The ongoing uselessness of loyalist paramilitaries

I have blogged the uselessness of loyalist paramilitaries on two previous occasions: here and here.

However, we must note some more episodes of criminality, unpleasantness and generalised uselessness. It appears loyalist paramilitaries have been behind attacking four men in the Woodvale area of Belfast on 21st January. In addition a further extremely perverse episode of intimidation seems to have been made on a family in Carrickfergus. I suspect suggesting that the UDA may have been involved is unlikely to see me accused of libel. On the 22nd there was a petrol bomb attack in Coleraine where the victim again claimed UDA involvement. So again we see the utter uselessness of these people. Again I ask from whom are the UDA or UVF defending the Protestant / unionist / loyalist people of Northern Ireland? Again I await a response from some loyalist cheerleaders.

  • Mark McGregor

    Given the complete ambivalence or outright support shown by Unionists to mob attacks on SF Cllrs forgive me if I’m not convinced these public proclamations of condemnation are anything other than a half-hearted going through the motions.

  • gareth mccord

    turgon maybe you should be asking the unionist politicians your questions as they are the ones who ignore and deny and do nothing about loyalist para scum while wanting votes from protestant areas and jumping on anything a republican does wrong and demand justice. but then again why dont you ask the people who vote for unionist politicians time and time again even though they dont protect or help victims of loyalists para scum.
    but it is strange to me that no uda or uvf political wing gets votes from loyalist areas but ira gets the majority vote in all nationalist areas?

  • Well said Turgon. Ignore these put-downs; you illustrate perfectly the difference between ordinary unionists and grass roots republicans.

    “ignore and deny and do nothing about”

    Besides condemning them and urging people to go to the police with any information, what would you have them do? And please don’t say meet with them to persuade them to disist because we know the first thing that would happen would be legions of republican keyboard warriors jumping on here and once again trying to equivocate between Sinn Fein’s position at the heart of the IRA and unionist politicians efforts to end the “paramilitary” criminality.

  • aquifer

    “Given the complete ambivalence or outright support shown by Unionists to mob attacks on SF Cllrs”

    Oh Really?

    Lets have an opinion poll among protestants for what to do with the Proddie paramilitaries , with a scale of options up to public disembowelling.

    It would be a valuable contribution to community relations, as SF supporters will quickly realise that the security force treatment of PIRA may have been lenient by comparison.

  • RepublicanStones

    unionists have always had the ‘noble’ RUC/Bspecials/brit army as their armed wings, until those wings were clipped by international pressure. so their need/use of loyalists has always been a strange one. and for any idiot to suggest that unionism has or had no links with loyalists is absurd. there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise

    unionist politicians efforts to end the “paramilitary” criminality. – beano

    so ending the crime is an aim, not ending the paramilitary. we see your stance now beano.

    plenty ‘o wallpaper was seen my boy, plenty of it !

  • Comrade Stalin

    What’s the point in talking about this any further ? It’s time for the elected representatives of the areas where loyalists reside to start agitating in order to get them out.

    If unionists showed half as much concern about eliminating loyalist paramilitarism as they did about removing Sinn Fein from government, the UVF and UDA would cease to exist.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Besides condemning them and urging people to go to the police with any information, what would you have them do?

    That would actually do fine. The trouble is, they don’t.

    And please don’t say meet with them to persuade them to disist because we know the first thing that would happen would be legions of republican keyboard warriors jumping on here and once again trying to equivocate between Sinn Fein’s position at the heart of the IRA and unionist politicians efforts to end the “paramilitary” criminality.

    But they’re the same. How else do you explain William McCrea’s actions ? The other former elected MP for South Antrim, David Burnside, made public his “talks” with the UDA and UVF to persuade them to stop a campaign they were engaged in a few years ago. How do youe explain that ?

  • lib2016

    Simply naming the groups, even possibly in some cases the actual people whose policies they claim they oppose, as Turgon has done, would be a step forward. The sort of ambivalent understanding between unionism and the paramilitaries which has gone on since before the creation of the NI entity must end if unionists expect to be taken seriously when they claim to oppose violence.

    As for the difference in the relationship between unionist paramilitaries and unionist politicans as opposed to the relationship between nationalist politicans and the PIRA? That might be down to the fact that, however mistakenly, the IRA were serious revolutionaries engaged in a war of independence whereas the irregular unionist paramilitaries were little more than street gangs. Its nothing but an attempt to smear Irish republicanism which has a long and honorable history however much one might disagree with it by likening it to the sectarian shambles which is unionist paramilitarism.

  • PeaceandJustice

    lib2016 – “Irish republicanism which has a long and honorable history however much one might disagree with it by likening it to the sectarian shambles which is unionist paramilitarism.”

    You couldn’t make this stuff up. Long and honourable history? Let’s not mention the sectarian murder campaign against Protestants along the border. Let’s not mention murdering Protestants while remembering their dead or trying to murder Protestant children at another event. Let’s not mention putting bombs under school buses resulting in serious injury to Protestant school children. Let’s not mention allowing drug gangs to operate for a cut of the profits. Let’s not mention torturing people and dumping their naked bodies near the border. You might has swallowed the whole Sinn Fein IRA propaganda book. It’s a pity for you that the truth gets in the way of your Sinn Fein IRA fantasy. Sinn Fein IRA were nothing but sectarian criminals willing to murder against the wishes of the vast majority of people both sides of the border.

    You should ask for forgiveness next time you’re at Mass instead of gloating about the murder of innocents.

  • RepublicanStones

    p&j;you do the usual unionist thing and potray irish republicanism as being solely sinn ein and the ira. Lib is correct about its history, you are not. do try to keep dear boy !

  • RepublicanStones

    *portray* *fein*…. my typing sucks !

  • Wilde Rover

    “Its nothing but an attempt to smear Irish republicanism which has a long and honorable history however much one might disagree with it by likening it to the sectarian shambles which is unionist paramilitarism.”

    Those rose tinted glasses working out ok?

    Because what you are seeing may have the elements of truth, it is in fact, far from the truth.

    It can be argued that loyalism, on the whole, was more likely to target people based on religion, but that is a relative position, i.e. relative to sectarian targeting by militant republicanism.

    And yet you flippantly gloss over the death and suffering of the innocent resulting from armed conflict.

    And while it could be argued many militant republicans were educated and engaged in an ideological struggle, and fought personal demons over their actions, it is ludicrous to suggest that many more were not simply unthinking sectarian thugs who reveled in the violence.

  • shankly’s socialism

    If you have blogged about it twice already, why are we having it again.

    Personally I don’t really care, but it seems pretty pointless and reduces the quality on slugger if we keep repeating.

    On topic I would rather loyalist and republican paramilitaries went away, I dont think there is any difference regardless of the attempt to rewrite history to paint all provos as moral freedom fighters battling against oppression.

    But they haven’t gone away and we all have to accept some responsibility for their existence, as we are all responsible for the state our ‘nation’ was/is in…..to a large extent they exist as a consequence of all our actions or inaction.

    It took time to create these ‘armies’ for want of a better term it will take time for them to whither and die, but die they will, as has been said over and over they are becoming irrelevant and so their actions are becoming increasingly erratic and without context.

  • Comrade Stalin

    shankly’s socialism,

    Quite right. Instead of having a competition about “who is the biggest critic of paramilitarism”, we should be asking why our politicians, collectively, are not doing more to get rid of the paramilitaries, collectively.

  • Turgon

    shankly’s socialism,

    I do not accept your assertion that “we all have to accept some responsibility for their existence, as we are all responsible for the state our ‘nation’ was/is in…..to a large extent they exist as a consequence of all our actions or inaction.” That is the argument which is used by cheerleaders (not that I am accusing you of being one). I personally never wished for any loyalist paramilitary to exist, to help me or to support the cause of unionism and I suspect I am part of a majority of unionists there. Equally I suspect the corollary is also true and the majority of nationalists had no wish for or support of republican paramilitaries. As such neither they nor I am responsible for these criminals nor their actions.

    I keep blogging it because it keeps happening and personally I think their actions need to be scrutinised and condemned as and when they occur. I feel that it is important to point out their criminality, wickedness, moral vacuity and complete uselessness (in my opinion) to the unionist population. I feel it is necessary to condemn and oppose these people and organisations on every level. As such this one of the places where I will do this unless and until Mr. Fealty asks me to stop. It is also a relevant issue in Northern Ireland politics, that being what this site is about.

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,

    I missed your last post. Surely part of “asking why our politicians, collectively, are not doing more to get rid of the paramilitaries, collectively.” is raising the issue repeatedly. It is much more difficult for politicians to ignore this issue if people repeatedly complain about rather than ignore it because it is not affecting the leafy suburb I live in.

  • “so ending the crime is an aim, not ending the paramilitary. we see your stance now beano.”

    It seems your vision is impared RS. Having trouble seeing past the plank in your own eye?

    That’s a rather pathetic attempt to portray my stance as something completely different to what it is: that there is no place for the UVF/UDA or whoever else in society. They should stop or be stopped. Is that clear enough?

    For clarification, I’d be delighted for the paramilitaries to go away too. I’m not a “republican” and don’t equivocate about paramilitaries. I just don’t see what other purpose they serve besides crime, so if a criminal stops committing crimes what does that make them? What is a paramilitary without crime? Does not ending crime end the paramilitary? No more assaults, no more killings, no more guns, no more extortion and no more drugs. Sounds like it to me.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I missed your last post. Surely part of “asking why our politicians, collectively, are not doing more to get rid of the paramilitaries, collectively.” is raising the issue repeatedly.

    No. Correct me if I’m wrong, but none of your three blog posts about this matter have mentioned elected representatives at all. Setting aside any question of who is linked or not linked to whom, politicians surely must represent the needs of the people they elected. It is their job to fix the problem of ongoing paramilitarism. And frankly, they’re not doing a very good job.

    It is much more difficult for politicians to ignore this issue if people repeatedly complain about rather than ignore it because it is not affecting the leafy suburb I live in.

    It should really be this simple : you ask your elected representative to fix a problem. If he can’t or won’t, you refuse to vote for him. However, somewhere along the way, this simple rule has broken down. Our politicians fail to aggressively address the issue of paramilitarism, and yet we contnue to elect them.

    beano:

    That’s a rather pathetic attempt to portray my stance as something completely different to what it is: that there is no place for the UVF/UDA or whoever else in society. They should stop or be stopped. Is that clear enough?

    No, it’s not clear enough, because unionist voters keep voting in people with connections to or relationships with paramilitaries. Who did you vote for at the last election ?

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,
    “It should really be this simple : you ask your elected representative to fix a problem. If he can’t or won’t, you refuse to vote for him.”

    Since I am most unlikely to be voting UUP or DUP at the next election how can I threaten this? The leader of the organisation I am most likely to be voting for has specifically condemned the UDA and agreed with not providing them with funding.

    As to the last election I did not vote.

    It might be beneficial if you could accept that a number of us on this site and in society at large are opposed to all terrorists, always were and remain so; and not all of us were in the Alliance Party.

    I think the central problem here Comrade is that you do not like me repeatedly lambasting the alphabet soup. It offends against your narrative that your party is the only one completely opposed to violence for me to be completely opposed to the alphabet soup and yet be a hard line unionist.

    And let us ask you a question. Did or did not the Alliance party have dealings with Dawn Purvis? From memory you repeatedly denied it and then eventually we discovered that your party representatives were passing documents and minutes from meetings to her. Not vast contact no, not support, no but in my view still inappropriate.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Since I am most unlikely to be voting UUP or DUP at the next election how can I threaten this? The leader of the organisation I am most likely to be voting for has specifically condemned the UDA and agreed with not providing them with funding.

    It isn’t sufficient for a politician to say “I don’t like paramilitaries and they’re bad”. I assume you’re talking about Jim Allister here. Does he have a programme for eliminating paramilitarism from our society ? Because that’s what we need. There is much, much more to this than merely ensuring they aren’t in government.

    It might be beneficial if you could accept that a number of us on this site and in society at large are opposed to all terrorists, always were and remain so; and not all of us were in the Alliance Party.

    My opinion is that the opposition of people like Jim Allister doesn’t extend to much more than soundbites. He joined the DUP despite their well-known record for being friendly to paramilitary figures, so as far as I am concerned his record on this matter is already tarnished. Anyway, a politician who makes the same misjudgement twice isn’t really fit to be in elected office.

    I think the central problem here Comrade is that you do not like me repeatedly lambasting the alphabet soup.

    You are welcome to it. What I don’t like is the idea that saying “the UDA and UVF are bad” somehow absolves you of the need to do anything else.

    It offends against your narrative that your party is the only one completely opposed to violence for me to be completely opposed to the alphabet soup and yet be a hard line unionist.

    You may be completely opposed to violence, but you’re not supporting any politicians who actually advocate doing anything about it. To you, getting Sinn Fein out of government is more important than implementing a wide-ranging policy to eliminate the scourge of paramilitarism (of all kinds) from our streets. My position is that your priorities are completely wrong, and that these posts about how bad the UVF/UDA are is a waste of time. We all know what bastards they are. When are we going to do something about it ?

    And let us ask you a question. Did or did not the Alliance party have dealings with Dawn Purvis?
    From memory you repeatedly denied it and then eventually we discovered that your party representatives were passing documents and minutes from meetings to her. Not vast contact no, not support, no but in my view still inappropriate.

    I don’t know much about it, only that an attempt was made to characterise this as an Alliance invitation for Purvis to join the United Coalition – which it wasn’t.

    Either way, to me this is still a focus by you on details which have very little relevance. You think that opposition to paramilitaries is a matter of how politicians conduct themselves in their presence, and you seem to place more store in that. My opinion is that politicians should be judged on their actions leading to the elimination of paramilitarism from our society. Jim Allister’s record on that matter lies somewhere between zero and the square root of feck all. He obviously does not think it is an issue that his important to his supporters – and who am I to argue with that ?

  • “Who did you vote for at the last election ?”

    I’m not sure whether I should refuse to answer that on principle, but I’ll tell you that it wasn’t any of the big 2 unionist parties or anyone connected (to the best of my knowledge) in any way to any criminal/paramilitary organisation.

    “That would actually do fine. The trouble is, they don’t.”

    I’m sure I’ve seen them – although to be fair there are times I’ve been disgusted with unionist politicians, not defending paramilitaries, but complaining about the police handling of the incident (I seem to remember a DUP politician doing so following the raid on a bar in Tigers’ Bay – a rehearsal for a UDA show of strength or something I think was going on).

    But do tell us what you propose be done about paramilitaries.

  • Unionist politicians have always supported loyalists to further their own ends, fact. Thats why I have slightly more respect for Republican politicos than the Unionist ones.

    From day one Unionists like Paisley and Trimble riled up the masses and sent them forth to raise merry hell and retreat to their large houses and watched the fires burn, whether it was Paisley rallying the troops in Victoria Park, Robinson and co waving gun licenses, Empey being in Vanguard, or more recently Lady Sylvia Hermon walking hand in hand with Frankie Gallagher after Margaret Ritchie withdrew the UDA retirement fund, Unionists have blood on their hands.

    Many Republican politicians by contrast took up arms themselves, while I deplore either sides methods I admire the fact that atleast Republicans are honest about their past, mostly.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m not sure whether I should refuse to answer that on principle,

    You’re anonymous, so what does it matter ?

    but I’ll tell you that it wasn’t any of the big 2 unionist parties or anyone connected (to the best of my knowledge) in any way to any criminal/paramilitary organisation.

    That only really leaves fUKUP. But either way, if it had the word “unionist” in it, it’s probably a party which sought the exclusion of Sinn Fein from office but had pretty much nothing in the way of policies to eliminate paramilitarism. To me there’s very little difference between that and having a paramilitary wing. I grant you that actually pulling the trigger is not the same as looking the other way when you see someone else doing it, but to me there is only a tiny difference.

    But do tell us what you propose be done about paramilitaries.

    A lot of things, but high up the list would be stiff law and order action, and harrassment and interference in their activities from the police. Right now, the police can’t move against loyalists, because they won’t get the political support which is required. That is the core problem.

  • “That only really leaves fUKUP”

    That’s a very big assumption you’re making and as usual with assumptions of that magnitude, entirely incorrect. Frankly I find your attitude on this thread wholly patronising and condescending and its put me off ever voting Alliance again.

    To be honest I quite agree on the stiff law and order approach. I only wish it had been applied consistently over the past decade. Instead, the Agreement, for all the good its done, has set a precedent that you get rewarded for violence, crime and murder. I’d be a little worried that taking a hard line on loyalist paramilitaries now would serve to embitter their supporters and even those in loyalist communities who are apathetic about them if they see that their hoods are not getting the same treatment as the other lot’s.

    Personally I see the paramilitaries as an albatross around the necks of these communities. I couldn’t even begin to list the areas where I believe they’re causing damage, but surely you’re aware that not everyone sees them like that (I’d guess that even in loyalist areas it’s a majority, but that is just a guess). If anything, this is where unionist politicians should start. The question is how to convince them, or offer them a way out, without lecturing.

  • lib2016

    Partition was and is the original precedent that you get “rewarded for violence, crime and murder.” Since the British government stood up to the folks on the hill in Portadown unionists have had to learn that the rules have changed, or at least that the same rules apply to all.

    Where ex-republicans or rogue groups engage in crime they are quite rightly apprehended, even where mainstream republicans such as Slab Murphy are suspected of crime there seems to be no hesitation in taking them before the courts, without undue protest from mainstream republicanism.

    The fact is that ordinary decent unionists didn’t get involved in the UDA or UVF which were the preserve of an increasingly criminalised part of society protected by the security forces. All that has changed is that the security forces are withdrawing that protection.

    In fact I agree with the concept that rehabilitation of the loyalist paramilitaries should be tried where possible – there is little protest from nationalists when the President’s husband goes out of his way to extend a bit of outreach. On this board it certainly seems to be unionists who object most loudly to that process.

    Maybe you could expand on your idea that criminals are being treated differently depending on their politics – I personally am aware of a continuous stream of people with republican sympathies going before the courts. As far as I am aware they are sentenced according to their crimes rather than their politics, as should indeed happen.

  • Comrade Stalin

    That’s a very big assumption you’re making and as usual with assumptions of that magnitude, entirely incorrect.

    It’s a shame you won’t set the record straight yourself.

    Frankly I find your attitude on this thread wholly patronising and condescending and its put me off ever voting Alliance again.

    OK, now you’ve lost me. What’s Alliance got to do with any of this ? And why should I care whether or not you vote for them ? I’m sure I read the phrase “big assumption” somewhere earlier.

    To be honest I quite agree on the stiff law and order approach. I only wish it had been applied consistently over the past decade. Instead, the Agreement, for all the good its done, has set a precedent that you get rewarded for violence, crime and murder.

    This is the sort of revisionism I’m talking about. The failure to deal with terrorism correctly predates the agreement. The idea that people get rewarded for violence predates the agreement as well. I won’t bore you with the list I’ve recounted thousands of times here.

    I’d be a little worried that taking a hard line on loyalist paramilitaries now would serve to embitter their supporters and even those in loyalist communities who are apathetic about them if they see that their hoods are not getting the same treatment as the other lot’s.

    A worldview which you probably wouldn’t apply to the chuckies. Statistically speaking, the chuckies have taken the sharp end of the stick with shoot to kill, supergrasses, and all the rest of it. Does that mean we should go easy on the IRA ? Somehow I doubt you’ll be putting your hand up to volunteer that idea.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m fascinated by this insight. Let me get this straight. The perception of loyalists that republicans are not facing the sharp end of the stick from the law means that we should step back rather than investigate them ? That’s dangerously close to justifying their activities. You’ve not quite done it, but you’re damn close. Too close for comfort. The attitude you are expressing needs to be resisted right down the line. Paramilitarism is wrong, end of. Paramilitaries who engage in terrorism and crime need to face the full force of the law. End of.

    Personally I see the paramilitaries as an albatross around the necks of these communities.

    Yes they are, and they need to be squashed. Trouble is, the communities support them, mainly because their political leaders aren’t, well, being leaders.

    I couldn’t even begin to list the areas where I believe they’re causing damage, but surely you’re aware that not everyone sees them like that (I’d guess that even in loyalist areas it’s a majority, but that is just a guess).

    That’s precisely what I’ve been saying all along. Lots of people think that loyalist terrorists are justified, and that’s why unionist politicians are afraid to go up against them.

    If anything, this is where unionist politicians should start.

    I think unionists should start by supporting the police, (a) when they move against loyalists and (b) in their role as the guardians of law and order. Right now, they’re failing on both counts . That’s the standard expected from Sinn Fein; it should be expected from unionists as well.

    The question is how to convince them, or offer them a way out, without lecturing.

    Oh, are you afraid will we hurt the feelings of the poor wee things ?

  • “What’s Alliance got to do with any of this ? And why should I care whether or not you vote for them ? I’m sure I read the phrase “big assumption” somewhere earlier.”

    My apologies, I thought it had come up before that you were a supporter of theirs (and they’ve just been annoying me lately with similarly condescending stuff).

    “Statistically speaking, the chuckies have taken the sharp end of the stick with shoot to kill, supergrasses, and all the rest of it.”

    That may be true, but that also predates the “new dispensation”. In the here and now the feeling I get is that loyalist communities is that there is one law for them and one law for the other lot, on top of a resentment at disproportional allocation of grant monies for community projects and such like, there is (or was) a lot of resentment.

    “The perception of loyalists that republicans are not facing the sharp end of the stick from the law means that we should step back rather than investigate them ?”

    Certainly not. In fact I thought I read a news story a while back that the ARA were recovering a lot more from loyalists than republicans and the “questions” unionist politicians were raising over this. My reaction was that it was good and that loyalist communities should be happy that it the ARA was proving so effective in their areas – for they would be all the better off for it. (Although note that after searching I can’t find any of this stuff now so I apparently dreamt it all up).

    “The perception of loyalists that republicans are not facing the sharp end of the stick from the law means that we should step back rather than investigate them?”

    Again, certainly not. I’m not saying the police shouldn’t pursue them to the fullest of their abilities, I’ll say now quite clearly that they should. What I’m worried about is when you talk about “hard lines” I get the impression you want these people made a public example of, and as appealing as that is morally, tactically it may not be the best move if the police service are really to ‘maintain the support of the community’, which seems to be the be-all and end-all these days.

    “I think unionists should start by supporting the police, (a) when they move against loyalists and (b) in their role as the guardians of law and order.”

    I agree, but they’ve learned too much from Sinn Fein. In fact if unionists support them and Sinn Fein continue to whinge about “heavy-handedness” and “political policing” every time a republican is arrested, then we’ll end up back where we started with nationalists viewing the police as a tool of unionists regardless of the facts. Let me be clear I’d like to see unionists take the lead, and look at the facts rather than what will make them popular, but a popular follower will get elected ahead of an unpopular leader every time and in a victim-culture it seems the best way to be popular is to out-MOPE the other lot.

    “Oh, are you afraid will we hurt the feelings of the poor wee things ?”

    Not at all. My concern is based solely on the fact that it would appear to be more effective to persuade than lecture and what I said above about having the support of the community.