Where have all the adult politicians once ambitious for Northern Ireland gone?

Meanwhile, the lunatics continue to enjoy their dominance over the asylum… and a Orange Order press officer refers all queries to its own members reference to civil disobedience to the DUP… Alex Kane wants an adult to take control:

Oddly enough – and I say oddly because it is, in fact, odd – mainstream unionism seems unwilling to tell them that their present tactics are wrong.

Not one single UUP or DUP figure (who between them represent the bulk of the pro-Union vote) warned them that stepping up the protests ‘right up to civil disobedience’ was the wrong thing to do.

Instead, just as they have been doing at the Twaddell Avenue ‘peace camp,’ as the Orange Order announced its ‘new’ tactics, key UUP/DUP figures nestled in behind them.

The UUP/DUP and Orange have made a huge mess of handling ‘loyalist’ anger and protest in Belfast. They need to provide leadership very soon or a bad situation is going to become very much worse.

And into this incontinent and leaderless mess goes another incendiary in the shape of a commemorative plaque to Thomas Begley

, ,

  • To paraphrase Oscar Wilde [in Ernest], One commemoration of IRA own goal might be thought unfortunate, two seems like carelessness, but I suspect the paque for Begley is not so much SF carelessness as calculted to put pressure omn the DUP from angry voters, to force an end to their Stormont powershring lark, and if true, might just work.

  • Schilojin

    Agree 100% – the leadership on display is abysmal – unionist politicians dancing on the fine line of law breaking and failure to condemn violence and nationalist/republican politicians failing to see that the public commemoration of a man who killed so many innocent people is so wrong. Occassionally you do give them leeway and the benefit of the doubt that there was a ‘conflict’ and that events that took place must be set in that context but recent events make you wonder have these people actually any grounding in decency and common sense – are these politicians actually fit for office – is this what young people with an interest in politics can aspire to?

  • Morpheus

    Sinn Féin shoot themselves in the foot yet again. Just when you think they are coming in from the extremes they jump back out again with an act of extreme stupidity.

    Why is it that every man and his dog seems to know about these ‘small family commemorations’?

    Are we at ‘Stormont is in crisis’ yet?

  • tacapall

    Its great of you to open a thread on this Mick. Why no mention of that other entity that stands nestled behind the Orange order and the UUP and DUP, the cheerleaders of the UVF, double murderer Billy Hutchinson and the PUP, and lets not forget his sidekick the bigot and hypocrite, Jim Allister from the TUV. All running around like chickens with no heads. The hypocrisy is unbelievable especially from the TUV leader Jim Allister and the cowardly side action from the DUP to cover itself in advance by calling on people who they know dont listen to them to keep civil disobedience within the law. What other than violence does civil disobedience mean to knuckledraggers.

  • David Crookes

    Of course we could all ignore the plaque and get on with our lives. But no. Self-important politicians will be compelled to record their outrage, and journalists will duly report their toy-trumpet fanfares.

    You can stop a game of hateful badminton dead merely by refusing to hit the shuttlecock back over the net. But that is called being sensible.

    First stage in getting new unionist politicians: don’t vote for any of the existing ones. If enough of us want to change the landscape, we can.

  • Schilojin

    ‘Of course we could all ignore the plaque and get on with our lives. But no. Self-important politicians will be compelled to record their outrage, and journalists will duly report their toy-trumpet fanfares.’

    Really? I don’t have much time for the protestations of the ‘pul’ community regarding the ‘maze shrine’ and their other grievances but it makes my blood run cold to think that I would want to put my vote/trust in a politician who thinks that a plaque/public commemoration for one of the shankill bombers is a good or fitting idea.

  • “this incontinent and leaderless mess”

    We seem to have forgotten some other ingredients in the stew:

    The Parades Commission has insisted that four private meetings it held with the Secretary of State, Chief Constable and Justice Minister earlier this year were not to discuss parade determinations.

    Details of the meetings were first made public by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers in the House of Commons where she told MPs of what she said she believed were unprecedented round-table talks between the senior policing and justice figures.

    I think it needs a pinch of salt.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Should Begley’s family have wanted to remember him in a family gathering by quietly erecting a plaque to his memory we could, as David Crookes suggests, have ignored it (Mr Crookes predictable, yet weirdly, uses the matter to attack unionist politicians whilst swerving away from nationalist types who have already appeared on the media supporting the event).

    In much the same way we could have ignored a gathering at the spot where the Castlederg bombers truncated their own lives.

    However in the Castlederg case Sinn Fein decided on symbolically completing the bomb-run into the heart of Castlederg town knowing that it would extract maximum reaction from those in the town who were victimised by nationalist terrorists.

    In Ardoyne the Begley event has been advertised by a leaflet drop in the area, tastefully decorated by a picture of masked gunmen. This lifts the erection of the plaque from a family event, and all families have a right to remember family members killed in whatever circumstances, to a public event properly the subject of public comment.

  • socaire

    Did somebody say that they were going to erect a statue to Bomber Harris in London or is it only the war-mad Irish that do these things?

  • “as the Orange Order announced its ‘new’ tactics”

    Is there some confusion? I’ve listened to the William Mawhinney speech; he’s secretary of the Belfast County Grand Lodge but he said he was speaking on behalf of the Civil Rights Committee Camp Twaddell. Is this latter group limited to local OO members or does it also contain folks who are not OO members? Perhaps someone could clarify. On September 29 the BCGL refers to ‘our partners involved in the Civil Rights Camp’.

  • Red Lion

    NI21 ; the only rational pro-union voice in Northern Ireland. It is also a voice willing to speak up and which does not go ‘missing in action’

    Laeder Basil McCrea talks about this very issue


  • Is this what is going on in the Civil Rights Committee Camp Twaddell caravan when they don’t have their serious faces on for the Beltel photographer?

  • sherdy

    Is David Cameron not in the process of organising a celebration of World War I?
    Surely he would not glorify the horror of millions of people being killed!

  • sean treacy

    Socaire,I think this little exchange on the Nolan show this morning says it all: STEPHEN:What type of soldier would kill a child? To which the caller replies “a British soldier”.There is then an audible gulp from Steven followed by a stunned silence

  • socaire

    It’s not like Nolan to be left speechless

  • Greenflag

    Doggerel for a departing Belfast .

    Strange things have been done since the year 01 .
    In Belfast City downtown .
    There’s maidens mobbed and businesses robbed .
    As parades march up and down .
    But the strangest of all .
    Within human recall .
    Concerns Twaddle Avenue Camp
    For the Order of Orange and the Yew Pers and Doopers
    Insisting they are champ of the tramp .

    But their tactics are wrong and parades are too long .
    They go on for three months of the year .
    It would answer them better these 3, 000 parade setters .
    These parades to shove up their own hole.
    For this is the way Loyalists today .
    Are challenging Republican might .
    With midnight attacks on PSNI backs and .
    On Church statues that can’t even shite.

    paraphrased from Vinnie Capranis ‘ Gough’s Statue ‘
    from Rowdy Rhymes and Recimitations .

  • Mick Fealty


    Here’s the disgrace on the loyalist/unionist side: http://goo.gl/yYypSV. JUst the third woman to be shot since 1990, but the nature of the attack is such that in any other jurisdiction there’d be an outrage about it.

    But guess what, the north Belfast argument about a fecking parade is sucking in not just police resources, but the mindspace and attention of the political establishment, so that there is no focus on the so called political element in loyalism that were apparently behind this obscenity.

    Then there’s the republican pipe bomb attacks apparently involving middled age ‘retired men’ teaching kids how to use lethal force on a budget, that have barely been remarked upon. It’s like we have this criminal justice system, that you can only use if the person attracting its attention is not a ‘made man’… Very much the politics of the lunatic asylum…

  • Zig70

    Hateful badminton?

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Schilojin and SoS. Mick’s post was mostly about unionist politicians, which is why I talked mostly about unionist politicians. No one suggested putting one’s trust in a politician who thinks putting up the plaque is a good idea.

    Of course you expect reprehensible persons to make an approving hoo-ha about the plaque. I abhor these persons so much that I refuse to give them the attention for which they lust.

    There is a bigger point here. Many of us are unable to exorcize the grief and anger that was created in ourselves and our families by killers during the Troubles: but we should not try to download our grief and anger on to the rising generation. Do we want to keep the hellish old pot boiling for ever and ever and ever?

    Some of our politicians should try to determine, by experiment, if it is possible to win votes by geniality.

  • Kevsterino

    Mick, Arlene Foster recently proclaimed her hope that the new escalation to civil disobedience would be within the law.

    Would that not be Civil Obedience?

    I’m getting confused again…

  • David Crookes

    I guess it means that the children are allowed to fire pellets as long as they don’t dip them in ink. Oh, sorry, I forgot, they’re all grown-ups.

  • Mick Fealty

    Did she actually say that, or what she expressing the hope that it would not be civil disobedience? http://goo.gl/vswMxM

    Bit like Barry saying wee Ruth was advocating ‘mass slaughter’, obviously something got lost in translation: http://goo.gl/fihW8E

  • Framer

    William Twaddell would have turned in his grave. Not.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    socaire (profile) 8 October 2013 at 6:20 pm

    “Did somebody say that they were going to erect a statue to Bomber Harris in London or is it only the war-mad Irish that do these things?”

    If they were going to put up a statue of him in Dresden, or Germany or indeed anywhere on former Axis controlled Europe then you might have a point.

    But they’re not.

  • socaire

    So what you’re saying is that where the ‘memorial’ is erected is the important thing not who/what it commemorates? So a statue to Hitler is OK in Germany? Is the IRA plaque not going up in an Irish area? Ahm gobsmacked too.

  • Kevsterino[10.26] Shades of McCausland calling for protesters to keep within law, and clapping his hands for Mawhinney speech so cameras can’t see them. DUP an abbreviation for DUPlicity.

  • Reader

    socaire: Is the IRA plaque not going up in an Irish area? Ahm gobsmacked too.
    But the Shankill Road is also an “Irish area” – surely the test should be whether the plaque is going up in an “IRA area”. After all, look at the fuss over the recent UVF mural – should there be some sort of test as to whether this sort of thing is OK with local residents, or are local activists the only people who have the right to an opinion?

  • socaire

    Have to agree with you reader. But if you canvass any local area you are bound to find ONE dissenter over any project. So is nothing ever to be done or do you go with the majority. How wide is the area of canvass? I have never been canvassed over the erection of Orange arches in my town. And I doubt if the Shankill roaders see their area as Irish.

  • Reader

    socaire – while respecting the right to dissent I wouldn’t give it a local veto, I was looking for a local majority, as you would probably do.
    My other point is the core, as I see it – the fact that the plaque is going up in an “Irish area” is no guarantee of local majority support – which may exist but will depend on local friends and relatives plus the sort of IRA supporter that still thinks the Shankill Road bombing was a worthy attempt at something. Surely there are other IRA supporters who think that the risks to civilians far outweighed any possible benefits and the mission should have been rejected at every level of command?
    So if it isn’t safe to presume local support, how do you measure a local majority?

  • socaire

    Presume local support until it is demonstrated otherwise?

  • David Crookes

    A plaque on both their houses.

  • Reader

    socaire: Presume local support until it is demonstrated otherwise?
    The bully’s mantra, and a useful criterion for paramilitaries and hoods, though thankfully there are rumbles surfacing where they are losing their grip. I know that dissent is scary and difficult, and that critical mass has to build up.
    Meanwhile, we have neighbourhoods littered with paramilitary plaques, flags and murals.

  • sherdy

    Would you say we have a plague of plaques?
    A plague on all your plaques!

  • David Crookes

    Bravo, sherdy, but the plaques constitute less of a problem than the bully’s grip which Reader mentions. Let us hope that the dissent of the decent will reach a “critical mass” soon in every bullied area.

    That sort of dissent, once it takes on strength, will see off the gangsters. It is already stopping a lot of terrorist attacks from getting off the ground.

  • Coll Ciotach

    seems some people have an issue with the plaque. The plaque to the IRA man disturbs me not a jot. The IRA never terrorised me or mine but the RUC/UDR/British Army did.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    “So what you’re saying is that where the ‘memorial’ is erected is the important thing not who/what it commemorates? So a statue to Hitler is OK in Germany? Is the IRA plaque not going up in an Irish area? Ahm gobsmacked too.”

    For goodness’ sake….

    If a statue of Bomber Harris is erected in London then the chances of a victim of one of his fire-raids living close-by is slim.

    Contrast that with yer man’s plaque, as the crow flies for 3 miles are there or are there not likely to be people who have been exposed to his ‘handy work’?

    “So a statue to Hitler is OK in Germany?”
    That ‘s one of the most ridiculous comparisons I’ve ever read on Slugger, up there with UPC’s finest contributions.

    A lot of people in Germany would not like a statue of the one-balled Austrian

    A lot of people in Britain would be indifferent to a statue of Bomber Harris and some would be hostile (hence the red ‘paint job’)

    A lot of people in Belfast would be absolutely aghast, sickened, hurt and offended by the plaque of yer man.

    It can only be defended with heavy calibre whataboutery and comparatives of ‘themuns’ behaviour and ‘their’ memorials, it cannot be defended in the context that you raised.

    If one has to resort to heavy whataboutery, then it might not be a great idea after all…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    And to offset smart-assedness, when I say a victim of Bomber Harris I mean a survivor or even a relative of a survivor.

    And before you start google searching for legions of German Backpackers to be offended on your hypothetical behalf, if they had a big deal with RAF fleggery and the like then they’re unlikely to settle down in the Whitehall area.

    Deliberately travelling to an area to be ‘offended’ is very much a Northern Irish affair.
    Just ask Jurgen the German:

  • Reader

    Coll Ciotach: The IRA never terrorised me or mine but the RUC/UDR/British Army did.
    Did you and yours never work or shop in the city centre?
    My parents’ businesses in Bangor and Newtownards were each damaged by IRA bombs. I have worked in two buildings in Belfast city centre that were bombed – once a no-warning bomb in the early evening while some colleagues were working late. On numerous occasions my journey home has been disrupted and delayed, sometimes for hours. I have been evacuated from office buildings or shops several times. And that was from the late 80’s when things were starting to fizzle out.
    Given what other people have gone through I have always felt extremely fortunate – but how did you miss all the fun?

  • Coll Ciotach

    I am sure they did shop in the city centre but the fun and games in Larne were provided by unionism