Op. Standstill: Illegal blockades, riots & jeers for a pensioner denied passage to visit terminally ill wife

And so a well-publicised Operation Standstill, consisting of multiple illegal road blockades across the north, ends with rioting in Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey as East Antrim takes the torch from East Belfast. In defiance of party leader, Peter Robinson, at least one DUP elected representative, Derry City councillor Gary Midleton, attended a protest in Derry, thus proving once again that the only ‘chipping away‘ which has occurred throughout the Flag Furore has been of Peter Robinson’s authority as DUP Leader.

But perhaps the defining moment of the entire protest was captured by a BBC Radio Ulster journalist, who recorded the moment when a pensioner on his way to hospital to visit his terminally ill wife confronted loyalist protesters blocking his path. His pleas to be allowed to pass were met with jeers and a rendition of ‘Cheerio’ by the assembled mob.


  • David Crookes

    Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I

    O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
    That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!

  • Awful…just depressing beyond words.
    Maybe it will take this single action might be some kinda watershed.

  • keano10

    The weird thing is that the Police are saying that the overall numbers involved in all tonights protests were very small. The predicted mass mobilisation never remotely materialised.

    Have noted loads of posts and tweets tonight by ordinary Unionists openly condemning the violence and destruction. Just shows how tiny the support for these thugs is.

    Maybe Jamie’s comparison of himself to Jesus was the final straw for many… Absolute bunch of nutjobs and wasters the lot of them…

  • David Crookes

    The GPI met today for the first time.

    ‘Things are really going to happen,’ said the chairman of GPI (sorry, General Proclamation of Impotence). ‘In March or April we may make another statement.’

    WIth every day that passes, the need for a new political movement becomes more and more obvious. The old unionist order isn’t merely dead. It’s decomposing.

    If PR is not going to take a strong lead against these fascist rioters before noon today (Saturday), he should resign.

  • hitch3

    Not to mention the fact carriers and GPS were denied access to terminally I’ll patients. At an operational level this is an embarrassment for matt baggot.

  • hitch3


  • I hope tonight is a turning point and Baggott is hounded out of the PSNI for his failure to tackle this head-on. The sight of children rioting in Carrickfergus alongside masked men and chanting to that distressed pensioner was truly sickening.

    Although not on the same scale we had a little trouble of our own when a brick bounced of the front window of our home in Castlereagh. A minor step-up from the occasional ‘UVF’ graffiti we get scrawled on the gate post but no coincidence I’m sure that it happened this evening during the height of the protests.

  • BluesJazz

    Well, we get to go home from work early. Not as early as the old days when SF managed the Friday afternoon show, but good enough to walk the dogs in the light. More of the same next Friday please.

  • Mark

    That footage is revolting . How can this behaviour be justified ? But it will be in the morning ….wait and see !

  • Submariner

    One word for these people VERMIN

  • DC

    Cue the most shockingly accurate, but politically motivated, comment.

  • Submariner, I share your anger.
    I believe I was an interested observer on the flag thing up to now. Now I am actually angry. Not like me.
    There are no excuses. It is not about flags anymore, it is about a man who could be any of us. Game over

  • Decspur

    Not sure if you all remember what ended the riots of summer 2011 in England? Looks like it might repeat in 2013 in N Ireland, I just pity that poor father who will have to make that speech to bring everyone to their senses.

  • Decspur have you a link?

  • Decspur

    By the way why didn’t the police force this mans way through? Please don’t tell me they stood by and let this happen?

  • BluesJazz

    SF used to bombscare us every friday afternoon in the 80’s. This is just the same.
    These people are lowering themselves to SF level.

  • Decspur

    Not the best but the first I found


    There will be other better ones.

  • Many thanks BD

  • Decspur


    Well done for bringing up 30 years ago, 30 years before that we used to hang people on flimsy evidence. So are you looking to the future or are you firmly stuck in the past?

  • 6crealist


    you’re like a mentally infirm 100-year old scowling in the corner of the room, randomly barking extraneous obscenities, as everyone else tries to have a mature conversation on a very difficult topic.

    Get a grip.

  • Dixie Elliott

    This lot are British alright….Those British who wrap themselves in flags, the thugs who terrorise most holiday resorts in Europe or wreck any city unfortunate enough to be hosting their national or club football teams.

    The British despised by most of the civilised world…

    Thank God I’m Irish.

  • Decspur

    Easy Dixie I’m british by where I was born, were not all like that.

  • BluesJazz

    6realist, Decspur
    I was going to refer to the 1980’s bombing campaign of NI city/town centre’s.
    But Dixie has beaten me to it as to why they did it.
    Apparently because they were ‘British’.
    Although it’s good to see he’s unprejudiced and not stuck in the past.
    No doubt Dixie will give his opinion on US Military adventurism, when he gets off Arkle.

  • 6crealist

    “Although it’s good to see he’s unprejudiced and not stuck in the past.”

    That’s a tad rich coming from a man who, three times in the space of two hours, has expressed his fondness for the bombing and bombscare campaigns of the 1980s.

    And indeed who wants a repeat performance next Friday: so he can walk his dog in daylight hours.

  • Decspur

    So basically you have no interest in living the non sectarian life I get to live where we live side by side black or white, catholic or prod It’s all about point scoring?

    Shame you can’t behave in the way your masters aspire to.

  • Decspur

    By the way that was for my good pal BluesJazz who has probably never spoken to a mainland Brit in his life.

  • Decspur


    What are you going to do when the real Britain hits your streets, when your outskirts become majority Sikh/Hindhu or Muslim, when the only flag you see represents their religion? (Which by the way i have no problem with)Because that’s how Britain is and it’s only a matter of time before it comes your way? Up for that are you? Remember you can’t fight it or you masters will deem you as fascists.

  • Decspur

    Sorry I probably went off topic, but I’m new to this so lat me off!!

    Would still like to know you views though BluesJazz?

  • Alias

    It’s interesting that RTE also had Tommie Gorman being fortunate enough to interview a woman who found her way to visit her sick husband in hospital blocked by youthful protestors.

    You couldn’t do a better job if you had one of your touts in the UVF direct a mob to that location for that express purpose, and then ‘tip off’ the media about a mine of bad publicity for the protestors.

    Although, some of these kids look stupid enough to score against their own side…

  • Chris Donnelly

    So you believe both incidents were fabricated then by the victims simply to make the loyalists look bad?

    Can’t agree with what you’re saying as, judging by Twitter tonight alone, this incident has clearly appalled and enraged many of your British neighbours, who would be rightly insulted at the inference that their nationality would make them more prone to either commit or support such actions.

  • John Ó Néill

    With the handful of protestors that even the PSNI admit were present to ‘block’ most roads, the only substance to the protests is the PSNI closing the roads rather than moving the protestors on or out of the way. And there appears little operational reason not to move them on since the relative disruption is outweighed by the minimal number of protestors. Think the Chief Constable has to grow a pair and beat his operational commanders into shape, or resign/get sacked.

  • View from Wavertree

    The PSNI should just replace the water in their water cannons with pig sh*t – that should do the trick!

  • Decspur

    Well the police don’t seem to want to do anything, it’s always around two arrests to one hundred rioters, a two% success rate is poor by anyone’s standards. Maybe a ban on any kind of rally should be introduced hey BluesJazz? History shows it was good enough for peaceful civil rights marchers, why not now on common criminals?

  • thefatfrog

    Who visits people in hospitals, mostly? Relatives and friends I would say.
    Now imagine for a moment there is a mob blocking entrance to hospital (I know, hard to imagine. Even in wars hospitals are off-limits).
    Now, if you are, say, a journalist waiting outside the hospital to interview someone directly affected by the blockade. How long do you think it would take until you meet someone trying to visit a sick relative or friend in the hospital?

    No, it must be a setup. All too convenient really. Journalists just happening to find a person being prevented from visiting a sick relative, outside a hospital of all places.

    Your response, along with those of blues jazz and dc, are sick attempts to excuse a blockade on a hospital by a mob. Back off for a minute, take a breath, and think what you are associating yourself with here

  • Neil

    The PSNI should just replace the water in their water cannons with pig sh*t – that should do the trick!

    A refrigeration unit in the water tank would do wonders.

  • BarneyT

    the cold snap might cut the nonsense…combined with a wee water canon or two…so they should fill the tanks early and let them chill first.

    These folks really dont represent anyone in NI…not really. If only unionist leaders would voice this on behalf of those that may be tarnished through association…loose as it may be

  • mrihavenoname

    Decspur as if the “loving” nationalist didnt have violent protests ¬.¬ heck they protested to get vermin like Mr Sands into the government just shows you how appalling the nationalist argument was back then,

  • northbelfastview

    I am reading with interest on facebook, of witness accounts of the alleged incident at the Whiteabbey hospital.

    Several of the female posters who were on the Dough road have refuted the BBC report, they are saying the BBC reports the man as a “road user” when he was on foot, they are also saying he passed of the hospital and was walking away from the hospital.

    from an eye witnesses accounts on face book.

    “he came up behind the cameras and started shouting at the women and kids standing there carrying on with their peaceful protest”

    “It was on the dough road actually and did get down the station road because I seen him walking down it!”

    “the guy was walking nadine?? it said on news “this road user” so they made out he was driving.”

    “Yes he was walking up the dough road”

    “Yes walkin up dough rd from hosp”

    We now have you a bbc report setting out a scene that according to witnesses did not reflect the facts as they happened. Not for the first time a bbc report is being contradicted and questioned by those who witnessed the alleged incident.

  • r.c27

    I am appalled by this. I was hoping when I heard it that this would finally put an end to the trouble, but oh no, we’ll just all create conspiracy theories about the authenticity of the recording and blame republicans for setting it up instead of admitting the awful truth! Hope this man comes forward and everyone involved hangs their heads in shame!

  • northbelfastview

    “he came up behind the cameras and started shouting at the women and kids standing there carrying on with their peaceful protest”

    So they’re saying this guy went out of his way to bait the spide and housewife rentamob at Cloughfern Corner who, given the location, presumably had a pretty lairy UDA escort? Either this guy is a mental patient with serious suicide ideation problems, or (not for the first time) protest supporters on social media are talking through their backsides.

  • northbelfastview

    Look don’t shoot the messenger I’m just bringing here what the witnesses said happened.

    Gerry I must say your description of the protesters is interesting “spide” and a “housewife rentamob” And we are now discounting all witnesses accounts here on Slugger as according to Gerry they are “talking through their backsides”.

    Time to reopen the Saville inquiry and the Pat Finucane report ,as the witnesses must have been “talking through their backsides”.

  • northbelfastview

    I will also add the the BBC also reported that there were shots fired at the police in east Belfast, that report was also incorrect.

  • SK

    “We now have you a bbc report setting out a scene that according to witnesses did not reflect the facts as they happened.”


    Of course, Loyalists would never do such a thing.

    We have a confirmed recording of the incident, versus the testimony of some grammatically-challenged stranger on facebook. A stranger with a clear agenda.

    On the balance of probabilities, I would suggest that the spides are guilty as charged on this one.

  • northbelfastview

    I see the BBC have rephrased the wording to the incident. they are no longer claiming he was a road user?? However the BBC are still saying he was stopped from trying to visit his seriously ill wife in hospital.

    This is completely at odds with the eye witness accounts.

  • northbelfastview

    SK in fact there were several posts from witnesses of the incident not the one stranger you are trying to claim.

  • galloglaigh

    Gary Middleton has some neck on him. Last year, with the Ireland team reaching the World Cup Finals, he went on Radio Foyle and demanded the Cooooncil [sic] remove all FAI flags from Walled City Market stalls. His complaint was that it was a shared space (just like BCH). I phoned in and asked if he thought the Diamond area of the city was also a shared space (which he agreed), and if he thought that the Apprentice Boy’s should think about the flags they fly. Of course that was out of the question for Gary Middleton.

    He has no problem with stripping away my ‘culture’, but when it’s his own crowd, he’s a hypocrite.

    You really have to wonder the level of intelligence that exists, when people like Gary Middleton ignore their own bigotry, while at the same time represent a protest that doesn’t agree with what he agrees with?

  • babyface finlayson

    More depressing events.
    Sadly I can’t see last night being any kind of watershed.
    As northbelfastview has pointed out there are already alternative views on the incident being offered on facebook.
    Those supporting the protests will clearly choose to believe the version they prefer over the media version.
    Perhaps someone dying will be a watershed, a PSNI officer or a car driver maybe. But otherwise they are more likely to gradually reduce through cold,boredom and lack of result.

  • SK

    “SK in fact there were several posts from witnesses of the incident not the one stranger you are trying to claim.”


    SEVERAL anonymous posts on facebook? Well that changes everything.

    Loyalists have a tendency to lie about the stupid things they do, even in the face of undeniable evidence. Last summer’s “famine song” crap outside the church is one example; this latest disgusting episode is another.

  • John Ó Néill

    I think the recording of that man pleading and being jeered with Cheerio Cheerio Cheerio isn’t particularly ambiguous – how many of those explaining it away joined in the singing? Given the embarrassingly weak stories we’ve been offered by unionism since last summer (Sloop John B, for one), trying to come up with some nonsense here isn’t a surprise. Elsewhere on social media (eg Twitter), people were claiming that his experience and that of a doctor being refused access to attend patients were both ‘stage-managed’.

    As if. It all just enhances the air of delusion around the #flegs protests (and let’s face it, by its sheer inability to comprehend how nonsensical and ridiculous this has become, unionism as a whole).

  • DC

    Yea these actions are as British as IRA hospital assassination attempts were Irish.

  • SK

    “Whatabout the IRA”

    A useful and insightful contribution there, DC. Bravo.

  • babyface finlayson

    “Loyalists have a tendency to lie”. Yes and black people are good at dancing.
    That kind of generalization is not helpful.
    The point is it doesn’t matter what we believe. If those involved in the protests can convince themselves that it didn’t happen, then they can justify continuing. In fact the notion that the media is against them too will only add to their grievance.

  • Zig70

    The backdrop here is that the police bowed to political pressure and the tsu were largely left at home because they had been too heavy handed. In Newtownabbey the police were there early to block the roads for them. The rule of law is lost and the thugs control the streets. How can a motley mask crew aggressively blocking a road be called peaceful? The evidence is they are far from peaceful to people trying to go about their daily business.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree with the observations that the PSNI strategy is not working and that different tactics are required.

    The PSNI need to be clearing the road of anyone blocking it and prosecuting them. And if Baggott feels he does not have the political support to do so, he needs to say it.

  • galloglaigh


    Matt Baggott needs to either say he has the political support to do his duty, or his duty has been compromised and he needs to go. It’s as simple as that.

    I watched a clip on UTV, and some of the rioters, as another reporter claimed, were as young as 8 years old. I’ve seen the size of the lads in the video, and I’d say 13 years old at most.

    Do the parents of these thugs know where they are? And if they don’t, are Social Services aware of this?

    A wider investigation needs to be launched by various Stormont departments, to see if any of these adult idiots are on benefits; and to see why parents are allowing their children, barely out of primary school, to mask up and throw petrol bombs at the PSNI. If one of them is killed, there’ll be no cry of big boy’s games from loyal Sluggerites, or political unionism. Then we’ll see this state descend into anarchy, at the behest of loyalist drug dealing terrorists.

  • SK

    “That kind of generalization is not helpful.”

    babyface finlayson,

    Immediately after the Sloop John B incident we had:

    -The band involved denying that they did anything wrong.

    -Their political representatives denying that any offense was intended

    -The Loyal Orders with whom they marched pretending that the whole episode was a SF invention.

    Such generalizations may not be helpful, but they are true.

  • David Crookes

    Agreed, galloglaigh (2.01 pm).

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t think it’s helpful for Baggott to resign at this point but he certainly needs to explain what his strategy is to stop Northern Ireland being held to ransom and to ensure that the rule of law is upheld, and what adjustments he plans to make to ensure that the strategy succeeds.

    Yes, images of young children involved in riots are certainly a matter for social services, and there seems to be to be a case for having some of those children taken into care if their parents are letting them out that late at night in those circumstances.


    The funny thing is, after the St Patrick’s incident Edwin Poots said on his facebook page “it’s only an empty building”.

  • babyface finlayson

    It is common for any grouping of people to twist things to suit their own view of the world. I believe it is known as ‘cognitive dissonance.
    When you say ‘loyalists tend to lie’ it seems you are making it specific to them, as though republicans, security forces, politicians , etc do not tend to lie.
    I hope you don’t think I am trying to defend their actions in any way. I just think you need to be careful about using generalizations to characterise any group of people

  • Knucklehead Smiff

    The pensioner incident just serves to highlight that this isn’t a political demonstration at all with any purpose, discipline, stewardship or protocol. It’s a rabble-fest.

  • SK


    I remember that. Nigel Dodds and Nelson McCausland insisted that because the footage was taken by a Sinn Fein supporter, it could not be taken as genuine. Presumably Connolly House must have a CGI department or something.

    “When you say ‘loyalists tend to lie’ it seems you are making it specific to them.”

    Babyface Finlayson,

    No I am not. You are. And I stand by the statement.

    When Loyalists do something stupid, there is invariably someone from the mainstream waiting to tell a bare-faced lie on their behalf. My personal favorite was Ruth Patterson’s recent “republicans burn their own flag” defense.

  • It’s political policing…we tend to think of the old RUC supporting the old system but essentially PSNI are doing the same thing….they are part of the “new Northern Ireland” narrative ….MTV, Titanic, Our time our place…..and other nonsense which has been fed to us and will still be fed….city of culture,G8…..for years.
    We have been conned. TV reporters tell us this is the wrong image of Norn Iron. Shamefully…it is a very truthful message. That’s how we are…if we are not actually on a protest….our police are incapable of stopping it.
    They probably will change tactics….the majority of people seem to want that now….but the protestors….actually can we start calling them “the mob” will stop rioting.
    We have been badly let down by the police.
    We have been badly let down by the new Northern Ireland.
    Time to call it like it is….not worth supporting.

  • David Crookes

    Yes, fitzjameshorse, a few hundred people have been able to show up the prodigious weakness of everything. Let’s not put Polyfilla and paint on a terminally woodwormed structure. Let’s start thinking about a better structure in which everyone who doesn’t want to keep the law will be obliged to do so anyway.

    Loyalists prevented a man from visiting his terminally ill wife last night. By asserting their pitiable mob-power, these fascists proved that it is loyalism which is terminally ill.

  • The fact is that we are as much part of the whole pathetic sham as the PSNI and the mob.

  • DC

    i have been noticing a lot of car jackings and robbings etc, does anyone think ordinary decent criminals could be using this period to try on other stuff with the police stretched?

    Or maybe such activity is connected?

  • galloglaigh

    Ordinary decent criminals, as opposed to armed and dangerous loyalist terrorists, who cream money from the community through drug dealing; who cream money from the economy through racketeering; who cream money from society through human trafficking and prostitution; and whom Billy Hutchinson’s party give ‘political analysis’ to?

  • DC

    I think you mean as opposed to politically motivated 8yos.

  • galloglaigh

    I though many of you would enjoy this clip from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

  • PeterBrown

    On the recording it is not clear from their exchange whether he is prevented from going to or leaving the hostital and whether he is on foot or travelling by car and the part about being prevented from visiting his terminally ill wife all comes from the reporter not the recording so the Facebook reports could be correct – none of which would make the protestors treatment of him any less stomach churningly disgraceful


    “We have been badly let down by the new Northern Ireland.”

    We haven’t been let down by the new Northern Ireland at all. The new Northern Ireland isn’t an entity which has the capacity to let down or not let down anyone. If we have been let down by anyone we have been let down by those responsible for the good government of Northern Ireland including ensuring that law and order are upheld and that the citizens can go about their lawful busness without fear, intimidation or unlawful impediment.

    The question is who are these people by whom we have been let down. I put it to you that it is the Northern Ireland Executive. The First Minister, the deputy First Minister and the Minister of Justice et al. They are the ones charged with responsibility for the devolved goverment of Northern Ireland. They are the ones who hold the portfolios, who take the salaries and who have the power to take decisions. They are the ones who take credit on a daily basis through the endless press releases and photo opportunities when things are considered to have gone well. They are the ones who dine with presidents and kings and embark on high profile trade missions to China.

    Who is in charge of the clattering train?
    The axles creak, and the couplings strain.
    Little to tickle the artist taste–
    An oil-can, a fist-full of “cotton waste,”
    The lever’s click and the furnace gleam,
    And the mingled odour of oil and steam;
    These are the matters that fill the brain
    Of the Man in charge of the clattering train.

    Only a Man, but away at his back,
    In a dozen ears, on the steely track,
    A hundred passengers place their trust
    In this fellow of fustian, grease, and dust.
    They cheerily chat, or they calmly sleep,
    Sure that the driver his watch will keep
    On the night-dark track, that he will not fail.
    So the thud, thud, thud of wheel upon rail

    What is that sound? ‘Tis the stertorous breath
    Of a slumbering man,–and it smacks of death!
    Full sixteen hours of continuous toil
    Midst the fume of sulphur, the reek of oil,
    Though tougher than leather, tenser than steel.
    Fails at last, for his senses reel,
    His nerves collapse, and, with sleep-sealed eyes,
    Prone and helpless a log he lies!

    A hundred hearts beat placidly on,
    Unwitting they that their warder’s gone;
    A hundred lips are babbling blithe,
    Some seconds hence they in pain may writhe.
    For the pace is hot, and the points are near,
    And Sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear;
    And signals flash through the night in vain.
    Death is in charge of the clattering train!

  • galloglaigh

    No I think I’m mean what I mean, and what you think I mean is your way of glossing over reality. Unionism has been doing it for over 200 years, so you’d be forgiven for your thinking.

  • David Crookes

    Brilliant, Not Now John. Thanks! The Mighty New Unionist Forum brought to my mind a passage from Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death.’

    “Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave-cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.”

    If an alien stopped me in the street and asked me to take him to my leader, I should be obliged to reply that I don’t have one. The minds of our so-called ‘leaders’ are untenanted by any tangible form.

  • I take the point above.
    But essentially we have been conned into believing that there is a new Norn iRon….effectively an agreed narrative….politicians, PR companies, journalists all involved.
    Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that people have TRIED to con us into believing the “feel good” narrative. That’s their job….and there’s a whole political class depending on those jobs.
    They HAVE an excuse for doing what they do….they may even on occasions believe it.
    But we have no excuse for conning ourselves.
    Fool me once….shame on YOU.
    Fool me twice….shame on ME.

  • babyface finlayson

    ““When you say ‘loyalists tend to lie’ it seems you are making it specific to them.”

    Babyface Finlayson,

    No I am not. You are. ”
    A general statement would be, ‘people tend to lie’, but you made it specific to loyalists.. Not ‘some loyalists’, not ‘loyalists on this occasion’ just loyalists.
    To save us going round in circles, like a marching band, can I assume you did not mean that all loyalists are by nature liars?
    As for Ruth Patterson, her comment was laughable.I am sure she meant that republicans burn the union flag, Either way an annoying person.

  • Actually the whole recent forum thing makes me think of Chestertons “the Man who was Thursday”.

  • galloglaigh
  • galloglaigh


    I guess with the above link, there is a correlation. Lawlessness dressed up as loyalty…

  • SDLP supporter

    I apologise for coming late to this thread, the OP being the only piece I’ve read. My opinion is that these guys out on the street are fascist low-lives whose antics would not be tolerated in any well-functioning society.

    However, I have got to say that Chris Donnelly’s OP absolutely reeks of sanctimony. It’s very sad that an elderly man was not able to see his terminally ill wife in hospital but the military wing of the political party to which CD gives allegiance were doing things just as bad, if not worse, like shooting people in hospitals and classrooms and terrorising non-involved shoppers and workers,.

    I believe CD has US antecedents but if he had lived here in the seventies, eighties and nineties the civil disruption and far worse was perpetrated mostly by the counterparts of today’s thugs, only the flag of choice was the shamed and demeaned (by them) Irish tricolour.

    FJH is right. This is a crappy, rotten failed society with a very large part of the population active suppporters of, and sympathisers with, fascism.

  • DC

    This is a crappy, rotten failed society with a very large part of the population active suppporters of, and sympathisers with, fascism.

    There’s a long history of it, which party stood aside for Bobby Sands and which party named or continued to name a play park after a well-respected terrorist?

  • David Crookes

    I feel like sticking a pin into myself, galloglaigh, because the last few weeks of what you rightly call ‘lawlessness dressed up as loyalty’ feel like a bad dream.

    Why are you and I and other contributors having to state simple civilized rules on an internet blog?

    Why are the politicians not stating those rules over and over again, in simple words, at dictation speed, on the media?

    Why are the police not putting those rules into action, on the ground?

    Of course you’ll always get people who are content to press button B ( = adduce some utterly irrelevant atrocity from the past). They’re like the wee girl who tries to keep her baby brother from crying by distracting his attention.

    “Look, William! Look over there! Do you see the birdie? Look at the birdie, William! Nice birdie! You like the birdie, William, don’t you? Nice birdie! Nice birdie! Look at the birdie, William! Look at the birdie! B-b-b-b-b-b-birdie! B-b-b-b-b-b-birdie!”

    But grown-up persons who aren’t wilfully blind will discern what lies behind the present mess. In their hearts, many of our unionist politicians are at one with the lawless thugs.

    The sort of union in which they all believe is unChristian, unBritish, and undemocratic.

    It is also finished.

    We need a new idea, and we need new politicians.

  • BluesJazz

    A small bunch of kids throw some stones and Unionism is treated as a pariah.
    No mention of the 40 years of nationalist terror.

    Perspective please.

  • BluesJazz

    David Crookes

    christianity, in 2 formats, divided this society just as much of the middle east is divided by Sunni, Shia, Judaeism etc.
    We can do without the superstition and mythology thanks. Less Jamie Brysons and more AC Graylings would lead to less violence.


    There is a new Northern Ireland as regards it is different to what it was in 1963 or 1973 or 1983 or 1993. It is different as regards the political institutions, unionist dominance, IRA activity, relationships with the ROI, acceptance of the consent principle amongst nationalists, acceptance (perhaps reluctant) of the reality of power-sharing by the majority within mainstream unionism together with a host of other things. Perhaps your point is that it is not quite what it says on the tin and the rump of the dark undercurrent which we would often prefer to ignore is still there and still likely to raise its head from time to time in the form of fascism on the streets. What is without question is that the rump on the unionist side is much smaller than it was in 1974, 1985 and 1995 and no longer has any significant support. The formation of the unionist forum was more about unionist politicians being seen to be doing something than showing support. Of course you may be right in relation to your point about the political class but the question is how do we change that?

  • David Crookes

    BluesJazz, thanks for your comment.

    “A small bunch of kids throw some stones” is not the full tale of events.

    The full tale includes the throwing of petrol bombs, an attempt at murder, many injured policemen, the paralysis of normal life for many people, and serious damage to economic life.

    That tale may be understood without reference to any preceding period of nationalist terror, as follows. With the effective support of their politicians, many people are breaking the law.

    To speak of ‘superstition and mythology’ is to award divine honours to your own opinions. Many of the FGAU rioters affect to believe the Bible, which tells them to submit themselves to every ordinance of man. It would be a great deal better for everyone if those persons were to obey the Bible in which they profess to believe.

    Even the faintest acquaintance with the history of the last century is enough to show that everything doesn’t become wonderful when atheism becomes compulsory.

  • Professor Yattle

    Does Fitzjameshorse put ellipses… in his identikit comments… because those are the points… where he is desperately trying… to think of something… anything… new or meaningful to say?

    On a more serious note, the salivating glee of this man at our present Troubles is disgusting to behold.

  • galloglaigh


    Forty years of British army, and loyalist terror will not be forgotten. Let’s not forget the up coming murder investigations of British army, and UVF terror – Part of the reason why these idiots are rioting: Because they don’t want the truth to be told about state collusion in the murder of innocent citizens.

  • DC

    @David Crookes

    What did you call the SDLP again, was it the Italians?

  • David Crookes

    Sorry, DC, but I’m lost. Did I call the SDLP anything? If you have a problem with mistaken Italian identities, ask siTuaMadre. Grazie per la tua amicizia.

  • DC

    i read it somewhere on here but thought it was you that had mentioned it.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, DC. Never mind! The SDLP will be overjoyed to know that someone somewhere is talking about them.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Every time something bad happens you seem to be rubbing your hands together with glee predicting the imminent collapse of the process.

  • Sp12

    Is Hugh Orde looking for work at all?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Decspur said…

    “Easy Dixie I’m british by where I was born, were not all like that.”

    My friend, I have pointed out several times on this forum, that although I have been a Republican since my teens my family history on my Protestant father’s side is steeped in Unionism including a past mayor of Derry. As for myself I was born in Watford Herts and spent the first two years of my life in Rickmansworth. However I am an Irish Republican and proud of the fact.

    As for Chris Donnelly lecturing me on my Protestant neighbours…

    Chris, in 1976 at a time when the Peace People brought thousands onto the Streets Gerry Adams writing as Brownie from prison took the then IRA leadership to task over the 1975 ceasefire referring to them as so called Peacemakers.

    If he had taken the peacemaker mantle, he so covets these days, upon himself back then we’d all likely be in a better place today.

    Of course the Paisleyites played their part in keeping neigbours apart and killing each other but to hear their apologists it was just the IRA.

    In actual fact both SF and the DUP need divisions like this to keep them in power.

  • forthman

    When are the PSNI going to man up and arrest these young little pricks? Tonight on channel 4 news, a true son of Ulster, in track-suit top, balaclava, and waving a stick/cudgel in the face of police officers, was allowed to parade his love for her ‘majestic godliness’, at the same time his obvious hatred for everything different! This rabble have to be put in their lunatic fringe box! The BBC’s love-in with them, ‘why do they feel so left behind’, crap is laughable. Dissident Republicans must be watching the media’s reaction to this ill-educated, hate -filled, anti-democratic scourge, and be thinking, is there mileage for us in wrecking the town??

  • Alias

    If you’re looking at PSNI inaction against loyalist protestors, you might compare it with police action against ‘republican’ protestors and conclude that the PSNI haven’t changed at all. I’d hazard a guess that a lot of folks are hoping that the police will crack loyalist skulls just so that they can draw the comforting conclusion that the police are now non-sectarian, equal opportunity skull-crackers.

    In fact, police inaction against loyalist protestors shows that the PSNI has changed. They are now political in that they now consider the bigger picture and not just the rule book.

    Just as the RUC famously beat ‘rights’ protestors off the streets according to the rule book, folks lamented that such non-political application of the law inflamed the early troubles and that the police should have considered the bigger picture. Well, that’s one of the lessons that the PSNI have learned. It’s political policing but that’s what the people (at least those on the Catholic side of the divide) called out for. Now, of course, the Catholic side of the divide is the side most eager for the police to forget the lesson they were very eager for them to learn.

    Another lesson the police have learned is that the leaders of the troublemakers must be consulted and treated as partners in trouble-solving.

    It’s okay to crack dissident skulls because they don’t have any real support for their cause, but the same isn’t true for the cause of those protesting about the removal of symbols of Britishness from civic society. If the police crack their skulls they risk involving the wider unionist community, who will not see a huge difference between the police cracking the skulls of a few thugs and the police attacking their cause.

    It’s political policing, but it’s what the people voted for.

  • It is political policing in the sense that the PSNI are fully signed up to the new narrative,the new orthodoxy.
    In 1969 the old RUC were firmly signed up to the prevailing orthodoxy…that Norn Iron was under attack from a rebellious minority.
    There were probably a lot of RUC men who would have loved to have acted professionally and been seen to so act for the benefit of all.
    It’s not fair to say that the RUC has not changed. Manifestly it has.
    There is a comparison with the Metropolitan Police.
    they have manifestly changed since Stephen Lawrence….but their initial response to the 2011 riots was slow…because they were acting politically….aware of the new post-Lawrence dispensation.
    With all public appearances savvy senior officers go into touch-freely spiel….which seems more about public relations than policing.
    The triumph of new policing is getting rid of the canteen culture…or at least driving it underground.
    And that’s the same in Belfast.
    The prevailing narrative is to be touchy-freely or to put in neutral terms….sensitive.
    One of the big differences in 1969 and 2013 seems to be the number of women officers on front line riot duty.
    I can understand that this is in step with the times we live in.

    The situation in Norn Iron in 2013 is a question of the glass being half full or half empty.It is perfectly correct for anyone to analyse the prevailing situation as generally good but flawed…and that the flaws can be either put right or tolerated for the General Good.
    But I think it is equally valid to argue that the glass is half empty…that the system is so fatally compromised that it merely totters about until inevitable collapse.
    Political Policing is one such flaw. As always the private briefings would be more interesting than public statements. But the double speak that the PSNI claim individual UVF people are involved but the Police Federation (representing PSNI officers) claim the UVF are involved.
    From this we get a flavour that the PSNI are too close to the narrative. And the restrained/constrained response to the rioting is too “political”.

  • tacapall

    The reaction from the British controlled forces of law and order in this part of Ireland to loyalist violence and the breaking of the law is no different than it was pre the GFA. On the one hand we have the Chief Constable and the policing board publicly stating individual members of the UVF are involved in directing the violence which would lead you to assume they have evidence of that fact, but yet do nothing and allow it to continue, but they can and do arrest republicans, the likes of Marion Price and imprison her indefinitely for holding a piece of paper or arrest and hold indefinitely Martin Corey on secret evidence that no-one is allowed to see. Nothing at all has changed in regard to political policing. It also seems that Unionism and loyalism aided and facilitated by the PSNI, have the right to illegally block the public highways at will, then when it comes to the marching season demand the right to walk the public highways and no-one has the right to object or to obstruct them. The longer this cosy relationship continues between the PSNI and loyalist paramilitaries and the closer it gets to the marching season, those who have one eye on Ardoyne and the other on Clifton Street will be expecting the same rule of law to be applied to those who object to Orange Order marches.

  • mr x


    That’s what you get with Sinn Fein Education Ministers who want to close grammar schools.

  • forthman

    mr x

    If your having a laugh, then fair enough…mildly funny.

    If you’re being serious, all I say is it would be very un-likely that some nice respectable state grammar schools would entertain any of those thick aggro merchants that infest east Belfast and our screens every evening!

  • Alias

    “It’s not fair to say that the RUC has not changed. Manifestly it has.”

    I agree it is unfair to say that, and that’s not what I said.

    I said “police inaction against loyalist protestors shows that the PSNI has changed.”

    I was making the point that the casual observer might compare police action against dissent protestors with police inaction against loyalist protestors and conclude that sectarianism on the part of the police explains why they acted against one tribe but not the other.

    However, there is another explanation: political policing.

    It was, of course, one tribe that called the most loudly for a political police force (i.e. one that would look at the politics and not just the rule book). Now they have their political police force, they’re also the tribe calling the most loudly for a return of the old non-political police force.

    Hence, “Just as the RUC famously beat ‘rights’ protestors off the streets according to the rule book, folks lamented that such non-political application of the law inflamed the early troubles and that the police should have considered the bigger picture.”


    “Another lesson the police have learned is that the leaders of the troublemakers must be consulted and treated as partners in trouble-solving.”

    Sorry, but the linear/binary approach of ’cause trouble = get arrested’ doesn’t apply anymore. We now have a non-linear/complexity approach…