Rebranding the UDA

More reports today on the conference, noted here yesterday, to workshop how that £1.2million of public funds might be spent.. Apparently it’s to be chaired by Sir George Quigley and it seems that the invited guests will include not just the Chief Constable, but “US Consul General Dean Pittman and representatives from the main churches” among the “more than 100 stakeholders”.. [any elected representatives? – Ed] And, according to Frankie Gallagher of the UDA-aligned UPRG

He also said one of the things that had been discussed was developing new flag designs that moved away from paramilitary emblems.

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  • Just what we need…..more flags to mark out territory…..maybe the re-branding will use up all the £1.2M.

  • Dec

    Just what we need…..more flags to mark out territory…..maybe the re-branding will use up all the £1.2M.

    It almost certainly will, considering they shelled out £3m on white paint last year.

    PS was SE Antrim ‘brigade’ invited to this conference?

  • Yokel

    They need to watch on those flags though.

    A number of years back there was a bad batch of Red Hand of Ulster flegs where the fingers on the red hand were spread and not together…

    I heard Frankie Gallagher saying that loyalists communities hadn’t done this ‘transformation’ before and would need help. IF the UDA & so on would feck away off that would be a great contribution.

  • Peace

    If it wasn’t for the UDA, who incidentally had to patrol their streets with waterpistols painted black when the IRA first attacked them with Haughey’s guns, the protestant community in the North would have been anihilated, along with most of the worthwhile buildings up there (built and funded by the British – isn’t architecture often very beautiful and of course should be appreciated).
    Stop comparing Ian Paisley and the DUP to Sinn Fein, the UDA/UVF are their protestant equivalents as it is they who fought them hands-on for thirty years and who had to stoop to their atrocities in order to stay alive and keep protestant culture in Northern Ireland living, with nothing but condemnation from both sides in return.
    If I were them, with no support or level of understanding from anyone, I would have turned to criminality a long time ago. It is about time the world gave them a second of their time, when they’re not being absorbed in the propaganda of the IRA/Sinn Fein, to try and understand them for who they are. Ordinary people, like you and I, who were born and who were born into the horrific circumstances of war.
    Stop buying into stereotypes and taking on board everything the media and the ‘machine’ comes out with, the communities of the UDA are more interested in earing a crust and family life to feel they have to prove themselves to anyone especially the media. Come down off your high horse all you ultra-Irish Nationalists, when it comes down to it, if someone was shooting your family, friends and burning your home like the IRA did just because you were born, would you not stand and fight? Where is your sense of humanity now..?

  • UDA

    We’re not going away so get used to it

  • ‘Peace’-

    “If I were them, with no support or level of understanding from anyone…”

    The poor UDA, people just don’t get them, do they? Clearly all of society is wrong and these murderous racketeers are right. Curse you society! [rolls eyes]

    “I would have turned to criminality a long time ago.”

    Erm, isn’t it a universally recognised fact that they did turn to criminality a long time ago?

    Here’s an idea- instead of asking for help (aka money) to disappear, why don’t they just shut down with immediate effect instead of looking something in return?

  • Dr Strangelove

    Peace, have you finished with your violin yet ?

    Maybe you and poster “UDA” could tell us when those fine civic gentlemen of the UDA should be giving up their guns ? You will get an extra 10 points if your answer does not refer to some spurious threat from dissident republicans.

  • Dec

    Come down off your high horse all you ultra-Irish Nationalists, when it comes down to it, if someone was shooting your family, friends and burning your home like the IRA did just because you were born, would you not stand and fight?

    Yeah, and we could have called ourselves the IRA or something…

  • A bunch of thugs would drive around in a car’s looking for Catholic’s to shoot or carve up.
    Why? Because they where a bunch of sectarian gangsters most of them would be classified as serial killers, using a political situation as an excuse to work out there warped fantasies.
    Then there was the other crowd,they would parade around in military gear trying to look like an army. When in fact they where carving out particular areas for extortion and drug dealing.
    There was never any real politics and it still goes on today.

  • Peace

    Well judging from the previous few comments,

    ‘…lack of understanding…’
    I rest my case.

    The blatant sectarian biggotry latent just under the surface of the ‘funny, laid-back, loveable irish’ of the Free State, which appears to be taken for granted as being latently acceptable and justified wouldn’t encourage any UDA person to give up a gun. More encouragement please!

  • Sean

    Ever seen the protestant women up there? Mmmm. Well, there’s one good reason for peace…

  • ‘Peace’-

    “The blatant sectarian biggotry [sic] latent…”

    I don’t believe I have ever murdered anyone on account of their religion, so who’s the sectarian bigot- me or a UDA man?

    “surface of the ‘funny, laid-back, loveable irish’ of the Free State…”

    What’s the Free State got to do with anything?

    “wouldn’t encourage any UDA person to give up a gun.”

    So what are they intending to do with those guns? Apart from that, it’s no one’s job to encourage them to dispense with their guns- they shouldn’t have them in the first place.

  • Apologies for the bad italicisation in post 12.

  • Roman Catholic from North Belfast

    And the IRA aren’t still involved in racketeering, thuggery, and beatings. Oh sorry! Sir Gerry told us that they weren’t – how could I have been so stupid, I must have been hallucinating lastnight when those four IRA heavies came to my door to beat anyone in sight for havin a party!
    The only reason the IRA are seen as justified in their cause is because they lost the war – 1690, 1922 and 1998. Amazing what losing wars does to people isn’t it. Poor martyrs eh? What was it all for?

  • Dec

    As trolling goes that last one was a true classic…

  • SuperSoupy

    RC from NB,

    Hint: When you are trolling and pretending to be a Catholic it is worthwhile remembering that only protestants refer to ‘Catholics’ as ‘Roman Catholics’.

    Carry on trolling.

  • Sean

    Peace

    f it wasn’t for the UDA, who incidentally had to patrol their streets with waterpistols painted black when the IRA first attacked them with Haughey’s guns, the protestant community in the North would have been anihilated, along with most of the worthwhile buildings up there

    Catch yourself on already the IRA was going to kill every single prod?

    dont make me laugh

    peace
    Come down off your high horse all you ultra-Irish Nationalists, when it comes down to it, if someone was shooting your family, friends and burning your home like the IRA did just because you were born, would you not stand and fight? Where is your sense of humanity now..?

    The IRA was reformed precisely because the catholics were being murdered and the RUC was doing nothing but standing around with their thumbs in their bums or sometimes doing the murdering

  • Dread Cthulhu

    To go back to the article, Frankie wants to put another coat of lipstick on the UDA pig, hoping that with cosmetics, folks will forget it’s a pig.

    What was the red-hot proposal last night? New flags?

    The flags of a paramilitary group of thugs will always be, definitionally, a paramilitary flag, traditional symbols or no. This is, at best, re-arranging the Titantic’s deck furniture and, as I stated before, sounds like a flim-flam, complete with blue-smoke and mirrors. This conference and this project hjas nothing to do with community betterment and everything to do with putting lipstick on a pig.

  • picador

    I suggest that the UDA should rename itself British State Counter Gang Number One

  • picador

    I would also suggest that they forget branding and stick to tattoos.

  • Troll

    Well actually I am a protestant but I shared a house with Roman Catholics for two years in North Belfast and believe me the IRA men who came to the door intimidated everyone in that house, whatever their political beliefs.

  • peace

    “…British State Counter Gang Number One.”

    Well evidently nothing is going to stop you all from believing the IRA propaganda machine and media. If you bothered to do adequate research on the topic of the British State’s roll in the ‘Troubles’ you’d know that the reason the UDA was formed was because the security forces in Northern Ireland couldn’t give a toss about them who were being murdered and maimed on a daily basis, and were ordered to ‘contain the IRA’ rather than defeat it ‘pending political decision’ i.e. pulling out and giving you a United Ireland. In actual fact, every time a UDA man left his house in the 70s and 80s with a gun her was arrested and the security forces had more or less made the UDA inactive by the end of the 70s and 80s – so think about that before you all start trolling around about collusion. Maybe you should spend a bit more time thanking the RUC for protecting you against violence rather than scapgoating and condemning them.

  • Two Nations

    Why all the naysaying and negativity?

    Is this not a positive thing?

    The UDA did some truly awful things in the last 30 years – countless murders, maiming and extortion. But so did the IRA? Have we not got to the point of forgetting about(at least overlooking) IRA actions. We do not keep harping on about it.

    Either we move on from all past misdeeds or we do not. All grief is equal.

    It is only £1.2m. Peanuts, considering the potential pay off in regeneration and growth. If they were intending to spend the money on drink, drugs and fags for the boys then I could understand the carping.

    But they are actually trying to give an account of what they want to spend the money on. They are being open about it – a very positive thing.

    Why the double standard from both moderate Unionists and Nationalists? Pete Baker, I do not see the same sniping and condescension directed at SF as you direct at loyalists.

    If the Irish President and hubby can engage and keep an open mind, why can Nationalists not? El Mat, are you unwilling to engage directly with the UDA/UVF?

    I believe a lot of the carping is to do with class. The UDA come out of (a product of) working-class loyalist areas. Areas notorious for inarticulation and brute violence. Areas neglected by swanky Unionist politicians, who only sweep in looking for votes or in the past looking for henchmen. It is easier to turn your nose up at the great unwashed, than a former terrorist in an Armani suit. Old-fashioned snobbery.

    The UPRG are at the very least looking to articulate their position. For consistency sake, the very least we can do is hear them out.

  • eranu

    the only thing any of our paramilitary groups need to do is disband and individually seek a place for themselves in normal society, ie get a job. their reason to exist was to participate in the troubles. they fought/defended for whatever reasons which we’ll not try to justify or condemn at the minute. but theres something that doesnt seem to have sunk in yet. the troubles are now OVER!! there is no reason for them to exist. its as simple as that. the ideas that you hear about old comrades associations or moving into community work are jaw droppingly laughable. who in their right mind would think a multiple murderer/bomber whos done 10 – 20 and is covered in tats, would be a good person to look after a group of 20 under 10s on a day out at marble arch caves?? wise yerself!!
    there are trained ‘nice’ people to do any of the community jobs that are talked about.

    i think the paramilitary guys are having a hard time accepting that their time is at an end.
    do we see disbanded army regiments retraining and moving into community work? do we see the Royal Irish Community Workers Army Association ??? ludicrous.. they just go off and get another job.

    just take a pay off and go and get a normal job!

  • peace

    “..most of them would be classified as serial killers..”

    I think that if we are honest with ourselves the UDA and the IRA all committed heinous atrocities in equal measure – in fact the IRA murdered more people, including catholics, but anyway, if that’s the case Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Gerry Kelly and Mitchel McLaughlin etc. etc. for whom catholics in the North are almost all voting for, could all be branded serial killers because they were all involved in murdering people.

    The message I am trying to get across is, people don’t chose where they are born into. All men are born equal but circumstance, specifically war, can push them into fight or flight situations whether they are from the Falls Road or the Shankill. Judge catholic paramilitaries as you would judge protestant ones, realise it was a dirty, horrible war and that all sides committed atrocities, give everyone a chance to move on from it and give everyone a chance.

    Have a peaceful Easter.

  • peace

    Eranu, I think you’ll find the reason why former paramilitaries end up in community worker posts is because no one else will climb down their stuck-up noses and give them a different job

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “The UDA did some truly awful things in the last 30 years – countless murders, maiming and extortion. But so did the IRA? Have we not got to the point of forgetting about(at least overlooking) IRA actions. We do not keep harping on about it. ”

    There are important differences as well — SF actually represents a larger constiuency, whilst UPRG doesn’t perform well even in UDA “strongholds,” let alone outside of them.

    Two Nations: “But they are actually trying to give an account of what they want to spend the money on. They are being open about it – a very positive thing. ”

    I’ll believe that when I see the independent auditor’s report… remind them to keep the receipts.

    Two Nations: “It is only £1.2m. Peanuts, considering the potential pay off in regeneration and growth. If they were intending to spend the money on drink, drugs and fags for the boys then I could understand the carping. ”

    Given that they broke it the areas in the first place and want to use other people’s money to fix what they destroyed, all apparently without giving up their extortion rackets and drug rings, I find it borders on farce.

    Two Nations: “The UPRG are at the very least looking to articulate their position. For consistency sake, the very least we can do is hear them out. ”

    Let their actions match their deeds and maybe it will be worth listening to.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    peace: “I think you’ll find the reason why former paramilitaries end up in community worker posts is because no one else will climb down their stuck-up noses and give them a different job ”

    And what legitimate employer in their right mind would want one of these violent misanthropic tattooed horrors in their employ? These men volunteered, peace, and earned their criminal records and reputations for violence.

    Why should they not enjoy the fruits of the garden they so well tended?

    If they want to come clean, let them meet the same standard that Paisley laid out for the IRA — disarmament and an end to criminality. If it be gravy for a goose, let it be gravy for a gander.

  • Two Nations

    Dread

    The difference between the UDA and SF comes from the fundamental differences between Nationalism and Unionism.

    Nationalism have working-class politicians – the whole movement came from a working class base.

    Unionism has an elite – most of our polticians were from a middle-class background. They tried not to dirty themselves with the working-class in general, nevermind loyalists. So for Unionists their Men of Words and Men of War were always seperate. While for Nationalism, they were (became) part of the same movement.

    But it is a mistake to think the UDA and UVF have no power because they have no elected representatives. The people we vote for have no power on the ground.

    If you have a ‘street problem’ on the ground in loyalist (even middle-class unionist) areas you do not go to an elected representative, you go to the local CO. Sometimes, if you do not want to get your hands dirty, you go to your elected represeantative to go see you local CO on your behalf.

    The two jobs for any Unionist councillor is 1)to help settle bin disputes with the council 2) to act as a go-between. They have zero power on the ground.

    I assume this is not the case in Nationalist areas. If you go to a Shinner, I assume he can get something done about the problem.

    It is a complete double standard among Unionists to not vote for loyalists but yet give them real power in their communities. And it is for most part the choice of working-class prods to have loyalists in their community. Very few loyalists have power due to strongarm tactics.

    So I do not see the harm in listening to the UDA or the UVF. They are a force within working-class loyalist areas (whether we like that or not), so it makes complete sense to talk with them and to encourage them down the right path. Acts of violence or criminality need to be dealt with and not overlooked, but the same is true for the IRA.

    Dialogue but not appeasement.

  • peace

    Another important point is that many former paramilitaries wind up working in community posts because no one else will employ them – they are still limited legally as to the jobs they can apply for – this perpetuates the circle and makes criminality more of a temptation for them.

    I think the 1.2 million pounds in funding is a good start to recognising that we all played a part, whether sitting on the fence or secretly being glad that ‘the Boys’ of our own ‘creed’ were around to dirty their hands for us. Yes, there are always those who don’t want out of crime everywhere but first lets give everyone a chance.
    Give peace a chance.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “But it is a mistake to think the UDA and UVF have no power because they have no elected representatives. The people we vote for have no power on the ground.”

    Oh, I understand that… I just think it is a sorry state of affairs that should not be rationalized with ex post facto legitimization efforts like this one. This sort of foolishness will only cement the UDA as the Godfathers of the street.

    Two Nations: “I assume this is not the case in Nationalist areas. If you go to a Shinner, I assume he can get something done about the problem. ”

    If we take you understanding as fact for the sake of argument, you’ve at least cut out the middle-man…

    Two Nations: “It is a complete double standard among Unionists to not vote for loyalists but yet give them real power in their communities. And it is for most part the choice of working-class prods to have loyalists in their community. Very few loyalists have power due to strongarm tactics. ”

    There is the difference between how they came to power and how they maintain power. I will readily accept that they came to power as a result of the Troubles, but I have trouble believing that they maintain their power without the implicit threat of violence — hwy else the “shows of strength?” I also have trouble believing that the ordinary decent citizens of these communities honestly want to live under the extortionate thumbs of these unelectable hoods.

    Two Nations: “So I do not see the harm in listening to the UDA or the UVF. They are a force within working-class loyalist areas (whether we like that or not), so it makes complete sense to talk with them and to encourage them down the right path.”

    Oh certainly — after they meet the same tests Big Ian and the DUP laid on the IRA — disarmament, etc. — I will cheerfully entertain what they have to say. Gravy for a goose should be gravy for a gander.

    Two Nations: “Dialogue but not appeasement. ”

    Ah, but payment is being made without disarmament, which would be appeasement, not dialogue.

  • Sean

    two nations
    The difference between the UDA and SF comes from the fundamental differences between Nationalism and Unionism

    No the differences between SF and UDA is that SF is a political organization and UDA are armed terrorist drug dealers

  • Two Nations

    Dread

    I want you understand that I am not defending loyalist paramilitarism, I am just trying to express that is worth our time to try and engage with them.

    It easy to have a Sunday World view of loyalist paramilitaries. I know that sounds patronizing but it is not meant to. It is just the reality of the situation, were over the last five years we have had the glamourization of the lives of people like Adair and the Shoukris. I do not live in the Shankill and therefore I cannot comment on whether the amount of criminal activity in the papers is reality.

    What I can be sure about is that MOST loyalists who live in my locale do not behave like Adair or Shoukri. Maybe it only shows the difference between the urban and the rural. The place I grew up was not as rough as the Shankill.

    There are drug dealing loyalists, who are an absolute menace to the society that I live. Creating havoc and being violent to the people around them. They behave like any criminal gang that can be seen in Limerick, Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester or London. They have no real regard for any tenets of Unionism.

    However, I also know of loyalists who live fairly normal lives. They hold down steady jobs, some are businessmen, some are churchgoers. Some are even middle-class. These people stay under the radar, they do not live flash lives. They do not deal drugs, they do extort money. Most would have no criminal record. I only know they are loyalists because I am from that area. If you are born and bred in an area, you get to know secrets that outsiders do not know.

    I do know they assert more power than any Unionist politician. I believe is not through the power of the gun but through the will of the people in my community. Anybody from a working-class background will hopefully know what I am talking about. After war the need for Defenders is still a very powerful force. Whether that is right or wrong is unimportant as it is the reality of the situation.

    I have thankfully had little dealings with active loyalists in my lifetime. This was a conscious decision on my part. It is always easy to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, so it is best to stay away from people who are capable of extreme violence no matter how normal they appear. However, I have known former loyalists, some who have done horrendous acts, and they have been nothing but a positive effect on my life. Men who carry scars themselves and whose advice is worth listening to. No one is beyond redemption, no one is beyond being a positive force for change

  • John

    Sean
    “SF is a political organisation, the UDA are armed terrorist drug dealers”

    Sinn Fein, the IRA, the Real IRA, the ‘I can’t believe it’s not the IRA’, the Northern Bank robbery, the Claudy Bombing, the 20+ Belfast bombings July 1972, just a few of the crimes your ‘sophisticated, educated, wealthy and articulate’ Sinn Fein MLAs were involved in. They have blood up to their elbows and well you know it. And you don’t see us dignified protestants harping on about it. No, just smug, ‘down-trodden’ catholics like you.

    You would do well to remember that the reason IRA was able to gain political status as SF and give up SOME of their weapons is because other politicians gave them a chance. And don’t get me started on the IRA army council that still operates since it was ‘disbanded’.

    Why do the words ‘pot, kettle and black spring to mind? oh and ‘classless hypocrites’

    You just can’t face the truth can you?

  • Dec

    I want you understand that I am not defending loyalist paramilitarism, I am just trying to express that is worth our time to try and engage with them.

    Two Nations

    I don’t think anybody thinks this is a bad idea now, (proving how far ahead of his time John Hume was in the early 90’s). What many people are baulking at is the carrot and no stick approach of the Governments, which appears to be delivering shed loads of cash to an organisation, members of which seem to be appearingin court charged with serious crime on an almost daily basis, in exchange for some vague utterances about transformation and moving away from the past (and outright rejection of any short-to-medium term decommissioning).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “I want you understand that I am not defending loyalist paramilitarism, I am just trying to express that is worth our time to try and engage with them. ”

    I have no problems with engaging with them, but what is unjust about holding them to the same standards as were placed upon the IRA by Big Ian?

    Two Nations: “What I can be sure about is that MOST loyalists who live in my locale do not behave like Adair or Shoukri. Maybe it only shows the difference between the urban and the rural. The place I grew up was not as rough as the Shankill. ”

    I’m happy for you. This is not meant to sound patronizing, but who am I really supposed to believe, you, or the assembled evidence of the police, the press and the IMC?

    Two Nations: “However, I also know of loyalists who live fairly normal lives. They hold down steady jobs, some are businessmen, some are churchgoers. Some are even middle-class. These people stay under the radar, they do not live flash lives. They do not deal drugs, they do extort money. Most would have no criminal record. I only know they are loyalists because I am from that area. If you are born and bred in an area, you get to know secrets that outsiders do not know. ”

    Not really material. They are criminals. Just because a thug lives a life more in tune with the traditional Mafia of the nineteenth century as opposed to the glamorized life of a thug on the twentieth century, does that make them less of a hood?

    And, if you haven’t noticed, you *are* defending them, Two Nations. You are rationalizing their position within the community, a position maintained through extorted monies and the implicit threat of violence.

    Two Nations: “I do know they assert more power than any Unionist politician. I believe is not through the power of the gun but through the will of the people in my community. ”

    If it was truly the will of the community, they would not have to extort money, now would they? Tell me — what happens to those who decline to pay?

    Two Nations: “After war the need for Defenders is still a very powerful force. Whether that is right or wrong is unimportant as it is the reality of the situation. ”

    And how is setting the same standards placed upon SF/IRA upon this collection of goons unjust? If they want to rejoin polite society, let them disarm and cease their criminality.

    But, given your lengthy rationalization / defense, I am left with the idea they do not wish to give up criminality or their weapons, which are the cornerstone of their extortion rackets whilst supping on the funds in the public trough.

    Two Nations: “However, I have known former loyalists, some who have done horrendous acts, and they have been nothing but a positive effect on my life. Men who carry scars themselves and whose advice is worth listening to. No one is beyond redemption, no one is beyond being a positive force for change ”

    So now we come to the truth of the matter. You have some measure of admiration for these hoodlums. I suspected as much, given your efforts to rationalize their unearned position in the community.

    I do not say they are beyond redemption, but first they must redeem themselves. If they want an end to their outlaw life, let them first quit being outlaws, then we will see what comes.

  • Two Nations

    Dec,

    The UDA is not actually getting that much! They are not being offered power or control over areas. It is £1.2m to be split among different deprived working class areas. Keep track of how they spend the money if need be but what is the point of constantly moaning about it the way Pete Baker does? It is not constructive. (Why does he not phone Jackie McDonald and ask him directly about the money? Even do a podcast. Don’t just stand at the sidelines sniping.)

    It is more carrot than stick at this time but they do not have carte blanche. I assume the government at this stage know that Jack and co can deliver most of the organization. They will look at people outside this control as being nonUDA, even if this is not the case and deal with them separately. I assume the UDA (like the IRA) will have plenty of loose ends that will need tied up. I cannot see rampant criminality being condoned though.

    However, the process is about bringing the UDA/UVF out of the cold. It will be a different process than that was used with the IRA but it will be a process and needs the full attention of both governments. Bear in mind, during the IRA process there was times when it is more carrot than stick also.

    In the end the UDA will have to deliver. Until that happens, can we at least be open and willing to engage. Nationalists should be the first to see the benefits of engaging with pariah groupings. The IRA was a pariah to every single Unionist, yet some of us had the courage to engage. To take risks.From this we have gained power-sharing. What can be gained from engaging with the UDA/UVF? I believe increased self-confidence of working-class Protestants. The benefits of this is enormous.

  • eranu

    “Eranu, I think you’ll find the reason why former paramilitaries end up in community worker posts is because no one else will climb down their stuck-up noses and give them a different job”

    “but first lets give everyone a chance.
    Give peace a chance.”

    peace, thats exactly the problem. you, and i presume them, think that they are owed a job, or atleast owed something. this is the real world, nobody owes anyone a job. to get a job you have to have the right skills and experience to be better than any other people who might want the same job. this seems to be radical new thinking for some NI folks ! at the most they could ask the gov for training in a trade or something like that. after thats done they’re in the same job market as the rest of us.

    NI paramilitaries Ltd has been wound up. time to get your cv updated, get off your fat ass, and get yourselves a job! 🙂

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “He also said one of the things that had been discussed was developing new flag designs that moved away from paramilitary emblems.”

    The new Ulster-Scots flags that were prominent in the North Antrim and Londonderry areas during the marching season, celebrating Ulster’s historical and cultural links with our Scottish friends, are proof that this initiative has begun. In my estate blue UDA and black UFF flags were erected in place of Union flags, then brought down again and the Union flags put back up within a 3-day period, surely an encouraging sign from the local UDA? Or is it still the case on Slugger that nothing the UDA ever does is good enough for nationalist/republican sceptics?

  • loftholdingswood

    Just back from the conference today (Loyalism in Transition – Stakeholders’ Workshop) that was held in the Stormont Hotel. A very constructive day with over 100 people attending. Nice to see Hugh Orde stay longer than planned and participate in the workshops. Lots of comments already posted I see so I’ll spend some time reading them and perhaps comment on some in due course. Some seem to be under a misapprehension at the very least. I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

  • Two Nations

    Dread,

    I want start by first stating that it is not my purpose to come here and defend the UDA or UVF. If I am failing in that then apologies to all. (it is easier to keep your head down on this but today I thought I would give it a bash)

    My intention is to express the reality of the situation within one working-class protestant community in NI. It is my reality of course but there you have it.

    I am not passing judgement either way, on the rightness or wrongness of the situation. I am trying to state fact. (Incidentally, I wish there was no armed gangs in my community, but that really is unimportant)

    The point I think you are missing is that your morality and the morality of a working-class Prod community are two different things. In that community a person can be a member of the UDA/UVF and not be a thug or a bad person. But to you the two cannot be exclusive. Who is right – you or them? That does not matter, either way it does not change reality. It is reality we have to deal with and not morality.

    You talk about extortion etc. Extortion rarely takes place within a community. You don’t rob your own. You rarely see actions of the gang within a community. Of course, people do know who not to mess with. The point is, that action that is detrimental to the community will not be tolerated for long. Therefore, the gang cannot rule through fear. It needs community support to survive. Take away that support and the gang will eventually be removed. A community is essentially selfish, therefore extortion etc outside that community will be overlooked.

    Whether that is moral or not is really unimportant. It is the reality.

    The UDA/UVF are a power within the working-class Protestant community and therefore should be engaged with,not pandered to.

  • Sean

    John
    Sinn Fein, the IRA, the Real IRA, the ‘I can’t believe it’s not the IRA’, the Northern Bank robbery

    2 things
    1 the IRA and Sinn Fein are 2 different but closely affiliated organizations but 1 can not be blamed for the actions of the other
    2 there has never been the slightest evidence ever produced linking the IRA to the Northern Bank robbery. Except for the wet dream fantasies of a discredited police force who want to blame everything bad on the IRA. “its snowing. Must be the IRA!”

    the Claudy Bombing, the 20+ Belfast bombings July 1972,

    If their is evidence that the Sinn Fein members were involved and they were prosecuted. If they were prosecuted then they have either served their sentences or were found not guilty therefor this arguement is meaningless

    IRA army council that still operates since it was ‘disbanded’.

    No one has ever claimed that the PIRA was “disbanded” least of all the army council. Infact the IMC that you unionists love so much recommends that they not be disbanded in the interest of peaceful transition

    They have blood up to their elbows and well you know it. And you don’t see us dignified protestants harping on about it. No, just smug, ‘down-trodden’ catholics like you

    UMM Dignified? every July 12th puts paid to that. and I am neither catholic or down trodden, heck I am not even Irish

    You just can’t face the truth can you?

    I will admit the truth about the IRA when you admit the truth about Paisley, OO, RUC, PSNI, UDR, UDA, UVF, UFF< blody sunday, Dublin and Monaghan, Special Branch, the B-specials, MI5, shoot to kill and the SAS

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “The UDA is not actually getting that much! They are not being offered power or control over areas.”

    Ah, but you claim they *already* have control over these areas — this program will simply provide ex post facto legitimacy over the control they already exert.

    Two Nations: “It is more carrot than stick at this time but they do not have carte blanche.”

    WHAT stick?

    Two Nations: “The IRA was a pariah to every single Unionist, yet some of us had the courage to engage. To take risks.From this we have gained power-sharing.”

    After disarmament and other demands were met.

    Two Nations: “The point I think you are missing is that your morality and the morality of a working-class Prod community are two different things.”

    Seeing as I am not in favor of extortion and drug-dealing and make no excuses for those who do, I would guess you are right, Two Nations. How silly of me.

    Two Nations: “Extortion rarely takes place within a community.”

    No, rarely does it take place *openly* in a community. There is a difference.

    Two Nations: “You rarely see actions of the gang within a community. Of course, people do know who not to mess with.”

    Just because you don’t see it does not mean it does not occur… as for why these people aren;t messed with, I would argue that has far more to do with the fact they are armed thugs than anything else. I ask again, who should I believe, you or the assembled press and police?

    Two Nations: “The point is, that action that is detrimental to the community will not be tolerated for long.”

    That is belied by the extortion of businesses, the dealing of drugs and other actions and the history of organized crime as a whole, world-wide. The Protestant community does not have a symbiotic relationship with the UDA; the UDA are parasites.

    Two Nations: “The UDA/UVF are a power within the working-class Protestant community and therefore should be engaged with,not pandered to. ”

    Ah, but they *ARE* being pandered to, Two Nations. So far, they are demanding money from the public purse AND ARE GETTING IT with few, if any, strings. This will not encourage disarmament and a return to normalacy. This will simply encourage more of the same.

    The more you seek to rationalize their criminality, the less inclined I am to believe you’re not defending them. The UDA are criminals, per the police, the press and the IMC. All I can see here is that they’ve raised their aim and wish to extort from the government.

    If they want a normal life, let them quit being outlaws and we will see what happens next. Is that so unjust? To do otherwise simply provides a thin veneer of legitimacy over these hoods. Set the bar for the UDA and UVF at the same height as was placed for the IRA — disarmament and an end to criminality. Is that unjust?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Two Nations:

    You talk about extortion etc. Extortion rarely takes place within a community. You don’t rob your own. You rarely see actions of the gang within a community.

    Can you run past me the justification for burning down of shops and a bank by the UDA at Cloughfern Corner in 2005 ?

    If so many prods support the UDA, why don’t they vote for them ?

  • Two Nations

    Comrade Stalin

    There is absolutely no jutisfication for anything like that. None.

    I am not trying to jutisfy the UDA or the actions of the UDA. Extortion, violence is completely unacceptable and indefensible. Maybe I have not made that clear enough.

    But my opinion or yours or Dreads is not important.

    The support for loyalists is there, is real and needs to be engaged with. BUT NOT PANDERED TOO. The UDA leaders need to be held to account for any misdeeds.

    My point is – deal with the reality of the situation. Not what we wish to be the reality.

    I would love to see real community leadership in working-class areas. BUT THERE IS NOTHING. The UUP and DUP have never offered it, is it any surprise that the loyalists have filled that role to some degree?

    People do look to the loyalists for community defense. Why this does not translate into votes may be for a number of reasons?

    Loyalists have been very rarely politically capable. They are tainted by some horrendous deeds that would put most people off voting for them. They have all been a bit too red. They lacked the personalities. Probably a mix of reasons. The big one is that Unionists look to the elite to provide their Men of Words. Their Men of War is a completely different matter.

    Dread

    The loyalists can not be compared to the IRA of today. They are more like the IRA of ten years ago and are being treated as such. Baby steps, being coaxed out of their hole. The Irish Government has laid the way in this. McAleese in particular.

    I can only assume the stick is there. I hope it is. The stick is the threat of the British State moving against the organisations, removing the people they need to by whatever means necessary.

    Disarnament is expected. The end of criminality too. If it is not then they UDA will be punished, but have in mind it took the IRA years to wind up their operations. Even after the GFA, even after being in Stormont.

    Babysteps but we will get there. It is pointless to stand at the sidelines sniping.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “I can only assume the stick is there. I hope it is.”

    Assume nothing is the best course.

    Two Nations: “Disarnament is expected. The end of criminality too.”

    These should be prerequisites.

    Two Nations: “Babysteps but we will get there. It is pointless to stand at the sidelines sniping. ”

    Pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes is not “sideline sniping,” Two Nations. I am troubled by the inability to Loyalists and their partisans to provide straight-forward, concrete answers to those who have the temerity to have doubts and questions. I give you points for not sounding like a cheap grifter trying to sell Florida swampland, Two Nations. Others aren;t so open in their style.

    Two Nations: “There is absolutely no jutisfication for anything like that. None.”

    And yet you do not acknowledge it until it is held up to your face… I guess denial isn’t just a river anymore.

    Two Nations: “The support for loyalists is there, is real and needs to be engaged with. ”

    As evidenced by what? Certainly not the votes their proxies get in elections.

    Two Nations: “People do look to the loyalists for community defense. Why this does not translate into votes may be for a number of reasons? ”

    Do you mean other than the fact they are drug-pushing, money extorting, bank and business burning thugs?

    Could you imagine the Shoukri brothers or Adair with access to the public trough? Tattos and cheap booze for everybody!!

  • Comrade Stalin

    I am not trying to jutisfy the UDA or the actions of the UDA.

    You keep having to repeat that. That’s probably because nobody believes you.

    The support for loyalists is there, is real and needs to be engaged with.

    Then why can’t loyalists get people to vote for them ?

    If loyalists are supported, why should unionists get a double mandate through both loyalists and the elected unionist politicians ?

    I would love to see real community leadership in working-class areas. BUT THERE IS NOTHING. The UUP and DUP have never offered it,

    Then offer an alternative at the polls ?

    is it any surprise that the loyalists have filled that role to some degree?

    Loyalists haven’t filled that role. Any time there’s an election they get rejected at the polls. Why do you think that is ?

    Loyalists have been very rarely politically capable. They are tainted by some horrendous deeds that would put most people off voting for them.

    Make your mind up. Do people support them, or not ? How could it make sense that people would spport someone, but refuse to vote for them ?

  • Two Nations

    Head. Brick. Wall. Banging.

    It must be my inability to explain this situation but I seem to be getting nowhere. So I’ll leave it here.

    My only intention has been to try and shed some light on the inner mechanics of working-class Protestant areas. They seem to completely unfathomable to outsiders. Or I am not the guy to explain them.

    All I can say that working-class Protestants are the most under-represented people living on this island. You may say that is nonsense because they vote for the DUP/UUP but these parties have in no way helped the working-class for the last 90 years. So why do they continue to vote for them? I wish I knew. Lack of confidence?

    It is hard to understand because none of it makes sense. There are dozens of contradictions but they are a contrary bunch, the Prods.

  • david

    The uda & uvf have murdered hundreds of Unionists during the last 35 years.

    Working class Unionists/Loyalists vote for the UUP/DUP because they want to be represented by them.

    No one votes for the paramilitary parties because they are scum, and thats a fact.

    They don’t have support, they simply rule under the threat of violence.

    Look at the uvf drug dealing in Mount Vernon or Garnerville or the uda drug dealing on the Shankill or Sandy Row/Donegall Road.

    No change for the terrorist scum.

  • Comrade Stalin

    All I can say that working-class Protestants are the most under-represented people living on this island. You may say that is nonsense because they vote for the DUP/UUP but these parties have in no way helped the working-class for the last 90 years. So why do they continue to vote for them? I wish I knew. Lack of confidence?

    Two nations,

    It’s as simple as this here. The people you vote for are the people who represent you. If that results in you getting fucked over, well tough. Stop voting for the people who are screwing you.

    The upshot of what you’re saying is that ornary woarkin closs Prawds are too thick and stupid to vote for politicians who will actually represent them. Therefore, you’re saying, we should ignore the people they elected, and instead funnel funds and assistance through an unelected criminal grouping. I reject that analysis, it’s a total antethesis of democracy. You want to take power out of the hands of the people expressed through the ballot box, and put it in the hands of a group who define themselves by the use of force, criminality, and NOTHING else.

    I don’t think that Prods are stupid. I think that while they may have some sympathies with paramilitarism, they see them as causing more harm than good and don’t want them about the place. Think about this hard. Any old two-bit group of thugs can shave their hair off, get an earring and a few guns and call themselves the voice of the people, leek. The only way the people can disassociate themselves from those folks is at the ballot box. That’s why I’ve got serious difficulty with your analysis.

    This whole shitty deal you’re trying to suggest sucks completely on about fifty different levels. You’re telling us to give power and influence to people for whom there is no evidence of any serious support, on the basis that they made up a business plan, which they won’t reveal. If you think that people can seriously get behind that, you don’t understand what democracy is. I suggest you go and read up on it. Democracy is where you get represented by the people you vote for. Not where you get represented by the people you don’t want.

  • Ian

    “Disarmament is expected. The end of criminality too. If it is not then they UDA will be punished, but have in mind it took the IRA years to wind up their operations. Even after the GFA, even after being in Stormont.”

    Two Nations, you are being disingenuous by suggesting that the clock should only start now for loyalists, when in fact they got their prisoners released under the GFA at the same time as the IRA’s were let out.

    LHW, I don’t know if you missed my query on another thread. I wondered if you could shed light on what came of the purported ‘show of strength’ by the SE Antrim Brigadier last weekend? Did anyone come to his party?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “It is about time the world gave them a second of their time, when they’re not being absorbed in the propaganda of the IRA/Sinn Fein, to try and understand them for who they are. Ordinary people, like you and I, who were born and who were born into the horrific circumstances of war.”
    Posted by Peace on Apr 04, 2007 @ 12:00 PM

    Very well put mate. I agree with everything you say in the rest of your comment too – the DUP are not the D.A.’s Sinn Fein, the closest equivalent they have to that is the Ulster Political Research Group and they are not a political party but provide political analysis to the Association and act as a pressure group, putting their points of view across to other politicians and NIO representatives as to the way forward for run-down sub-standard, under-funded loyalist communities in Ulster…

  • loftholdingswood

    Ian,

    The planned ‘show of strength’ was cancelled due to lack of support.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    CL: “the DUP are not the D.A.’s Sinn Fein, the closest equivalent they have to that is the Ulster Political Research Group and they are not a political party but provide political analysis to the Association and act as a pressure group”

    Mainly because almost no one is willing to vote for them on those occasions when they put candidates forward, CL.

    Too much foot-dragging and the the various Loyalist organizations risk becoming the equivalent of the RIRA and CIRA — larger perhaps, but no more seriously taken.

  • Two Nations

    Ian

    I consider it more of a slow boil when compared to the process involving the IRA. It has certainly only been the last few years were there has a concerted effort to bring the Loyalists in from the cold. So that is why the clock has only really started now. All eyes had been on the IRA.

    All the prisoners got out IIRC. Even INLA etc. With the ceasefires intact (for the most part) it was a prize for both sides.

    I do not believe the two groupings can be compared. Firstly, the IRA had a larger political mandate compared to the loyalists so were entitled to more concessions. Bear in mind though that during GFA and the first Assembly the IRA were up to their necks in criminality and still had their guns. Of course, this could not continue indefinitely and it did not, but the structures DID continue for a while. We have come further now because the IRA have ended criminality and given in their guns.

    The Loyalists cannot continue indefinitely linked to criminality and with their guns in tact. However, the very least we can do is engage with them. Listen to them and encourage them down the right path. This £1.2m is not about giving them political power or further dominance in their areas. It is about bridge-building and confidence building within communities that are in dire need of it. To me, the benefits could be immense so it is well worth the punt.

    The Irish Government recognizes this.
    The British Government recognizes this.
    It beggars belief that middle-class liberals on Slugger fail to.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “All the prisoners got out IIRC. Even INLA etc. With the ceasefires intact (for the most part) it was a prize for both sides. ”

    One the Loyalists had done little to nothing to earn — they can’t even keep on a cease-fire, being too busy with internal feuds and battles over drug turf.

    Two Nations: “I do not believe the two groupings can be compared. Firstly, the IRA had a larger political mandate compared to the loyalists so were entitled to more concessions. ”

    Ah, but equality of outcome is precisely what the Loyalists are demanding, is it not?

    Two Nations: “The Loyalists cannot continue indefinitely linked to criminality and with their guns intact.”

    However, it still proceeds apace with little suggestion they intend to stop anytime in the forseeable future.

    Two Nations: “However, the very least we can do is engage with them. Listen to them and encourage them down the right path. This £1.2m is not about giving them political power or further dominance in their areas.”

    Its about putting a veneer of civility and civilization over these thugs — ex post facto legitimacy.

    Two Nations: “It is about bridge-building and confidence building within communities that are in dire need of it. To me, the benefits could be immense so it is well worth the punt. ”

    That is because you admire at least the rural expression of these thugs, as evidenced by your efforts to make excuses and overlook their actions, whilst describing them in far better terms than theese thugs deserve. As I asked you before, simply because some of them cleave to the model of the 19th century Mafiosi as opposed to the 21st century gang-banger does not make them any less hoods.

    Two Nations: “The Irish Government recognizes this.
    The British Government recognizes this.
    It beggars belief that middle-class liberals on Slugger fail to. ”

    That’s because neither the Irish government or the British government work for their money, they simply “harvest” it from the tax-payors — if they need more, they simply arrange to take more.

    The liberals on Slugger, unlike either of the governments or the Loyalist thugs, *DO* work for their money and dislike the notion of handing it over to this collection of thugs and spides for neglible benefit.

  • Two Nations

    Dread

    ‘spides’ says it all.

    If Jackie McDonald came from North Down, was in an Armani suit, had a better haircut and didn’t look like he smoked 40 a day who would have far less of problem with engaging with him.

    You can’t engage with him because you couldn’t hold your nose long enough.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “If Jackie McDonald came from North Down, was in an Armani suit, had a better haircut and didn’t look like he smoked 40 a day who would have far less of problem with engaging with him. ”

    Yes, I would — a hood is a hood and Jackie McDonald in an Armani suit is a waste of good fabric — no matter how much shellack you put on a turd, it’s still a turd. No matter how well you dress up a thug, he’s still a thug.

    At least when Al Capone, back in the day, tried to buy the support of the poor and down-trodden, he was using “his” money to provide largesse to the masses. Jackie and the hard men apparently can’t be bothered to dip into their ill-gotten gains, preferring to use public monies to do their good works.

    Two Nations: “You can’t engage with him because you couldn’t hold your nose long enough.”

    At least I’m not the one who smells the shite and tries to call it perfume.

  • Two Nations

    Dread

    I am not calling shite perfume.

    I am not making any moral judgements. You are.
    If people made moral judgements about Gerry and co. then we would not be where we are now.

    I have yet to see why engagement is such a big mistake.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Two Nations: “I am not calling shite perfume. ”

    At best, you are trying to pretend this shite doesn’t stink, which amounts to much the same. The UDA in the rural areas may dress better, but even you admit they extort money — a thug in Armani is still a thug, as much as you try to paint them as “small town heroes” and “men of honor.”

    Two Nations: “I am not making any moral judgements. You are.”

    Precisely — you are ignoring the obvious stink of criminality that rises off of the UDA. You are accepting of their sociopathic behavior, going so far as to rationalize it in some of your posts.

    Two Nations: “If people made moral judgements about Gerry and co. then we would not be where we are now. ”

    Actually, I’ll have to disagree with this. We are where we are PRECISELY because some folks made moralistic judgements. Dr. Paisley held a hard line — a moralistic, if hypocritial, hard line — and the IRA disarmed and clamped down, constructively ending criminality, unto the point of expressing support for the police. These are things that “engagement” failed to deliver.

    Is Northern Ireland better or worse off because Dr Paisley held a hard line and made a few moral judgements?

    Are Loyalists are incapable or unwilling to meet the same bar?

    Two Nations: ” have yet to see why engagement is such a big mistake. ”

    Ah, but this isn’t engagement, this is appeasement. The UDA has given up nothing, given up nothing and not changed one whit. This is the UDA sticking out a grubby little paw and demanding danegeld whilst maintaining their armories and their criminal empires. No one can seemingly give a straight answer as to where the money is going and what it is going to do.

  • Sean

    A funny thought occurs to me

    When they rebrand the UDA i hope they get the IRON nice and hot