Jackie McDonald one of the UDA’s self styled “Brigadiers” has been speaking to the Belfast Telegraph. McDonald’s ire seems largely directed at Tom Elliott, who unlike McDonald did actually defend Ulster as part of the UDR: McDonald preferred being a leader of the yabba dabba doo any taig will do UDA.
It seems that Mr. McDonald is vexed that Tom Elliott did not mention the UDA in his leader’s speech:
“When they (unionist political leaders) don’t speak about us, they are telling us we don’t exist,”
On Tom Elliott’s weekend speech, he commented: “It’s disappointing that he didn’t acknowledge the efforts being made by genuine loyalists who want to play a significant role in the future, and they want to join loyalism up with unionism.
I think it was a perfect opportunity,”
Of course the reality is that woeful as the level of support the UVF linked PUP gained it was a significant mandate as compared to the completely derisory vote compiled by the UDA linked UDP (its successor the UPRG has not even dared try an election yet). Hence, when Tom Elliott (or anyone else) ignores the UDA it is because they are politically irrelevant. Unfortunately they are relevant in that they run the extortion rackets, drug dealing, prostitution etc. which helps blight the areas they infest. Just as Tom Elliott did not make positive reference to the UDA, politicians in Manchester and other large cities do not laud the drug gangs which infest those areas.
McDonald also demanded recognition for other UDA “achievements”:
“Peter Robinson and Tom Elliott have to appreciate the efforts that have been made in recent years by ex-combatants, ex-prisoners and ex-paramilitaries at interfaces and reaching out across the divide,”
The reaching out in question has usually involved encouraging low level anti social sectarian thuggery along with making a great play of supposedly trying and with difficulty succeeding in reducing tensions after they (the UDA) have been instrumental in stoking them in the first place.
Almost laughable if it were not so sinister McDonald also stated that loyalist paramilitaries had “earned the right to have a say in the future of this country.”
Again the UDA (or UVF) have earned no such right: having as mentioned above practically no electoral support and this being a democracy where a say in the future of the country is determined by a democratic vote.
The real problem here is that society is reaping what has already been sown by the likes of Tony Blair and Mo Mowlam with these individuals. McDonald himself of course has been taken golfing by the RoI president’s husband. The governments (both British and Irish) have frequently entreated with these criminals and given them credibility. Hence, when McDonald demands recognition that is because he has had it before. The UDA have, however, had far too much recognition: their thugs and murderers have been allowed out of gaol after serving but a fraction of the sentences they deserved for their crimes. This of course is not enough for the UDA: they want ongoing de facto permission to run their criminal enterprises; preferably along with money (Danegeld) not to commit even more crimes and to top it off demand praise for committing less crimes than they did before their “ceasefire.”
There is one form of recognition, however, which would undoubtedly be much more appropriate for McDonald. He is frequently described as a UDA leader and seeing as the UDA is a criminal organisation it is high time that McDonald receive appropriate recognition for that role. At least a few years residence near Lisburn would seem about right.