Thoughts on Purvis’s resignation and the PUP

There has been much analysis of Dawn Purvis’s resignation from the PUP so far. I posted this on Open Unionism a few days ago but thought I might as well put it up here as well.

Purvis has been being lauded as a woman of integrity in multiple sections of the media with only Mark Devenport and a few others willing to make anything other than wholly supportive comments. This eulogisation of Purvis and Ervine before her has been a feature of most outside of mainstream unionism for many years. This seems to have reached its zenith now that Purvis has left the PUP. She joined in 1994; it is unclear whether this was before or after their ceasefire but at the time she joined what was clear was the the UVF had shown absolutely no sign of decommissioning, let alone going away. She stuck with the party through a total of 28 murders by the UVF until leaving after this one. In addition of course she remained with the PUP despite the UVF’s overwhelming involvement in drug dealing, prostitution, racketeering and assorted other organised crime including the loyalist feud which as well as involving multiple murders also resulted in about 600 people being forced to leave their own homes.

Purvis and the PUP have been repeatedly described as the authentic voice of working class unionism by a number of commentators. She has always been popular with the media and indeed many liberals, nationalists and republicans, just as Ervine was before her. Part of the reason for this support may have been the media’s desire to keep the process moving forwards. The NI media, especially the BBC, have always had a fairly unashamedly pro process agenda and to be fair they may have felt that giving the PUP time and space reduced the chances of the UVF and assorted other members of the alphabet soup going back to violence (provided one ignored violence against people whom those sections of the media seem to regard as unimportant like working class unionists). Republicans may have had a somewhat different agenda in their at times quite warm words towards the PUP. For one thing the PUP were always keen to talk to republicans and at a time when the UUP had grave difficulties talking to SF and the DUP simply refused to, it was useful to republicans’ agenda to have a unionist party with whom they could talk. An additional and more subtle benefit for republicanism was that the PUP, being a party heavily involved with terrorists, was not going to be able to denounce their sectarian murder campaign with the credibility the UUP and DUP were. In addition the PUP gave a degree of credence to the republican lie that everyone now involved in politics had been involved in “the conflict” (ie had been terrorists or colluded with them). Furthermore when Ervine made claims such as that he knew the colour of the wall paper in unionists leaders houses it chimed with the whole unionist collusion narrative so beloved of republicanism.

The mainstream unionist parties of course had very little time for the PUP (or UDP) apart from the disgraceful episode of the UUP co-opting Ervine into their ranks to gain an extra ministry. Unionism’s distrust was largely driven by the revulsion they felt for the UVF’s murdering ways but in addition was not helped by Ervine’s comments about them having been involved in talks with them when they opposed the UVF ceasefire etc. The fact that Ervine (a convicted criminal and liar) was never taken to task by the media over these remarks and made to put up a name, time, place and the subjects supposedly discussed or told to shut up is a further example of the media’s sycophancy towards him.

Mainstream unionists politicians, however, were not the only ones with contempt for Ervine. The working class unionist electorate for whom he supposedly spoke were fairly clearly going to decide he was not speaking for them at the next assembly elections. However, Ervine suffered from the cleverest political death since Jack Kennedy; was lionised by the press, and hence, in his death, helped ensure the election of Purvis. Apart from in East Belfast, however, the PUP have singularly failed to make any credible impact. In the large working class unionist areas of North Belfast, the smaller ones of South and West Belfast; apart from the very odd councillor, their support is very poor. Even those areas are positive hotbeds of PUP support, however, when compared to the working class areas of large unionist towns: Craigavon, Coleraine, and Ballymena have not a single PUP representative between them. Moving out into the rural parts of Northern Ireland where there are of course still large numbers of working class unionists, one finds a complete dearth of PUP councillors, members or supporters.

The reasons why working class unionists do not vote PUP seem to be a mystery to some of the supposed cognoscenti but are actually remarkably easy to explain. Working class unionists like their middle class counterparts tended to have very little time for terrorism and as such did not support the murders of their Catholic counterparts. Furthermore during the Troubles the UVF (and UDA) were actually much more dangerous to working class unionists than the IRA ever were. When the ceasefires came, although the loyalists may have ceased fire on Catholics, they continued to prey, vampire like, on the working class unionist communities they infest and continued to be the major reason why these areas have degenerated into sink estates and urban wastelands. Clearly this depressing dynamic of criminality is not limited to Belfast. Throughout large urban areas in the UK and beyond there are major problems with criminality: both antisocial behaviour and organised criminality. In those areas, like in Belfast, the working class population do not tend to vote for their oppressors and as such surprise that working class unionists do not vote PUP is grossly misplaced.

Having said all that there is a significant problem with working class unionists being disenfranchised. Fair_deal has patiently and in my view accurately put forward the suggestion that the garden centre unionist is indeed a non existent unicorn and that instead the problem is non voting amongst working class unionists. This is a major problem and one which has become more serious in recent years. The UUP once contained many working class based representatives some very senior such as Harold McCusker (deputy leader) and once the DUP had very large numbers of them: whilst there are still some within both parties, the gentrification of the UUP and DUP has progressed rapidly over the past two decades and been accompanied by a fall in the working class unionist vote. This is in danger of becoming a vicious circle with decreasing numbers of working class unionist voters and politically involved grass roots resulting in unionist parties always chasing the middle class vote further alienating the working classes who are left with no constructive voice within unionism.

To come back to Puris; the reasons for her resignation have been chewed over in some detail (although I have a very different analysis from him, I do have significant areas of agreement with Horseman here). Her claim is that she was annoyed by the murder this week and it was the final straw. This is possible but odd considering the number of other murders there have been before. Mark Devenport has suggested her desire to protect her Stormont allowances. However, another fractionally more subtle suggestion might be worth entertaining. The East Belfast Westminster election demonstrated that many working class unionists were willing to vote Alliance in order to punish the DUP: it has been reported that the Dee Street ballot box, probably the most solidly working class area in inner East Belfast, was very solidly for Naomi Long.

As such Purvis may well have seen what she and most commentators already knew: that her assembly seat was in grave danger. Hence, a chance for her might be to leave behind the taint of loyalist terrorism and try to become another Naomi Long: a working class soft unionist albeit with a bit more unionism. The PUP have never been exactly hard line on the union: their hard line views have tended to be on the necessity of helping loyalist terrorists rather than holding the line on the constitutional position. They might be summed up as: Weak on support for the union: strong on support for criminality; a sort of violent, marginally less self righteous version of the Alliance Party.

Purvis may have felt that jettisoning the support for violence might help her and that if she could take even a third of Long’s first preferences she might get back in. Indeed if Long dumps the double jobbing as she almost certainly will have to, Purvis might see herself as a sort of assembly Long. That might hold out some hope of keeping her snout in the trough if not as close to the truffles of power as the Alliance’s.

As a final thought if Purvis is such an upright person for finally, belatedly, having realised that she could no longer support the PUP in view of the UVF’s actions: where exactly does that leave the Christian GP John Kyle? If Purvis could no longer stomach the PUP and is to be lauded for her decision: how is it that Kyle can remain? I have previously suggested that Kyle is maybe a decent but deeply naïve man. However, there comes a point where naivety is no longer a defence for support of the indefensible: at that point it ends and becomes dishonesty. Kyle may be proclaimed as a decent man and may suggest that he will not rule out a complete break with the PUP. However, someone needs to point out that when it comes to integrity the new PUP emperor’s clothes look remarkably see through and unless and until he does break the link completely most will see him as being stark naked. Even if he does the question will be why did it take so long? I know it offends against Godwin’s Law but Kyle sounds rather like Albert Speer: the Nazi who said sorry, was regarded as a decent man in some quarters and most now view as just as complicit as the others.


    Oh dear.

    One of the greatest stumbling blocks to reaching peace in Northern Ireland has been this great conceit at the very heart of Unionism. This ridiculous tendency for Unionists to fool themselves that as a whole they differ from Nationalists in that Unionists are “decent’ people, we don’t vote for or support criminals or people who use violence. Most Unionist voters genuinely believe that the people they vote for and the government across the water are sickened by violence, would never countenance using it or having any truck with those who do.

    The truth is that Unionist terrorism has always been carefully managed by the establishment to maintain this facade but there is no Unionist party that has not had links and conduits to the Unionist terrorists, or indeed those people whop committed criminal acts of murder wearing British uniforms.

    Follow the trail behind every single Unionist terrorist and at the very back you’ll find a handler with an English accent.

    The Stevens report it seems it shuffled to the sidelines, Unionist fingers stuck in Unionist ears everytime someone says “look, here is the truth”

    Where the PUP differed from all the other Unionist parties was in their honesty.

    When Unionists finally wake up to the truth, then perhaps we’ll be able to share power with our neighbours, all of us realising that no one is innocent, we’ve all done terrible things to each other and it’s time to stop this pathetic charade of “we’re better than you”

    Dawn Purvis at least has the bravery to say enough is enough, too many other Unionists are still happy for Unionist terrorists to be there in the background, having their cake and eating it, whilst issuing mealy mouthed platitudes.

  • bulmer

    “However, Ervine suffered from the cleverest political death since Jack Kennedy, ”

    I knew David Ervine. You are most definitely not fit to tie his bootlaces.

    David spent years engaging with anyone who would listen that the old sectarian approach was the past. There had to be a way forward. He won the argument: the collapse of TUV is proof positive of that. Denigrate him all you will, I doubt if you have contributed one positive step forward to securing the peace.

    I suspect your tirade is more to do with the utter rejection of the TUV by the electorate, funny enough for most of the reasons you suggest the PUP didn’t breakthrough.

    I hope Dawn doesn’t give up. There is a left wing loyalist voice that too many have succeeded in silencing.

  • bulmer

    If you honestly think that all loyalists terrorists were the stupes of the British Govt then you clearly know absolutely nothing about working class Protestants or their communities.

  • Brasco

    thats really an excellent piece, I`m surprised. Well done.

    There is a problem in your argument. The overwhelming majority of nationalists did not support the murder gangs. Indeed nationalists voted in much smaller numbers for SF when the IRA were murdering people. Only when the IRA stopped / greatly reduced the murdering did nationalists make them the lead party within nationalism.

    Unionists are actually quite similar it seems: the UVF are murdering people and people do not vote PUP; neither working, middle nor whatever class unionists vote PUP.

    The simple fact TAFKABO is that anyone who did not kill people and does not support it is completely innocent of the crimes of the terrorists and that includes the overwhelming majority of unionists, nationalists and others. You may be guilty of something: that is for you. My conscience and that of the vast majority of people here’s is, and rightly is, completely clean on this regard.


    Being a working class (ex) protestant, i think I’ve spent enough time in Loyalist communities to form a fair opinion.

    Of course not every single Loyalist was on the payroll but pretty much all the leaders were/are. directed and influenced by Special branch.


    I don’t think I suggested that the majority of Nationalists supported the murder gangs, and if any Nationalist reading thinks I did, then I apologise.
    What most Nationalists have done however, is accept that their political representatives have a history that leads back to the violence, most Unionists pretend otherwise.

    This idea that people are innocent is once again a conceit, for who created this society, if not the people that make up this society?
    Unionist reluctance to share power or give credence to nationalist aspirations helped create the conditions for violence, it doesn’t make the men of violence innocent, they carry the lion’s share of the guilt but not all of it.

    As for your clean conscience, to be honest, that’s between you and yourself, all I ask is that we don’t allow your conceit to get in the way of our shared future.

  • bulmer,
    Rest assured I would have no interest in tying Mr. Ervine’s bootlaces: I did not think fascist’s jack boots had laces anyway.

    As someone who has seen a number of people shot by Ervine’s other halves so to speak, I have contempt for him and the rest of the soup. They murdered people and claimed they did it for me: they did not. They did not help, save or protect Ulster. They involved themselves in a bitter sectarian murder campaign and in addition ran extortion, drug dealing, prostitution etc.

    Ervine’s supposed commitment to peace included calling murdering Catholics “returning the serve” and telling us he had not forgotten how to make bombs. He spent years making a living out of supposedly bringing the terrorists away from violence whilst they continued murdering and organised crime. There comes a point where hypocrisy has to be called what it was. Ervine always was a hypocrite and the fact that he has died does not mean that I feel the need to extend a faux civility to him.I regard him in the same breath as the likes of Jim Lynagh and Bobby Sands although I do not celebrate anyone’s death, I will shed few tears at his passing.

  • Granni Trixie

    I like the concept of ‘faux civility’ – it fits the bill for much of what goes on here instead of plain speaking. But civility has its place for whatever you view, Irvine left loved ones behind. That saId I have always wondered why he and now DP became darlings of certain groups.
    I suspect that the plays of Gary Mitchell are nearer the reality. Incidentally, I wonder where GM got to after being intimidated out of his home because of his depiction of loyalism.

    BTW, Turgon need not lose sleep over Naomi and her other elected posts – the process of finding other Alliance people to succeed her are underway. Also, why would boxes from Dee St not be full of votes for Naomi?. Sure isn’t that her home patch – where she grew up and where she practices being a politican?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I appreciate that collusion formed one of your other threads and it is major area for debate in its own right but I think that when you say of loyalist paramilitiaries in general that “They did not help, save or protect Ulster.” then it depends what you mean as I cant help thinking that one of the encouragements to SF/PIRA to find a settlement was at least in part to the targetting of SF (non combatant members) probably with direct or indirect assistance from the British. From a tactical point of view this was a good policy by loyalism as they moved away slowly from just targetting any old Taig.

    My other point is that the relationship between loyalist paramilitaries and Unionist politicans is, and I appreciate this can sound like a self serving argument, perhaps more complicated than Nationalism’s and may operate in a different more discrete way that does not translate into votes.

    Finally, the idea that Nationalists who vote for SF are not implicitly showing some degree of acceptance of the leigitmacy of the Provo campaign is just silly – everybody knows that the Provo campaign was directed by those leading SF and if the view of that campaign was that it was simply a ‘murder’ campaign then they would simply get no votes.

  • Jimmy Mack

    I knew David Ervine. You are most definitely not fit to tie his bootlaces……………

    ervine was a terrorist scum no better than adams or mcguinness

  • Battle of the Bogside


    There is a problem in your argument.

    The mainstream unionist parties of course had very little time for the PUP (or UDP) apart from the disgraceful episode of the UUP co-opting Ervine into their ranks to gain an extra ministry. Unionism’s distrust was largely driven by the revolution they felt for the UVF’s murdering ways but in addition was not helped by Ervine’s comments about them having been involved in talks with them when they opposed the UVF ceasefire

    Unionist politicians and unionist terrorists go hand in hand and have done for 200 years. This relationship was cemented by Carson and Craig who used the terrorist UVF to threaten the British government over Home Rule3 in 1913.

    Thirty or so years ago during the UWC and Sunnigdale crises, unionism used unionist terrorists to threaten the British government over sharing power with nationalist/republicans.

    Ten or fifteen years ago during the Drumcree episode, unionist politicians used unionist terrorists to threaten the British government. The UVF and the UDA were the tools used to force the Brits to allow a sectarian organisation to spew its bigotry in an area where people just wanted peace; a people who had suffered too much for too long!

    Unionist politics and unionist terrorism, along with British coercion of nationalist/republican aspiration’s go hand in hand. Always did and always will.

    p.s. that includes Jim Allister who was part of the DUP when they advised the unionist terrorist organisations not to call a ceasefire. His “No to unrepentant terrorists in government” includes his own terrorist past!

  • Turgon

    Granni Trixie,
    I agree re being civil to a deceased person’s loved ones. However, enough time has now passed that in my view we should describe Ervine as we see him. I have described him as I regard him: no more, no less.

    As to Alliance, I did live in East Belfast and I was proud to vote in STV elections for every single candidate apart from SF and the PUP.

  • Turgon

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit,
    We agree on much but I do not recognise the idea that the loyalists targeted anyone other than in the Yabba Dabba Doo Any taig will do sense.

    The loyalist crimes shortly before the ceasefire included:
    Greysteel massacre where they murdered one Protestant as well as some Catholics
    Loughinisland massacre
    Sean Graham’s bookmakers

    I just do not see that the loyalists targeted anyone other than random Catholics (and at times Protestants). Yes occasionally they did murder SF members but I suspect that was usually down to what might from their point of view be described as more good luck than good design; though I regard them murdering anyone be they Catholic or Protestant, IRA, UVF, SF or whatever as utterly wrong.

  • Battle of the Bogside

    ervine was a terrorist scum no better than adams or mcguinness

    I will add to your list: Robinson: Iris and Peter; Empey, Allister, Taylor, Paisley, Trimble, Dodds: Diane and Nigel; Donaldson, Blair, Brown, Thatcher…I could go on for ever.

    Be you a terrorist paymaster, a terrorist puppet master, or a terrorist combatant – you are a terrorist full stop!

  • HeinzGuderian

    I would suspect Gary Mitchell is in the same place as the McCartney Sisters,after the show of support from the good people of Short Strand ??

    As for the ‘boxes from Dee Street’………….Isn’t it just a pity the courage of the East Belfast electorate,in unseating a nauseous politician,couldn’t;t be replicated West of the City ?? :O)

  • HeinzGuderian

    Going by that ‘logic’ (??) Planet Earth should be renamed Terrorist Firma………

  • Battle of the Bogside


    loyalists targeted anyone other than random Catholics

    Might I remind you that the RUC and the British army handed over files on innocent Catholics to unionist terrorists, who in turn carried out executions on the those names contained in the files. Unionist terrorists did not target anyone, the RUC and British army did the targeting, the unionist terrorists did the shooting.

    That will add two more organisations to your list of terrorist combatants: The terrorist RUC and the terrorist British army. These two organisations come under the umbrella of the terrorist British government, who make the third extra entry to your list!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I dont have any links to back up my contention concerning targetting, but I have a distinct impression from the time, nothwithstanding the many high profile random killings, that there was a more non-random targetting policy in the latter stages of loyalist violence.

  • Looking through the Window

    I fail to see how Ervine’s interest in working class unity cross sectarian divides, despite his violent past (which I’m sure you are fully aware he turned away from) lends itself to fascism?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Note how on neither the TUV website, nor the Jim Allister website, has a single, solitary word been said about this murder one way or the other. If this shooting had been in South Armagh do you think Allister would have stayed quiet ?

    And it’s not like the guy is retired or anything, there are statements there about Arlene Foster and FST.

    I remember this with the McDaid murder in Coleraine as well, and that was before Allister had faced a comprehensive electoral defeat. When loyalists murder someone, Jim Allister and the TUV don’t think it’s a priority to even put their opinion on the matter on record.

  • Driftwood

    Might I remind you that the RUC and the British army handed over files on innocent Catholics to unionist terrorists

    Interesting assertion.

    The logic, presumably, is that non-innocent Catholics were not to be targetted. So Army Intelligence prepared files on hundreds of thousands of people to be sure they were completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Then such people were to be set up for murder?

    I’m intrigued as to the purpose of such a venture, BoB, perhaps you would clarify why only innocent Catholics (over 90% at least, so quite a demanding exercise for the security forces) were to be so set up.

    The purpose

  • Battle of the Bogside

    Comrade Stalin

    Jim Allister is a hypocrite and a bigot. Why would he fear the UVF or speak out against them. As I have suggested before, he didn’t mind it when the DUP used terrorist organisations to win over the hearts and minds of the unionist electorate and that is a fact!


    I’ve heard it firsthand from a leading member of the UVF that he was handed sheets of mugshots with names, from a member of the security forces.
    Please don’t try and run with that old bollix that they wouldn’t have been handed over if they were all innocent.
    You either support the rule of law or you don’t, and when you dismiss or excuse the state forces when they engage in terrorist acts like handing over mugshots, then you don’t support the rule of law.

  • Battle of the Bogside


    The purpose

    It’s called counter insurgency: use one side as a toll against the other for your own strategic interest. Something British army terrorists improved on since illegally invading Iraq. Whit the same effect I might add.

  • Driftwood

    That’s not what Bob said TAF

    He said only innocent Catholics were to be targetted. The files would have made this clear. If, when checking the file, a loyalist had uncovered some guilt on the part of the person. the outraged loyalist would have handed the file back to the Army, fuming that a guilty person could have been killed in error, and demanding a reprimand to the field operative.

    It may have occurred that a few rogue squaddies handed over documents they shouldn’t have, but such actions would have rendered them subject to court martial if caught.


    My point remains that all Catholics were innocent, as far as the state was concerbned, they had not been proven guilty through due process, notwithstanding we’re supposed not to have the death penalty in the UK.

    why is this important?

    Because so many on the British and Unionist side make it a moral issue, where we’re the good guys who don’t support terrorist actions.
    The British establishment and the Unionist electorate want to pontificate about right and wrong but still reserve the right to turn a blind eye when someone they deem to be a terrorist, regardless of whether or not they’ve been found guilty, is targeted by Loyalists, aided by State forces..

    Sp now it’s all bluster about how the PUP are scum, just the same as Sinn Fein but back in the day we didn’t hear much complaining.

  • TheHorse

    I remember when Nigel Dodds child was in the RVH childrens ward and and some republican group attempted to gain access to to the ward to target Nigel. Less than a week later the Catholic Father of the other child that was in the ward with Nigel Dodds child was assassinated by the UDA. Coincidence or what.

    “I’ve heard it firsthand from a leading member of the UVF…”
    Yes and we all heard it from the UVF that they had decommissioned all their weapons: yet a weapon killed Mr. Moffett. Now the UVF’s mouth piece in chief (Kyle) tells us that the UVF kept some of their guns.

    So we see that UVF leaders lie: hardly a surprise. However, if they have been shown to lie why TAFKABO do you insist on believing a UVF leader when he told you about being “handed sheets of mugshots with names from a member of the security forces.

    Face it loyalists: Ervine, Purvis, UVF leaders, I suspect Kyle as well would score quite very highly on the Adams scale for liars.

  • Driftwood

    Is there any actual evidence of this so called ‘collusion’?

    Not conspiracy theories or gossip or urban myths, but actual hard evidence?

    There sre some stories that some British and American soldiers who liberated Belsen and Dachau simply shot some of the SS guards on the spot. No fair trial, apparently just vengeance. But there is no such documented evidence.

    The Army prides itself on its impartiality and our service personnel deserve better than the sick innuendo that they operated outside the law. Until compelling evidence is produced, this is simply SF propaganda.

  • loftholdingswood

    A very interesting analysis.

    There was never any doubt that the UVF kept some guns back. The assumption was always that any arms would be held as a ‘security’ blanket in case of eventualities. This hardly strikes me as such an eventuality. In fact this is clearly an extreme form of personal grudge attack.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    To some extent the Media instruction from Government was to be nice to the Sinn Féin-Provisional IRA between the ceasefires and signing and embedding the Good Friday Agreement. Now that the Agreement is secure, the media have “discovered” that Gerry Adams might have been in the IRA. That Jean McConville was murdered and a host of other “discoveries”.
    The instruction about the PUP/UVF was similar.
    Be nice about Ervine, Purvis…..the process needs them.
    Ervine died and is a saint in the media circles.
    Purvis is a “working class woman, liberal, leftish and a mature student” and is also a hero in the media especially here on Slugger.
    Rather unfortunately for the narrative, the UVF has been killing people and has not stopped doing so……with the result that the media have had to be much nicer to PUP/UVF for a much longer time….so now government and compliant media hypocrisy has finally been exposed.

  • Eire32

    Simple, to drive them away from the Shinners.

    They were always at it, and they didn’t always use loyalists.

  • Eire32

    Turgon, yeh loyalists had no support from the
    Unionist community, why then did 40000 of them join the

    You then go on to detail the decimation of a small unionist party.

    YOUR IN THE TUV LAD!!! hahaha

  • Eire32

    Driftwood google Brian Nelson

  • Eire32

    Sorry the UDA weren’t terrorists were they…..


  • Rabelais

    What an eloquently argued lot of aul’ shite from the TUV stable. I cannot think of a single useful contribution that that party has made, preferring instead to carp on the sidelines (where they have been confined by the electorate). So Ervine and Purvis weren’t/isn’t a saint/s – there are few of them in NI – but at least there was an attempt, no matter how flawed and compromised by individual and group histories, to move on, to make a change for the better.

    Still, the TUV can take some consolation from its inflated sense of self-righteousness.

    And to say that Ervine’s death was ‘politically clever’ is just contemptible.

  • TheHorse

    Goggle Mount Vernon UVF who RUC Special Branch colluded with in over a dozen murders when the police ombudsman investigated the allegations they refused to co-operate with the inquiry. Goggle Pat Finucane the solicitor, all those who were involved in his murder were working for RUC special branch.


    why TAFKABO do you insist on believing a UVF leader when he told you about being “handed sheets of mugshots with names from a member of the security forces.

    Because he had no reason to lie to me, given the context of the conversation.
    Having said that, I don’t expect you or anyone else to accept anecdotal evidence as some kind of cast iron proof, I offer it as part of my own reasons for believing in collusion.

    with all that in mind, I have to tell you that I hold those who deny collusion in pretty much the same contempt as i do those who deny Gerrry was ever a member of the IRA.

    Yes, UVF leaders lie but that no more means they lie every time they speak than it does for Unionist and British politicians who have said there was no collusion.

  • Battle of the Bogside

    The Horse,

    Driftwood does not know how to look up collusion. It is against his sectarian socialisation to look up such a word. As far as he is concerned it didn’t happen.

    He also claims that “The Army prides itself on its impartiality and our service personnel deserve better“. He has never heard of ‘Bloody Sunday’ nor if he did would he accept that British army terrorists murdered innocent civilians they were charged with protecting. I doubt if he will accept that army personnel will be prosecuted once the Saville report is published, but this is the next step in the pursuit of justice.

    See no evil hear no evil is a policy he adopts. When it is put the the British army are a terrorist organisation, he sticks his fingers in his ears and says “lalalalalalala”



    Is there any actual evidence of this so called ‘collusion’?

    Do you think the Eames/Bradley report was a fiction?

  • jim

    havent heard much from the MP for the area either

  • Driftwood

    I think Eames/Bradley was pathetic.

    this ‘we are all guilty’ bollix is an attempt at collective guilt and to take the heat off the real criminals.

    As for Brian Nelson he made mistakes but even the trial judge could not fault his motivation. He saved many lives, including Gerry Adams.

    BTW, Horse, I think your post at 4.56 pm is pretty close to libellous, at very least your inference is.

  • Battle of the Bogside


    he made mistakes

    You’re an apologist for terrorism. State sponsored terrorism is the worst form of terrorism you know!

  • jim

    at least it worked the provies surrendered

  • Battle of the Bogside

    The Provisional IRA now control this once ‘Orange Protestant state’. I think it was unionism and the British army who surrendered their iron grip on control.

    The Provisional IRA now rule you and never forget that.

  • Reader

    Battle of the Bogside: Might I remind you that the RUC and the British army handed over files on innocent Catholics to unionist terrorists, who in turn carried out executions on the those names contained in the files.
    As stated, that makes no sense at all. They might as well have given out telephone directories.
    If you want to venture into the realms of plausibility, try the following: “Some RUC officers and soldiers supplied monitoring lists of suspects to various loyalist paramilitaries. Those lists contained a mix of the innocent and the guilty”.
    As an alternative, an IRA supporter may want to replace ‘the innocent’ with ‘fainthearts’, and replace ‘the guilty’ with ‘volunteers’.

  • Driftwood


    I accept your point about certain Unionist politicians, but not about the Army or the UK ‘establishment’, as you put it.
    The British Government (and Army) contains many Catholics as well as Protestants and those of us enlightened enough to be unburdened by the Sky Pixie.
    It simply would not lower itself to the level of our sectarian squabble.

  • chewnicked

    Hopefully the PUP/UVF will still play its part in reducing tensions at interfaces this summer. The danger of the PUP dissolving or divorcing itself from the UVF is that the paramilitary wing will allow hotheads to cause trouble to worsen tensions.

  • Slimmer

    The difference for support for paramilitary groups is and was real.

    A large part of it though can be explained by the fact that generally those targetted by the IRA were soldiers or police officers, whereas most of those targetted by loyalist paramilitaries were civilians.

    In some united Ireland scenario cack handedly handled the roles could be reversed in that regard – e.g. “loyalists” attacking Republic of Ireland security personal.

  • TheHorse

    Driftwood, There was only two patients in the ward, Nigel Dodds child and the child of the man that was murdered less than a week after the attempt on Nigel Dodds, they met each other frequently during the period their children were in the ward but I cant remember Nigel being at his funeral or sending his condolences.

  • Slimmer

    “Might I remind you that the RUC and the British army handed over files on innocent Catholics to unionist terrorists”

    What would be the possible point in doing so? It’s not exactly as if “innocent Catholics” are hard to find, they were 4 in 10 of the population, and tend to live in particular areas.

    Your conspiracy theory lacks a motive. Unless your definition of “innocent” and that of RUC and soldier alleged collusionists is at odds or you are talking about errors on the part of the collusionists.

    You need to say what you are saying with more clarity.

  • Jimmy Mack

    Might I remind you that the RUC and the British army handed over files on innocent Catholics to unionist terrorists, who in turn carried out executions on the those names contained in the files. Unionist terrorists did not target anyone, the RUC and British army did the targeting, the unionist terrorists did the shooting……….

    LOL uncle gerry been telling you bedtime stories , or maybe it was Gerrys brother…were u sittin on his lap when he told you this?

  • Jimmy Mack

    Goggle Pat Finucane the solicitor, all those who were involved in his murder were working for RUC special branch………..

    god, why didnt we think of this, we could have save 200 million of Saville if we just googled it

    British troops in ulster deserve our praise , they did an amazing job given that the nationalist community collectivley worked to murder many of them, even voting for murderers in their tens of thousands.

  • Cormac Mac Art

    All yet more nails in the coffin of unification. Why on earth would Ireland want to incorporate such a mess into its state?

  • TheHorse

    Pat Finucane was shot dead by two masked men on 12 February 1989 in front of his wife and three children. One of the weapons used in the attack was one of 13 weapons stolen from a British Army barracks in 1987 by a serving member of the British Army’s UDR regiment. Brian Nelson, the British military intelligence agent who also served as chief intelligence officer of the UDA, alleged after his conviction on other charges that he had directly assisted in the targeting of Pat Finucane. *

    The Report of the International Human Rights Working Party of the Law Society of England and Wales in 1995 states:
    There is credible evidence of both police and army involvement. We cite the most significant items below. There is further evidence in the hands of the police which we have not been given access. The Goverrnment told the UN Special rapporteur that the DPP directed that there should be no prosecution against any officer in connection with Patrick Finucane’s death. Significantly the Government did not deny that there was collusion by the government or the security forces in relation to the murder.

  • Battle of the Bogside


    It simply would not lower itself

    So what, in your opinion, did the British army do on ‘Bloody Sunday’, other than lower itself to get involved in a sectarian squabble?

  • Battle of the Bogside


    Previously I made the following statement “the RUC and the British army handed over files on innocent Catholics to unionist terrorists“. I did not add that they also handed over files relating to Sinn Fein and the IRA. But, because I didn’t submit this does not make my original statement any less true.

    It happened, it’s not alleged, the British establishment is a terrorist umbrella group; always was; always will be!

  • Battle of the Bogside

    Jimmy Mack

    The British army, the US army and the Israeli army are the new axis of evil. They all took lessons from the Nazis on how to be as fascist as the Nazis themselves.

    They will rot in hell with Thatcher and Hitler.

  • jim

    i thought they went away after surrendering their weapons. ack must be just gerry telling more lies

  • Stephen Blacker


    I got to take my hat off to you because your vile un-christian remarks about the late David Ervine must keep you in the running for the Leadership of the TUV. Saying that, your TUV twin David Vance is way ahead of you on that score.

    Its obvious that my posts on another thread recently did not penetrate into your closed narrow mind. Your disgraceful attack on Dawn Purvis is totally unjustified and it proves to me that with all the media coverage dedicated to this subject you never heard a word Dawn said – why am I not surprised at that?

  • Battle of the Bogside

    i thought they went away after surrendering their weapons

    They have gone away, away to Stormont to keep collective unionism in check. Sinn Fein and its leadership, the leaders of the former Provisional IRA, are still here and here to stay.

    They have turned this once ‘Protestant Province’ into a republican heartland, where they rule the roost and hold all the aces.

  • Cormac Mac Art

    Don’t forget the IRA. They caused a few deaths in their time.

  • Jay

    The topic is about Dawn Purvis and the PUP , lets try to keep it on topic.

    (As always with NI politics we can go back through centuries. of blood feuds)

    I have posted this before and make no apology for posting it again as no-one has answered.

    From Wikpedia:
    “On 16 June 1994, UVF members machine-gunned a pub in Loughinisland, County Down on the basis that its customers were watching the Republic of Ireland national football team playing in the World Cup on television and were therefore assumed to be Catholics. The gunmen shot dead six people and injured five”

    From PUP website:
    “Dawn is Leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, appointed by the Executive Committee after the death of David Ervine. She joined the party in 1994”

    From Dawns point of view what broke the camels back?

    The fact that it was no longer Catholics being murdered?
    Or is it even more venomous and its all about money after all , the generous MLA salary and allowances?

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven , she’s either an opportunist using the murder of someone to further a political career or thinks its ok murder as long as its along her own defined sectarian lines.

  • andnowwhat

    Funny how you say that the British army would not lower itself to our sectarian squabble Driftwood.

    Did the findings of the HET re. the murder of Mr Greanery in Derry in ’72 not show you that they will sink to any level for self interest?

    Just to remind you. This was a man walking with his mates when a soldier fired from a secure sanger shot and murdered him.

    The soldier involved was supported by the British M.O.D in his lie that the victim was carrying a weapon. A lie that they perpatrated for 39 years mind and cast an aspertion on a totally innocent man.

    I put it to you Driftwood that there is little beneath the security forces as we have seen with what they have done to Iraqis

  • Jay

    Sorry to post twice.

    From the horses mouth itself:
    10/10/09 PUP website:

    “That’s what this party offers. This party offers a vision for Northern Ireland. A society at peace with itself and its neighbours, where people can live together, go to school together, work together and socialise together.”

    Doesn’t sound like the camels back was even hurting eight months ago (out of fourteen yrs in the PUP) never mind near breaking point.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Where to begin?

    How about Andy Tyrie. Have you read Tim Pat? According to Tim Pat, Andy was known for slamming the gun and the list of names and addresses of known PIRA men down on the table and saying, here’s a gun and there’s more if you need them, and here’s men that you want, but there’s no point in shooting Catholics just because they’re Catholic. And do you know that these organizations are not regular organizations, and so there isn’t nearly the same internal discipline as there is in the US Army? And so Loughinisland was not sanctioned by the UVF leadership. And as I related elsewhere on Slugger, by his own admission, worst day of Mr. Ervine’s life.

    And, here, starting at the 6:40 mark:

    Is the UUP’s John Taylor good enough for you? He’s from one of those “respectable” Unionist parties, yes? His remarks flatly contradict yours.




    So, the one soul who was judged credible, the late Mr. Ervine. Yet you would would call the human not here to speak in his defense, a liar. And so what does that make you?

    By the way, loved your prognostication as to the late Mr. Ervine’s electoral fate, if he hadn’t died. About as credible as your prognostication re the TUV’s electoral chances in the last election, which is to say, not credible at all.

    And for why they talked, well, see the excerpts from Gusty’s one letter from Long Kesh, kindly posted by Mr. Blacker. In particular, Gusty’s use of the word, fascist. Now for yet more cruel irony, do you recall when Mr. McGregor posted Ciaran Murphy on Youtube? Note the “fascist hovel” at 0:39-0:41:

    And so there’s reason for them to talk, as they both recognize the fascist hovel for what it is. And for the patent absurdity here, if Big Ian hadn’t decided to make all smiles with Uncle Marty, you wouldn’t be in the TUV. In case you missed the better part of your life history, for most of that period of time that some call The Troubles, Big Ian was a walking, talking incitement to terrorism. In other words, he, like more than a few others, was a coward, as he preached that others do what he himself was not prepared to do.

    Next, in start contrast to your noted contemptible remarks, I can’t help but note that Albert Reynolds, Peter Hain, George Mitchell, Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Hugh Orde, and Peter Robinson all had kind words to say, and most of them managed to attend his funeral service. Big Gerry even gave his widow a hug. A truly singular moment, apparently lost on you.

    Lastly, here is why you write what you write, in other words, here’s the late Mr. Ervine calling you out on your pathetic attempt to deflect the blame and responsibility that is yours and Mr. Allister’s and Mr. Vance’s, and so on(courtesy of the UK’s Timesonline):

    “The UVF’s response at first to the Anglo-Irish Agreement was clear unadulterated anger and… street responses, but it didn’t last and they didn’t try to sustain it,” he said. “I think that the UVF were listening, if not accepting 100%, our [the Progressive Unionist party’s] analysis that the unionist leaders ‘got us into this pile of s**** and effectively they’ve a responsibility to get us out of it’.”

    And for your and Jim’s continuing lies:

    “We were all summoned, as part of the 1986 committee, to a meeting in the DUP’s headquarters in the Albertbridge Road,” Ervine recalled, still marvelling at how paramilitary leaders were invited. “Did they not know who Billy Elliot [the Ulster Defence Association’s East Belfast brigadier] was representing that night? Not know who I was representing that night? Of course they did.

    “Strangely enough, Sammy Wilson and Peter Robinson came into the room, no Paisley or Molyneaux — they’d been delayed — but what we got from them was ‘we put backbone into them’, and I’m listening to Robinson and Wilson talk about how ‘they put backbone’ into that great charismatic figure, Ian Paisley, who in the view of the unionist community is all backbone. The next thing, they announced the meeting would have to be in Glengall Street [the Ulster Unionists’ headquarters], that there had been a change of plan.”

    There they met Paisley and Molyneaux, who now said they would support the strike. It was supposed to be a private meeting, but when the doors of Glengall Street opened, Ervine was met by banks of cameras. “The headline in the News Letter next morning was ‘Hard men change minds’,” he recalled. “It was a total f****** fabrication to… give the impression that our politicians were trying to do a deal with Thatcher but, look, these hard men wouldn’t let them.

    “It was absolutely shameful, totally designed and orchestrated” by the unionist parties, he believed.
    “I wish I had a pound for the number of times Ulster Unionists would say: ‘Oh, watch for the Protestant backlash. Oh, I don’t know how we’re going to sell this to the hard men’. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, us hard men had policies that were 20 years ahead of their own. It was incredible, cynical, manipulative and dishonest.”

    And so you and Mr. Allister and Mr. Vance remain to this very day. Again, see the excerpts from Gusty’s letter from Long Kesh that were kindly posted by Mr. Blacker. Gusty’s letter speaks for itself, and makes plain that the likes of Gusty and Dave were talking about reaching across the divide and making peace, so that they might make a better world for all concerned, and that while the likes of you and Jim Allister and David Vance kept and keep preaching on the merits of the fascist hovel. So you can’t help but get the point, Gusty’s letter proves who the liar here is. It ain’t Gusty and Dave.

  • Neil McNickle

    I think Dawn his done an excellent job representing the working class people of East Belfast and I hope she continues for many years to come.
    Unionist/Loyalist community need many more figure like Dawn. There is a huge percentage of working class Loyalists who feel forgotten by the peace process and these people must be rengaged if the men of violence on the Loyalist side are to be moved permanently away from crime.
    Mainstream Unionists should seize the day and ask dawn to join there parties as she would be a wonderful addition to either party.

  • chewbacca

    To all those who do not beleive there was ever direct contact between Unionist politicians and Unionist terrorists I suggest you read “The Committee” by Sean McPhillemy…. Oh no you can’t because over a decade after peace decended on this region I’ts still on a british government black list of banned publications!

  • Granni Trixie

    Chewbacca: The author had a ring of truth to me and the story he uncovered seemed astonishing at the time,although confirming other stories. Am I wrong in thinking that it was Trimble who had it banned or am I thinking of another one? And didnt McPhillemy go bankrupt and couldnt get work becuse his reputation was tarnished as a consequence of the legal action?

    So much for free speach.

  • daisy

    McPhilemy had to pay an out-of-court settlement to the Prentice brothers and apologise for saying they were in the committee, so I suppose that didn’t do his credibility much good, even tho he won a case against the Sunday Times for libel prior to that.

  • Granni Trixie

    Daisy: many thanks,its coming back to me now (once a book is banned I just gotta read it so I did). But am I wrong in ‘remembering’ that the Prentice brothers AND David Trimble were involved in the legal action?

    I think ultimately McPhilimeny suffered long term because his integrity as a film maker was put in doubt aFTER losing the court case and having his book banned. I followed it all at the time and thought he sounded like a genuine bloke.

  • Stephen Blacker


    Very well put together post, very educational with a good bit of research. Just a wee correction, the post I published with the words of Gusty Spence was taken from a book called “Unchartered Waters” by Henry Sinerton which is about David Ervine, it is a speech Gusty Spence made on the 12th of July 1977 in Long Kesh. The original speech is held by the Linenhall Library in Belfast. His words were ground breaking in 1977, something that the mainstream politicians never attempted to say.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    There is no Wikipedia entry for McPhilemy or the book.
    Maybe neither really existed at all.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Your attack on Dawn Purvis is pretty pathetic. I happen to know a number of PUP members and these people are there to try and change things in this little country of ours. I am not a supporter of the UVF or any grouping. I wish everyone of them would disappear ASAP. I am no lover of groups who have been responsible for thousands of deaths. I struggle with the fact that provos are in goverment at Stormont. I think of the innocent people they murdered for no good reason. But there you go – that’s democracy. I also struggle with the goverment of the ROI having a say in NI after them turning a blind eye to the provos campaign along the border for decades. Their lack of action in extraditing provos back to NI to stand trial was breath taking. But I have to give them credit for helping to rein in the republican killer gangs here in the 90’s. They have accepted that unionists have a right to be unionists and are not going to be persuaded by threats to become citizens of their country.

    Dawn Purvis and the PUP were not afraid to call a spade a spade especially when it came to the leadership of the mainstream unionist parties. They (DUP/UUP) allowed working class unionist areas to become fertile ground for paramilitaries by not giving leadership to the people there during the early part of the troubles. Their constant use of negative politics was a disgrace. In fact the UUP who were the party of goverment here for 50 years used and abused the urban working class unionist people throughout that time. They let many of them live in squalor even though many of them were fellow orangemen. They were ok in their big fancy houses. My grandfather, who is long dead, called them the biggest bunch of parasites ever to live on the island of Ireand. He was pro union but voted Labour all his life. His song wasn’t the Sash it was the Red Flag. My grandfather would have liked Dawn and her politics.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: I see what you mean (although McPhilemy and his book are referred to on Wikipedia but that is all).
    Amazon’s “The Committee” is not McPhilemys book. However goggle throws up much relevant info, in particular an account of the twists and turns of court cases in
    The Independant. There is no mention of Trimble which either means that my memory is playing tricks or something dark at work. Probably the former but in a week or two I will be talking to someone who will remember.

    Sorry to everyone to be going off tack. Humbling that my memory which I thoght was sound, is not.

  • Granni Trixie

    Have solved the puzzle and want to clear that up but for legal reasons that will be it. An Phoblacht was the only source from goggle which mentioned that “a leading political figure within unionism,prominent during Drumcree crisis ’95 and whose name is known to An Phoblacht is named as an “Committee Assocaite”. It acuses this person of various things.
    Never thought I would be using An Phoblacht as a source …but in the absence of other sources just had to.
    Not sure what I believe now.

  • georgie leigh

    Granni Trixie,

    reading you for the last 5 years.

    between you and Malcolm Redfellow for best commentator on here IMO.

  • damon

    ”Follow the trail behind every single Unionist terrorist and at the very back you’ll find a handler with an English accent.”

    I seem to have heard that somewhere before and thought it was nonsense then and still do.

    Maybe I should just pluck up the courage and go and ask some of the tough looking guys in the Shankill Road bars just up the road. As an Englishman, maybe they’ll go easy on me.

    On Dawn Purvis – can’t say I know that much about her, but just watched this youtbe of her on a PUP election broadcast from 2007, and wondered what they had actually done since then.

    All this talk of working class this and that.
    Has there been so much as a Falls Road vs Shankill Road darts match been organised since that time?

    I walk up and down between the areas and it seems that there is no contact whatsoever.

  • Neil McNickle

    The same could be said for every Republican terrorist!

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s a good thing The Committee exists. It allows us to spot complete idiots like chewbacca a mile off. Despite possession of this book allegedly being a capital offence, I have had a copy for a long time, imported from the US, and there are a few police officers who have seen it. Granni Trixie, let me know if you want to borrow it. You’re not missing much.

    A few points :

    1. There is no “British government blacklist of banned publications”, not for books. There may be books banned which contravene the official secrets act. Have you noticed that neither the author nor the publisher has claimed that their book was banned in this way ? That is probably because :

    2. The reason we can’t get the book in the UK is because the publisher chose not to publish it here, or in Ireland, or anywhere in Europe. Can you guess why that might be the case ? Can you think why the publisher would refuse to put out a book about Northern Ireland in the country it is about ? Even if the British government *did* have a “blacklist” why isn’t it available in Ireland ? The usual clueless idiots don’t bother to ask themselves that question, and won’t have asked themselves why plenty of other books about collusion and loyalists do exist. Reasonable people might conclude that :

    3. Perhaps the publisher felt that the allegations in the book wouldn’t stand up in court in the event of the publisher and the author being sued for libel. In other words, the publisher didn’t have confidence that the allegations could be substantiated. Of course, he might have had good reason for this given that :

    4. Almost all of the allegations made in the book come from a single source. It’s about ten years since I last read the book but my recollection is that the name given is “Source B”. Subsequently, we found out via a number of court cases that this person was a minor-league loyalist paramilitary who loved to spin yarns about all the high-level stuff he was mixed in. He came out in public a few years after the book came out and claimed to have made the whole thing up. I can’t rememeber his name – was it James Sands or something like that ? The crux appears to be that McPhilemy didn’t take the time to corroborate the allegations with any other sources. If he did, he didn’t provide details of this in his book. This lack of rigour probably has a lot to do with the subsequent problems in McPhilemy’s journalistic career.

    I know it suits a lot of people to claim that there was a massive conspiracy around the book. I don’t want Slugger getting sued, but the book is really nothing other than a long list of unsubstantiated allegations.

    I don’t personally believe that unionist politicians, outside a few isolated cases, sat around a table with other people and agreed on who should be assassinated. What they did was to act as cheerleaders. They’d make the speeches and then get out of the way when the shooting started. They certainly never did much to discourage loyalists or assist the authorities with their prosecution. I’m sure a lot of them probably told loyalist paramilitaries that what they were doing was right, normal and understandable and that they had no problem with it (in some cases they said as much in public). They probably slapped them on the back the odd time and said “well done”. But I don’t think they ever participated directly in the targeting process.

    As for the idea that every loyalist shooter has a person with an English accent somewhere up the chain, that’s the kind of rubbish that discredits people very quickly. I suspect most of the collusion was at the hands of Special Branch and pretty much all of those accents would have been distinctly local.

  • Stevie H

    What exactly has Dawn Purvis done for the working class people of East Belfast? Please I’d really love to know as I’ve yet to hear of her doing a single damn thing for anyone out of her office that wasn’t a paid and tattoo’d member of a paramilitary organisation. In actual fact my own older sister went to the east Belfast constituency office seeking help to be rehoused and was told by the office manager Maureen Wilson that they wouldn’t help her as she was not “known” to anyone in that office.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Stevie H,

    I’m astonished to read your post because I have seen for myself, first hand, Mrs. Wilson helping people get houses, fill in claims form and general advice with not a tattoo in sight. As regards Dawn Purvis, she has helped to push for new housing and re-generation, helped people after flooding and racist attacks along with general MLA problems.