According to Question Time, SF=IRA, DUP=Goodies

bbcqtGreat bit of on the spot photojournalism from Simon Whittaker. During the filming of last nights Question Time by Mentorn Media for the BBC, he captured the notes attached to the television camera.

It gives affiliations for four of the six panellists with an additional note below two, IRA below ‘Sinn Féin’ for the party’s MLA John O’Dowd and Goodies below ‘DUP’ for the parties Ian Paisley Junior.

Needless to say Sinn Féin are unimpressed:

“The ‘SF/IRA’ tag was one created at the height of the unionist murder campaign against my party colleagues in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was an attempt to justify attacks on Sinn Fein members and our families,” he [John O’Dowd] said.

“For the BBC to adopt the tag 20 years into a peace process is beyond belief.”

You can see more from John O’Dowd, and the full image, here (on the BBC’s website). There was no response from the BBC as of 10.30 this morning (they have now, h/t Anne). The BBC operates to six public purposes (as set out by its Royal Charter and Agreement) one of which is Sustaining Citizenship and Civil Society, in which it states:

All BBC journalism will display the core values of independence, truth and accuracy, impartiality, fairness, and diversity of opinion.

Quite.

It’s not turning out to be a good year for the BBC, is it?

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  • Not clear what the fuss is about.

  • The camera operator’s crib sheet would be difficult to classify as ‘journalism’ … However, it was certainly inappropriate and very embarrassing and a reminder to folk that in a world of camera phones and social media, very little is private.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Would you want to be linked to an organisation which carried out hundreds of religiously-motivated murders of peacekeepers and community police officers – virtually identical to the jihadist attack in Woolwich which has horrified the UK public over the past two days?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d certainly like to hear what the production team have to say about it? Certainly not how it came out in the wash… [Poor Junior, no one loves a social conservative these days]

  • John Ó Néill

    Imagine the storm if anything inappropriate had been written below Peter Tatchell’s name.

  • tacapall

    Another conditioning of the people to believe the new British sponsored propaganda that continuously targets Republicans/ Irish as bad and Unionism/ British as good. The pursuit of the Boston tapes by the PSNI and the negativity that brings on Sinn Fein, the arrest of John Downey by British police, more negative publicty for Sinn Fein and Jim Allisters bill once again negative to Sinn Fein and then the extraordinary attempts within political unionism using taxpayers money to portray a positive look at a culture that has fermented hatred and confrontation since its inception followed by the Unionist forum another think tank for pro British/ Unionist propaganda that does nothing except point the finger of blame in one direction – at Republicanism.

  • keano10

    All a nice distraction from the totally embarrassing and at times cringeworthy performance from Paisley Junior last night. God only knows what the public across the water made of him. He actually managed to out-do Alex Attwood’s ” Rocky” impersonation with BBC’s Gareth Gordon earlier on…

    From the comical to the positively ridiculous…

  • DPM84

    I was in the audience last night, never mind what people across the water thought, what you couldn’t hear or see was some of the groans when jnr spoke, and the shrugs and look of indifference from him when people from the audience were talking.

    Second time I have seen him in debating mode, second time he has come off as a brat (somewhat embarrassing given his age).

  • Sp12

    Ian’s “Alan Partridge” smile during the intros was memorable.

  • iluvni

    What are Sinn Fein angry about…..Are they embarrassed to be linked to their own in-house bloodthirsty sectarian terrorists now?

  • Framer

    Looks like a job vacancy there. Lèse-majesté is a sackable offence in the BBC.

  • Granni Trixie

    There is no magic wand to erase people’s categorising Sinn Fein with the IRA. Most of the time people to be polite watch their ps and qs but the BBC mistake came about because someone was writing a worknote to themselves reflecting how the categorization in their heads.

    I agree that Republcan gurning is comical. A bit sensitive are they?

  • Delphin

    Maybe the ! made it ironic, will we ever really care. I agree with Keano, this distracts attention from Baby Doc’s performance. He came across as a Neanderthal, O’Dowd acquitted himself admirably.

  • Alias

    SF/MI5 would be just as accurate.

  • John Ó Néill

    Granni – I think you could dismiss it as a reflex if ‘Goodies’ hadn’t been written below DUP.

    Agreed on the comments about Paisley’s performance.

  • Submariner

    Bigots rather than goodies would have been more apt. On the plus side it did give the real British public an insight into the kind of knuckle dragging bigots that represent the Unionist community.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I was recently in a BBC building and passed a little yellow sign saying ‘Caution Wet Floor’. The floor was dry. More shoddy BBC journalism! The Beeb is indeed having a “bad year”.

    Seriously you’ve got to admire the Shinners their revisionism knows no bounds. I mean why would anyone come up with a SF IRA combo. 🙂

    On another thread someone was having a MOPE about “tarring” (and feathering?) all Shinners with the IRA brush. Ok so perhaps all SF members were not terrorists, but, have any, even today, repudiated the ‘armed struggle’ [sic]?

  • son of sam

    Apart from Sinn Fein’s hissy fit about their labelling on the T V camera notes,it would be interesting to learn what local input there is on the selection of panel members for Question Time.It seems to be a given that D U P/Sinn Fein will always have a representative on the panel while S D L P/Ulster Unionists rarely feature.Indeed I recall that when the programme last came from Derry,local M P Mark Durkan was excluded .Without wishing to be too parochial , do we need “personalities” such as Peter Tatchell parachuted in to appear on the panel.I suppose the B B C would say that the target audience is primarily English and that there needs to be some clearly identifiable figure to pronounce on current issues.

  • DC

    The republican bot cannot compute humour – malfunction malfunction. malfunction, script not executing along MOPE lines, malfunction malfunction 🙂

  • I presume then it is ok then to write or say DUP/UR? That’s “UR” as in Ulster Resistance?

    Or since the DUP have at least one convicted former British terrorist in their elected ranks perhaps DUP/UDA? Or DUP/UFF?

    Of course the UDA was a legal terrorist organisation for most of its history, thanks to the largesse of the British government. Though one rarely saw much objection from the British Unionist minority in the north-east of Ireland to that peculiar status – a legal gang of gunmen and bombers. But then they were “our” legal gunmen and bombers. They, along with their comrades-in-arms in the UDR/RIR and RUC, were the “Goodies”.

    By the by, all those Ulster Resistance munitions smuggled in from the Lebanon thanks to MI5 and Apartheid-era South Africa, and of course the UDA – anyone know where they have gone to? They weren’t decommissioned, they weren’t part of any inventories and as far as we know they are still hidden away.

    Any Free Presbyterians out there with a map and a compass?

  • DC

    This one’s for big John O’Neill and MOPEy republicans, because it oh so so terrible that someone should mock SF:

  • Seamuscamp

    By “Goodies” I’d assumed the reference was to a group of clowns.

  • SK

    Sinn Fein are the IRA.

    How anyone in their right mind can consider the DUP to be the “goodies”, on the other hand- now that’s baffling.

    I can’t be the only one that hears the imperial death march in their head whenever Peter Robinson graces the tv screen.

  • Reader

    An Sionnach Fionn: I presume then it is ok then to write or say DUP/UR? That’s “UR” as in Ulster Resistance?
    Not many people have heard of UR. Whereas, for some reason, the IRA have imprinted themselves on the public consciousness.
    Seamuscamp: By “Goodies” I’d assumed the reference was to a group of clowns.
    I thought it was a reference to all three on that side of the table – Labour, DUP and Tatchell. Since conservatism and nationalism were on the other side of the host, the distinction seems reasonable, from a certain POV.

  • sonofstrongbow

    “At least one convicted former British terrorist in their (DUP) ranks”. Oh dear. When the Dupers and the Shinners are sitting down for a cuppa at Stormont it must be pretty embarrassing for Peter’s team to trump the Shinners stellar line up of former ‘combatants’.

    Btw the whereabouts of the weaponry smuggled in via South Africa is known. The UDA’s cut was intercepted by the RUC at a checkpoint in Lisburn in 1988 when three cars were stopped loaded to the gunnels with guns. Those travelling with the convoy were subsequently jailed.

    Later the same year the UVF’s share was recovered in police searches in Belfast and Armagh.

    More evidence I’m afraid of RUC officers not reading their ‘collusion’ orders.

  • Submariner

    SOS what happened to Ulster resistances cut.?

  • Red Lion

    “”It’s not turning out to be a good year for the BBC, is it?””

    Sense of perspective, please. Its hardly Jimmy Saville now is it?

  • sherdy

    What else can we expect from the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation?
    If the cameraman was flown in from England I imagine his prompting note was written for him by one of the local personnel. Their identity should be established and their bigotry should be cause for disciplinary action.

  • Alias

    You have to wonder what ‘editorial’ impact a cameraman could have had: unflattering close-ups of O’Dowd’s nostril hair or shaking the camera violently anytime it panned him to simulate the effect of an explosion? Maybe a conspiracy with the lighting crew to complete the effect?

    Still, if it gives the precious darlings something else to mope about…

  • aquifer

    So binary journalism has now infected the camera crews!

    The middle ground is not going to get a look in, even after 40 years.

    Is that goody as in two shoes or too good to be true?

  • anne warren

    The BBC has apologised after a floor plan for the BBC Question Time programme referred to John O’Dowd as ‘Sinn Fein/IRA’.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-22652433

  • John Ó Néill

    Thanks Anne, I’ve updated the post with that link.

  • Mike the First

    John O’Dowd came up with the rather stunning line that SF hadn’t justified violence during the Troubles. Did make me wonder if in this “new dispensation” we’re all supposed to believe or play along with these inventions of historical record, Nineteen Eighty-Four style.

    As for IPJ telling Peter Tatchell he’s free to marry a woman…

  • Red Lion

    Just watched QT on iplayer.

    Have to say I found the programme entirely refreshing, relatively speaking.

    A NI political chat show which focused very little on NI tribal politics and the usual descent into yelling and pointscoring. In stead it was the murder in Woolwich and associated issues, gay marriage and the economy.

    We actually looked relatively normal and sane for once. And QT will usually have an IPJ counterpart representing a certain section of opinion.

    As there hasn’t been a slugger thread on it would like to say how utterly appalled and shocked at the barbaric murder of the soldier yesterday in London, and sympathies to his distraught family. I was also mighitly impressed at the very unlucky police personnel despatched to deal with that, knowing they themselves could be killed and that if they discharge their weapon there will likely be massive scrutiny into their actions, so massive respect. We’d be lost without the police.

  • Yellowford

    Have to say, I was impressed by and large with the audience contributions on QT. I was half expecting a Nolan type crowd reducing the debate to the lowest common denominator.
    From my point of view, Ian jnr made an absolute fool out of himself. He started off so well too. For the first 20 minutes he was loving it, actually coming across ok. He got a bit carried away with himself at one point though and was telling the viewers, whom he was acutely aware of, that NI could teach those in Britain a thing or two about deal with terrorism and building peace.
    However, his engratiating attempts soon came to a sticky end. First of all he tried to lie his way out of a difficult question on same sex marriage saying he wasn’t opposed to it. I was waiting for his repulsive comments to be brought up, which Dimbelby duly did. He tried to worm him way out of it by saying that he found many thing heterosexuals did repulsive. This didn’t last long though as the he was reminded of the rest of what he said. He was exposed as a fraud and when he finally said “do I look like a man who’s under threat MATE”, I nearly choked on my horlicks.

    A truly terrible performance.

  • Alias

    The apology from the BBC shows once again that NI lacks an independent media, with virtually all of it obligated by the British state to engage in ‘peace-processing’ – even when it comes to revisionist absurdities such as pretending that PSF isn’t a synonym of PIRA and that, presumably, the leadership of the former isn’t the same leadership of the latter.

    This demand that PIRA must be ignored “20 years into a peace process” is the same demand that victims of PSF/PIRA must be ignored 20 years into a peace process.

  • DC

    I dunno i thought QT Belfast was OK, the Belfast venue was inopportune, as the beheaded soldier murder story was so big that belfast couldn’t really muster up a relevant panel and audience to properly debate such a hot issue and big story. The issue is really an English one re the rumblings of radical islam in certain parts of England.

    Would have much preferred a QT from England with Choudary and Tommy Robinson on the panel along with George Galloway.

    Although gay marriage did create a bit of a stir.

  • ayeYerMa

    As Alias has stated, the bigger story here is that the BBC is apologising for stating a fact concerning PSF/PIRA. This is a fact that is accepted in mainstream British society, so why is the British Broadcasting Corporation being apologetic for stating such?

    I don’t, however, agree as Alias has stated that such absurd “peace processing” attitudes represent either the British state or the mainstream British people, rather represent the mindset of the self-loathing anti-British PC lefty liberal elite (typified by Blair) who the BBC are famed for representing, along with any other anti-British elements who take British money but loathe our nation.

    Additionally, anyone with the slightest bit of intellectual rigour knows there there is no such thing as complete “neutrality” or complete “independence”, and that everyone has bias of some form or another. The BBC would be more respected and have more integrity if it simply stood under its name and reflected the British bias expected of a British national broadcaster.

    Instead, through trying too hard to do the impossible and subjective thing of being “balanced” and “representative”, the BBC often does a disservice to the nation who pays for it by doing the complete opposite, with frequent reporting of crack-pot anti-British views as being in the interests of the nation it is to serve. It does the job of anti-British Irish Republicans for them, by promoting their terminology and Irish nationalist mindsets, and doing little to challenge their lies. It assumes that in politics someone interviewed who supports our British constitution on any random issue must automatically be “balanced” with someone who wishes to destroy it, despite poll after poll showing miniscule support for the latter. It supports other Irish Nationalist political organisations such as the GAA by treating them as if they are normal sporting organisations with frequent reports, despite the fact that the GAA continues to promote a foreign nationalism with foreign flags and anthems, as well as continues to promote terrorism to children. It now regularly reports (and promotes) on various Republic of Ireland national sports teams, such as their football team and dishonestly named Olympic teams (using said dishonest name, of course). Recently it has started reporting numerous other political stories relating to the Republic as if they are our own. Only the tip of the iceberg off the top of my mind…

    No doubt some would respond to such criticisms by mentioning something about the Agreement respecting both the “British” and “Irish”. I’d argue that both are ambiguous waffly terms which the agreement intentionally left ambiguous by not specifying whether it is referring to the differing contexts of identity, geography or nationality. More importantly, it also forgets the fact that there was a recent agreement to allow the national broadcaster of the Republic of Ireland, RTE, to broadcast across NI to specifically represent such an “Irish” dimension. So who then is representing the “British” dimension?

  • ayeYerMa

    Having said all that, Question Time was indeed refreshing if compared to the usual NI TV audiences.

    Have to disagree with Yellowford though on IPJ. I’ve never heard the arguments against redefining the word “marriage” expressed on TV as succintly as he did there. He did, indeed, however lose it slightly at the end, but hard to blame given the usual barrage of childish insults that aggressive self-proclaimed “progressive” bigots (their favourite insult word of choice) like to throw against anyone disagreeing with their social engineering (as well as their dubious statistics going unchallenged). A better response to a question on what redefining marriage “threatens”, would be to mention the devestating effects of social breakdown caused for a lack of respect for the purpose of marriage, with increasing numbers of children being born out of wed-lock, and with the focus of marriage being taken away from the rights of the child to an optimum family with both a mother and a father, making the decline in family values even more difficult to reverse.

  • anne warren

    Alias wrote at 12.16 ”NI lacks an independent media, with virtually all of it obligated by the British state to engage in ‘peace-processing’
    BBC NI provides the regional news from NI, just as the other regional services do like BBC England, Scotland and Wales.
    Why should NI have an independent BBC?
    Why shouldn’t the BBC promote what has been UK government policy for decades?
    What should it promote?

    Ayeyerma wrote at 4.53: “No doubt some would respond to such criticisms by mentioning something about the Agreement respecting both the “British” and “Irish”. I’d argue that both are ambiguous waffly terms which the agreement intentionally left ambiguous by not specifying whether it is referring to the differing contexts of identity, geography or nationality.”

    The “ambiguous waffly terms” are neither ambiguous or waffly. They were left open on purpose because they embrace respect for all aspects. Like all human rights, they are not limited by contexts of identity, geography, identity or anything else. In certain individual’s minds they may of course be limited by stupidity.

    “More importantly, it also forgets the fact that there was a recent agreement to allow the national broadcaster of the Republic of Ireland, RTE, to broadcast across NI to specifically represent such an “Irish” dimension. So who then is representing the “British” dimension? “
    The RTE specifically represents the Irish dimension.
    The BBC represents the British dimension as do other channels like ITV and Channel 4.
    Why do you use inverted commas around the words “British” and “Irish” ?
    What other “British” and “Irish” dimensions are you referring to?
    Would you care to define them?.

  • Framer

    Reminded rather incessantly today on Radio 1 that the BBC uses ‘Derry Londonderry’ for the name of the city when its correct name is the latter.
    Can I expect a rapid apology and a thank you for pointing this mistake out, not to mention the sacking of the culprit, as with the QT technician?
    Thought not. It is the BBC after all.

  • Monty_Carlo

    Personally, I thought O’Dowd did okay on QT. (I’m not a SF voter or member), I thought Paisley came across as his usual self, an arrogant (until he’s challenged) self satisfied moron who closes his eyes, ears and mind to anything even remotely progressive (learned that from his Daddy so it must have been a right shock for him to see his Da hand in hand with MMcG). I used to switch channels whenever QT was in Belfast, it was always the same old faces, same old questions and the same old answers, this one was different.

  • I thought it was rather rich of O’Dowd to complain of a murder campaign against his party colleagues by the UUP. Apparently he has never heard of the Rev. Bradford. Apparently Shinners resent being referred to by their earlier phase of their career paths. I suppose this is understandable–it is like referring to an officer as a cadet.

    @AS

    “I presume then it is ok then to write or say DUP/UR? That’s “UR” as in Ulster Resistance?”

    Can you name a single armed action carried out by Ulster Resistance?

    “Of course the UDA was a legal terrorist organisation for most of its history, thanks to the largesse of the British government.”

    The UDA had the same function as did Sinn Fein before it began running candidates on a regular basis in 1982. Technically it was the UFF that was the terrorist organization. Now, if people couldn’t tell the difference between the UFF and the UDA they probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between the IRA and Sinn Fein.

  • tacapall

    Tmitch57 you must think everyone has memory loss, were the UFF and the UDA not the same people, did the UDA not murder people before they were proscribed, did UR not import hundreds of weapons into the country along with the UDA and UVF, what do you think they wanted those weapons for and have the UR decommissioned yet.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    The UDA were to the UFF what Sinn Fein were/are to the IRA.

    The fact the UDA were banned while Sinn Fein weren’t tells it’s own story….

  • @tacapall,

    The vast majority of UDA members were neighborhood loyalists who liked to parade around in uniforms and dark glasses because it made them feel powerful. A very smaill number were murderers who carried out their murders under the cover name of UFF. I imagine that most of these would play the Adams game as to their participation in UFF activities.

    UR did not need to decommission because the weapons shipment from South Africa was intercepted and recovered thanks to the informing of Brian Nelson. As to what the UR wanted those weapons for, you’ll have to ask Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson.

  • tacapall

    Tmitch57 I dont know where you were during the 70s and what news you watched but here is the truth rather than the fantasy you are peddling. – There are too many murders for me to post so you can look for yourself.

    Timeline of Ulster Defence Association actions

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Ulster_Defence_Association_actions

    As to UR share of the weapons, your wrong once again, the weapons intercepted and recovered were the UDA’s share.

    Some items of UR weapons were recovered ie a RPG7 rocket launcher and 5 warheads, 3 assault rifles, a Browning pistol, 10 grenades, 12,000 rounds of ammunition and combat equipment.[8] Also discovered in the arms caches were parts of a Javelin surface-to-air missile.

    The inventory above is not all of UR share of those weapons, they are still out there somewhere. like you said maybe we should ask the DUP that question

  • @tacapall,

    If you look at claims for UDA membership in the 1973-75 period there were claims of 25,000 or even 40,000 members. I cannot locate my books right now that have the totals of those killed by source, but if my memory serves me right the loyalist total overall was between 800 and 900. The UVF is generally considered to have been the more lethal of the two main loyalist paramilitary organizations, so we are probably talking about 300 to 400 killed total to have been distributed among thousands of total UDA membership–like I said, the average UDA member did not kill anybody.

    And if I stibulate that what you say about the UR share of the weapons is correct, it is probably well less than those IRA weapons that were never decommissioned but which got passed on to various dissident republican organizations.

  • Sorry, that should read stipulate.

  • Delphin

    I’m sure the victims’ families and friends will take solace in the fact that their loved ones were killed by no average UDA member, but a special person – a psychopath.

  • @Delphin,

    Maybe the DUP can turn some of those psychopaths into SpAds.

  • Delphin

    For the record I am orange/green colour blind.
    So I thought I would help the UDA with its marketing.

    This is no ordinary random sectarian killing,
    This is a UDA random sectarian killing,
    UDA – simply the best, so we are.

  • Reader

    tacapall: …that does nothing except point the finger of blame in one direction – at Republicanism.
    Well, it’s not as though SF are shy of pointing the blame at everyone else, is it? The wee note is not part of some sinister conspiracy; it’s just an indication that SF aren’t as successful at deflecting blame as they had hoped.
    Meanwhile, your list combines people just doing their job (dealing with crimes committed by the IRA) and unionist politicians doing politics (against SF). John O’Dowd is going to be a bit cross at you too, for mentioning SF and the IRA in one breath. (Do you work for the BBC, perhaps?)

  • tacapall

    tmitch57 you have been shown as not having a clue when it comes to the events of the past conflict or your deliberately being economical with the truth.

    First of all you attempted to equate the UDA with Sinn Fein claiming – “The UDA had the same function as did Sinn Fein before it began running candidates on a regular basis in 1982”

    The UDA killed up to 70 people before they started using the cover name of the UFF, in the later years depending on the circumstances responsibility for killings were shared between the UDA and UFF. Sinn Fein have never as an organization been involved in armed actions nor claimed responsibility for any killings.

    Im sure too that the vast majority of IRA members were not involved in anything other than being in the IRA for the same reasons all those average UDA members were involved for.

    If you have any proof other than assumption that PIRA weapons were passed over to other dissident groups fell free to share that evidence.

    You could equate Sinn Fein with the Orange Order though, you know those old codgers who dont mix or talk to terrorists –

    24 April 1973: Uniformed UDA members flanked a junior Orange Order march in Belfast at which the Order’s Grand Master was present.

  • tacapall

    Reader I’d thought by now you would know I couldn’t give two f… about Sinn Fein but you cant let lies get in the way of truth can ya.

  • @tacapall,

    I think I’ll survive your ilk thinking I don’t have a clue.

    “If you have any proof other than assumption that PIRA weapons were passed over to other dissident groups fell free to share that evidence.”

    I don’t have legal proof–it hasn’t been my job over the last decade to collect it. But it’s safe to say that when the former quartermaster of the IRA founds his own new organization, the so-called Real IRA, that he took a few weapons including a few pounds of Semtex with him.

  • tacapall

    “But it’s safe to say that when the former quartermaster of the IRA founds his own new organization, the so-called Real IRA, that he took a few weapons including a few pounds of Semtex with him.”

    Well tmitch57 if your assumption about the above is as accurate as your beliefs about the UDA and UR then im sure you fool someone into believing you.

  • Reader

    tacapall: Reader I’d thought by now you would know I couldn’t give two f… about Sinn Fein but you cant let lies get in the way of truth can ya.
    But I do recall that – actually that’s why I wondered about the gist of your list of complaints. Even supposing the actions were all part of a pattern, and supposing that there was any effect – at worst the price is a bit of a vacuum in republican space until a new, untainted, republican movement can arise. Where’s the problem?

  • “Sinn Fein have never as an organization been involved in armed actions nor claimed responsibility for any killings.”

    But as individuals most of the senior leadership of Sinn Fein have been involved. And you have yet to name a single armed action carried out by Ulster Resistance.

    The UDA did not make the formal distinctions between the political and armed wings that the Provisional Republicans did–they after all had an established model going back to the Irish War of Independence. The UDA went fairly quickly from being a mass-membership organization in the early to mid-1970s to being an organized crime outfit that used the sectarian killings that they carried out as a reason to justify their existence. This is similar to what occurred with the Stickies after the ceasefire, except that instead of committing murder to justify criminal activity the Workers’ Party served as a justification for the continued ghostly existence of the non-decommissioned Official IRA, which continued to engage in criminal activities for some two decades after the ceasefire.

    Why didn’t London outlaw the UDA? The definitive answer will await the opening of the archives. I think the thinking was probably that if a peace process was ever started with the IRA, then London and the NIO needed someone on the loyalist side to engage with just to keep them from destroying it. Because the UDA used UFF as a cover name, London could outlaw it and still keep the UDA legal to deal with. I think you’ll find that the people at the NIO dealt mostly with the unionist parties–especially the UUP, the SDLP, and Alliance. They simply weren’t that familiar with the loyalists. The loyalist paramilitaries were considered mainly a problem to be dealt with by the RUC. After the use of the UFF was exposed in 1992 by the press London finally outlawed them.

    I think the book by McDonald and Cusack probably gives a good account of this. I don’t own it. I do own their book on the UVF. When I had to do writing about the loyalists, I used a book by Ian Wood and also the book “The Edge of the Union” by Steve Bruce.