Loyalists, funding and Priests

The news that Margaret Ritchie’s decision to stop funding the CTI was illegal came this week. It allowed David Simpson to denounce her for wasting public money (though there seems a certain irony in that from the DUP). However, the legal decision continues the establishment’s appeasement of loyalist paramilitaries which is as predictable as rain in Fermanagh. I am sure the legal grounds were correct but once again it shows that legality and morality are unrelated.
This decision continues the funding of groups which we are told will help working class unionist areas which suffer from severe deprivation. However, there are of course other groups which also help working class unionist communities and are not linked to the loyalist paramilitaries which Ms Ritchie had stated were going to receive this funding. The central problem remains that the loyalist terrorists, whilst they may have stopped the sectarian murder of Roman Catholics (except of course the have not: Thomas Devlin, Lisa Dorrian); continue to prey in a vampiric fashion on the unionist working class communities which they infest. They suck the very life blood from these areas, prevent and destroy investment and opportunities and blight and destroy lives apart from those individuals whom they make into other vampiric thugs like themselves.

Into this hideous vista another group whom I respect have blundered, again unwittingly helping these ghastly criminals. That group is of course the Roman Catholic hierarchy led by Cardinal Sean Brady. At this meeting Cardinal Brady thanked loyalists for not retaliating for the recent republican murders. Whist we should all be pleased that the loyalists have not recently added sectarian murder to the litany of crimes they continuously commit even by existing, meeting them to express pleasure that they have not broken this law is problematic. It serves to raise the profile of a group (The UPRG) which has no political mandate and exists only as a mouth piece for drug dealers and pimps. Cardinal Brady said “We wanted to help in any way we can to address fears and build trust, we especially wanted to better understand the concerns and hopes of the Loyalist community.” This is entirely laudable but the cardinal should remember that the community he refers to is actually the loyalist criminals. The working class unionist community seem to have no time for these so called politicians and have time and again rejected them at the ballot box: remember the Ulster Democratic Party?

Cardinal Brady and everyone else should also remember the utter dishonesty of these criminals. For anyone to believe anything which these groups say is to make Neville Chamberlain’s actions at Munich in 1938 look like warmongering.

We must remember why people spoke to these groups in the aftermath of the recent murders: that is because the loyalist criminals continue to possess illegal weapons which they could use to murder people. That possession of weapons is the sole reason for anyone to entreat with the UPRG or any other loyalist mouthpiece. Quite simply it is because the criminals they represent have a blackmail potential in their guns. As such unfortunately all these episodes will reinforce to the loyalists the utility of their guns.

My gravest concern in all this is that the latest set of utterances from the loyalists and the fact that otherwise sensible people go to see the mouth pieces of the pimps will be used by our utterly spineless Secretary of State as an indication that the loyalists are somehow making progress and as such he will allow the deadline for loyalist decommissioning to pass yet again with no or at absolute best minimal decommissioning. I hope to be wrong but I fear that yet again the loyalists will eat the carrot, not do what they should and see absolutely none of the stick.

  • ??

    Turgon what money has the DUP wasted. Margaret Ritchie did something illegal, are you suggesting the DUP are doing the same?

  • observer

    Seems the RIR are under investigation for falsifying battle reports and awarding themselves medals in Afghanistan.
    You can take the boy out of the UDR but you can’t take the UDR out of the boy.
    Perhaps the taxpayer could get a refund for the cost of policing that march of “heroes” through Belfast.

  • Silverline

    Turgon

    Talking about wasting money why dont you get Mr Allister to reveal his expences for Europe
    ?????????????????????????????????????

  • Silverline

    Forgot to ask Turgon

    How much did it cost the rate payers of Northern Ireland to put out Mr Allisters European leaflet in the papers just before an election,could it be seen as being part of the election? is it under investigation for miss use of European funds can you reveal all????

  • joeCanuck

    legality and morality are unrelated

    Turgon,
    Indeed.
    I’m disappointed in the Court’s decision (I wouldn’t imply any wrong in the Judge’s decision; he had to interpret the “Law” as he understood it).
    Still, I think Ms. Ritchie made the right decision. Once you start paying Danegeld there’s no stopping usually without a “war”.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Is the thread about european elections? I did not think so give it a rest and if addressing turgon deal with the matter discussed please. I have to agree that pandering to this unelected group of scum must only be punishing those communities that these scum leeches off. It is not really a suprise to see the DUP defend loyalist terrorism though, would you say you are suprised, Turgon? Ian Paisley loved to use them when it had a purpose so its clear things don’t change. If they represented the community why do they not recieve the votes to prove this absurd lie? Good thread, Turgon, and I was very interested to hear a unionist perspective on the meeting.

  • Turgon,

    I have provided a link to the judgment here which may be helpful

    http://www.bailii.org/nie/cases/NIHC/QB/2009/43.html

    You will note that decommissioning was not the only reason for the Department losing the case. There was also procedural failure, including a failure to consult. She also chose to re-interpret the conditions laid down in a letter by Peter Hain. Not disarming is not the same thing as returning to violence.

    This saga indicates that either the Minister failed to act on civil service legal advice or she did not get proper legal advice.

    I wouldn’t come down on Ritchie “like a ton of bricks” though. This is really as sign of political immaturity more than anything else. Its the kind of boob you would expect a novice minister to make in a place where Government Power has only been exercised by local regional politicians for the last 10 years.

    As to the Loyalist terrorists? Hopefully, we are reaching the end game on this and we will soon see the Police to get heavy on this and bring this matter to closure.

  • fin

    Was the murder of Lisa Dorrian sectarian?

    Everyone knows the state funded armed and provided intelligence to these organisations during the troubles so nothings changed, bringing democracy and a normal way of life to NI is akin to turning an oil tanker in 10 years its changed a lot in 10 more it will have changed more.

    Its worth remembering that Jimbo is ex DUP as are most if not all supporters and members of the TUV, the DUP has always been closer associated with militant unionism and the decision to leave the DUP had nothing to do with been uncomfortable terrorism.

  • Pete Baker

    Turgon

    You missed some other supernaturalists’ meeting with the UPRG.

    And you’re in danger of conflating two somewhat separate issues.

    There’s the ruling on the ending of public funding of the CTI scheme. Which, IMHO, I thought was covered quite well on Slugger – including the new source of salaries for prominent former employees. Btw, given the Executive’s adoption of those contested minutes the ruling was more or less inevitable – although the judge did take a long time to decide on that course of action.

    And then there’s the current PR campaign by the UPRG, with the assistance of assorted supernaturalists, to make it easier for Woodward to ignore that supposed deadline for decommissioning.

    Grand narratives, about “the establishment”, don’t do justice to the detail.

    And Seymour, you should re-read that ruling.

  • Sam Flanagan

    “Cardinal Brady and everyone else should also remember the utter dishonesty of these criminals.”

    “The utter dishonesty of these criminals” pales into insignificance when compared the “the utter dishonsety and criminality”, of The Vatican and its apparachiks like Brady.

    If you are a sample of the political “awareness” of the TUV, it is obvious there is no point wasting a vote on Jim Allister.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “I’m disappointed in the Court’s decision (I wouldn’t imply any wrong in the Judge’s decision; he had to interpret the “Law” as he understood it).”

    Which is likely the basis of the old saw about the law being an ass.

    Seymour Major: “You will note that decommissioning was not the only reason for the Department losing the case. There was also procedural failure, including a failure to consult. She also chose to re-interpret the conditions laid down in a letter by Peter Hain. Not disarming is not the same thing as returning to violence.”

    However, not shedding their illegal weapons permits them to continue their other, less political but more lucrative endeavors. Likewise, you would do well to remember the problems inherent to paying “danegeld.”

    As for the rest, Brady sounds like something out of a Carlin routine — “murders take day off, cardinal expresses thanks.”

  • Rory Carr

    “…once again it shows that legality and morality are unrelated.”

    Quite. Which is precisely how it is intended to be. The very first lesson that a student of law receives in his first lecture is that the law is amoral.

    Law is no more than a codification of the power of the state. In a democracy it is (somewhat naively in my opinion) assumed that the legislature in framing the law and the judiciary in applying it will reflect the morality common to the time. But of course this is not so easy as it sounds.

    Thus we have wise judges imposing the penalty of law against defendants found guilty of laws that no longer reflect the mores of the people in order that the resulting outrage may stimulate parliament to act to change outmoded law.

    Better still, I like when juries, in what is called a perverse judgement, set free a defendant whom they clearly believe to have broken the law because they feel that the law is wrong and that his action, whatever the law may say, does not warrant punishment.

    In the last fifty years in the UK such unevenness between the law and accepted moral standards has been highlightd in the main by cases involving what is called sexual morality – the OZ trial, the Lady Chatterly case spring to mind and who can forget the delightful way in which two pioneers in the dock cut through decades of cant and hypocrisy with their simple answers? I refer of course first to Mandy Rice-Davies at the Stephen Ward trial and Cynthia Payne accused of keeping a bawdy house in Streatham of all places, but then, to paraphrase Ms Rice-Davies, “I would say that, wouldn’t I?”.

  • pajo

    is it true what it said in yesterdays irish news that seymore sweeney and ian paisley jr are father and son in law? if true why was it kept so quiet for so long? if not, will they sue I.N?

  • Oilifear

    Does Northern Ireland not have the equivilent of the Attorney General in the South? It seems to me that this is a classic case of not consulting the lawyors before moving the chess pieces and otherwise avoidable blunders being made as a result.

    The relationship between morality and legality was mentioned somewhere. The two are related (or where a difference is seen it is law that has left it’s course). The difference is that the dog in the street knows about morality, but knows too that if he is going to start talking law then he better get a lawyor on board.

  • Pete (No. 9) Thank you for that. My earlier comment was incorrect and I apologise. I did not read the judgment property.

    The case was lost because the Minister failed to refer a decision to the Executive on which she was obliged to do so in breach the Ministerial code.

    I still say this is not a resigning issue. Ritchie would probably have got the executive behind her if she had waited a couple of days after her announcement on 16th Oct.

    She is not the first minister to breach the Ministerial code. I can give you examples. Catriona Ruane and Sammy Wilson were both in breach of the code in that they reneged on the Pledge of Office by ignoring Assembly and Assembly committee resolutions. Barbara de Brun of Sinn Fein as health Minister did the same 5 years ago over the selection of a maternity hospital. There may be other examples involving other ministers.

    The integrity of devolution is the real issue here.

    Do politicians want to continue trying to cheat? Alternatively, do they want to move forward with the desire of gaining integrity for politics and the political institutions.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree with Seymour; Ritchie made a procedural mistake and that’s what she has been pulled up on. Instead of attacking her, the DUP need to decide what parameters there need to be when it comes to continuing the fund of loyalist community organizations.

    The present funding arrangements largely amount to racketeering on a regional scale. Instead of a local shop or business being required to pay up to be “protected”, the state is being required to pay up in order to encourage people not to engage in interface violence or sectarian murders. The DUP are clearly quite prepared to go along with this revolting status quo.

    Turgon, aren’t you disappointed that Jim Allister appears to have nothing to say about this matter ? I searched his recent press releases and he doesn’t have one on this court decision and the DUP response to it – unless I missed it. And of course working class unionists don’t reject this at the ballot box. If they did, Robinson would have refused to meet the UPRG recently.

  • Bigger Picture

    “It allowed David Simpson to denounce her for wasting public money (though there seems a certain irony in that from the DUP).”

    Would you care to explain this comment? It seems out of place, and put in only because it is election time and it is the TUV thing to do to attack fellow unionists.

  • Bigger Picture

    and what about all the public funding that goes to “Community groups” on the Falls etc?

  • Nuanced

    I generally agree with some of the tenets of this article, but I’d question the usefulness of the tone, and I don’t think it’s especially even-handed.

    I’m lucky (or unlucky) enough to be a neutral party in Northern Ireland (if such a thing can exist), and I see this rhetoric used an awful lot against loyalist paramilitaries, and it’s gotten kind of old and redundant. Paramilitary organisations on both sides are still involved in violence and money goes both ways. But I’d thought that the peace process proved the need to involve even those whose behaviour was abhorrent in the political process exactly because it was exclusion from politics that precipitated violence on both sides.

    As for the unionist working class communities rejecting the paramilitaries and their affiliates, true enough results bear that out. But sermonical demagoguery like this completely fails to do justice to the nuances that explain why this is so, apart from the fact that the constitutional issue makes a vote for a minor party in Northern Ireland potentially a threat to one’s own constitutional commitment.

    I don’t think we should compromise on decommissioning by any means, but dismissing loyalist paramilitaries as bogeymen who should be ostracised and exterminated isn’t particularly useful or realistic. For all the passion of this piece, I’m not too impressed.

  • Comrade Stalin

    But I’d thought that the peace process proved the need to involve even those whose behaviour was abhorrent in the political process exactly because it was exclusion from politics that precipitated violence on both sides.

    I think that’s a great idea. The Alliance Party should abandon the idea of trying to secure votes through democratic means, like the ballot box, and instead start a paramilitary wing and shoot a few people. Once it does, people like you will support it. After all, people who go out and shoot other people should get a free pass, right ?

  • Nuanced

    Read what I said more carefully. That’s not what I said or implied in the slightest, that’s a deliberate misreading of my post. Ostracising and demonizing people for what they’ve done, whilst entirely understandable, is not particularly helpful. Involving them politically doesn’t mean you make murder a legitimate vote-grabber but is instead giving a voice to many people who, ordinarily, wouldn’t have committed the crimes they have. I admit I’m ignorant of paramilitary activity at the moment but this sort of rabble-rousing also undermines genuine efforts to change which some paramilitaries have made. I don’t think I need to be somehow accused of condoning violence when I argue that wild anti-paramilitary rhetoric is not the best approach to moving forwards.

    But hey, misinterpret my call for a more moderate use of language all you like, because spewing out hate-filled rhetoric is far superior morally to the murderous intent of the people who might happen to listen to it.

  • Turgon

    Nuanced,
    An interesting take though I find the idea that I am anything other than even handed in my views on paramilitaries a little odd.

    The reality is that loyalist paramilitaries have always been rejected by the overwhelming majority of the unionist community including the working class unionist community. In many working class areas in Northern Ireland they just do not exist. As an example here in Fermanagh we have working class unionists and you will look extremely hard before you will find any loyalist paramilitaries: that despite the IRA’s sectarian murder campaign here in Fermanagh.

    The areas where there are loyalist paramilitaires in large numbers have become blighted by them and in some cases have become sink estates and the like. There the paramilitaries prey on the local population and help destroy the communities. They have been rejected in the privacy of the ballot box time and again and mainitain their control through fear. They are practically identical to organised criminals in certain parts of GB inner cities. The solution to inner city criminals is the same as with the loyalists: that is to help the communities as much as possible, freeze out the criminals and wherever possible arrest and gaol them. Entreating with these people is utterly hopeless, we have seen that for year after year. The loyalists only derive importance (and money) from criminality backed up by the threat of force, especially force with guns. The solution is to isolate these groups and disarm them. It is clossally overdue the time for the stick to be used.

    To suggest that loyalist paramilitaries are changing ignores the ongoing thuggery, drug dealing and prostitution that is now their sole reason d’etre. It also condemns yet another generation of the unionist working class to thralldom before these vampires.

    I fear, however, that the latest charades by the loyalists will be seen as “progress” by the SoS and as such he will extend the non decommissioning deadline still further. Still what care for unionist working class communities can Shaun Woodward have: they have no votes for him and a privately educated wealthy individual who has married into the Sainsbury family is hardly in a position to understand the needs of the Shankill Road Let them eat cake comes to mind: though as the link explains maybe Marie-Antoinette is unfairly blamed for that comment.

  • Comrade Stalin

    That’s not what I said or implied in the slightest, that’s a deliberate misreading of my post

    Here’s what you wrote.

    But I’d thought that the peace process proved the need to involve even those whose behaviour was abhorrent in the political process exactly because it was exclusion from politics that precipitated violence on both sides.

    For a start, the paramilitaries were never excluded from politics. Sinn Fein successfully ran in elections, but consistently got around 10-12% of the vote until the ceasefire era came around. Nobody ever stopped the loyalists from running for election, whenever they did they usually failed.

    Secondly, the only people who have a right to provide representation or take power in a democracy are those mandated to do so by the electorate. The peace process does work by overturning this principle. There are plenty of us who have issues with this but it seems to be what people want so we have no option other than to see how it plays out.

    But fundamentally, what you are arguing is for violent men who had little support from the public when committing their violence to be included in the process by virtue of the fact that they did commit violence. This is very dangerous territory and it is quite distinct from the need to recognize the mandate of parties who were linked to violence.

    but this sort of rabble-rousing also undermines genuine efforts to change which some paramilitaries have made.

    I am indeed aware of specific cases where the paramilitaries have contributed to making improvements to life on the ground. This doesn’t make their ongoing existence acceptable. Criminal gangs around the world use this tactic. The mafia used it (there are still people who will tell you that they wish the mob were back running Las Vegas as it was much more fun back then; ex-mob hitmen do tours of mafia hotspots in Vegas), the Krays used it (note the attendance at the funeral of Ronnie Kray).

    This is the racketeering of the state by organized crime. Ask yourself – how is it that paramilitaries have influence to use in the first place to stop interface violence and other crime ? If you’re willing to allow the police to back off and pay gangs of armed vigilantes to enforce the law beyond the reach of accountability, you’re watering down democracy and the authority of the state. Where can that lead ?

  • picador

    Turgon,

    Another good man murdered by these thugs this week. Reputable journalists are asserting that ‘Duffer’, the chief suspect (and a convicted drug-dealer), may be an agent of the state.

  • Silverline

    Turgon is scared to answer the question.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    The reality is that loyalist paramilitaries have always been rejected by the overwhelming majority of the unionist community including the working class unionist community.

    This is total bollocks, Turgon. I accept it may be true out in the sticks, but the significant proportion of the population is in the east of the country, and that’s also where most of the unionists live.

    An example. Unionist leaders should have stood firm against the loyalist paramilitaries who took over the Orange protest on Garvaghy Road. Instead, they acquiesced to it and went on the attack against the police and the government. Why didn’t this cost them electorally ?

    When Ian Paisley can organize a strike and stand shoulder to shoulder with Andy Tyrie, or when Willie McCrea can stand on a podium to show solidarity with Billy Wright, and subsequently top the poll in an election, how can you claim that unionists shun paramilitarism at the ballot box ? The fact that the PUP/UDP/UPRG aren’t successful electorally is irrelevant. It’s misdirection on your part. You need to start dealing with the reality of the relationship within the triangle comprising loyalist paramilitaries, unionist politicians, and the electorate.

  • Dave

    It’s ‘arms length’ support. Violence for political purposes is what they signed up to when they signed Ulster Covenant and supported Carson (who imported guns that were a gift from the Germans who were keen to ferment trouble in the British Empire in the run up to WW1). So political violence, and the threat of it, has always been a part of that landscape with varying decree of statement as and when appropriate. Usually, understatement has been the smarter option in order to claim a higher moral ground than the tribe who were more overt in their support for violence, but that opposition was tactical rather than moral. There was no need for it to be overt since the state was defended by the British army. If the army didn’t step in, then there would have been a ‘need’ for a more direct statement of ultimate intent by the unionist community, culminating the doomsday outcome of a civil war up there. That’s just the culture that underpins it. That’s not to say, of course, that every unionist operates that way but culture has a way of drawing support from those who never think they would operate in accordance with its dictates. Morally, it’s better to maintain pretence of righteousness than to abandon it altogether. So, I still would hold that unionist community is in the more righteous position than those who gave their fulsome support to parties that support violence. The more severely damned tribe would counter that they only gave that support after violence desisted, but I’d counter that with ‘pull the other one – it has a whistle on it.’

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,

    The unionist community have consistently rejected loyalists at the ballot box. They do hopelessly. Dredging up Paisley’s behaviour from more than twenty years ago is irrelevant (reprehensible as it was).

    Whilst on the subject of links with paramilitaries remind me about your party’s sharing documents with dawn Purvis or Alliance’s support for the honorary life membership of a convicted IRA terrorist at QUB Student’s Union.

    Both pretty minor events but the reality is that the overwhelming majority of Alliance people have no time for the criminals and in that they are no different from the overwhelming majority of unionists. Their leaders have occasionally done foolish and inappropriate things: as have yours.

    As to McCrea although I am no fan of him or the DUP I must point out that since his appearance with Wright the DUP have gradually and progressively frozen him out. I would not be at all surprised if his Wright episode was what ensured he could not be MEP last time and indeed I think destroyed any leadership ambitions he might have had.

    However, by all means continue with the fiction that your own party is the only one which has consistently opposed criminality. The problem is it is not true: your party is merely one of these parties (along with many unionists over the years and indeed the SDLP).

    At a personal level I must admit I would be gratified if you acknowledged that I am completely opposed to loyalist criminals (my repeated posting on the subject being fair clear
    proof). However, I would that might offend against your little world view in which you and your party alone are righteous.

    By the way a lot if unionists live in the sticks: they got murdered out here and never joined terrorist organisations; try acknowledging that.

  • Reality Bites

    As the british forces were terrorists toward the nationalist community, and those said forces have always enjoyed popular support among unionism, loyalisms showing at the ballot box is irrelevant.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The unionist community have consistently rejected loyalists at the ballot box.

    This is just clever wordplay. Why don’t unionists reject politicians like William McCrea who join in with shows of solidarity with Billy Wright ?

    They do hopelessly. Dredging up Paisley’s behaviour from more than twenty years ago is irrelevant (reprehensible as it was).

    Given that you are invoking the behaviour of unionists at the ballot box since “always”, how can you say it is irrelevant ?

    Whilst on the subject of links with paramilitaries remind me about your party’s sharing documents with dawn Purvis or Alliance’s support for the honorary life membership of a convicted IRA terrorist at QUB Student’s Union.

    You’re utterly pathetic, Turgon, with this miserable and useless cop-out. We are talking about your contention that unionists reject paramilitarism at the ballot box. When are you going to stop lying about this ? Instead of indulging in whataboutery why don’t you deal with the fact that unionists do vote for people who maintain close and public relationships with leading paramilitary killers ? At the time when Willie McCrea joined Billy Wright on the podium he was leading a killing spree in Mid-Ulster and splitting from the UVF which was tending towards a peaceful path. Can you explain to me why unionist voters failed to send him a strong signal about this at the polls ?

    Do you really think that sharing a couple of documents with an elected politician is the same thing as siding with paramilitaries to shut down the country and overthrow the rule of law and the government ? Do you really think that a group of students at a university association chosing to award life membership to somebody is similar to voting in a figure from an active paramilitary organization which was not on ceasefire to be the Lord Mayor of Belfast ?

    As to McCrea although I am no fan of him or the DUP I must point out that since his appearance with Wright the DUP have gradually and progressively frozen him out. I would not be at all surprised if his Wright episode was what ensured he could not be MEP last time and indeed I think destroyed any leadership ambitions he might have had.

    Paisley used to say that anybody who talked to Sinn Fein would be expelled from the DUP. Why do you think this restriction didn’t apply to loyalists ? Why do you suspect that the people of South Antrim continue to vote for him at the top of the poll ?

    At a personal level I must admit I would be gratified if you acknowledged that I am completely opposed to loyalist criminals (my repeated posting on the subject being fair clear
    proof).

    I don’t care much for your condemnation of paramilitarism if you won’t condemn the politicians who sided with it or address the relationship between the public and the paramilitaries which goes somewhat deeper than the election results.

    However, I would that might offend against your little world view in which you and your party alone are righteous.

    This discussion is to do with you lying about the relationship between unionism and loyalist paramilitarism. You’re the one who keeps claiming righteousness by asserting that you and your fellow travellers bear no responsibility for the violence because you didn’t support it at the polls, as if that somehow lets you off the hook. It’s not me claiming that for myself or anyone else – it’s you.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Loyalist paramilitarism has been the useful dog of Unionism, Turgon. As much as I like and respect you, I don’t think you’re going to talk yourself out from under that point.

    Unionist politicians have ridden the Loyalists like a moped or a fat girl. They’ll not admit it publicly, they hope no one has pictures, but they seem to have enjoyed the ride.

  • Silverline

    What about the TUV leader having his picture taken with a member of the UVF in Kilcooley, within the last month does this not seem like double standards from the TUV???????????????

  • Nuanced

    Turgon and Comrade Stalin,

    Interesting comebacks that make it worthwhile having poked a bit to stir up a defence. I can’t disagree, though I remain opposed to thoughtless exclusion tactics I’m plenty prepared to back down when those who advocate exclusion are prepared to argue their case. Don’t forget, there has been a large contingent in unionism that has not simply tried to exclude paramilitaries, but mounted campaigns against their affiliates too. To suggest that loyalist paramilitary-linked politicians have had the same political platform as other unionists is similarly to miss the reality.

    Regarding grassroots support for loyalist paramilitarism, certainly since the descent into crime it seems hard to believe there can be any. I think the ballot box thing is a red herring – because of the strategic voting that occurs. You wonder why though, if paramilitarism is such a detested spectacle in loyalist working class areas, so many are covered in murals that pay homage to UVF/UDA gunmen? Is that simply a case of local populations being cowed by the militant’s gun? I’m not suggesting I know the answer, but I am curious.