Pints nicely topped up, we began round two of our interview.
I began by putting to them the criticism they get most that they are one sided and only go after Loyalists. Ron responded that there are plenty of occasions where LAD has criticised Sinn Fein citing the imagery they created when Gerry Kelly stepped in front a PSNI land rover last year.
I followed up by asking them if they feel that they have ever stepped over the mark in criticising other people?
The response was swift and honest saying that yes, they have at times became irritated with some criticism citing an incident with their old bete noire Dave Magee, when their Christmas song for the SOS bus was pulled due to the scale of protest directed against the charity. Here is another important aspect of LAD’s temperament to note-the guys weren’t annoyed that their song didn’t make the charts but that a charity they thought highly of was going to lose out on money that could have been raised from that song.
So, what about the amount of bad language they use?
No matter what we say somebody will take offence. If I watch TV I don’t like excessive swearing on TV. I’m sure there are people who don’t like excessive swearing on Twitter but if they don’t like excessive swearing on Twitter LAD is not the right account to be following. But people follow us because they want us to do that kind of stuff. They want to be outraged…
Outside of the public persona, I was interested to know about the group dynamic. All of the contributors come from different backgrounds and have different experiences. Unsure about just who each other was, they had not actually met as a group until Christmas last year, but regardless, they have obviously formed a strong friendship and an effective working relationship as they walked me through how the pitch ideas to one another.
I continued by asking how LAD were going to approach the upcoming elections? And would they endorse a candidate?
We are backing Jamie Bryson every step of the way, he is our man in Brussels…and we’re backing Willie Frazer, Newtownards deserves Willie Frazer.
Billy then chipped in with this offer for Jamie Bryson;
We will fundraise for him. We could get the £5,000 for him by the end of the week if he’s stuck. I want to see him run an election campaign. But in the local elections we’re going to tell you who not to vote for.
For my final question, I was interested to know who LAD enjoyed reading?
Billy- I like Alex Kane, I Eamon Mallie, I like Brian (Brian John Spencer)
There we ended our interview.
My thoughts-LAD is much more complex and interesting than they come across. They have convictions and want to use their platform to actually promote some good ideas in Northern Ireland politics-whether they do that effectively-I will leave for the comments section below. But next time you encounter them on Twitter, just keep in mind there is much more to them than witty tweets.
Although perhaps they are a bit more sincere about the Bryson fundraiser than I thought
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs