Billy Hutchinson.

I’ve asked Billy to do an interview for slugger and he has agreed. Billy has agreed to answer questions from slugger readers interested either in loyalism generally, the PUP or the loyalist experience within Long Kesh. Any questions you have I will bring with me tomorrow ….

  • Dec

    [edited]

  • Kathleen

    Dec we have to stick within our remit for the interview. Sorry. Mick has stated that Billy is entitled to the same respect as anyone else, which he is, so we need to stick to our remit.

  • Harry Crake

    Could I ask if interaction with republican prisoners, whether Official or Provisional, played any part in Billy’s thinking while in prison and his opinions on these discussions?

  • picador

    Could you ask him whether he thinks it’s acceptable for soldiers, in time of war, to deliberately kill unarmed civilians?

  • cut the bull

    Does Billy accept that he could end up living in a united Ireland?
    What kind of united Ireland would he prefer.

  • Crow

    In his opinion are the inhabitants of Ireland one people divided by politics or two peoples split by ethnicity?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Where does Billy see Unionism/Loyalism in about 30 years time?

  • Kedz

    Can you ask Billy what he thinks the UVF have contributed to Northern Ireland and if the answer is positive why he things this contribution never crossed over to political support

  • Kensei

    Does he believe loyalist paramilitaries have a drugs problem, and how do you deal with it?

    Working class Nationalists seem to place a higher stock on education. How can the imbalance be tackled?

  • willis

    Billy seemed a bit miffed about how the loyalists were treated in the Chronicles. Who is his favoutite loyalist playwright? How does he feel about the treatment of Gary Mitchell?

  • Cahal

    “Mick has stated that Billy is entitled to the same respect as anyone else”.

    [edited]

  • Quagmire

    Would Billy accept the will of the majority if they voted NI out of the union? Does he think a United Ireland is such a bad thing really?

  • ??

    [edited]

  • ZoonPol

    If a plebiscite was in favour of a reunited Ireland tomorrow would he support the democratic wishes of the majority?

    Is he in favour of an official opposition at Stormont?

    What is his view on the Sinn Fein and DUP led Executive.

    Does he believe Northern Ireland now now got a democratic excess compared with a deficit under direct rule?

  • ??

    [edited] play the ball ??

  • Kathleen

    ?? and Cahal. Slugger would like to begin conversations with all sides no matter who they are. Our political institutions are full of people who have done time for one reason or another. Now there has been 3 way discussion about this and other threads. Everybody is to be afforded the commenting policy as is site rules. This is what mick wants, and its his site.

    If you have a desire to ask anything outside of the remit, please feel free to go about it yourself. Meanwhile the remit stands. We hope to go further with these discussions, engaging people on line on various issues, we can’t ask them to come on here and be mauled by faceless people with names like ??

  • Billy,

    Do you subscribe to the notion that the UVF and other terrorist organisations were combatants in a period of war? If so what war crimes were committed by the UVF?

  • Doctor Who

    [edited]

    Also does he regret the suffering he and his comrades caused.

  • Realist

    Billy,

    What are your thoughts on the benefits of integrated education in Northern Ireland?

  • ??

    [edited]

  • ??

    [edited]

  • blinding

    What has to happen for a socialist Unionist/Loyalist party to become a bigger force in politics in Northern Ireland.

    Is their any place for anti-Monarchy Unionists in the political scene in Northern Ireland.

  • ??

    [edited]

  • Vinny

    Have loyalists any plans to decommission their weapons?

    How do loyalists view the activities of republican dissidents?

  • gareth mccord

    how does billy feel about his area of mount vermin being riddled with special branch informers who were allowed to get away with murder for the u.v.f.?
    does he feel himself and his party failed to act on my fathers information he told the media and his party 11 years ago?
    does billy now regret his comments about my fathers accusations about informers by describing my father as “a walter mitty character”?
    why wouldnt billy and his party meet my family to get justice for raymond and the other 30 people killed by the uvf since their ceasefire?
    does billy have any information on murders by the uvf since and before the ceasefire?
    how come billy does not know about murders by the uvf if the people of mount vermin know and he is a representative of that area?
    if billy had info on uvf murders would he pass it on to the police and has he before??
    why does billy think people of mount vernon wont give information to the police or him on recent or past murders?
    does billy feel that those uvf members being persued and charged by the h.e.t. should feel the full sentance if convicted of the crime.??
    does billy feel the het team are doing a good job in catching uvf murderers and does he feel that those with info incuding himself should pass it on to the het team?

  • Scaramoosh

    Do you have to live on a council estate, have tatoos and own a Lady Di mug and a Royal Silver Jubilee plate, before you can be considered a true loyalist?

  • twilightoftheprods

    Will there be a battle over history and memory of the conflict in the next few years? If so, how will loyalists argue their case? Will they let it go by default?

  • iluvni

    As an avid England fan, did Billy Hutchison really want England to beat Northern Ireland at Windsor Park that night?

    (use that as your ‘and finally’ qestion, I’d much rather Gareth McCord’s questions were to be answered one by one.)

  • Submariner

    Can you ask Billy why loyalist hunger strikes only lasted from after breakfast until tea time.

  • Turgon

    Maybe Mr. Hutchinson should be asked the following about the sectarian murder of Thomas Devlin:
    Does he support people who know about this murder going to the police?
    Does he believe that loyalists were involved in this murder?
    Does he know who those involved are?
    If so has he helped the police enquiry?

    Then on other matters
    Does he know which loyalist paramilitary members are keeping weapons?
    If so has he passed their details to the police?

    And finally on a general point:
    Does he agree that the loyalist paramilitaries were by their nature, existence and all their actions worse than useless to the cause of the unionist population?
    If not can he explain why the overwhelming majority of the unionist population feel this way and why his political party receives such a pathetic level of support?
    [edited]

  • chewnic

    Why did Billy move to work in the Mount Vernon area, away from his old Shankill stomping ground?

    Does he feel that the area is in better shape since he began his project there?

    If his answer is in the affirmative, is that due to the efforts of Billy and his community workers or is it more to do with the HET clearing the area of so many alleged paramilitary killers?

  • Cahal

    Do people really care what this man’s opinions are on things like integrated education and soccer?

    Does any other place on Earth have celebrity terrorists? (celeborists?)

    This country is messed up.

  • Turgon

    [edited] Play the ball….

  • William

    Question for Billy Hutchinson.

    Do you find it ironic that in a state, which allegedly ‘discriminated against the minority population’, that minority population increased year on year since partition, in direct contrast to the Republic of Ireland, where the opposite was the case?

  • Turgon

    [edited]

  • Turgon

    Kathleen,

    [edited] then I ask you to ask Mr. Hutchinson whether he thinks that for a known murderer to be continuing to associate with known criminals is something for which that murderer’s licence should be revoked?

  • Cahal

    Billy, do you believe in the death penalty?

  • Turgon

    [edited]

  • Mick Fealty

    Right. Here’s my piece on the local democracy blog for those grappling for some sense on the play the ball and not the man rule:

    http://blog.localdemocracy.org.uk/2009/02/02/engaging-with-articulate-commenters/

    In particular I quote from another earlier post:

    “I don’t want to ban anyone. And neither do I want to be seen to protect anyone from incisive and knowledgeable criticism either. But there is a nasty tendency to believe that certain people and parties can be treated with contempt because they are somehow beyond the Pale. Osama Bin Laden is welcome to post here, so long as he sticks to the argument. But if you insist on acting a bollix and insist on playing the man rather than the ball, you will have to leave the field of play.”

    Now Mr Hutchinson has been asked for this interview by Slugger. We are entitled to ask him tough and searching questions. But he is also entitled to be treated equally under the play the ball and not the man rule as Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley, Lord Castlereagh and Uncle Tom Cobley and all…

    Check out the link to the ad hominem logical fallacy entry on wikipedia…

  • Kathleen

    ok Turgon heres the deal. I don’t cause chaos in your threads don’t do it on mine. I don’t blog here under your direction, but Micks. You’ve played the man and woman in this thread. Enough!!!

    I’m just off the phone to mick…

    Now stop playing the person and stick with the remit. You’ve posed questions and I’ll deliver them with the same courtesy as the rest. Thats it…

  • I do think Kathleen your moderating of this thread has been far too heavy-handed, much more than the usual level on slugger. Stuff that would usually be regarded as legitimate is being removed. Perhaps a lighter touch would be better for the flow of debate.

    As for questions, what future does he see for the PUP? Where will it be in ten years’ time?

  • Driftwood

    What’s his favourite colour?

  • Kathleen

    Garibaldy we can’t ask people to come for interviews and have them abused by faceless people. If everybody stuck to the ball and stopped playing the man there’d be no need for any moderation….

  • I agree about the nature of some of the comments, but I’ve seen some that have not been questioning the position accorded to people formerly involved in violence in NI as a whole. I’m not sure those constitute playing the man, as opposed to more direct references to Billy Hutchinson in particular. I agree though that people should behave better.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As a corrollary to Turgon’s questions, I’d like Billy to talk about what role elected unionist politicians had in encouraging young men towards violence. Does/did he feel that the political leadership of the community he came from opposed the actions of the UVF/UDA as strongly in private as they did in public ? Did any elected representatives (it is not necessary to name names) ever approach loyalists to support or encourage their armed campaign ?

    Where does Billy see the long term future for the armed loyalist organizations ? David Ervine promised many years ago that the loyalists would disarm when IRA disarmament came about. Does he appreciate that the subsequent failure of those organizations to disarm engenders a trust issue ?

  • Kathleen

    Gary I’ve decided not to moderate anymore, it’s too much hassle. I will simply close a particular comment for mick fealty to moderate or otherwise when he gets to it…

    Best way all round I think.

    Meanwhile….

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m surprised at the force of moderation too. Strongest I’ve ever seen on the site.

    Surely if the questions fall outside the remit they don’t get asked. Doesn’t mean they all have to be airbrushed out of existence?

  • patriot

    1. when a combatant, who and what did you see as the ‘casualties’ of war?

    2.when a combatant, who and what did you see as the ‘collateral’ damages of war?

    3. on reflection Billy, what is the difference between 1 and 2 above.

    4. following on from 3 above, to what extent, and what informed, any changes over time in your view?

    5. whats the best chippie in North Belfast?

  • Quite interesting considering all of Turgon’s comments come to anyone signed up to receive email notification of comments and in my opinion he has raised valid and reasonable areas of debate. As Mark says Kathleen, just ask the questions you want to ask. Quite straight forward actually.

  • Damian O’Loan

    While I wouldn’t want any questions to take priority over Gareth McCord’s or those on the murder of Thomas Devlin, I would also submit the following:

    What information would the paramilitaries that Billy Hutchinson represents be prepared to give to a truth recovery process as envisaged by Eames/Bradley, and what forms of incentivisation would maximise their contribution?

    Would he take up the challenge to forever renounce violence proposed by their report immediately, and what actions would he commit to, to ensure such a pledge gained the confidence of those directly affected by the pre- and post-ceasefire murders committed by his colleagues?

  • somersetroadresident

    Have you talked with the parents of Thomas Devlin?

    If so and without betraying confidence, did you offer them hope or gloom?

    With respect to the murder of Thomas Devlin, who needs to come forward and what needs to be said?

    With respect to the murder of Thomas Devlin, are, or have, the PSNI or other security services acted in such a way as to protect their intelligence ‘assets’?

  • Turgon

    I wish to publicly state that my last four comments have all been removed.

    I make no comment as to why but will leave this thread at that. Anyone who wishes can contact me personally.

  • Kathleen

    No turgon not so. The last one was kept for mick, its closed not removed, mick also seen your comment on the man playing…. infact he told me it was classic man playing.

  • Turgon

    Kathleen,
    My comments are no longer on public display on this public debating forum. By that definition they have indeed been removed.

  • Mick Fealty

    On the moderation thing, it’s dead easy. Just play the ball and not the man. In the meantime I’ll review the stricken; if I get the time.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Q1.

    Can you explain the ideological difference between the UDA and the UVF – or was it/is it mainly a geographical split.

    Q2.

    To what extent did the UVF feel they had either the tacit support or direct help from the security forces and which branch of the security forces did he feel were the most sympathetic to their cause. To what extent did he feel they were doing the security forces work.

    Q3.

    To what extent does he think that those were voting for the DUP, or the UU during the troubles actually supported or sympathised with the UVFs actions?

    Q4.

    If he outlives Gerry Adams will he attending the funeral.

  • fin

    Billy, Do regret agreeing to do an interview for Slugger?