you hadn’t already realised it, it invariably is all just one crafty fenian plot after another.

    The fact that another prominent Loyalist has spoken out can only be good for unionism/loyalism in general. It may encourage movement from entrenched positions, that in my POV loyalists are far more adventurous than the currant Unionist leadership. Then again I know for a fact that because someone like me welcomes this as a positive move, this will cause some to look deeper for some devious fenian plot. We can only hope that as time moves on, less are looking for the shovels to dig deeper.

  • loftholdingswood

    gg,

    Some fair points made. Of course there has to be more than mere posturing/issuing statements of intent and putting on Sunday’s best suit and chew the fat with Bertie. All organisations by their very nature are disparate,loosely knit and “leader driven” (the particular leader of that area) so you are going to get different views in the six particular areas. I can only “see” what is happening in my area (outside of Belfast) and contribute to the efforts that are being made (though as the UPRG grows we are beginning to have province wide meetings).

    “Pretty words do not paper over foul deeds with any great efficacy.”

    No, they sure don’t and I am not pretending to.

    “what did you make of the bonfires celebrating young master McIlveen’s death, then”

    I thought it was wrong. gg mentions that perhaps in the future “leaders” would have the sense to take them down. I’d agree with that.

    Someone mentioned to me the other day that making progress is akin to pissing in the wind and will only fall back on me. It could well be.

    “I’m not criticising your efforts, I’m just interested in what the next steps are.”

    I appreciate that you are being constructive. Next steps? more influence, more control.Off the top of my head; Reduction in flags from the whole year round to just a small time in the marching season. Elimination of paramilitary flags (impossible? have just gone through the 12th period in my area with not a single UDA flag). Further consultation with other community workers to eliminate “trouble’ in parts of the town that attract that type of thing. Further discussion with the District Council, pooling information and resources to ease tension at this time of year. More youth workers, more community houses on mixed estates, bringing all children together. Things like that at a local level. At a national level? Ultimately we will talk to all representatives of all political parties. And I do mean all.

  • lib2016

    The DUP have devoted their energies to unionist infighting to the point where they are now unable to move, either into government or into defiance.

    Either way they face a split and the calamity of Sinn Fein becoming the largest NI party. A calamity for which they would be blamed by their unionist rivals.

    Unionism functioned in an opposition role for years after the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Would it be possible to create a similar role for them in whatever bodies are set up after the Nov deadline? Or is it Government’s intention to let the seven local authorities be their only voice?

    I think we can take it that the reaction of Westminster will be to isolate and freeze out any Irish voices, as they have been trying to do for over a hundred years.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Actually, LHW, gg asked you a question, one you didn’t answer.

    gg: “What solution is there to the things like the flag on the bonfire in Ahoghill? What actions can be taken? I just wonder if some paramilitary leaders would actually classify these things as being wrong – if they had wouldn’t the McIlveen flag have been removed? ”

    Obviously, the Loyalists thought it appropriate — even their leaders, since they put it up in the first place. Once up and subjected to criticism for their brutish and Neadrathal display, I can understand digging their heels in — the whole bonfire shtick is an act of cultural dominance and to take down the offending material would water-down that diplay of dominance.

  • loftholdingswood

    Dread Cthulthu,

    I’ll answer it – a local leader should have taken it down.

  • fair_deal

    “it leaves the DUP politically isolated within loyalism and unionism as the only anti-Agreement faction.”

    If the UDA and UVF are all bought in again so what, it didn’t worry the DUP in 1998 why would it now?

  • gg

    LHW

    “I’ll answer it – a local leader should have taken it down.”

    Do you think your opinion is a widely-held one amongst these local leaders?

  • loftholdingswood

    “Do you think your opinion is a widely-held one amongst these local leaders?”

    No. Hence the need for more hard work.

  • gg

    LHW

    That’s one of the most honest (and constructive) answers I’ve heard on here. I hope you can succeed. I’m sure it won’t be an easy task, but keep at it!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Fair Deal asked: “If the UDA and UVF are all bought in again so what, it didn’t worry the DUP in 1998 why would it now?”

    It no longer has the ability to rabble rouse loyalism to the same effect, to be blunt. I doubt hardline loyalism has the stomach for the widepread violence surrounding Drumcree, for example. And there’s no LVF any more.

    Militant loyalism seems to have cottoned on to the fact that it has finally been faced down.

    The DUP can’t rely on loyalist violence to up the temperature as it has in the past. Paramilitaries are now saying they no longer refuse to be marched to the top of the hill, only to be abandoned there by armchair generals. So it’s forced the DUP into going “purely political” (for want of a better phrase), and I’m glad that’s the case.

    I much prefer people like yourself going out and calming tensions than doing nothing or encouraging it!

  • gg

    One of the best moments surrounding the talks in 1998 was the Paisley press conference on the Thursday night. Although it’s rude to shout people down, I felt that Paisley deserved a taste of his own medicine when the loyalists stood up to his same old rhetoric. I hoped at that point that loyalists had finally realised the stultifying effects the Paisleyites and the demagogue himself had done to their – and wider – society and weren’t going to play along anymore. I get that feeling again and I hope it’s warranted this time.

  • harpo

    ‘There is one agreement. People must sign up to it’

    So the UDA/UPRG is telling everyone that they have to sign the agreement?

    I say fuck them. Terrorists have no right to tell anyone, unionist or otherwise what has to be done. And this statement is all the more galling when one considers what others keep on pointing out – that these jokers have next to no political support, with no seats in the Assembly or Westminster.

    It’s bad enough to have the supposed IR terrorists of PSF/PIRA telling us all what to do, but to acknowledge reality, they do have a constituency to back them up. They have considerable popular support. So thei opinion, no matter how galling, have the backing af a lot of people.

    The UDA/UPRG represent fcuk all squared, and thus their opinions are merely those of a terrorist movement that can attract next to no popular support. So as someone said, they can’t be painted as representing anything other than the few supporters of a terrorist gangster organization. This is like letting Al Capone give his opinion on political matters, as if he represents a lot of people.

  • TAFKABO

    We live in interesting times.
    Of course actions (or in some cases inaction) speak louder than words, but it is encouraging to me nevertheless.

    I also note with interest that some people here seem almost frightened by the idea that Loyalists could act in a manner which defies the commonly held view of them.
    I guess there’s nothing worse than someone who fails to live down to your expectations.
    If and when the Loyalist depart the scene, some people will be in need of a new pretext to demonise all of Unionsm.I notice Gerry Adams made reference to drug dealing yesterday, as did some commentators in Slugger, even though there was a recent report highlighted here in Slugger saying that Northern Ireland didn’t have the same scale of drug abuse and surrounding problems as the Irish republic and other parts of the UK.

    D’ya think it’s the Loyalists involved in the drugs trade in Dublin?

  • Ian

    “The DUP can’t rely on loyalist violence to up the temperature as it has in the past. Paramilitaries are now saying they no longer refuse to be marched to the top of the hill, only to be abandoned there by armchair generals.”

    But it’s less than a year since the UDA and UVF came out guns blazing in support of the Whiterock Orange march when it was banned from a short stretch of the Springfield Road. Had the new-look Parades Commission not shamelessly capitulated this time round, who’s to say they wouldn’t have done the same last month?

    These things come and go in cycles – I’d say it’s far too early to make the judgement that you suggest.

  • harpo

    ‘BG – You refer to the DUP as a “faction” and loyalism as a “constituency”….This makes the DUP the leading voice within the unoinist constituency and that didn’t happen by chance.’

    Rubicon:

    Great points.

    I’m sure many political parties would love to be ‘isolated’ in first place, and opposed by the terrorists of the UVF and UDA who are now in bed with the UUP.

    In fact aren’t we back to 1998, when Ervine and his PUP/UVF thugs laughed at Paisley and the DUP as yesterday’s men during the GFA negotiations?

    Trimble sold a picture of the Agreement to unionists (and the UDA and UVF endorsed it) that many unionists gave a chance initially. But when reality kicked in voters started moving to the DUP and have stayed there. Thus the DUP are now the leading voice of unionism. leading the UUP to panic and do stupid things like the arrangement with the PUP/UVF.

    Isolated my arse. The DUP has the support of the majority of unionists and the desperate measures of the UUP and the ramblings of those with little to no political support (the UVF and UDA) aren’t going to change that.

    The only thing that surprises me is that London and Dublin keep on talking to these clowns as if they do have significant levels of support. They don’t. If there is a ‘loyalist constituency’, these UVF and UDA clowns can’t even get their own constituency to vote for them. I doubt that loyalists vote at all – it’s probably too dificult for them to put an X in a box.

    So why is everyone always pandering to them? Fcuk them. They are terrorist organized criminals. Hammer the fcukers. Fill the jails with them, and stop lending them legitimacy by having these talks with them.

    But then, such is the appeasement process, where millions are directed to supposedly help these terrorists find better things to do with their time. Meanwhile decent people are ignored – decent people who never hurt a fly. They get fcuk all, while terorists are wined and dined as if they have some legitimacy.

  • harpo

    ‘Their support for the GFA may be opportunistic, but it may not.’

    Stephen:

    Lordy lordy lordy.

    I never fail to be amazed at what nationalists will say when stuff like this comes up. The UDA/UFF murdered lots and lots of innocent Catholics and continue in their terrorist/organized crime ventures, yet here all that is ignored and you give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their political motives.

    They represent fcuk all squared compared to the unionist parties, yet you give them the time of day here – why is that? Are these not the same terrosists that you complain about thread after thread? With demands that unionists do something about them.

    Yet as soon as they talk politics all that is forgotten.

    I think this all reveals that many nationalists are only interested in bashing the 2 main unionist parties. Thread after thread condemns the UUP and DUP for any and all actual or imagined links to the UDA and UVF. As if they are dealing with the devil personified, but as soon as the UVF and UDA start talking politics, they are taken seriously.

    It’s all about bashing mainstream unionism, isn’t it? That’s why many nationalists say they respect Ervine, and give the time of day to what the UDA says politically. The terrorist UDA and UVF are just bogeymen to be invoked in order to attack mainstream unionism. When it comes to the actual UVF and UDA their political opinions are taken seriously.

  • TAFKABO

    Nationalists like Ervine because it assuages their guilt to think that Unionists have politicians who are terrorists as well.

  • harpo

    ‘the hard work being undertaken by the UPRG and fellow community representatives (PUP must also be acknowledged) is beginning to bear fruit’

    loftholdingswood:

    What a load of horseshit. Do you actually believe all of this? If so, are loyalists morons?

    If there really is this ‘loyalist constituency’, then why has it not supported the political representatives of the loyalist organizations? Why has it supported the DUP if that is what you are claiming?

    The only conclusion one could reach is that loyalists are morons who do what the nominal political loyalists in the UPRG and PUP ask them to do, which presumably is to vote DUP.

    And if the DUP has delivered nothing for loyalists for decades, why did the UPRG and PUP not advise their loyalist constituency to stop voting DUP and instead vote for the loyalist groups themselves?

    If the UPRG and PUP really represent loyalists, then why don’t loyalists vote for them? I can’t see how you can say that the UPRG and PUP represent any community since they attract little to no popular support. And they can’t seriously be considered to represent anything until they get that popular support.

    It’s a cop-out for the UPRG and PUP to claim that the loyalist community votes DUP. That just enables them to represent themselves as the representatives of something that can’t be proven.

    Frankly I think that the PUP and UPRG represent little more than their own membership – terrorists and organized criminals who are more interested in dealing drugs and protection rackets than politics. I don’t think most loyalists vote. They are too busy being engaged in terrorism and organized crime.

  • harpo

    ‘My earnest endeavours in the area I represent’

    loftholdingswood:

    What do you mean by represent?

    Have people voted for you, and if so how many?

  • harpo

    ‘Pretty words do not paper over foul deeds with any great efficacy.’

    Dread:

    For once I agree with you.

    How many times now have we heard this crap about the PUP and UPRG coming up with creative ideas, only for loyalism to go on about its merry way, so that more Catholics die, and organzied crime continues unabated?

    They are terrorists – nothing more and nothing less. I’ve heard all this shit a thousand times and they can parcel it up however they want but it’s still shit.

  • loftholdingswood

    harpo,

    One persons horseshit is another persons caviar. Unlike Hitler (who was voted in) I took on the mantle because I wanted to. If a local election came up I would struggle to gain 250 votes I’m sure. Most people in my area did not vote during the last local election and that is something that clearly needs to be addressed. Apathy and Sky TV seems to reign supreme more than strategy meetings and consultative committees. By your logic then I should just sit on my arse and rediscover the joys of Magniers Cider. You seem so sure of everything that any answer I give is futile. “Popular” support? only when it suits or when something needs doing. Other than that I accept that we are pariahs compared to the great and the good. Has it only just dawned on us? in some cases the answer is a clear yes. So we perpetuate the stereotypical thicko persona in your eyes. If that keeps you happy then good luck to you. I’ll continue to try something novel and engage in debate with the grass roots and seek to change some thinking. A huge task even by your reckoning.

  • dantheman

    “Nationalists like Ervine because it assuages their guilt to think that Unionists have politicians who are terrorists as well. ”

    I suppose you are separating loyalists and unionists then.
    To be fair now TABKAFO, extend you logic and do the same for nationalists and republicans and tell me what the armed wing is of the SDLP??

    I think you will find that it cuts both ways.

  • harpo

    ‘and they have known the truth of this for years about the abusive relationship between unionism and Loyalism’

    Prince:

    So the next claim is to be that loyalists are abused victims of mainstream loyalism? Now I’ve heard it all.

    Of course that fits into the ‘fenian’ plan to bash mainstream unionism under the theory that the UUP and the DUP are the really evil ones, and the UVF and UDA were poor pawns who didn’t know any better. Poor socialist working class ones of course.

    ‘that in my POV loyalists are far more adventurous than the currant Unionist leadership’

    Try telling the family of Ciaran Cummings that. Or Trevor Lowry’s family. They know all about these ‘adventurous’ activites of the UDA and UVF.

    How many more people need to die before this crap about the great politics that loyalists are supposedly into is exposed as nonsense? Why does anyone give these clowns the time of day?

  • harpo

    ‘Next steps? more influence, more control.’

    loft:

    Oh great:

    What NI (or even unionist ares) really needs is more control by loyalists.

    Are you serious?

    You may be one of the 3 or 4 nice loyalists, but to ordinary unionists you are just a pink bow tied around a pile of dog crap. Control to any degree by the representatives of terrorist groups is not a good thing to most unionists.

    You represent no one but terrorists and organized criminals. The UPRG and PUP have little to no popular support. Until you actually get some of that I don’t see how you are in any position to exert any control on anything. Unless of course you mean the usual loyalist version of control by the gun, and the bat on the kneecaps.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TAFKABO: “I also note with interest that some people here seem almost frightened by the idea that Loyalists could act in a manner which defies the commonly held view of them”

    Frightened? No. Suprised? perhaps… cynical regarding the possibility that any perceived changes will be maintained? Sincerely.

    TAFKABO: “I guess there’s nothing worse than someone who fails to live down to your expectations. ”

    But they’ve always been so good at it, up to and including their little dance on young master McIlveen’s grave.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harpo: “So why is everyone always pandering to them? Fcuk them. They are terrorist organized criminals. Hammer the fcukers. Fill the jails with them, and stop lending them legitimacy by having these talks with them.”

    Harpo, Unionism can’t even find the collective spine to take back zoning, fire and health regulation from the spides, let alone face them down and throw them in the clink for their serious crimes.

    Harpo: “The UDA/UFF murdered lots and lots of innocent Catholics and continue in their terrorist/organized crime ventures, yet here all that is ignored and you give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their political motives. ”

    And, yet, when Nationalists point out that they did these things, Unionists get all huffy and proceed to lecture on PIRA and the rest of the Nationalist alphabet-soup gangs… It’s a catch-22.

    Harpo: “They represent fcuk all squared compared to the unionist parties, yet you give them the time of day here – why is that?”

    For the same reason the Unionists give them the time of day when they think no one is looking — they’re the bastards with the guns. What, you thought it was Empty Reg or Big Ian that causes consternation among Nationalists? What’re they gonna do, talk us to death? Besides, Loyalism has pretty much been about supporting the political status quo. As such, Loyalism never really needed a political wing, per se.

    Harpo: “They represent fcuk all squared compared to the unionist parties, yet you give them the time of day here – why is that? Are these not the same terrosists that you complain about thread after thread? With demands that unionists do something about them. ”

    And since Unionism has done such a piss-poor job and a fella could grow old and toothless waiting for Unionism to grow the spine necessary to do something, what harm, at least to Nationalism, is talking to them going to do? Jaw jaw beat war war. No one’s ever been hurt by a stray gerund or misplaced participle.

    Harpo: “How many times now have we heard this crap about the PUP and UPRG coming up with creative ideas, only for loyalism to go on about its merry way, so that more Catholics die, and organzied crime continues unabated? ”

    Too many. But until and unless mainstream Unionism realizes they have the numbers and can muster the political will, what option do Nationalists have, but to try try again? I may not like Loyalists and I may not trust Loyalists, but I’m sure the bastards on the Nationalist side of the fence didn’t do a whole lot for Mr. Trimble’s sensibilities, either. He took a risk — paid for it, too — and things are better now for it. Nationalism needs to show some leadership and willingness to be uncomfortable as well. Maybe this is where to start. I don’t LIKE it, but my liking it is less important than “might it make things better.” My bastards were terrorists and are learning a better way (knock on wood). Maybe it takes a bastard to teach a bastard a better way? (knocks on wood again)

  • Rubicon

    Harpo (and others), I agree with you that the ‘supposed’ loyalists do vote DUP and are likely to have done so having considered the choices given them. Some may think that laudable but I have my doubts.

    People (nationalist and unionist) tend to vote in their best interests. These ‘interests’ may not seem to straddle the political divide when it comes to elections but opinion poll after opinion poll has shown political thinking in NI to be far more diverse than the array of options given on a ballot paper. For many, voting for a party that has no chance of being elected isn’t an option. That’s not a condition only affecting NI – it determines the voting patterns that elect the British government.

    What I find peculiar in the working class support for the DUP (and the UUP) is that they continue to support political parties that have quite obviously done nothing for them. The East of Belfast is a disgrace in development terms and neither the DUP or UUP have (or intend to) do anything about it.

    Working class unionists seem to have bought in to the only sense of dignity offered them – voting for a party that wins. Somehow, this “winning” appears more important to them than making real differences to their own neighbourhoods. Divisions within loyalism is part of the problem – but so too is the sophistry of unionist politics that has done little to enable “poor brethren”.

    Many years ago I listened to the inaugural lecture of Prof. Fred Boal who spoke of good fences making good neighbours. It seemed academic then – it was a different political landscape when those with guns and no conscience (yes – LOYALISTS – and republicans too) laid the groundwork for political parties.

    The fences were acknowledged in the 1998 Agreement. It was a massive capitulation from nationalists. Trimble damned it by faint praise and was undone by his duplicity. Yet, unionists still think the GFA a concession too far. Who sold that pup and what have they got from it?

    Could unionists ever imagine a situation where their own politicians agree to repeal the Act of Union and sell it successfully?

    Prof. Boal spoke of differences in language between the 2 communities – nationalists dealing with ambiguity and unionists demanding clarity. Many years on, ambiguity has rebuilt nationalist neighbourhoods and led to a sense of self respect.

    What holds working class protestants back? Is it the sectarian pup they were sold and still cling to. The division and criminality within loyalism hasn’t presented an option on the ballot paper (yet). Working class “loyalism” has few choices since none of the options given it represent their concerns. They are the bottom of the heap and the sectarian clarity given by the DUP gives them the only sense of worth on offer.

    They’ll still live in misery until they cross the divide and punish the politicians who treat them with contempt. There’s no danger to the union in them doing this – the constitutional status of NI is unaffected by Assembly or Westminster elections.

    The protestant working class has no need to vote for those that terrorised them (and now sell their children drugs in the name of ‘loyalty’).

    NOTHING in loyalism or unionism has helped the poor in their constituencies. It is the opium of sectarian triumphalism that still allows decrepit expression seem worthwhile while those they vote for and those they oppose move on.

  • harpo

    ‘The DUP have devoted their energies to unionist infighting to the point where they are now unable to move, either into government or into defiance.

    Either way they face a split and the calamity of Sinn Fein becoming the largest NI party.’

    lib:

    The DUP has not devoted itself to unionist infighting. It has devoted itself to doing what it saw as being best for the unionist people. And their position has been the same all along. Just as it was in 1998, when the DUP was dismissed as being yesterday’s men by the UUP, the PUP and whatever the UDA politicians were calling themselves.

    At that point the pro-GFA unionists were full of beans about the future, but as we have seen, Trimble couldn’t deliver and the UDA and UVF kept doing what they always did. That’s why unionists hve moved to the DUP – they see that the DUP had it right from day 1.

    So here we are in 2006, and the DUP has been proven right. The UUP is lost in space and is grasping at deals with terrorists, and the terrorists are still waffling on about what a great future there is.

    There will be no split in the DUP is that’s what you are hoping for. If anything the UUP activities and seeing these UPRG clowns being taken seriously will drive more unionists to the DUP. Since it seems that ordinary people don’t count, and they also see that groups that have little popular support are taken seriously if they have guns.

    Yes, the DUP position remains one of defiance, and rightly so. Let the loyalists be welcomed by Bertie and Tony. This just shows ordinary unionists the moral bankruptcy of this supposed peace process, which is actually an appeasement process.

  • TAFKABO

    Rubicon.

    Excellent analysis, best post I’ve read in a long while.

  • harpo

    ‘Unlike Hitler (who was voted in) I took on the mantle because I wanted to.’

    Loft:

    I think you’ll find that Hitler did what he did beacuse he also ‘wanted to’. he wasn’t just sitting there and people voted for him. He built a grassroots movement and eventually persuaded enough people to vote for it.

    If my posts have been hostile, that because I am hostile to loyalism. If you are indeed trying to move loyalism into something positive I say good luck to you. But I think you have an uphill struggle. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that 99% of loyalism has traditionally involved thickos who bought whatever message was about at the time. As evidenced by the KAT slogans that are still to be found within loyalism. And if all these claims about loyalists having done what the DUP or UUP wanted them to do in the past is true, again it shows little intelligence on the part of loyalists, notwithstanding the odd policy document aht they came out with. They seem to have been easilty led, and frankly that has been demonstrated once again by this visit to Dublin where they have swallowed Bertie’s message/threat whole.

    ‘Most people in my area did not vote during the last local election and that is something that clearly needs to be addressed.’

    I agree here. The traditional picture of loyalist folks is that while they are bloodthirsty maniacs who support the UDA and UVF, they don’t support the political representatives of the UDA and UVF. Supposely they vote DUP en masse.

    I’ve never bought that. I think they in general don’t vote. They are content to sit in their loyalist communities and so long as they have a few creature comforts – booze and footy on the TV – they really don’t care about normal politics. But I don’t think that this attitude is any different in any other part of the world – bread and circuses has always appealed to certain parts of societies anywhere.

    So good luck to you. If you are trying to do good, go for it. I just don’t think there are many like you, as evidenced by the fact that no local loyalist leader DID remove those offensive flags from bonfires. It probably never dawned on most of them that there was anything wrong with those flags.

    Maybe you need to educate your leaders before you start on the people.

  • Peking

    “…I took on the mantle because I wanted to.”

    Christ, now we’ve got a hero on our hands.
    Like Harpo, I am truly amazed at how many people swallow the cliche-laden crap that we have heard a hundred times before. Any “unconnected” person unfortunate enough to live in a place dominated by theses thugs will shudder at the very idea of them being given any credibility.

  • maura

    “But loyalism is not going to fill the grave or fill prisons for the next 35 years on anyone’s behalf.

    “If there is blood to be spilled then let Dr Paisley spill his own blood, because it will not be our bodies he is climbing over.”

    If only these words are true and lived by. As a nationalist, I have always harboured a deep sympathy for the working class Loyalist/Unionist, who were simply pawns in the hands of the DUP and stiff upper lip Unionism (UUP). It has been a mantra of many Republicans, particularly those with strong socialist tendencies, that the working class from both sides actually have more in common than differences between them. In working class Loyalist areas, there never seemed to be an understanding that they were simply used by the wealthier Unionists, whipped into a sectarian frenzy through doomsday hyberbole and rhetoric to do the work that the later would not care to dirty their hands with. Wealthier Unionists, when the dirty work is done, then find their way onto TV screens to sneer with false contempt at the actions of those they have manipulated in the first place.
    I have enjoyed reading Loftholdings posts here. It gives me hope that somewhere down the line we will all recognise the real enemies of our society and understand that this situation can only really be resolved through cooperation and reconciliation- despite all the blethering!

  • maura

    ‘They represent fcuk all squared compared to the unionist parties, yet you give them the time of day here – why is that? Are these not the same terrosists that you complain about thread after thread? With demands that unionists do something about them. ‘

    I think it is also fair to say, that Nationalists and Republicans were never under any illusions about who was behind Loyalist death squads, who was funding them, who was whipping up their sectarianism, and who was ultimately washing their hands of them when the dirty deeds were done!
    Lofting, I also meant to add, please accept my acknowledgement of the good work you appear to be doing and please continue.

  • fair_deal

    Gonzo

    The core probelm with this line of argument is a mistaken belief that these organisations have any particular influence on the political thinking/voting of the Unionist community. They are largely reduced to being holders of a negative power ie its not what help they can be but trying to prevent them from causing harm.

    “It no longer has the ability to rabble rouse loyalism to the same effect, to be blunt.”

    To be perfectly honest the comments are like some sort of timewarp from the start of the peace process. The same people came off with the same statements and this same analysis was offered. For example Tyrie was saying things like this in the 1980’s. “Paramilitaries are now saying they no longer refuse to be marched to the top of the hill, only to be abandoned there by armchair generals.”

    The broad Unionist and nationalism communities are not mirror images of one another but journalists seem to treat them as such ie they think the shifts in IRA political thinking are as influential as shifts in loyalist paramilitary thinking when it isn’t.

    “I doubt hardline loyalism has the stomach for the widepread violence surrounding Drumcree,”

    A substantial chunk didn’t seem too averse last September but don’t let a week’s rioting get in the way of analysis.

  • maura

    ‘By your logic then I should just sit on my arse and rediscover the joys of Magniers Cider. You seem so sure of everything that any answer I give is futile. “Popular” support? only when it suits or when something needs doing. Other than that I accept that we are pariahs compared to the great and the good. Has it only just dawned on us? in some cases the answer is a clear yes. So we perpetuate the stereotypical thicko persona in your eyes. If that keeps you happy then good luck to you. I’ll continue to try something novel and engage in debate with the grass roots and seek to change some thinking. A huge task even by your reckoning.’

    Well said Lofting. I think some of the mainstream Unionist responses to you on here are indictaive of the contempt with which they have viewed the working class Loyalist/Unionist communities for years.

    And TAF wrote:
    ‘Nationalists like Ervine because it assuages their guilt to think that Unionists have politicians who are terrorists as well. ‘

    No, I don’t think Nationalists have ever been under any illusions about terrorism within all of Unionism. For me, the reason Ervine is mor ‘acceptable’ to talk to , to work with, is because at least I know what he is, unlike the Paisleys and Molyneaux’s and Trimbles and Robinsons etc etc etc, who have the likes of Ervine do their dirty work for them, then claim clean hands.

  • maura

    ‘Prof. Boal spoke of differences in language between the 2 communities – nationalists dealing with ambiguity and unionists demanding clarity. Many years on, ambiguity has rebuilt nationalist neighbourhoods and led to a sense of self respect.

    What holds working class protestants back? Is it the sectarian pup they were sold and still cling to. The division and criminality within loyalism hasn’t presented an option on the ballot paper (yet). Working class “loyalism” has few choices since none of the options given it represent their concerns. They are the bottom of the heap and the sectarian clarity given by the DUP gives them the only sense of worth on offer.

    They’ll still live in misery until they cross the divide and punish the politicians who treat them with contempt. There’s no danger to the union in them doing this – the constitutional status of NI is unaffected by Assembly or Westminster elections.

    The protestant working class has no need to vote for those that terrorised them (and now sell their children drugs in the name of ‘loyalty’).

    NOTHING in loyalism or unionism has helped the poor in their constituencies. It is the opium of sectarian triumphalism that still allows decrepit expression seem worthwhile while those they vote for and those they oppose move on.’

    Rubicon that is an excellent blog. A brilliant analysis.
    The ‘ideal’ of voting is that we could somewhere in the future vote on the ISSUES rather than the SECTARIAN identity of the candidate. When we can do that, we will find the commonalities. I think the most obvious obstacle to this development is the state of Unionism and in particular Loyalism and the condition of working class areas within their areas, as you have described above.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair Deal: “A substantial chunk didn’t seem too averse last September but don’t let a week’s rioting get in the way of analysis. ”

    Aye, but put the cart behind the horse…

    Would the OO been so quick to push the issues without the Loyalists backing their play?

    Look at it this way, FD — if you’re right, then what’s the worst that can happen? Nothing changes. If you’re right, what’s the best that can happen? A decrease in Loyalist violence and some marginal changes in voting patterns.

    What has anyone got to lose, except a few things to debate / argue / slang about on Slugger?

  • fair_deal

    DC

    “Would the OO been so quick to push the issues without the Loyalists backing their play?”

    The OO has tried to maintain the right to march for numerous decades before the UDA and UVF even existed.

    “if you’re right, then what’s the worst that can happen?”

    I’m not sure what I am supposed to be right or wrong about could you clarify for me please.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Maura.

    You go girl, I resemble your acknowledgement of Rubicon’s analysis.

    Dread.

    I have witnessed you pulling up the so-called decent Unionists time and again about blaming it all on the spides. They do not wish to acknowledge that Unionist intransigence and rabble-rousing causes these “spides” to behave the way they do. I find the level of dis-association galling. Wether disscussing this issue or the overt sectarian bigotry displayed in Orange culture.

    Harpo while being quite level-headed and coherent for a change calls those loyalist paramilitaries thickos, this is just plain snobbery. Harpo, these guys only exhist because they WERE needed to do the dirty work, the reason they still exist is due to a massive political vacuum at the moment. Surely a clear forward strategy versus the present sectarian game playing would oust these guys from their power base, a frightened leaderless people stuck in the status quo.

    The shite TAF spouts about Ervine is just that shite. Ervine is what he is, he does not leave you with the feeling that you had better watch your back. And he certainly does not drip hatred that is the prevalent signature of the average Unionist politician. Ervine also seems not to have had a charisma by-pass.

  • Rubicon

    DC – I’ve tried to resist the temptation but … me and temptation get on too well!

    I’m going to ask – isn’t the cart supposed to go behind the horse? (“Aye, but put the cart behind the horse…” DC Jul 14, 2006 @ 08:07 PM)

    I have to admit that I’m old enough to remember that 🙁

    Sorry DC – I agree with most of your posts but this one made me chuckle!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rubicon: Sorry DC – I agree with most of your posts but this one made me chuckle!

    If it did that, then even the mistake was worth it… 🙂

  • loftholdingswood

    maura,

    Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    harpo,

    You have also made some good points and I do take them onboard.

  • loftholdingswood

    “’Next steps? more influence, more control.’

    loft:

    Oh great:

    What NI (or even unionist ares) really needs is more control by loyalists.

    Are you serious?”

    Serious insomuch as a more moderate influence can change things if he or she assumes a leadership role. It was very interesting (and much can be read in to it) that Davy Nicholl read the statement and did the interviews. It reveals far more than can be discussed on a forum. The make up of the UPRG is now very much “dove” and looking at the personnel that attended and that were “in reserve” (story of my life) speaks volumes to those in the know. Mid Ulster and Upper Bann are beginning to dictate the pace of change within South Belfast and that in turn is influencing other areas as well. But all this is political machinations. Time will tell of course.

  • Comrade Stalin

    LHW,

    I appreciate that you are talking sense, and I’d be really pleased if I thought that you were representative of people on the ground. Unfortunately I’ve been burned before. I remember that people like Gary McMichael and Davy Adams tried to lead the UDA the right way before. For their troubles they were put out of the way, their party was dissolved, and I think they’re pretty much in hiding now.

    I’ve a real hard time believing that the UPRG represents people on the ground, when the loyalist electorate continue to consistently vote DUP as they have done for many years. Since 1994 the UDP and PUP used to say, “oh, we’re tired of being marched up the hill by Paisley, we only shot taigs because he made us do it. We’re going to bring about a nice new caring sharing loyalism” and so on. Those platitudes actually probably convinced more gullible nationalists than it convinced anyone else. I fell for it myself, and felt like a right chump when right after the last of their prisoners got out, they withdrew their support form the GFA. Over ten years on, there’s still nobody voting for them.

    Gonzo :

    Paramilitaries are now saying they no longer refuse to be marched to the top of the hill, only to be abandoned there by armchair generals.

    Do you remember that press conference that Paisley gave on the night before the signing of the GFA ? The one were Paisley was heckled by loyalists ? The loyalists were interviewed shortly afterwards and repeated all this stuff you just said, about what a bastard Paisley was, and how he led them astray, and all that. Well, it’s nearly ten years on, and the UDA have been busy shooting, murdering, rioting and getting up to constant criminal activity in an unabated fashion. They disbanded their political wing and changed their position such that they rejected the GFA.

    The UDA are scared of the political reality as it is at the moment, and they’re struggling to survive. They’ll say whatever words they think they need to say in order to get a bit of space. That’s what this is all about, and when I see them talking about supporting the GFA I know they’re trying to make idiots out of us.

    What business have we got giving credibility to people who consistently get rejected each time they put themselves forward as candidates to represent their people ?

  • “it leaves the DUP politically isolated within loyalism and unionism as the only anti-Agreement faction”

    The DUP wants to do a deal, a fair deal. THe GFA is dead but something will take its place.

    I also think the UPRG have been listening to soundbites too much.

    12TH JULY ADDRESS BY IAN PAISLEY MP

    MAKING HISTORY OR HISTORY MADE? – DR PAISLEY’S 12TH JULY SPEECH

    Dr Paisley today said,

    “The 1st July this year, the ninetieth anniversary of the Battle of the

    Somme, was a beautiful morning. The sunshine and the birdsong were plentiful, just as they were on the morning when our gallant boys and men went over the top for King and Country.

    Their slaughter was outrageous but their gallantry was unparalleled in the history of war. They were Britain’s gallant soldiers for too short a time, but they became Britain’s gallant dead forever.

    The cemeteries of the Somme Valley are uncanny and mystical. There is an atmosphere which cannot be defined, but which is felt by everyone with a heart of flesh.

    The mystery of ten thousand times ten thousand deaths is the solemn environment of this valley of death into which our heroes ran. Here the last enemy of mankind fell on its prey. Mercy was not pleaded for and mercy was not given.

    Irrespective of age, colour, class or creed, the king of terrors and the terror of kings cut its devastating sward. The ancient scythe-master was at his deadly work. How sharp the scythe! How excruciating the wounds! How indescribable the sorrow! How terrifying the cries! How everlasting the separation!

    Lives never again to be lived! Limbs, organs and faculties never again to function! Homes never again to be united! Tomorrows never again to resemble the past todays!

    Tragedy unmendable and unendable!

    Man’s inhumanity to man – what darkness! Man’s gallantry to man – what light!

    There was enacted at the Somme a history of gallantry at its highest and best. There were thousands of heroes who will be forever unnamed and unsung. Only the recipients of their bravery and sacrifice could sing their fearlessness and feeling, but alas, they abode not on earth to chronicle it.

    The largest ever contingent from Ulster took part in the 90th Anniversary Commemorations. From all walks of Ulster’s life they came to pay tribute to Ulster’s gallant dead, and stand on the sacred soil of France, which reached out on that grievous battle-day and embraced our dead in its bosom. No wonder the poppies were refreshed with showers of loving tears.

    Here young boys and able-bodied men, here mingled all classes, from the aristocracy to the lowest in the social measurement of man. All colours, all classes, all creeds, all beliefs and none, thronged together in that valley of slaughter.

    No country, suffered more than this whole island of Ireland, and no locality of any country in the world suffered like loyal Ulster.

    The cream of a whole generation was skimmed off by cruel war, leaving a vacuum, which could never be filled.

    There are some lessons we in Ulster need to learn again about this world-shaking, century-shattering event.

    I. Liberty can only be obtained at a stupendous price

    That price is the irreplaceable coin of human bodies and blood.

    Liberty cannot ever be bought cheaply. The price is high because the commodity is the most precious thing in all the earth.

    The maze of history is a path that leads us past these marked places where humanity paid the highest price for their liberties. Let cowards and traitors be silent, and let the gallant purchasers of liberty stand forth.

    That text of Holy Writ from the very lips of our Saviour Himself is most appropriate here. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’

    The liberty which Ulster enjoys was bought by the men of the 1st July 1916. It was a heavy price indeed. The price was nothing less and nothing more than the supreme sacrifice itself.

    II. Liberty has to be maintained by paying the same awful price

    The blood of dedication and sacrifice alone can maintain and retain for us the liberty, which the heroes of the Somme won for us and our children and our children’s children.

    The liberty obtained must be maintained. That can only be if we walk the way our fathers walked. Compromise, accommodation, and the least surrender are the road to final and irreversible disaster.

    A continuing cost must be maintained. There can be no weakness, toleration, or capitulation. There is only one way we can walk, and it is the safe path of No Surrender to the enemy.

    Ulster has surely learned that weak, pushover unionism is a half-way house to republicanism. There is no discharge in this war.

    III. Finally, liberty must be retained

    Our grip on liberty must be strong indeed. What we have we hold. To lessen our allegiance to our fathers’ faith is not only a betrayal of the past but also a betrayal of the future.

  • Our fathers’ sacrifices must be honoured, not diminished, and our children’s future must be strengthened, not weakened.

    Let the trumpet be sounded! Let us all determine to do our duty, and with God’s help I will seek at all times to maintain the Union and the Faith of our fathers.

    We will not be slaves to our ancient enemies. The collar of the slave and the manacles of the oppressed we will never wear.

    What we want for ourselves we will not deny to others.

    Ulster shall remain free. Its breath will be liberty and its crown will be peace.

    God will indeed defend the right, and our right shall be our future.

    The Voice of Ulster

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling from across the narrow sea;

    Of Ulster waiting, watching, before the dark To Be.

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling, in the crisis of her fate:

    Will ye hear it, Oh my brothers, will ye hearken, ere too late?

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling: it is borne upon the blast,

    From the high-built walls of Derry, from the harbours of Belfast;

    From the cornfields and the flaxfields, from the hills and shores and bays.

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling, at the parting of the ways.

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling; and her noble heart may bleed,

    As she pictures all her labours made the prey of guile and greed,

    And the clink of shipwright’s hammer and the whirring of the loom

    Hushed for ever in the silence and the darkness of the tomb.

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling, and the hand of Ulster too

    Holds on high the flag of England, bids it flutter to the blue.

    Will you tear it from her fingers, will you drag the banner down,

    And unfold instead the emblem of the Harp without the Crown?

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling: but her heart is bold and high,

    And ere she forfeit freedom ‘she will know the reason why.’

    And, if her friends forsake her, and faith be false and fled,

    Then the ‘Bloody Hand’ of Ulster may be dyed a deeper red.

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling: shall her cry be all in vain?

    Shall the Union bonds be broken and the One be henceforth Twain?

    ‘Tis the voice of Ulster calling, in the crisis of her fate:

    Ye will hear it, oh, my brothers, ye will hearken ere too late.”

  • loftholdingswood

    Yes, while you are sounding the trumpet I will concentrate on the here and now if you don’t mind but thanks for the stirring address.

    There have been many false dawns, I accept that. And our prevarication and internal problems cause no end of worry. But that is the nature of the beast. Ultimately the UPRG will slowly but surely bring about the changes that people are crying out for. Through consensus, through agreement. The work on the ground has seen a relative sea change in thought and deed during the 12th period. Not altogether as witnessed by a few well reported incidents nonetheless a confirmed lessening in “trouble” during the period. Many people/groups can take credit for this of course, not just a particular group. My point is that it has been sustained and maintained because we want to change.

    Meeting Bertie Ahern is not in and of itself proof positive of anything. Neither was meeting the President (I was fortunate enough to be in on that one – nice building, traffic appalling). By recognising us and our very small mandate they are merely encouraging us to continue along the path that we ourselves have chosen. I have no problem with that as it is open and upfront, transparent to everyone. The DUP would deny us but who is that meeting us from time to time to see how the land lies? Why it’s the DUP!. Funny old world.

    “Unfortunately I’ve been burned before. I remember that people like Gary McMichael and Davy Adams tried to lead the UDA the right way before. For their troubles they were put out of the way, their party was dissolved, and I think they’re pretty much in hiding now.”

    It is true that the party was dissolved as it was felt it had gone as far as it could and became a huge problem for various reasons. Gary is still around. Davy is a long story that I will tell one day. He has done very well out of us.

  • Alan2

    Indeed I seem to remember Gary saying the UDA were all a bunch of Gangsters and Drug dealers and he is now a drugs counsellor / communit worker.

  • smithsonian

    loftholdingswood
    I enjoyed your posts. They represent a fresh and interesting insight into the shape of things on the ground. You have attracted a fair amount of comment from some hardline armchair generals (in particular harpo) but I wouldn’t worry about them.

    From their comments I wonder why a) they haven’t fixed the situation already or b) why they are so worried about things because they seem to like the status quo.

    So as one public representative to another and I did get more than 250 votes, I urge you to ignore the nay sayers and keep trying to do what is best for the community. Yes it will require a change in attitude, and not just from you.

    There is no future that does not require powersharing, but that does not represent surrender, it represents opportunity.

    Eventually those that see things in black and white will grow older and with age comes maturity. Plato said it a little better. This advice is for them

    You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters.
    Plato, Dialogues, Theatetus
    Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 BC – 347 BC)

    Keep at it and remember those transfers 🙂

  • James

    Loftholdingswood + Smithsonian

    Excellent posts.

    The hardest thing to do is to “swim against the tide” especially on either side of the divide in NI.

    To reach a settlement, there has to be change of attitude and a lot of forgiveness. It won’t be easy and it’ll certainly take time. Fair play to you both for sticking to your task.

    On the contrary, the easiest thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and criticise the efforts of others. It takes neither courage nor effort to do that so I wouldn’t let anyone who does that stuff put you off.

    Good luck in the future.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    To those who argue that we’ve heard all this anti-DUP stuff from loyalist representatives in the past – you are right. I said so in my original post that they echoed Ervine!

    The difference between now and when Tyrie criticised the DUP or when the Agreement was signed, is that the IRA is no longer a threat to the unionist community. The UDA and UVF’s raison d’etre has virtually disappeared, and both now require reasons for their existence other than criminality.

    Like IRA violence, loyalist criminality is a millstone round any future credible UPRG or PUP bid at the polls.

    Loyalism knows it needs to carve itself out a new role. That’s what’s different this time around, and – like the Shinners – there’s a new, younger, non-violence-supporting voice emerging within loyalism.

    Whether it can influence things positively is another matter. It’s easy to be cynical. I know.