Lindsay Mason: He did it his way…

NORTHERN Ireland’s most colourful independent politician, Robert Lindsay Mason, was buried today. Mason, an intelligent, affable and very talkative eccentric, was loved and loathed in equal measure, and I think that he will be missed in Larne Borough Council‘s chambers. He was someone who tried to keep politics honest – in his own inimitable style. “While he has been described as an itch that could not be scratched nobody disliked him and he will be missed,” said the DUP’s Bobby McKee.

  • Crataegus

    Sounds like quite a character, and not the sort you would expect the citizens of Larne to elect.

    Is he the one that alleged all sorts of strange dealings by elected representatives?

  • The Maidens Lighthouse

    Nice quote from Boots McKee. I wonder who was the Council colleague who “once allegedly threatened to knock his teeth down his throat for being a nuisance.”
    (Answer… the clue is in the question)

    “not the sort you would expect the citizens of Larne to elect.” That’s intriguing Crataegus, where exactly in NI would you expect a ponytailed former NF and Ulster Constitution Party (a group which published an early 70s pamphlet calling for Dublin to be bombed) representative with Asbergers syndrome and Tourettes to be elected, if not Larne??

    Ulster Constitution Party (UCP)
    A name associated with Robert Lindsay Mason. The party had no success at elections in the early 1970s and Mason later became one of the National Front (NF; a British Fascist party) representatives in Northern Ireland.

    Source:
    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/organ/uorgan.htm

    Mason stood as an explicitly pro-Agreement independent candidate. (Interestingly he or someone of he same name contested the 1973 Assembly election in east Belfast as an “Ulster Constitutional Loyalist”, so I guess he has moved on since then.)

    Source:
    Nicholas Whyte
    http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/queries.htm

    PS His immediate Council predecessor was none other than Fr Pat Buckley

  • Thanks for that, Maidens Lighthouse. Never knew Mason was in the NF.

    He was certainly a maverick, but I never detected in him any real hatred, so I was surprised to find this out. I visited Mason once shortly after his mother died and found him quite amiable and moderate. While he discussed his past in Belfast Corporation etc, he (unsurprisingly) neglected to mention the NF, which was possibly even more virulent in the 70s when he was an alleged representative!

    He seems to have undergone a conversion on a scale not seen until Billy Leonard if this is true.

    I take it the UCP was also far right?

  • fair_deal

    UCP are remembered in Loyalist foklore for producing two sticker campaigns “Ulster – Love it or Leave it” and the other was “Bomb Dublin”.

  • GurnyGub

    I still remember his response, outside the City Hall(?), to a query about his dog, “It’s not an IRISH wolfhound, it’s an ULSTER wolfhound”.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Thanks for that you two, new trivia for me to store away for rainy days…

    FD, I don’t believe I ever came across the UCP before, and Gurny’s post reminded me of how contrary Mason could be!

    Still, it’s hugely interesting for me to find this stuff out about him. He gave me a couple of half-decent stories about six years ago, and then pestered me for ages to use more of his stuff.

    If he was really NF, that really surprises me, since, as I indicated, I quite liked the guy.

    I found out after I met him about his Asperger’s Syndrome, which I think is a ‘mild’ form of autism (welcome to be corrected on this), and I thought that more-or-less explained his ‘eccentricity’. Would that explain such a political shift, or was there even one?

  • Crataegus

    The Maidens Lighthouse

    Thanks that would explain it. The Newspaper article just didn’t fit my preconceived vision of Larne I am now smugly reassured.

  • The Maidens Lighthouse

    “The Newspaper article just didn’t fit my preconceived vision of Larne I am now smugly reassured”

    You see that is a comment that I find fascinating….rather than an appraisal of a recently expired eccentric/ mentalist councillor… it is the preconceived vision of a locality and a community.(‘Loyalist’ Larne)

    Given the problems that afflict this entire region, why pick on Larne? It is an area which of course has the same legacy of sectarianism and paramilitarism that affects much of NI, but I would contend at a much, much lower level. An area with mixed housing/ high percentage of mixed marriages/no peace walls/ and even a nationalist mayor (despite being one of only two in a Council of 15)

    BTW careful not to get too smug Crateagus, did you see South Park last night???

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smug_Alert!