PUP conference review – in favour of opposition; against welfare reform but critical of Sinn Féin

PUP14 back of room 2This year’s Progressive Unionist Party conference [party website down!] was held in the Dunsilly Hotel outside Antrim. About 80 delegates were present, around 40% were women, some of whom were obviously now making a big impact on party policy and direction. The audience seemed a little younger than previous years. It was good to see the party open to listening to critical friends during the panel discussion.

In the morning Councillors Julie-Anne Corr and Russell Watton addressed conference and six motions were proposed, debated and passed:

  • party membership;
  • need for a culture awareness programme defining Protestant, unionist and loyalist identity;
  • supporting women’s full and equal political participation in the political process, calling for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325;
  • reform of animal welfare and enforcement of Welfare of Animals Act 2011;
  • protecting the NHS; and
  • calling for abolition of zero hour contracts.

After lunch the eighty delegates returned to the conference room to watch a twenty minute video produced on 20 Years of the Loyalist Ceasefire produced by Jonathan Hodges to capture the memories and analysis of those involved from the PUP. If it appears online I’ll add a link.

Then it was the turn of guest academic and author Stephen Baker to address the conference. He’s a co-author of The Propaganda of Peace: The Role of Media and Culture in the Northern Ireland Peace Process (a book mentioned on Slugger back in 2010).

The Propaganda of PeaceThe ceasefires were both a relief and an opportunity for society and held out the possibility that NI could have a representative democracy with human rights at its heart, economic renewal and no need to return to violence. But looking back twenty years, Stephen Baker suggested that our politics have become increasingly sterile with politicians focussed on a narrow band of issues that they’re practiced at arguing.

Northern Ireland has been rebranding itself as “open for business” in order to attract economic success and investment. This parallels Tony Blair’s desire when he came to power with New Labour to rebrand the UK’s global image: yet Cool Britannia was “a triumph of style over substance”.

Have the changes in NI been too cosmetic? Millions of pounds spent to attract global media events to NI – for example MTV European Music Awards (with £1m in funding and a £20m return to the economy), the G8 Summit, Game of Thrones – with the aim of capturing the attention of tourist holiday makers and inward investors.

There’s a promise of jobs and property. Millions “pumped into the economy” … but what’s the quality of the jobs that have been created?

Stephen Baker PUP14Stephen Baker could see no explanation about how any of the economic impact figures are arrived at, or detail about exactly where the money goes. Does any end up in working class areas or tackling poverty?

The branding and investment depends on good political behaviour. No matter the provocation, communities are obliged to keep their mouths shut about it in order to preserve the image.

This week, it has been suggested that protesters could be made to cover the cost of policing protests. Stephen argued that charging people for the protest has implications beyond loyalism.

That elected reps are seriously entertaining that democratic protest should be based on our ability to pay is ridiculous.

Over recent years, DSD has spent £8.2 million on fake shop fronts which the minister suggested “enhanced shopper experience” … though more shops might have been better. Papering over economic problems and whitewashing our troublesome politics to make us competitive in the global economy. Cultural expression only welcomed “if it turns a profit”. Stephen finished:

Twenty years ago the ceasefires created an historic opportunity for political debate and democratic arrangements to take the place of guns and bombs in Northern Ireland. Twenty years later it is incumbent upon all of us to make sure that it is political debate, the democratic process – and yes, protest, when necessary – that informs decision makers, and not merely the whims of the free-market.

While Stephen referenced issues of culture and protests which resonated with the PUP delegates, his mentions of the problems of racism and community cohesion are ones that I don’t often hear the PUP speaking out on. Though Billy Hutchinson defended the party’s record when I interviewed him after the conference.

A panel discussion brought together critical friends and commentators – Eamonn Mallie, Stephen Baker (chair), Aaron Edwards, John Brewer and Chris Hudson – along with party leader Billy Hutchinson to talk about the loyalist ceasefire, and the challenges facing loyalism. (It’s in two parts: firstly the opening contributions from the panel; and then the Q&A from the floor.)

Party leader Billy Hutchinson explained the circumstances which had made the ceasefires possible. Starting by saying that he’s reached the age at which he now speaks his mind, veteran journalist Eamonn Mallie picked up on Stephen Baker’s earlier talk and criticised the “phoney film industry” which was providing few jobs for Belfast. He accused film companies of bringing in coffee from London to the film sets, and said that executives preferred to spend their weekends in London and Dublin rather than Northern Ireland.

PUP14 panelRev Chris Hudson (formerly a trade-unionist in Dublin and now a cleric in Belfast who acted as a channel between loyalist paramilitaries and the Dublin government) challenged the PUP delegates to consider a civic unionism that was at ease with people playing GAA or speaking Irish. He spoke of bravery in Afghanistan and hoped that any Afghanis coming to live in Belfast would receive a warm welcome. Historian Aaron Edwards started by relating his journey from Rathcoole to academia.

John Brewer said that the loyalist ceasefire had been exceptionally important and asked the delegates whether the same situation was possible today. Twenty or more years ago there was a clear framework of who in loyalism to approach to engage with. Intermediaries like Roy Magee, Chris Hudson and Robin Eames and could converse with the Combined Loyalist Military Command. Back then there was also a moral framework – of Christian socialism and class – that provided hope.

John Brewer challenged the PUP:

Are you focussed enough on class politics? … What loyalism needs is a Protestant Sinn Féin, a party that can deal with national issues but at the same time get your drains sorted out and deal with flooding. Are we pushing grass roots politics? How are we responding to the level of disappointment and disillusion with the peace process? We’ve got not just low expectations, but no expectations.

When the panel discussion was opened up to the floor, media portrayal of party representatives and loyalism in general quickly became a sustained talking point. At one point Eamonn Mallie asked “Who is the clown?” at next week’s “circus” talks?

From the floor, Brian Ervine reminded delegates of his brother David’s phrase “violence is the last resort of despair”. He spoke against examples he perceived as media bias against loyalists and was angry that the portrayal of urination and the Famine Song at the Covenant parade totally eclipsed an otherwise peaceful and huge parade. He finished by repeating “violence is the last resort of despair” and got a loud round of applause.

Billy Hutchinson was delivering his fourth speech as party leader, having taken over in October 2011. It was significantly shorter than Billy’s normal conference addresses which have tended to lurch off the printed page into off the cuff monologues. Instead, this year’s twenty minute message was well written, concise and a big improvement. If only it had been made at lunchtime when some of the news crews could have captured its delivery.

He began by stating that October 1994 “was not the beginning of Loyalist involvement in the process but the culmination of it” and told delegates that “the 1991 ceasefire is much overlooked [and] pertinent in that it demonstrated the desire for an exploration of a possible end to conflict”.

Unrecognised for its efforts; eternal analysis has singularly failed to appreciate the depth of loyalist achievement … Loyalism is written out of recent history.

Billy called a United Ireland “a fantasy” and “a Gaelic myth nowhere to be found on the real-life agenda of these island’s relationships”.

Sinn Féin’s abject failure to achieve their singular objective has given birth to an ugly campaign of cultural warfare.

He added:

Unwittingly aided by those who refuse to learn from history, Sinn Féin today wave the ballot box with one hand and whisper the threat of dissidents behind the other.

Billy HutchinsonOn Twaddell/North Belfast:

We remain committed to the defence of British rights and to robustly opposing those who would deny those rights … This party remains committed to our role within the combined Unionist Leadership – on the North Belfast impasse, on parades in general and on matters of mutual Unionist interest.

The “North Belfast situation” was “illustrative of this country’s major problems and integral to overcoming them”. The “plight of the Ligoneil bands and brethren remains at the very core of the political process”.

The PUP has not been invited to the Secretary of State’s talks. Billy announced the PUP’s support for an official opposition at the Assembly:

The convoluted framework that forced mandatory coalition was an emergency measure, agreed to achieve political stability but always expected to evolve in the interests of good governance …

We sought a system that shared the responsibility of good governance toward a common vision; we ended up with a system where power is carved up and bad governance too often the result competing and conflicting visions.

It is time to move on … This is not some lurch to the past or nostalgic yearning for the return to a one party state. That is not what we are about. This party is founded on inclusion – socially and politically.

We fully accept the unique difficulties of our region and recognise that they need to be accommodated in the structure of government. But the current system is neither fit for purpose nor delivering for the people of this country.

Today I submit our support for the creation of an official opposition. A voluntary coalition, by way of weighted majority, can satisfy the historic concerns of nationalism but allow a government based on shared vision rather than electoral default.

It would encourage a programme for government free from the terminal ambivalence that has dogged progress and hampered delivery. A government audited by the scrutiny of an official opposition, divested with the facilities and resources to hold government to account and to expose those not fit for the task, or not committed to the challenge.

The PUP’s was against the welfare cuts, but was also critical of Sinn Féin’s handling of the issue:

This party is opposed by ideology and principle to welfare cuts .. This conference … passed a motion against the current welfare reform two years ago. We reinforced that view in debate last year also.

But what we oppose as vociferously is narrow party political posturing that puts at risk, not only this society’s most vulnerable but also the whole fabric of government. What we oppose as vociferously is playing the politics of another jurisdiction and the holding to ransom [by Sinn Féin] of our political system for the veneer of consistency elsewhere.

Our Executive parties, as dysfunctional and myopic as they are, have been tasked with the privilege of governing this country. They have a democratic and moral imperative to get on with that task. What we need to see, and quickly, are those whose job it is to govern – to do that job and govern!

And what they need to do is prove that this megaphone diplomacy on welfare reform and its impact on the budget is not empty bluster. They need to get on with the task of government with a focus on protecting the vulnerable. They need to travel to the margins of society and ensure, by way of efficiencies and imagination, that the safety net, so integral to our British identity, does not give way. They need to maintain a focus on those whose daily struggle is far removed from the abstract squabbles of Stormont.

PUP14 back of roomBilly Hutchinson called for government to “set in place a system of case studies” to track the “coal face effect of welfare reform on this society’s most vulnerable” … “a consistent and thorough examination of its real impact on real people”.

Over an 18 month period, he believed case studies would “give us the clearest picture of where we are failing those at the margins of society” allowing action (rather than just words) to be taken to tailor policies.

He also compared the estimated £1 billion of benefit fraud with the £70 billion of tax avoidance.

Billy Hutchinson described the education system as “very clearly broken”.

We still ask children with a reading age of 9 to sit a transfer test drafted for 11 year olds and then wonder why their results are less than average.

A transfer test that recognises capacity in its narrowest sense yet determines the course of our young people’s future, long before they are able to cope with a reckoning of such magnitude.

The party leader suggested “incentivising our brightest teachers to teach at our worst performing schools” as well as “fast tracking recognition of excellence for those [schools] who have turned the curve of underperformance”.

Citing recent job loss announcements at JTI Gallaher and Bombardier, Billy Hutchinson stated that Northern Ireland’s “manufacturing base is under threat”.

Instead of lusting after the white elephant of lower corporation tax, Government would be best served helping those businesses already here, instead of a dubious and costly gamble on those who may never come.

We need to help small local business, fill in their gaps in expertise and knowledge, feed them with the information and assistance required to grow … identify key areas in disadvantaged communities and invigorate them with enterprise ones to bring employment to suit all levels … a forward thinking government able to overcome big challenges with big ideas and big decisions.

He echoed PUP councillor Julie-Anne Corr’s comments earlier in the day about the PUP being “a forward-thinking forward-moving political vehicle” and thanked “party members and activists who are the engine of this vehicle”.

Commenting on local government electoral success:

For this is not about elections. Elected office is for us, a means to an end. We exist to help and inspire our communities, but can do so better with the levers of electoral influence.

We can bring more change, then more office, then deeper change, then further office … Together let’s complete this journey.

After the close of the conference I asked party leader Billy Hutchinson about his vision for the party and Northern Ireland. We also discussed post-primary testing, the impact of the Scottish referendum, the party’s approach to racism and whether he saw merit in reaching out to pro-union Catholic working class voters (in the same way Peter Robinson routinely extends a shaky olive branch in his party conference speeches).

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  • Michael Henry

    Billy Hutchinson talks more about Sinn Fein than the PUP at his own party conference-

    ” What Loyalism need is a Protestant Sinn Fein “- the PUP conference was told today- but there is Sinn Fein led by Gerry Adams for Catholic Protestant dissenter-

  • Gaygael

    Thank you alan. This work is appreciated. So a few things from me.
    1) The leader. Billy seems sharper, delivery a well written speech, decently. Overly long dwelling on SF. I think the culture war stuff is a bit of a unionist trope, which may be a sop to elements of the base, but Maybe they should adopt a more class oriented critique? Some focus on class and not just through a loyalist lens.
    2) Policy. Seems interesting, could have done a living wage there to beef up the left and progressive stuff, but interesting overall. NHS protection, women’s equality, ending 0 hour contracts.
    Haven’t listened to debates just yet
    Cllr Julie-Anne Corr opened conference, and led on the animal cruelty motion, passing unanimously. Interesting and have read both on her facebook pages. She did a great Nolan interview of her coming out personal story and politics as a loyalist.

    I have been thinking on this. The dup would benefit from early assembly elections. The PUP have 3cllrs in belfast and one in causeway council. Next spring these cllrs will be taking power, and trying to make headlines. I think PUP must run candidates for Westminster. They missed a trick by not running a Euro Candidate, and did better than most expected. The euro candidate which may have helped bring someone else home and raise a profile. In belfast the scored just under 7k, ran 9 candidates in 8 wards taking almost 7% in belfast. And poor balancing in court where they could have split their vote and stayed in ahead of the uup and TUV candidates.

    Remember that UUP, SDLP and ALL scored 9/10/11.5% respectively across the city ( why aren’t ALL making more of this surge solidly into 3rd?)

    If there is an assembly election at the same time, things will be different. Ideally for them, Westminster and new councils will be a good time to showcase some candidates and continue to build their electoral machine. This calls into question electoral pacts.

    I think now is the time for loyalism to truly make a bold move. Shun unionist pacts. Unionist pacts are code for vote for the biggest unionist party DUP/UUP. The bogey man of unionist pacts is that Nationalism, and even scarier, Sinn Fein will be the biggest, win the vote, top the poll, take the seat. All of these things have already happened recently and the sky didn’t fall in. SF topped the poll in euro considerably. Again as they had already done this in 2009. SF took the seat despite a unionist pact in Mid ulster easily and just about in FST. SF won the popular vote in 2014 at local elections, but not most seats. They also won at Westminster in 2010. Unionist pact and the bogey man of nationalists winning elections is a political reality of northern politics. In fact, it’s pretty humdrum. The SDLP did it in 1998 for goodness sake. That bogey man sailed us across that rubicon a long time ago.

    For the PUP. It would mean that they can stand their candidates in north, west and east belfast. If it makes Dodds toast and prevents the DUP retaking East belfast, that’s a double body blow to the dup. Is that not a good thing for the PUP? It also means, Julie-anne, billy and kyle get a good runout in advance of the assembly.

    It runs the risk that north belfast loses unionist representation, and the east gets someone apparently agnostic on it. But demographic change is heading that way. We are a city and region of minorities. Why can’t a bold, progressive pluralist uk regionalist part say no to unionist pacts and differentiate itself from big house unionism. What is truly more British than refusing sectarian political pacts and offering an alternative for unionists that is left wing and progressive, rooted in its communities, looking after it’s communities?

  • I doubt PUP could have afforded the Euro deposit to participate in the race.

    They’re trapped for a few years as Billy wrapped the City Hall flag around the party and has promised continuing support for Twaddell, a combined unionist response, and I fear has played into the hands of the DUP.

    A more progressive approach would be to take each issue on its own and form clear coallitions and relationships of interest with politicians and parties (and groups outside politics) to pursue those issues and at all costs avoid being trapped as the sometimes friend of big house unionism.

  • Guest

    The PUP has yet to show how it caters for working class Unionists as opposed to just working class Loyalists, working class Unionists are those not explicitly into loyalist culture and bands and orange order but still live and take part in working class life, the priorities may be slightly different albeit the people and voters from the same area.

    I can give you an example, I believe UKIP would speak more for working class Unionists in terms of issues around immigration and housing and jobs and community life, community life outside of bands and parades. For instance everyday community life being spoiled by people not speaking English and not being able to integrate with the host community in terms of non-loyalist related community activities, say residents groups, street clean ups, community fun days what ever.

    I think the PUP need to do more to stick up for these kind of voters and bring them into the PUP fold as I don’t think everyone wants to leave the EU, the PUP could offer a reform of the EU as opposed to UKIP’s ‘lets leave the EU to get what we want’? The PUP could be a blue Labour type alternative to UKIP.

    Another aspect is the PUP’s social liberalism such as pro gay rights and pro abortion and so on, there currently isn’t any liberal unionist party out there at the moment and for a pro Unionist party it isn’t good enough to have liberal Unionists clearing off to the Alliance party hoping it can cater for its liberalism because there’s nowhere else to go but the Alliance for this.

    Why is this an issue for the PUP? Well clearly the alliance is not a Unionist party and will trade in Unionist symbols and emblems to suit SF and SDLP and bolster its own cross community credentials, this upsets traditional working class folk as has been proven to be the case over the union flag in Belfast. Alliance has no emotional or political attachment to Unionist identity which is in stark contrast to the PUP and therefore you would want to compete with the Alliance’s liberal support base in a nice friendly way to get some of these liberal unionist voters on your side. Naturally, you wont get every liberal unionist onside given the class element of the PUP but the more you can get the more people will be on your side helping you fight or restrict the culture war on behalf of loyalism. The offer to liberal unionists should be the PUP can deliver on equality better than Alliance, which looking at Alliance’s track record on key equality issues, its equality commitment appears pretty rhetorical on things like gay marriage and abortion. (The reality is the Alliance is run by active presbyterian christians they are in effect Christian Democrats in contrast to Billy Hutchinson as PUP leader who is an atheist I believe.)

  • Gaygael

    I don’t think their finances are that bad. I think they should have taken the hit and run izzy giles for Europe as well as her castlereagh constituency. Would have pumped her profile, and really presented part of that new face of the PUP. This could have helped to nuance their stance as more than just flegs, twadell and the orange. All of unionsim is already like that.
    The PUP have the working class vote already, they need to begin to bring out and contiune to build something more than as the progressive left alternative to big house unionism.
    Regarding immigration and socially liberal, they are pro choice and marriage. They don’t need to mimick ukip around immigration. It is also not a devolved matter. Although they could start to call for greater devolution?

  • Gaygael

    ITOT. Izzy giles certainly seems to sit in the progressive part of the party. Pro choice, socially liberal, left and a feminist. If you profess to be a progressive those are exactly the type of people that you want in your party.
    But you used the trop of liberal elite media, and it almost makes your posting redundant. Julie Anne’s election strategy was clever. She worked hard on the ground that had history if pup representation. She targeted bands and give speeches at their practice halls. She proposed the motion last year at conference that made the party support equal marriage as policy. And she worked hard for constituents. And even better, the seat she took was that of Lee Reynolds, the DUP leader in BCC. No mean feat.
    The politics that matters is who is chosen by the electorate, and in oldpark, it seems that delivering for constituents and a progressive approach, worked. And if she and the party play their cards right, that can translate into a great punt at an assembly seat whenever we have elections to it. The PUP held a seat here from 98 to 2003.

  • Gaygael

    I think you are wrong. I gave a reasoning why Julie anne got elected. Izzy did not have all those factors in her constituency. I believe a euro candidacy would have helped her considerably. And the party. But I’m not repeating myself anymore to you.
    A the macho culture in loyalism? Pro choice party, pro equal marriage since last year. 40% women at conference and adoption of resolution 1325. Don’t believe your own hype love.

  • William H Smyth

    There is a need for a progressive, left leaning political party which will serve the working classes of East Belfast and the Shankhill Road etc but its not the PUP.
    Since the untimely passing of David Ervine the party has floundered and the current leadership of Billy and Winkie are a hinderance to future successes.
    The constant attacking of the Shinners is merely a distraction from the fact that they are a party with limited vision and few ideas.

    The creation of the idea of the term PUL limits input from protestants that don’t consider themselves loyalists but do consider themselves unionist, or unionists who dont consider themselves protestant.
    While the whole “flag dispute” has seen an injection of youth into the party its probably too little too late

  • Comrade Stalin

    What loyalism needs is a Protestant Sinn Féin,

    A timely reminder that Professor John Brewer is apparently rather more concerned with retaining the old sectarian tribal identities than he is about abolishing them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think if I was in the PUP’s position I would have done the same and stayed out of European elections. £5000 is a lot of bread to blow on a sure-fire loser, so the only thing it is useful for is PR. With all due respect to the PUP’s articulate up and coming types, none of them are well placed when dealing with questions on things like Twaddell, or the PUP’s ongoing links with the UVF, and mishandling such a question during an election with regional scope could backfire.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think the PUP are comprised of essentially two types of people; straightforward UVF apologists, and then the others who appear to be incredibly naive.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Izzy’s feminism, and her contributions on twitter etc, are nothing to do with her electoral defeat. The party just didn’t put the same focus on that seat (or so it appears from here).

  • Comrade Stalin

    With no disrespect to yourself, I think it’s great to have out gay representatives, but this isn’t the be all and end all.

    I’m with Newton Emerson; what’s the point in being feminist when the UVF (the link with which the PUP have not severed) are accused of attempted murder of a woman in East Belfast on the apparently rather shallow basis that she broke up with a leading UVF figure ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    as an atheist and Alliance supporter I have complete faith in the party leadership who have on several occasions recently shown a capacity to keep their private religious faith firmly away from their responsibilities as elected representatives. You will never heard David Ford or Naomi Long proselytizing in public about their deeply-held religious convictions, and to be honest I’ve never heard them discuss it even in private.

    I’m contrasting this with the PUP and the UVF whose motto is “For God and Ulster”.

    This aside most of your complaints don’t seem valid. There is a party that fits your requirement of what you say the working class want, and that is the BNP. they’ve stood for elections here before, and lost hard.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Julie Ann Corr was an unknown quantity and she got in. Like I said, I doubt it was her feminism. Like other small parties, the party won seats where it targeted them heavily, and did not win seats where it deployed less resources.

  • Gaygael

    CS. I don’t think I overly played on Sexual orientation. We should really have somewhere between 11-6 ‘out’ lgbt MLAs, but we have none. 0.
    We have to encourage a range of female voices. Even those we disagree with. And we got to build alliances with people where we can. Even when it’s hard.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree that we don’t have enough gay representatives and they are poorly represented in government.

    But that’s not a reason to overlook the PUP’s UVF links, and the questionable nature of some of its recent press releases. In one recent release, their representative linked a series of racist attacks up in upper Ardoyne to allegations of housebreaking in the area (the police followed up to say that they had heard no reports of housebreaking and were not investigating any such crime). The same representative, a few weeks later, blamed a sectarian attack during the course of a youth football event at Whiterock on failed leadership within the entire nationalist community.

    It is clear that the PUP are actively and deliberately seeking to represent loyalists only. They’re not even putting up a pretence of trying to be cross community. So it kind of annoys me when they wheel out a bunch of progressive policies, as it looks like they’re trying to cover up for the shader aspects of what they are about. Apparently they don’t think it’s progressive to try to represent Catholics. This is hypocrisy.

  • Gaygael

    I don’t think I’m better than anyone. The language of toning it down, smack of uppity women keeping quiet and I don’t agree it should ever be played down. I think it’s great that voices within the pup try to make feminism intrinsic to its politics. This is a great thing for any progressive party.
    I dont profess to tell any candidate any candidate hòw go engage with their constituency.
    I suggested that certain elements of oldpark and castlereagh east wére very different and nay gave impacted on the result. One had previous pup representation, a network of bands in a inner city urban area, in a constiuency that had pup assembly representation and councils representation. It also as an electoral area had a plethora of nationalists including high profile dissidents and alternatives republicans contesting 4 CNR seats of 6. This area also had 5 unionists chasing 2 seats. A non existen uup since the ebbing away if the uup vote with Fred Cobain at the last assembly, and choosing a born again fundamentalist ( or maybe allowing him as paper candidate) and a tuv the choose a first time

  • Gaygael

    Yes it is frustrating also. In most political parties they tend to have a number of groups, factions, focuses. I want certain ones to gain the upper hand. A candidates play to all of those groups.

  • So now everyone’s got Izzy and Julie-Anne’s electability out of their systems, what about some comments on Billy’s speech and the other contributions at Saturday’s conference?

  • Alan do you have any idea what point Billy was making in your interview with him when he mentioned there were 15 Hungarians in a house that was attacked?

  • Ernekid

    Is the PUP an actual political party or is it just an East Belfast based political protest group? Their support Is drawn from one small subsection of wider society in one part of one city in NI. When will they run candidates in for example Dungannon? Enniskillen, Lurgan. Eg. It’s easy to appeal to some pig ignorant loyalist in Twaddel but they need to go beyond that.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Obviously I touched a nerve there.

    Speaking personally, I care about the entire community (unlike the PUP who care about a section within a section of the community). So I support better housing, public services, healthcare, education, and access to employment. I do not support more parades, flegs and bands and I’d question whether those who do are really serious about making things better for the community.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Well, no. As I said, fck off!

    Very well.