Ervine the politician…

Probably the last of the many tributes to David Ervine. This one was published by the excellent Business Eye magazine, and reproduced on the net by Newshound, is a lobbyist eye’s view from Quintin Oliver of Stratagem. It was once on the cards that the East Belfast man be ‘elevated’ to the Lords, if his bid to get into the Assembly had failed.

Ervine was a joy to lobby – he didn’t waste our time; he said no and meant it, or yes, and equally meant it. He valued the expert knowledge and passion in their cause that our clients brought to his table, recognising that as a busy ‘jack of all trades’ he needed to draw from others – ‘real people doing real things with real motives’, he called it. In the Assembly once, he regretted that ministers and the large parties could read from prepared scripts, while he had to ‘busk it’. That’s why he was ready to receive advice, although he would question the brief with characteristic rigour. He was big enough to know what he didn’t know, and not just pretend, as some others do.

Although as an old-fashioned Socialist he was not instantly business-friendly in the traditional sense, he valued the dignity of labour, and understood the importance of employment in his east Belfast heartland. He and Jeanette had after all called their second son ‘Owen’ after the hero of Robert Tressell’s seminal Victorian novel on the struggle for workers’ rights. His gem on religion and work is worth repeating: “people shouldn’t wake up wondering whether they are Irish or British – they should be wondering whether they are going to be late for work.” That enshrines his practical and no-nonsense approach.

And lastly, despite the seeming contradiction of his career in the round, perhaps one of the reasons this once ‘gentile’ UVF bomber was held in such affection by many outside his own community:

He once scolded me for asking the banal question of him in public about his greatest sense of achievement as a politician; ‘of course, it’s the constituency work, Quintino, that’s what I’m meant to say, amn’t I?” But in reality it was his ambition to answer that much more penetrating question asked of him by Gusty Spence, as he had entered the UVF cage in Long Kesh, long before, “Why are you here?”

That was his driver, his shining light, his candle in the dark; and no ermine could have smothered that burning ambition.

  • Realist

    Doubtless Reg would have suggested his ‘terrorist’ friend if Ervine had lost this time round

  • Tony

    Realist

    Telling that your comment is so out of place and almost ridiculous.

    This is a piece by someone completely disconnected from Ervine, someone who ‘should’ be printing something as simplistic and ignorant as yourself. But rather on meeting the man decided that he was a non sectarian straight talker, in fact reading Quintin Olivers piece makes me realism what a shame it is that Ervine isn’t within our political sphere anymore.

    “Ervine was a joy to lobby – he didn’t waste our time; he said no and meant it, or yes, and equally meant it. He valued the expert knowledge and passion in their cause that our clients brought to his table, recognising that as a busy ‘jack of all trades’ he needed to draw from others”

    “people shouldn’t wake up wondering whether they are Irish or British – they should be wondering whether they are going to be late for work.”

    sounds like exactly what Northern Irish politics is missing

  • Nevin

    Looking back to events in Garnerville in July 2005 it was my impression that the PSNI stood by while the ‘favoured’ paramilitaries cleared out the lesser vipers.

    It reminded me of the notion from the early 90s that paramilitary feathers were not to be ruffled; police officers could observe but not intervene without political clearance.

    The question is. “What part did Ervine play at Garnerville?”

  • Mick Fealty

    No reflection on the quality of the response to the piece above, but this was sent me yesterday (I hope to blog it in full later on). It has a number of reflections on the quality of ‘blog discourse’ that strike a chord with what seems to be a generalised obsession with context, rather than addressing the challenge of individual text:

    Debating should not be mixed up with a netwar style of campaigning in which existing (political) flights are being played out on the Net. The pushy tone is what makes blogs so rhetorically poor. What lacks in the software architecture is the very existence of an equal dialogue partner.

    The result of this is a militarization, expressed in a term such as “blog swarm”, defined by Christian rightwing blogger Hugh Hewitt as “an early indicator of an opinion storm brewing, which, when it breaks, will fundamentally alter the general public’s understanding of a person, place, product, or phenomenon.” It is communality of bias, or let’s say conviction, that drives the growth of blogging power and its visibility in other media.[Emphasis added]

  • Nevin

    Mick, when you get around to that blog, could we have in plain English, please? 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    I thought I had covered that in my brief intro… Simply put: context in (particularly in Northern Ireland) is easy and mostly used to damn the voice of an (communally undesirable?) point of view… it also allows people to forego the necessity of addressing the ‘actual text’ of an argument.

    But we should probably save this conversation for that prospective thread… In the meantime, Garnerville is certainly context, but it might also be seen as a device for not addressing the ‘actual material’ in the post…

  • Nevin

    Mick, you introduced context with ‘seeming contradiction’; Garnerville provided an example ie it illustrated the ‘actual material’. That said, I find some of these eulogies rather nauseous.

  • tony

    Mick

    You 100% right if Iam interpreting what you are saying correctly. The major fall down of slugger and other blogs (not your doing or within your power) is that they have become exactly the opposite of what they should be.

    Blog responses rather than being an avenue for voicing an opinion and guaging others – with an open mind on changing your own…..they have become an avenue for people forcing in a military style their own views and staunchly held preconceptions. With no personal openness to new ideas.

    Garnerville is only very loosely (if you close your eyes and look at things blurred and with imagination) connected to David Ervine…and certainly is not connected to the written piece we have been asked by the poster to consider.

    To my knowledge Ervine’s only role in Garnerville was for several years before asking the security forces why they allowed the Garnerville community to be held hostage literally under their eyes. Thats not to say that what then happened was correct, one paramilitary org removing another is completely unacceptable, it is probably in this case the lesser of two evils, but it still unacceptable.

    In an attempt to bring this back on topic and in context, the piece written by Oliver is an interesting one simply because it is written by someone from a very different background from its topic (Ervine) who was able to see through these misconceptions to the true man.

  • Peter Brown

    There were clearly two sides to David Ervine – he would have us believe that Mr Hyde was in his past and that he was now permanently Dr Jekyll but events like Garnerville and the attempted murder of Haddock and the PUP and Ervine’s refusal to distance themselves from terrorism and criminality might not support that. I think that the PUP may be better able to suppress Hyde but it hasn’t gone away you know which is why the Dianafication of Ervine is far from derserved – one small step on a very long road at best

  • The Clockwoman

    I wonder what the honest answer is of all MLAs to the question: “Why am I here?

  • It is interesting that David Ervine is getting praise, well deserved, and the prospect of Mr Ervine being made a lord if he had survived gives hope to all those who wish to renounce their past and contibute to society in a positive way.

    However, it seems reference to Martin McGuinness is less generous and seems to be a bit elitist.

    Perhaps those with a paramilitary/criminal background who enter politics is just what is needed to cut through red tape and get the job done in a more effective manner?

    I would have been happy to see David Ervine become a lord, and by the same token I hope to see the day when General Thomas Slab Murphy becomes President of Ireland, even offered the Presidency, which Slab may honourably turn down.

    Heroic heros seem unlikely at the time, Ervine, Murphy, McGuinness etc, but benefit from history, unlike heros/the powerful of today that are judged harshly by history, Bush, Blair etc.

  • joeCanuck

    So even the dead are not immune to “whataboutery”, and nobody’s repentence is accepted.

  • Who could have begrudged him a peerage? After all, so many other useful fools on the unionist side since 1998 got their gongs.

  • Continental Drifter

    Some good responses above.

    I’m sorry the man died, but he was no saint.

    We’ve got to get over this nonsense that growing up in poverty excuses turning into a terrorist.

    There are lots of perfectly decent people from Ervine’s background who chose the peaceful, democratic route right from the start.

    CD

  • I Wonder

    …having made bad choices, he used the fact that he had “history” to provide leverage and in the course of his Phase 2, saved an unknown number of lives.

    We should all acknowledge the possibility of redemption. Where would we be now if Gerry Adams had been shot dead outside the Skandia 20 years ago?

  • gareth mccord

    davy ervine A TRUE LYING SCUMBAG who protected and ignored uvf informer killers FACT.. wake up people look at the cards on the table. THERE IS NO EXCUSE NO REASON AND NO TRUE HUMANE PERSON WOULD PROTECT KILLERS OF THEIR OWN COMMUNITY .

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TC: “I wonder what the honest answer is of all MLAs to the question: ”Why am I here?” ”

    “It beats honest work.”

  • joeCanuck

    Ad Hominem attack on the dead who cannot respond.
    New low for Slugger commenters.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    CD: “I’m sorry the man died, but he was no saint. ”

    Him and almost everybody else, CD. If not being a saint their whole life is a disqualification from having a few nice words after one’s death, we’re left with, what, a half centimeter on the obituary page apiece and that’s it?

    Frankly, the fact that the man was flawed is what makes him interesting.

    Gareth McCord: “A TRUE LYING SCUMBAG who protected and ignored uvf informer killers FACT.. wake up people look at the cards on the table. THERE IS NO EXCUSE NO REASON AND NO TRUE HUMANE PERSON WOULD PROTECT KILLERS OF THEIR OWN COMMUNITY”

    Gee, Gareth, don’t sugar-coat things on our account, tell us what you really feel.

    There comes a point in the game where you realize that you are no longer playing the game and that the game is playing you.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    JoeC: “Ad Hominem attack on the dead who cannot respond.
    New low for Slugger commenters. ”

    Actually, I was thinking of the live politicians… I don’t do seances. 😉

  • cutthecrap

    Gareth mccord

    If you are in fact the gareth mccord…the internet allows for all sorts of anonymity and false bravado. Your posts are all the same and continually unhelpful and completely un insightful.

    What I would advise for all moralistic posters is to look far closer to home when throwing around such allegations….’uvf killer’ or ‘killer’ applies to far too many of our society.. as I say some are far closer to home than others.

  • joeCanuck

    I think our posts crossed Dread.
    I wasn’t referring to your post, but to post # 16.
    Regards

  • gareth mccord

    cutthecrap
    remember what ervines words were “SCUMBAG” and “LETS CALL A SPADE A SPADE”!
    so lets have some respect for a man who was a democrat and according to him a decent scumbag.
    the pup didnt co operate with any police or ombudsman investigation into uvf killers? WHY? david ervine was the leader of a party whos members were arrested and questioned abouts raymonds murder and under instruction from mo molam released? its in the records in police headquaters and gough barracks. what had the pup to hide or gain from not co operating. the fact that the informer b in the report a.k.a. mr gary heggarty is the commander who took over from mark haddocks command. appointed by bunter graham who is and has been an informer for many years hence his position. now who is heggartys wife, yes pup kelly robinson who family are pup through and through. who introduced and helped heggarty to the current position yes a now dead pup activist billy mitchell. now for those of a slow uptake all current and previous uvf killer informers have very close links to the pup FACT now again i will repeat the leader ignored and helped cover up in the murders as bunter controls the pup/uvf FACT. as for raymonds past many uvf spins have been spun and black propaganda to blacken my families name but dont believe the words of uvf killers and their spin machine

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gareth mccord: “raymonds past many uvf spins have been spun and black propaganda to blacken my families name but dont believe the words of uvf killers and their spin machine ”

    Per the BBC: “Raymond McCord Jnr was murdered on 9 November 1997.

    The 22-year-old Protestant who had spent four years as a radar operator in the RAF was beaten to death by the UVF.

    He had been a member of the organisation and is also said to have had some involvement in drugs.”

    Now, as a member of this organization, just what, pray tell, did Raymond Jr. think he was getting into, the Sea Scouts? Paramilitarism, I’m sorry to inform, is something of a contact activity.

    Now, whilst you have my sympathies for your loss and one should not have to worry about being killed by one’s own side, paramilitarism, particularly where it intersects with organized criminal activity, is hardly a safe endeavor. A slice of the blame has to fall upon Raymond Jr. for getting into the game in the first place.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Dread,

    Couldn’t agree more, McCartney jnr was no innocent, he was a drug dealing criminal and was known to be an informer himself, not unlike his ex-UDA father.

  • gareth mccord

    dread
    i agree and have sayed to raymond then and so has my family that in the circles of his so called “mates” he will be used and loose his family if he goes against our grain of ALL paramilitary groups are not wanted. But saddly he acted to late to escape that life and paid a heavy price. but for the previous 3 weeks prior to his death he didnt go to meetings or the drinking dens and they were panicking because of what he witnessed and heard so haddock covered his back.but althogh he was caught bringing in a now semi legal drug he did not deserve death and to be labeled a dealer as it was a one off which when caught woke him up and made him realise what dark treacherous road he was going down.
    but as for blame what about haddocks other murder victims, please tell me and their families what slice of blame they were at fault for being savagely murdered by uvf killers protected by the government.

  • gareth mccord

    whos macartney jnr

  • Intelligence Insider

    My bad, I’m sure you are aware I meant McCord, “Gareth”.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gareth mccord: “but as for blame what about haddocks other murder victims, please tell me and their families what slice of blame they were at fault for being savagely murdered by uvf killers protected by the government.”

    Ah, but you weren’t beating your breast about Haddock’s other victims — and victimhood, in my mind, is a case-by-case matter and not extended to whole classes. I suppose we could go down the whole list, but allow me to summarize, since you inquire.

    Haddock deserves to be taken out behind the shed and put down like the mad-dog he is, whilst his handlers should be put in GP after their trials. However, the Unionist state, through its duly appointed servants in the RUC, have sought to ensure that doesn’t happen. They have done well enough that the men in charge may beat their breasts in impassioned speech, quietly trying to sweep the bodies underneath the foundation of Unionist N.I., claiming that what was done was “a necessary evil.” I recommend you take up your inquiries with them.

    As for Ervine, in life, I didn’t have alot to say about the muppet. In retrospect, I think the man found himself at an awkward intersection where loyalty conflicted with what was right and he tried to carve out his own seperate peace.

  • gareth mccord

    dread
    what lingo are you talking? shakespeare?
    your very ervinish [no offence]
    beating breasts victim victimhood whole classes? what are you on about?
    murder is murder especially if ALL YES ALL cases were ordered or carried out by uvf informers allowed to kill with the governments protection!
    stop all this crap about ruc sb psni the orders came from the top FACT! a true story about ervine meeting the prime minister. from another person at the meeting who is now no longer politically involved can confirm. mr ervine says to the prime minister what about the billy wright problem, the prime minister replies that the matter is in hand . what happens in the next month to billy wright. CORRECT think about it, its always from the top were the people below are only puppets on a string.

  • cutthecrap

    Garth McCord

    It seems you are either regurgitating the Sunday world or you wrote the article, either way not exactly top class investigative journalism. Not saying some of it isn’t true, I don’t know just that its a poor standard so unreliable.

    Dread and you have an interesting discussion. Obviously your brothers death was a travesty and since the security forces were involved, a full investigation up to and including prosecutions should rightly follow.

    It is no excuse, but as your brother was himself a UVF man involved in drugs (at the very least) he is as dread said leaving himself open to this sort of demise,he was not signing up to sell cookies. But I repeat it is still a travesty for your family and shouldn’t have happened. But it does separate him from (slightly) from the other victims effected by that particular infiltration/unit/group of gangstars – whatever.

    You say that we shouldn’t believe what ‘uvf killers’ say but yet expect us to believe the sunday world. As far as I am concerned your brother was involved in the smuggling and distribution of drugs and was in the uvf- as you say ‘FACT’ and one which you have substantiated – that being the case everything else that has been said about your brother I wouldn’t completely disbelieve….someone capable of joining the UVF and selling drugs in my eyes is capable of anything.

    Again repeating myself but all that has happened to your family is wrong but not any more a travesty than what has happened to the other victims of this particular atrocity (especially when you consider the above).

    What I would like to ask from an observers point of view is why your father has met all the victims concerned in this episode except the family of john harbinson?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “Looking back to events in Garnerville in July 2005 it was my impression that the PSNI stood by while the ‘favoured’ paramilitaries cleared out the lesser vipers.”

    The LVF were an oppressive regime in the Garnerville estate. I have a friend who lives on the Garnerville Road and he told me all about the hardship the residents of the neighbouring estate had to endure at the hands of the drug-dealing nefarious characters of the LVF. Taxis and even ambulances were stopped going into the estate so the LVF hoods could keep an iron-grip on who went in and out of the estate and what their business was. The PSNI neglected their duty of care to the local community and this was why locals turned to the UVF. It was reported in the media that the UDA also sent members into the estate to put the LVF out but I have been told this was solely a UVF initiative.

    I would like to point out that I am not a UVF supporter or a PUP voter, far from it. However, I am pleased that there is a more harmonious relationship between the UDA and UVF and this can only be helped by the expulsion of the LVF from working-class loyalist estates, as they often attempted to play the two organisations off against each other for their own, personal gain. (The two organisations are less likely to notice or investigate LVF drug-dealing in their areas if their attention is diverted to other matters with their main rivals within loyalism).

    As for making Davy Ervine a Lord – Lord Ervine of Pottinger (his ward in the East) doesn’t really sit too well with me. He perhaps should merit an award posthumously for his work in deprived communities and for his attempt at brokering cross-community harmony with the Short Strand community in the East but I don’t believe he is or was right for a Lordship and it wouldn’t have felt right to him either…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gareth mccord: “what lingo are you talking? shakespeare?
    your very ervinish [no offence] ”

    None takem.

    gareth mccord: “murder is murder especially if ALL YES ALL cases were ordered or carried out by uvf informers allowed to kill with the governments protection! ”

    If one joins one of the paramilitary criminal organizations, there is a certain amount of risk one assumes in doing so. They officially leave the category of “innocent bystander.” You play with fire, you get burned.

  • gareth mccord

    cutthecrap?
    do you think people will believe what they want to believe no matter what evidence is put to them?
    the ombudsman report not only vindicates what only MY FAMILY have been saying for the last nine years but remember were you and the rest of the thomases read it yes thats right the sunday world and life so when are yous actually going to believe whats written from info provided by my family? i challenge you or anyone to prove any story that the world or life printed on raymonds case is lies! remember one thing libel can be very costly so why has willie young darren moore john bond bunter graham mark haddock stephen logue gary haggarty rab warnock angus knell and even davy ervine not persued to clear their names of the lies the papers tell. After all its not true to peoole like you who knows what really happens and who did what were and how? Maybe you and the rest of the thomases could tell us how my family and the ex and current sb cid ruc psni ombudsman and uvf people are wrong and yous are right?
    as for raymonds involvement who do you believe when bunter graham and staff tell my father in a meeting at shankill headquarters shortly after his death that he was a member for a few weeks and was thrown out because “he wasnt schooled”?
    you dont need to sell drugs and be a member of an organisation to be capable of anything!
    you and i know alot of people who are capable of anything when its neccessary!
    i know drug dealers and members of organisations who couldnt beat casys and are to unreliable to carry out certain operations. so not all involved are capable.
    as for the difference between my familys “travesty” and others killed by the mount vermin is simple, WEVE DONE AND DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND DIDNT FEEL PITY OR WANT IT AND SHOWED HOW MUCH WE WANT JUSTICE FOR OUR LOVED ONE can the rest of the families say they have done everything or anything they can to get justice for their loved ones? why is it that families who suffered from mount vermin are now wanting US to meet and help them? they think there is a band wagon and they are getting on for free but they are not. we got and are getting the death threats we risk our lives to bring mount vermin uvf to there knees nobody else did!
    we have not met all the families not just the harbinsons but we have done without their help or input so far so they can hang there heads in shame for all they have done to get justice for their loved ones. why would we meet the harbinsons whenever they believed the uvf that raymond murdered mr harbinson. Given the fact that mrs harbinson phoned haddock on the night in question to say that mr harbinson was beating her. haddock then tells heggarty to get a team and bring harbinson to the estate to “do him in”.
    raymond did not murder mr harbinson but back to the top and as ive sayed people will belive what they want no matter what evidence is put to them.
    DREAD(shakespeare)
    i agree you live by the sword and all that BUT some swords are given back because they realise they dont want to live by it! but the owner of the sword says no refunds or exchanges allowed.

  • cutthecrap

    Gareth McCord

    Very enlightening, it shows us where you are coming from in more detail, some of it you entended to share the rest probably not.

    As a constructive criticism, maybe some more punctuation and some extra spacing…because my head hurts a bit after that.

    I am not a doubting thomas, I believe that your brother was murdered by informers. But you are not the only people to say that loyalists orgs are riddled with informers and agents, Sinn Fein…even the PUP for gods sake and your hated Davy Ervine highlighted Loyalist drug dealing, agents and gangsters.

    I take offense to your comment about the other families involved
    “we have not met all the families not just the harbinsons but we have done without their help or input so far so they can hang there heads in shame for all they have done to get justice for their loved ones.”

    People deal with grief in different ways and some people have more strength and or knowledge than others, nothing to be ashamed of…..I think maybe you should hang your head in shame about that one.

    Yes almost everyone is capable of bad things, but someone who deals drugs and joins violent organsiations are definately capable of more than just any random person.

    The sunday world do not print the truth, they print to sell papers, they dont have your best interests at heart more than anyone else….I can easily forsee the day when they grow tired of you and your family and then they will be the worst in the world in your eyes.

    People the like of which you posted about are not likely to sue the sunday world as they are probably in illegal organisation and so dont want to bring the extra attention on themselves…doesnt mean everything is true…just that they arent in a position to argue. as for Davy Ervine, the sunday world etc are very careful as to what the write about him and have never written anythng of that nature because they knew he probably would have sued.

    This is how I see it.

    Raymond Junior was killed by as you call them ‘mount vermin’ scum

    These same people were british security force touts and informers

    Raymond Jnr was a UVF member

    Raymond Jnr was a drug dealer involved in high level criminal activity up to and including murder.

    Raymond Snr, who held his former friends in the UVF rightly responsible for his sons murder, now condemned their activity (again rightly – although a little belatedly)

    Raymond Snr was persistent although at times underhanded and untruthful (undertstandibly desperate to forward his case) in pushing for what he saw as justice.

    Raymond Snr found political relevance in his struggle and found the ear of some political people…he met sunday world/life/ian paisley jnr/davy ervine etc etc

    Raymond forwarded his story and got what he wanted (partl) in the Oloan report.

    Now people are fed up with Raymond Snr and feel burned by him as they couldnt deliver what he wanted (which it wasnt their power to do)

    Davy Ervine met him and did all he could
    DUP met him and did all they could
    UUP met him and dis all they could
    Same goes for all the people who met him.

    now the worm has started to turn and those people ONLY NOW will start to turn their back on Snr

    DUP/UUP already have Davy Ervine isnt here anymore…and the sunday papers are next.

  • gareth mccord

    as ive said some people will believe what they want no matter what!
    you have not answered any of my questions/queries? WHY?
    You seem to make alot of accusations but yet wont tell me your proof or how you came to know the uvf spin on blackening our familys name? WHY?
    i know it must be hard to swallow but the report and the fall out from it is only the foundations of our fight. so each week you will still hear and see our campaign in the papers on tv and everywere you be because we have still a long way to go but at last we are seeing through the black clouds. REMEMBER WE ARE NOT LIKE MOST OF THE OTHER FAMILIES, WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO AND SEE WHOEVER WE HAVE TO GET JUSTICE!!!
    my advice to you is get your facts right as you are entitled to your view but when you or anyone start using uvf spin and try to blacken my familys name then it says to us you want to get involved on the uvf side. WRONG MOVE!!

  • diesel

    gareth mccord
    is is not true raymond mccord was a well know figure in the grove tavern and also other uvf haunts not only in york street but also in antrim