Any chance of an Oscar for Unionism?

Malachi O’Doherty examines the film representations of the conflict. He argues that the small local audience drives film-makers to find a bigger market so they aim to appeal to “Irish America” and “the European left” and thus concentrate on the IRA and republicanism. Troubles films have rarely (and arguably never) taken a Loyalist or Unionist perspective or are they even included, O’Doherty argues that film “tells stories in which the characters are Republican or British”. Is there a gap in the market for a film about the conflict from a broad Unionist or working class Loyalist perspective?

  • whinger

    There’s not many movies told from a broad Nazi perspective either – doesn’t mean there is a gap in the market or that we need more.

  • Simon

    No mention of Divorcing Jack? Pffft. Best Northern Irish film ever. Regarding the concentration on the IRA and republicanism, well for what ever reason they have a more “glamourous” image in the media. Unionism doesn’t. Hollywood et al will go with what sells.

  • mnob

    … erm they are just movies and stories.

    … and as we are exploring in other threads unionists arent crying out to express themselves in terms of legends and fiction.

  • Doctor Who

    “There’s not many movies told from a broad Nazi perspective either – doesn’t mean there is a gap in the market or that we need more.”

    Cross of Iron and Downfall are two excellent films from the Nazi point of view.

    However what you seem to be saying is that Unionists are comparable with Nazis which of course Whinger makes you very stupid.

  • Yokel

    Now now Dr Who, Whinger is in good presidents and prominent clergy in the catholic church included…..

  • Whinger

    Cross of Iron about Nazism? You should take another look at that one again Doctor. My point was that they are both unsympathetic topics because both ideologies are based on supremacy and bigotry – no one wants to watch it. Maybe instead of insulting me Doctor you could address the point?

  • I wonder could Paisley get a Lifetime Achievement Oscar for acting like an idiot all these years 😉

  • fair_deal

    Please try to keep the discussion on topic and not disappear into the nationalist cul-de-sac of “Unionists are really nazis you know”. this is slugger not the utv website

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Was Divorcing Jack shown from a Unionist perspective?

    Dan Starkey is a protestant, but he doesn’t give much of a monkeys either way so long as he can still get a pint. On the basis of his little speech about what NI gets called and by whom –

    “And what do you call it Mr Starkey?”
    “I call it home.”

    – I doubt we’re supposed to read Starkey as anything other than a neutral.

    Malachi’s right though – seeing even that point of view on the silver screen is as rare as a nine bob note.

  • willis

    Fair Deal

    If you had put forward any movies for discussion that might have helped.

    Have you ever seen “December Bride”?

    Not an immediatly political film but with a deep sympathy for life in a small protestant community.

    Largely shot near Killyleagh.

  • spice girl

    somehow i think america’s obsession with the glorification of terrorism is rapidly coming to an end. Movies highlighting the determination of a people not to be wiped out by terrorist organistation may therefore appeal to ths particular market – eg the unionist polulation on south armagh?

  • Dec

    Resurrection Man? No Surrender? There was another one about the UVF tracking a Supergrass to New Zealand whose name escapes me.
    Sorry to shatter your ‘Poor loyalists -themmuns get everything’ mope.

  • Thrasymachus

    “Now now Dr Who, Whinger is in good presidents and prominent clergy in the catholic church included…..”

    And their in good company too ironically, from people who signed the book of condolence for Hitler and sympathised with his state 😉

  • willis

    Who would play Willie Frazer? Robert Carlisle?

  • Dr Who

    “Cross of Iron” is a wannabe “All Quiet on the Western Front”- nothing Nazi about it at all.

  • Henry94

    Suggested titles

    My Beautiful Colerette
    The Unbearable Tightness of Ian
    The Pope Must Die

  • whinger

    Fair deal, I didn’t say they were the same but a comparison is fair as they comparison as unionism and Nazism are both ad hoc ideologies with common traits – not very sexy topics for the movie going public.

  • Dec

    Clearly Tom Cruise would play the hero Willie with Keira Knightly as his redoubtable love-interest, Daphne. Anthony Hopkins could play the evil Provo Priest, Fr O’ Farrell.

  • kloot

    Comparing Unionists to Nazis would be just stupid.

    I think the point was that what sells is films from the group perceived as being the oppressed grouping as opposed to films from perceived oppressors.

    The underdogs always make for better selling material. This is the truth across the world. And whatever about the label of “underdogs” for the Catholic community in the North, the reality is that they have been perceived in world oppinion as the oppressed grouping.

    “Divorcing Jack”.. great film that.

  • whinger

    Fair deal, I didn’t say they were the same but a comparison is fair as unionism and Nazism are both ad hoc ideologies with common traits – not very sexy topics for the movie going public.

  • Interesting question. However it is all determined by markets. The little guy fighting the big guy however deluded will always appeal to more people the movies from the big guy prospective. Maybe with the changing attitude to terrorism a south Armagh film might work. But I am not sure. I think the Irish are still seen as too popular in America to be made the bad guy. But certainly an IRA film would not be the same. More films from nationalist rather then Republican view point maybe.

  • fair_deal


    December Bride is interesting in its treatment of a 19th century rural protestant community but it is not about the community in the modern era its experiences or in particualr about the conflict


    Resurrection Man was a film about a psychopath rather than a community (and a shite one at that). “No Surrender” is based in Liverpool and both communities feature heavily so it isn’t from a Unionist perspective, although it is a very good film about Liverpool and the two migrant communities that life there. The third for TV doesn’t really apply in the context of the discussion about Holywood films.


    “I think the Irish are still seen as too popular in America to be made the bad guy”

    The patriot game?

  • If there ever was a Hollywood film made, it’d be a Schindler’s List-style flick about a decent Protestant industrialist who endangered his own life to save Catholics from something or other. A life of fecklessness and outdoor toilets, perhaps.

  • Martin

    Fair Deal. I always think its encouraging when Republicans describe Unionists as Nazi’s. Given the Republican movement’s accomodating history with Nazism it means they’re more likely to make a deal.

  • mnob

    and sein as the stone throwing has started early in this thread – a culture invented by anglo prods in the 19th C isn’t an ad hoc idelology ?

  • Doctor Who

    Although Cross Of Iron doesn´t tackle Nazism head on, it is a War Film told from the German front line point of view. Just thought I would clear that up.

    As I have posted before on these threads I am a Unionist from a Jewish background whose immediate family suffered at the hands of the Nazi´s. When I hear stupid people like Whinger and all the enemies of Unionism trying to justify their own fanatical Nationalism by comparing them with folk they have more in common with themselves, well you can imagine how it makes me feel.

    By the way Divorcing Jack was an awful film.

  • whinger

    Doctor, what makes you think I am a nationalist or even republican? I introduced an comparison between what are perceived as loose “catch-all” ideologies and suggested why they are not portrayed in a sympathetic light in the movies. All you can do in response is throw insults and indulge in mopery. Although I must say coming from someone who seems to connect all Germans WWII soldiers with Nazis… ah whatever

  • Miss Fitz

    December Bride is one of my favourite ever books. Tender and beautifully told. FD, I actually thought it was set much later than that though? Assume you are correct, I was just surprised

  • willis

    Miss Fitz

    I think it is Turn of the Century, certainly pre WW1

    Fair Deal

    Did you read my post? I said explicitly that it was not political. However if you have seen it you will realise that it is very accurate about the Protestant mindset.

    There is a terrific film to be made about the craven surrender of middle class liberal unionists to Fundamentalist pressure in the late sixties. A battle which should never have been lost

  • Miss Fitz

    Thats what I thought Willis, but FD has called it 19th century, and that really surpised me.

  • hotdogx

    lets face it guys, outside ireland unionisim is seen for what it realy is, a last outpost of rag tag british colonialism whos only method of sustaining itself is to stir up religious diffirences and so called fears of a united ireland. If a film was ever made with a unionist perspective i believe they would find it hard to show any positive side to unionism as it seems to be an emotionl position more than a logical one, thus i dont see anyone making any money out films with a unionist perspective so there wont be any although it would be diifirent

  • BH

    In a similar vein to those low budget, straight-to-VHS films about John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy, how about a movie about the Shankill Butchers?

  • willis

    Miss Fitz

    I haven’t read the book. Have you seen the film? I’m originally from that past of Co Down and it certainly seemed true to what I remembered.

  • Dec

    Resurrection Man was a film about a psychopath rather than a community (and a shite one at that). “No Surrender” is based in Liverpool and both communities feature heavily so it isn’t from a Unionist perspective, although it is a very good film about Liverpool and the two migrant communities that life there. The third for TV doesn’t really apply in the context of the discussion about Holywood films.


    Whether Resurrection Man was shite or not (like Patriot Games and Blown Away were classics), isn’t the point. It was closely based on Lenny Murphy and not just any old psychopath. No Surrender has a Unionist perspective, a lack of which in films you bemoaned, and just be grateful the great Ray McAnally played the ‘Unionist’ lead. You were spared the embarassment of 90 minutes of Jimmy Ellis’ mugging as a drunk, blind ex-boxer with apparent dementia.

    Maybe its something to do with the fact that, despite numerous atrocities, Republicans often engaged on an enemy (BA/RUC)that was not only capable of shooting back but almost always with superior firepower and resources. Who really wants to spend money to explore the inner psyche of a movement that spent 40 years shooting innocent civilians in the back?

  • willis


    I think Resurrection Man has got there first.

  • circles

    Whinger – the nazi qui was simply knee-jerk stuff. Admit it and I think you’ll get off with a slight reprimand. There is hardly any dramatic comparison to be made between unionism and the rise of National Socialism in Germany, nor in the ideologies.
    Closer may be film set in the middle east f a Zionist perspective.

    Was there not film the other year about the shanki butchers or so, where the leatherd into some poor unsuspecting fenian the tune of T.Rexs Tiger Feet?
    Now to the unionists – would a film like this be the kind of thing your after? Or would it be one where Brad Pitt plays the on the run UVF man to Sean Connery’s Ulster-scots descended NYPD commisoner?
    Or one about a belligerent oul minister who always screams NO!
    Or one about the trials and tribulations of the working class loyalist community up the shankill?
    What ‘m getting at is – how would the unionists like to be portrayed?

  • Miss Fitz

    Read the book Willis, and I enjoyed it so much didnt watch the film. My ex husband gave it to me a couple of years ago, and it gave me great pleasure. I dont know anything about Sam Hanna Bell’s other work, but I suppose I really ought to check it out. I’ve been swamped in my reading about the OO, so havent had much room for anything else.

    Maybe I’ll turn my article on the OO into a screenplay, and we can all watch that!

  • DK

    Maybe a historical film – like the siege of Derry. Great story there – the besieged collapsing of hunger and still sallying forth. Also potentially good character for an actor to get their teeth into in Lundy.

  • BH

    Ah. Haven’t seen it.

    Cheapshots aside, I think a movie from a loyalist perspective could be interesting, although there isn’t much of a market for a sympathetic portrayal of working-class loyalists.

    Maybe a movie representing the PUP “left-wing” loyalist view of things, that is, that working class loyalists have been used by the unionist establishment when convenient and cast aside when their presence is more of an embarrassment than a benefit. Hopefully I understand where Ervine et al. are coming from, if not feel free to correct me.

  • Fair Deal Didn’t see patroit games. So I will take your point.

    As for Martins points about republicans dealing with Nazi’s

    LOL 😀

  • Damien

    I saw some film at a festival om Toronto in 2002 that I think was from the perspective of a loyalist terrorist. Can’t for the like of me remember what it was called. The only detail I can recall was that The Menagerie in the Holy Lands had been done up with Union Jacks. Ring any bells?

  • Garibaldy

    Miss Fitz,

    This article on the OO. Is it going to be published? And if so, where? Is it something you’re planning to post on slugger, or is it an academic piece?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    I think the bottom line on this topic is that, rather like the protest song, films really don’t make a blind bit of difference to anyone’s opinion — they’re seen by 99% of Joe Public as being a bit of fluff to crunch popcorn to for a couple of hours.
    Despite the slew of IRA-glorifying titles thrown at America, the net result has been the misguided rattling of tins to supply the boys with AKs, the GFA (principle of consent + ‘try to get along lads’) to get rid of said AKs, and a few dewy eyes in the Irish-American bars.
    Consequently a film about Unionism would be met with a mixture of bafflement and disinterest. Your average American (and plenty of English people too) are blissfully unaware that Unionists even exist — they have some vague idea that NI is 100% Catholic with British troops garrisoning the place for no discernable reason. And if you told them different, they could give a damn, because it interferes with their wishy-washy preconceptions.
    Make all the films you want — you’ll be preaching to the converted. BTW ‘Divorcing Jack’ was as about as good as you’re likely to get. Sadly.

  • Miss Fitz

    Its being published in the Spring edition of Practicing Anthropology in the US. I am trying to see if there is any valid way to link the ‘Big Man’ construct with the OO and the ‘spectacle’ of parades.
    Its been really interesting, and absorbing doing the research. More research than article in fact!

  • Alan

    How about a bioflick on Bestie or Van?

    Or a period drama of Conrad’s Typhoon – the Captain is a Belfast character.

    Also, while I’m sure that they have aged considerably over the years, the Billy plays were well received in the protestant community in the 70’s. Mind you, they did produce Branagh.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dr. Who: “Although Cross Of Iron doesn´t tackle Nazism head on, it is a War Film told from the German front line point of view. Just thought I would clear that up. ”

    German does not equal Nazi.

    Likewise, a Russian front story, at least at the time the Cross of Iron was made, was pretty much a push, telling the story of yesterday’s bastards fighting the bastards of the day.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair Deal,

    RE: Patriot Games.

    You haven’t kept up with the latest political correctness. The Hollywood has lost much of it ability to be subtle. The villains in Patriot Games were white. For an instructive point, compare and contrast the villains from another Clancy book, Sum of All Fears, who were Muslim radicals, to the villains in the movie, who were white supremecists from Eastern Wurope.

  • Yokel

    Now there would be a movie..about memebers of the Irish republican movement who worked with the Germans in WWII and prepared foe a German takeover by gathering the names of Irish Jews and other useful people to liquidate…..

  • i remember there was a movie shown on RTE years ago called “cancer” about sectarianism in Fermanagh. I only remember bits of it, I remember (Dick Moran of Glenroe) Emmett Bergin played a British soldier in it, it was about a rural old man with cancer but also about the cancer of sectarian society in the North. By the way, it was very good, and sad and poignant. Does anyone remember it?
    Also the unit in Cross of Iron were anti-Nazi, it was more to do with class, Prussian officer versus working class soldier. Both Maximilan Schell’s character and james coburn’s character both repudiated the nazis and mentioned the fact a few times on screen.
    If you want to see a movie about the Nazis watch “Come and See” from Byelorussia, it starts out quite slowly, but the horrible denouement for the last hour is hard to watch and genuinely, frightening and terrifying.
    The only movie I can remember about Loyalism/Unionism was “Resurrection man” another frightening if overtly sensationalistic tale of butechery and denial.

  • willis


    What I‘m getting at is – how would the unionists like to be portrayed?

    Fair Question.

    Not for me to answer though. As far as I am concerned the Loyalists have got a better press than they deserved.

    Actually, forgetting about the Nazi nonsense. What about the Former Yugoslavia. Martin McG as Slobo? Big Ian as Tugman?

  • CS Parnell

    I know it’s TV, but what about the “Billy” plays on the BBC way back when. However they were probably not comfortable viewing for unionists – “Too late to talk to Billy” was a double edged title if ever there was one. But they were very funny.

    As for the unionists = nazis. Isn’t it funny how so many who claim to be in the tradition of 98 are prone to this sort of claptrap?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Odd Man Out” is a great film from the Unionist perspective-or at least the closing scene- RUC filling James Mason full of holes. Woohoo!

  • The Dog

    Has anyone ever seen a film called ‘An EVerlasting Piece’ it is cracking film about here – which I found on ntl (go figure) about two barbers (1 prod, 1 taig) and a great cameo from Billy Connolly that has it all – I was amazed to stumble acros it because normally who hear about stuff made here.

    There is a cracking scene at the end where, after the Catholic has turned down making a mint on providing wigs for the IRA because of the issue for his partner, the two men stand in a mess hall full of balding Brits.

  • Miss Fitz

    I watched that film a couple of years ago Dog, and thanks for the reminder. It was really really funny, and the whole family enjoyed it. The other film I believe is excellent, and I think I am the last person in NI not to see it is Micky Bo and me.

  • Turbo Paul

    Perhaps a “Fly on the wall” doc giving viewers a behind the scenes look at a typical Unionists familiy life and contrast it to a typical Republican families life in NI.

    I am sure viewers would reach the conclusion that both sides of the divide are exactly the same with all the same problems, working, trying to bring up their children, paying the bills etc.

    Perhaps it is only the politicians who seem obsessed by the divide and ordinary people have so much more mundane problems to deal with rather than be politicaly active.

    Upon another note, there could be compulsive viewing if the isolation of Unionists was explored and how they have had to try and defend their position not just against Republicans but also against an ever growing tide of disquiet from the Irish and Brit govt, not mention the hostility towards Unionism from the wider public in America and Europe.

    The fact the movie business is dominated by liberals means the view of Ireland is “aspiring for a united Ireland is a noble cause”, however, terrorism is not justified in trying to reach that goal.

    This means the Unionist perspective is dissmissed as “plain wrong” by the movie industry therefore preventing an honest account of Unionist life in NI.

    Now a film about how the Brit govt has used Loyalists as a proxy may attract filmakers, but only if it shows authority acting in a duplicitous and disingenuous manner.

    Very topical, Iran is to Hezbollah, what Britain is to Loyalism??????????????????????????????

    I do think, however, there is a “My left foot” “Angela’s Ashes” within the Unionist community.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Angela’s Sashes?”

  • Turbo Paul

    Oranging our daughters wedding????????????

    She wore Paisley to the alter???????

  • james orr

    FD – good idea for a thread, spoiled by the usual garbage in the greenery.

    Broadening the concept out from Unionism to a wider Ulster non-nationalist brief, what about:

    – Robert the Bruce on Rathlin, leading to Bannockburn
    – The Hamilton & Montgomery Settlement of 1606 (watch out for the BBCNI documentary later in the year)
    – Something on the real Eagle Wing story (not the stupid stage show) could be handled like “A Perfect Storm”
    – A “Hotel Rwanda” style thing about 1641
    – A Troy-like epic on the Siege of Derry
    – A “Gettysburg” style one on the Battle of the Boyne, ie switching back and forth between the camps on the two sides of the battle and setting it in its broader European context
    – A “The New World” style thing on the huge 18th century migration of Ulster Presbyterians (“The New World” will be out later in the year/early next year)

    Shall I go on? (pause to listen to the chorus of whispered” my God these people DO have a story”).

    The easy way is to get James Webb to use his influence to turn “Born Fighting” into a series of motion pictures.

  • circles

    James – in the theatricapause I was actually wondering who “these people” were if you had broadened out from unionism?

    But what about a musical like west side story – the taigs and the huns – based along the garvaghy road? Now there you have it all – the lambegs and bodhrans, sashes and irish dancing costumes.

  • Garibaldy

    Miss Fitz,

    Thanks for the info on the article. I’ll try and remember to hunt it out come spring.

    Wasn’t there a George Best biopic already?

  • Miss Fitz

    You may be sure that if anything I write ever sees the light of day, I wont be hiding my light under a bushel. I suspect it might even get linked from here!

  • Garibaldy

    Miss Fitz,

    Good stuff, cause I seriously doubt my ability to remember.

    Social anthropology does seem extremely interesting.

  • james orr

    as all of these stories predate the Union (and are also not part of Irish nationalist orthodoxy) they can’t be described as Unionist stories per se.

  • Miss Fitz

    It’s a brilliant subject G, but if I told you how I got involved you’d think I was making it up. It’s a bit of a stretch looking at the OO in the way that I propose, but I hope to take some of the very positive elements of Orangeism and examine how they can or have been used for the good of society. Also, interesting will be the conflict within the organisation between the strict religious nature of celebration or ceremony, and the push to make it more of a public specatacle.

    To bring this back to the thread for a second, I think that there is a failure within Unionism to promote itself in a positive way, and work is required on that.

    Funny, I had Brian Kennaways book with me in Croke Park last week, and it made my companions very uneasy. Eventually I had to turn the cover inside out and they relaxed!

  • Garibaldy

    Miss Fitz,

    You’d be surprised what I’d believe. Surprised at your companions being nervous too.

    I know Dominic Bryan has done social anthropology wok on the OO, but haven’t read it. I’ll assume you haven’t being done any participant observation.

  • Miss Fitz

    Ah, getting close to the bone there……

    Yes, its a great subject and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in people and what all makes them tick!


    What interests me in this discussion is the seeming assumption that Unionism would want to identify with cinematic representatons of paramiltarism in the way the Nationalist community seemingly has little difficulties with.

    Where those outside Unionism may well see loyalist paramilitarism as a defining symbol of Unionism, my experience is that those within Unionism see loyalists as on the fringes.

    So, whilst I think most Unionists would be upset at the notion a film about the Shankill Butchers was a film about them, there may well be scope for a good story about this very conflict of identities within Unionism.
    Gary Mitchels plays often touch upon this theme.

    I also think it would be interesting to see a film from the perspective of an ordinary RUC man out to try and protect the community from paramilitaries.

    Since we are mentioning good films, I think it is worth checking out Michael Winterbottoms With or Without You
    A film about Northern Ireland with one of the main characters an RUC man who is just a normal ordinary bloke.

    I’m also surprised that no one has pointed out the simple fact that the overwhelming majority of films about Ireland and Northern Ireland are unmitigated shite.

    The only ones I think are worth anything are In the name of the father, Bloody Sunday and the Boxer
    And these three are good precisely because they stray from the formula of good guys/bad guys and introduce complexity into the situation.

  • Garibaldy

    The Boxer is one of the worst films ever

  • Garibaldy,

    shame on you! You need to put the crack pipe down and back away slowly. The Boxer is a fantastic film, much better than “In the Name of the Father” or “Some Mother’s Son”. And it’s a billion times better than Star Wars episodes I, II and III. Granted it’s no Stay but it’s certainly no Dumb and Dumber. Stay, along with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Matador are my top pix from 2005.

  • Garibaldy


    Being better than those other two NI films doesn’t say much. But a huge insult to Star Wars. The attack on the Jedi was worth the 30 year wait. I LOVED it.

    Haven’t seen stay. Is Matador the Pierce Brosnan film El Matador or something else? The Pierce film was well good. Batman Begins best film of last year.

    As for the crack pipe, we discovered on the Dundalk thread that I seem to be one of the few sluggerites who deson’t use mind altering substances. Bunch of fucking dope-smoking hippies

  • Liam Gordon

    Movies about the ‘underdog’ are always more interesting.

  • Garibaldy,

    I was dismayed with your put down of The Boxer but your defense of SW that’s just beyond the pale. After 30 years you’d have thought Lucas would have come up with a cool rationale for the naming of Vader instead of the oh so lame scene we were subjected to.

    As a kid that saw the first (or second) trilogy in the theatres I too was dying to see the new stuff. That feeling departed about 10 mins into The Phantom Menace – I felt glad for Neeson that he was killed off and sorry for McGregor that he had to limp on through another two appalling movies.

    Matador is indeed the Brosnan flick – fantastic and Batman Begins was the best Batman flick since Michael Keaton donned the mask – already looking forward to the next one. Stay however is heads and shoulders over anything I’ve seen in the past few years. If there’s one film I try to push on my friends it’s this one. The cinematography is unbelievably brilliant and the tricks it uses are very subtle as well as crucially interwoven with the plot. Even such things as McGregor’s pants being too short are significant. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest dvd vendor.

    Nothing wrong with some thc or psychoactives – it’s the opiates and pharmaceuticals I don’t like.

  • lib2016

    Plenty of movie references to the Scots Irish tradition in the States from ‘Birth of a Nation’ on. If the ‘good old boys’ back in Ireland don’t recognise themselves maybe that is the most revealing thing about this whole thread.

    Surprised that nobody has mentioned what happened recently to the one writer who has really persisted in his attempts to portray them accurately – they didn’t stop at bookburning but attacked his house and family as well. Then they went on to mope that ‘nobody loves us’ – I wonder why?

  • Garibaldy


    Quite enjoyed all the new SWs but the weakest was the Phantom Menace. The second and third were thoroughly enjoyable on their own (despite obvious weaknesses in each, but that’s true of the original ones) but when viewed as a triology they are great. Best Batman film remains Batman Returns, but watched Batman Begins for like the 6th time last night. Great too. Looking forward to the next, but unsure about Heath Ledger as the Joker. We’ll see.

    Lib, was thinking about the South East Antrim UDA earlier. Has been a law unto itself throughout most of this peace process, including closing down the UDP in the area well before it was shut down elsewhere. I think Gary Mitchell would get a different reception outside that area, but don’t know.

  • Doctor Who

    “German does not equal Nazi.”

    Did I say it did. The film by Sam Pecinpah, is one of the few Hollywood World War II films with German soldiers as it´s central theme. Now they where fighting on behalf on the Third Reich, so Dread even someone as blinkered as you might see the link.

    By the way Cross of Iron is a bloody good film.

  • lib2016

    Garibaldy & anyone interested,

    I fully acknowledge that nationalists have had more than their share of bookburners so this is not intended as a politically sectarian query. Why has the unionist community not seen the need to rally around people like Gary Mitchell?

    The loyalist community is in dire need of ‘re-inventing’ itself, to the extent that republicans can see it selfdestructing and are genuinely worried about the consequences of what’s happening.

    Greenflag may go on a bit about his ‘solution’ but at least he sees that there is a problem, as do the people who accepted Mitchell in West Belfast.

    Am I really the only person here who sees Newt’s piece as deeply silly?

  • Doctor Who

    As is Come and See

  • Garibaldy


    I’m a fan of Newt. He often raises many issues that no-one else does, and in an effective manner, particularly when it comes to the incompetence of government officialdom. His comedy doesn’t always hit the mark, but I think in this peice he does effectively attack the pomposity of people like Feeny and Jude Collins, as well as made the vital point that culture is what we experience in our daily lives as much as it is time set aside for literary/intellectual pursuits.

    As for Gary Mitchell, I think there has been criticism of his treatment, and I think I heard him say in an interview, but cannot state for sure, that he is living in another unionist area outside Rathcoole. Let’s not forget that plans for a police drop-in centre there were frustrated by the UDA. It’s immensely powerful and militant in that area, and not renowned for political thinking.

    As for the problems within loyalist communities, you’ve given eloquent expression of how their political opponents see them. I think there is a greater feeling of self-confidence in Catholic areas than their counterparts, but I also think that there is a lot of wishful thinking that these communities and unionism are in some sort of terminal crisis. There’s a clear agenda to promote this idea, as witnessed by the Daily Ireland editorial I was looking at on their website earlier today about the problems in loyalist estates. I’m just not sure it measures up to reality.

  • James

    This topic goes to show what a one-sided, bigoted anti-protestant board slugger has become.

  • lib2016

    Their population is falling like a stone, even the Newsletter admits that their brightest and best are leaving and they are closing the schools even though a larger percentage of nationalists than ever before are helping to keep the numbers up.

    For pity’s sake talk to an estate agent, or get friendly with a few ordinary loyalists. This is not a scare thought up for party political ends. It’s a genuine query.

    These things are cyclical – who would have thought that the South in the 1950’s was going to turn into the ‘performing flea’ of European economies? Who would have thought that Atlanta in the states would rise again?

    The Northern Prod will reinvent him/herself after the end of the union – that’s not in doubt. Maybe a bit of pomposity would help where Orange hypocrisy and Newt’s flippancy might help them do it a bit more quickly.

    Newt and the people who admire him seem to think that the ‘Britishness’ of Back to Basics is a viable culture. It’s not, not even in Britain.

  • lib2016

    Sorry, that should read-

    ‘…where Orange hypocrisy and Newt’s flippancy have failed’.


  • Garibaldy


    I know it’s a genuine query, coming from your genuine perception of what’s going on in those communities. I do know loyalists, and I don’t get the sense of crisis from them that you see. Schools are closing across NI due to falling numbers of children, and the best and brightest argument can be, and often is, overplayed. Nor is it just unionists who leave of course.

    Maybe you’re right. I just don’t see that the argument is at all conclusive.

  • At long last I can agree with something O’Doherty wrote without appending a string of qualifying clauses.

    It’s a slam dunk because it is show BUSINESS.

    Even “The Field” was very significantly altered to suit not only the market but the financing. The character that Tom Berringer played is originally an Irishman who spent a great deal of time in England gathering capital and becoming angalized in the process. This was somehow a sore point with the English financing so the character was changed to be an American (and you know how they are).

    Tales told from the contemporary Unionist perspective are white bread, David Trimble dull. However, when you spice it up with some bloodshed, as in Nothing Personal then even the UDA sells. The Brigadier character that Michael Gambon plays in that film does have a very sympathetic arc, much unlike Cow Pat Keegan (eat it raw, TPC) who is a darkly evil bastard skillfully played by Jason Issacs in Divorcing Jack.

    To find a film that found financing and a market told from the unionist ascendancy perspective, the best bet is The Last September. That’s got the identity problem and the class structure all tied up for you. The characters Gambon and Smith play totally confound the young English Captain. Add nudity, sex and violence to boot and what’s not to like?

  • Shuggie McSporran

    I don’t think unionists should be allowed near show business again, I couldn’t sit through another “On Eagles Wing”, though I still listen to the CD sometimes.

  • Dr Strangelove

    How about a totally off the wall fictional film, telling the story of how the demagogic leader of a large NI policital party had worked hand in glove with subversive/murderous elements, over many decades, to sow discord amongst the two communities. This storyline could be nicely juxtaposed against said demagogue’s public pronounements of a love for democracy and the rule of law.

    It might also have as a subplot, have the story of seemingly more moderate policticans from the same community holding those murderous elements in “sneaking regard”.

    I think we could be on to a box office smash.

  • james orr


    “…Plenty of movie references to the Scots Irish tradition in the States from ‘Birth of a Nation’ on…”

    Please list the “plenty”. Citing a discredited KKK propaganda epic as part of the Scotch Irish tradition is pretty close to Prods=Nazis.

  • jimbob

    This thread is another wee anti-Prod gem. Hope you all had a lovely time at your Shinner Hunger Strike Bootcamp, especially the “Hate Thy Neighbour” online role play workshops.


    Doctor Who

    Come and See remains the only film that has caused me to scream out loud at one point. In case you weren’t aware of it, it has recently been released on DVD.

  • Andy

    As a fellow poster has already alluded to these forums has been highjacked by odious republican idiots. This topic only serves to demonstrate this. Needless to say i’m comfortable with my identity and confident that the union is safer than it has ever been. Seems our “temporary state” is heading for its centenary. Oh how that must hurt! Go on call us “nazis”, it shows how bitter you shinners really are and i love it, just love it!


  • Anna Dale

    I wouldn’t worry too much about them Andy, I was born under a Union Jack, I suspect my grandchildren will as well, let them rage and rant, we know the score;)

  • Andy

    Careful Anna! Shinners don’t take too kindly to reality on here. You may get denounced as being a “nazi”, by the aforementioned degenerates and reprobates that inhabit these forums. 😉

  • Frustrated Democrat


    I will say it slowly as you don’t seem to be listening …..t h e u n i o n i s h e r e t o s t a y… thon big chiefs in SF ensured that with the GFA and consent an’ all… bit of a miscalculation there, but hey boy that’s life.

  • Doc

    “How about a totally off the wall fictional film”

    I see the guy in a red baret, say shot long against a brilliantly lit green hill.

    We can maybe do the Duke of York thing if you can secure the rights. The deal with Tom and Mel fell through but I’ll line up Bruce, Julia and John somehow. Trust me.

    Let’s get my people together with your people and do lunch sometime, baby.

    Bottom line: I get producer credit.

  • willis


    Please list the “plenty”. Citing a discredited KKK propaganda epic as part of the Scotch Irish tradition is pretty close to Prods=Nazis.

    I’m afraid that “Birth of a Nation” cannot be dismissed so easily. The point is not that it was propaganda, but that it represented a large section of mainstram white belief at the time. You could argue, given the comments of some Republican politicians, it still represents them.

    Add that to the fact that it represented a huge leap forward in cinematic technique and budget, it is no wonder that it is still regarded as a classic.

    The bigger question to be asked, and maybe Fair Deal can help here is.

    “If the cinema industry started with Directors like D W Griffith and Cecil B De Milles, who certainly would have great sympathy with Unionists and the Scots-Irish, why did it get to where it is now?
    Hays code and fundamentalist puritainism is part of the explanation.

    Any other thoughts?

  • Doctor Who

    “Come and See remains the only film that has caused me to scream out loud at one point. In case you weren’t aware of it, it has recently been released on DVD.”

    One of the best war films ever made, clearly influenced Spielberg, when he made Private Ryan. Although it was released on Region2 recently, it has been available on multi region import for some time.

  • lib2016


    Thankyou for your post. The point I’m trying to make is that almost all the Jesse James movies, especially the recent Colin Farrell ‘American Outlaws’, together with a lot of the ‘Country Music’ Nashville originated entertainment industry stem directly from the Appalachian based Scots-Irish tradition.

    If I mention Pete Seeger and the ‘folkies’ as also being part of that tradition will somebody accuse me of tarring all Prods as Commies?

    Unionists made the mistake of opting for a Reith BBC ‘British’ identity in the 1960’s cultural wars. The problem is not that they don’t have a culture but that they are afraid to claim it.

    Nationalists know and accept that there was a lot wrong with previous versions of republicanism. The answer is to keep the best and try and do better, not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Unionists need to throw out the sectarianism and build on previous moves towards democracy etc. IMHO. They seem to be doing the reverse.

  • Doctore and TAF.
    I concur that “Come and See” is one of the most frightening movies I have ever seen. The kid reminds me of a young Steve McQueen too.
    Another good movie with the same theme is Ivan’s Childhood from the master director Andrei Tarkovsky about a young lad who acts as a scout for the Soviets behind the German lines. A good movie but still behind his magnum opus “Andrei Rublyev.”
    On the theme of Eastern Europe, I was in Prague recently and attended the exhibition “Dogs Have No religion” all about sectarianism in the North.
    There were two brilliant short films from each side about the troubles. One had a very fair minded Taxi driver from the Shankill talking about
    the 1970s when the guys used to go to the dog track and religion/tribal loyalty was left at the door. His quote is the name of the exhibition. He was quite witty and said that yes, they mingled and mixed at the dog track but the next day they were trying to kill each other again.
    The other short film consisted of a group of rural Catholic old men hammered out of their heads on whiskey muttering and grunting in a semi form of English. It was in a rural part of the North, more countrified type of accent. They were in an typical old Irish house complete with the Sacred heart photo on the wall singing Sean South and the Sash. One guy was so pissed he couldn’t remember the word of Silent Night. The effects of whiskey were there to see, the original lunatic optimism followed by the dark introspective maudlin silences.
    Anyway if any of you Nordies, or free staters for that matter, are in Prague, check out the exhibition, it’s both funny and thought provoking, especially being confronted by Sammy Wilson’s big head on an election poster as you walk in the door. with his big head and his smile like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, hilariously surreal.