keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
In the latest revelation to cast further light on just how dirty the so-called Troubles really were it now seems that the British security forces were forewarned about the 1993 Shankill bombing by a prominent Provo tout but decided to do sod all about it. Another one for the list then, although a rare example of an incident where the victims were those declaring their loyalty to the crown, a loyalty that once again is demonstrated to be one way.

With the proliferation of informers at the top level of the paramilitaries (seriously, there was a time in the 1980s when the heads of the UVF, UFF and IRA were all in the pockets of the security forces) and the realisation that so much of what went on was known in advance to the powers that be it becomes increasingly clear that, far from being the great war of liberation/defence that it was sold to young republicans and loyalists as, it was yet another example of the good old divide-and-rule tactic that has been the British Empire's stock in trade for centuries. How many hundreds, thousands even, died with the foreknowledge of a state that made no attempt whatsoever to save those lives? The Stevens Inquiries may have revealed a fraction of the collusion that went on between the UDA and the British but it was the tip of the iceberg, and a process hamstrung from the start by being instigated by the same British state that was involved in the dodgy deals. Like the supposed investigations into Westminster paedophile rings, can we really expect the establishment to condemn itself? Really the more you hear about the Troubles the gloomier it becomes - all that bloodshed for what? So as a tout can get big money for himself and his cronies by sitting in government, toasting his queen and doing the bidding of the people that have been paying him for decades.

A dirty war, dirtier than we could ever imagine, with communities on both sides put to the rack for the supposed forces of order to pursue their own twisted agenda. It's no wonder that any deal on "legacy" has been consistently tossed out as every man-jack of them is up to their necks in filth with their hands soaked in blood. Meanwhile Sinn Fein will continue to use the names of Bobby Sands and the others during their forthcoming election campaign to the collaborationist institution up at Stormont and the useful idiots will tramp out and put them back in to continue cosying up to the same state that oversaw the butchering their relatives. By fuck, this place is disgusting.
keresaspa: (Heckle and Jeckle)
During the Troubles the Provies looked around for international comparisons for their struggle and the two groups they seized on for parallels were the ANC and the PLO. Before long images of Mandela and the Palestinian struggle were appearing on walls and in Sinn Fein literature and that continues to this day. In part as a reaction to this and also because of their own similarities the loyalists latched on to South Africa and Israel as their models and articles in support of the two states appeared in UDA and UVF magazines from the mid 70s onwards. Direct contact was even established by Ulster Resistance, who got their arms from both countries.

Eventually the South Africa links were sidelined a bit as it's hard t get any positive press out of backing an apartheid regime but the Israeli motif has continued. In the last few years, with Netnayahu's regime unleashing swathes of destruction, the public displays of support have, if anything, got even stronger as it is a fine way to wind up the Fenians. This reached a crescendo in the last few weeks with the appearance of this on the Shankill end of Northumberland Street, close to the peaceline gate.



Ostensibly a tribute to John Henry Patterson, the mural has inevitably raised the hackles of some republicans, not least because the aforementioned Netanyahu is quoted at the far end.

Oddly though, this has also had an angry reaction from a lot of Unionists. The other big thing that Unionism and Loyalism hammer home now is how great the British Army is and how everything it has ever done is to be celebrated (something Sinn Fein seem to agree with now, although complaining about that now seems rather pointless). Yet here stands a mural endorsing the IDF, a group that has its origins in the insurgents who fought against the British Mandate of Palestine and sent several members of the selfsame British Army to their graves. And so as part of the points scoring exercises that now seem de rigeur since the whole flag protests nonsense the muralists have not only managed to annoy the Taigs but also to upset a bunch of their militarists into the bargain. Job well done there, boys. Not only that but yet again it is a bunch of photos screen-printed and bolted to the wall with no artistic merit whatsoever. Can nobody on the Shankill paint any more?!

Overall typical of the embarrassing pettiness that characterises this place nowadays. These sort of "let's wind the other lot up" things have been going on for a while but this has to be the first that has backfired so spectacularly.

Rebel songs

Jul. 7th, 2014 08:36 pm
keresaspa: (Maurice Bishop)
One story that did catch my eye during my barely noticed extended absence was the minor fuss locally over the Ku Klux Klan. For those unfamiliar, Island Street is a back street off a back street off the lower Newtownards Road. Made up of 80s style redeveloped Housing Executive houses, it is one of the more soul-destroying parts of east Belfast, saying something given what a bigoted little dump that side of town is. The walls proclaim allegiance to the UDA although, as is the case throughout the east, it is the UVF that largely holds sway with the UDA only existing with their permission and fulfilling little role beyond dealing drugs.

For years 81 Island Street has been a particular carbuncle in the gloom. With a front door festooned with racist and Islamophobic stickers, not to mention a bunch of stuff about Rangers, a Confederate flag flying on a pole and a window filled with KKK memorabilia, as well as UDA flags, it stands as a beacon of hatred. Action taken to address this? None. In an area of low-grade housing, towards which immigrants are likely to gravitate, a public display of racial hatred and xenophobia has for years been ignored. So recently a KKK flag went on a nearby lamppost and a fuss was kicked up but Belfast's own Braunes Haus continues happily in a part of the town already notorious for its racism. The flag was subsequently taken down "following discussions" (rather than torn down with its owner prosecuted under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006) but when I passed that way today it had been replaced by a pair of Southern crosses. Well, that's much better as the flag of a racist state is a lot less offensive than the flag of a racist organisation.

Radio Ulster's decision to interview the local KKK boss-cocky is a dodgy one as it gives him much more importance than he deserves (although is very much in keeping with the ever rightwards drift of the BBC as whole). Given that we have a strongly anti-Catholic organisation in which members are expected to dress like prats and take part in bizarre rites in the Orange Order then it hardly seems surprising that the KKK could come here (although to be fair a few token Africans have found their way into the Orange Order) but it's also probably the main reason that they are an irrelevance. Extreme right organisations have found their openings within loyalism locally but they have never fully taken off nor are they likely to unless the loyalist paramilitaries ever come out unequivocally against racism and start punishing the racists in their own community. However the fuss over the flying of the flag is a little like suddenly becoming appalled about the Cerne Abbas Giant's tumescence - it's been that way years and nobody has batted an eyelid. To think that they're actually sinking money into promoting east Belfast as a tourist destination. God help any tourist who goes over that way and God help even more any poor immigrant who gets housed in Island Street. What an absolute shithole this place really is sometimes.
keresaspa: (Brigitte Bardot)
Despite appearances to the contrary I remain very much alive, just rather too involved to update much on here due to a combination of the continuing World Cup (which has unfortunately tailed off a bit after a blistering opening round), a return to live matches and a recent visit from [livejournal.com profile] queenmartina who came bearing cake made by [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks, renovation projects and arse whippings at Trivial Pursuit. Jolly fun all round, barring the continuing success of the Dutch at the World Cup as they have quite possibly edged ahead of England to become my most hated of all the national teams.

In the interim I have allowed the formalisation of a new unification between mainstream unionism and illegal loyalist paramilitarism, the possible collapse of the Assembly, more genocide against the Palestinians, the end of Rolf Harris and the possible beginning of the end of a cadre of perverts at the heart of the establishment to pass without comment. So to correct those oversights I'll just say hardly a surprise with the legacy of Edward Carson, Ian Paisley and Ulster Resistance but the two-facedness of the whole "Sinn Fein/IRA" shite is exposed for the hypocrisy it is, it'll never happen as Robbo and Martie love the money too much but by God am I glad I'm getting out of this shitehole over the Twelfth, as ever the world will fiddle whilst Palestine burns, slap it into you ya nonce and Knox Cunningham holds the key.

That's me bang up to date then. Nothing to this blogging lark.
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
D-Day )

Wiki-woo

May. 6th, 2014 01:30 pm
keresaspa: (Chaplin Modern Times)
It was ten years ago to the very day that I first pitched up on Wikipedia. Well, that's not strictly true as I had been dabbling as one of the anonymous IP address horde (well, more like a platoon back in those days) but it was 6 May 2004 that I finally accepted Jimmy Wales' (non-existent) shilling and enlisted as User:Keresaspa. Quite why I decided to get involved in what was at the time still a fairly modest proposition I'm not sure, although as I can recall I had suddenly gained a load of new knowledge from the first year of my PhD and I was conscious that this little site claiming to be an online encyclopedia was very weak on the British extreme right.

Over the years I have knocked about on and off and through my edits have inadvertently helped to introduce Anglophone keyboard warriors everywhere to the joys of National Bolshevism (it didn't exist on Wikipedia until I arrived) whilst having also indirectly inspired the birth of neo-Nazi nonsense-fest Metapedia. Yes that was all my doing. Well, probably not but I'm sure my edits helped. I branched out into other areas (notably loyalism in recent times - you must have noticed it replaced the extreme right as my main source of political griping on here in the last few years), frequently lost my mojo, seriously contemplated retirement once and generally became disillusioned with the free for all nature of the whole project, somewhat ironic given that that was a major part of the reason I was attracted to it in the first place.

Yet there I remain ten years later, feeding my inner nerd whenever I get the notion. I've never gained, nor sought, any office of responsibility and have generally beavered away in anonymity, eschewing any nonsense of Wikipedia as a social network, an unfortunate side route that seems to have crept into the site in the last few years. Certainly I have never, nor will I ever, attend any of the gatherings as my inner nerd prefers to be internalised and the thought of fallolloping around the Ulster Museum with a bunch of boring weirdos when I could be doing something constructive like watching Rathcoole play Carniny Amateur in the Crawford Cup (nothing weird or boring about that obviously) holds no appeal.

I've long since given up asking myself why I'm still there. One's words get butchered and twisted by any passing roustabout and contributing earns you no respect anywhere and yet I persist. Perhaps I just enjoy sharing knowledge on some level, maybe it's an introverted form of vanity, some sort of hipster affectation or perhaps it is the thought that, without me, people's first point of reference would have nothing to tell them about Gyearbour Asante or David Bobin. Either way ten years down and here's to many more. Unless I get another moody and decide to give up for real this time.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
I've mentioned the loyalist camp at Twaddell Avenue before on here. For months now Ardoyne has been greeted with a sea of loyalist flags and emblems where gangs of thugs gather every night to wave their triumphalist reactionary shit in peoples' faces, frequently augmented by visits from battalions of illegal loyalist paramilitary movements. The camp is intimidatory, bigoted, disruptive, aggressive, threatening, has featured clashes with police and has frequently seen protesters burn Irish flags (something I personally couldn't care less about but which others find very offensive). Reaction - none.

Finally, after meekly accepting being reminded of their status as untermensch for nearly a year a few Fenians decided enough was enough and went over and tore some of the offensive crap down. Reaction - arrested for hate crimes. This place would be hilarious if it wasn't so bloody sickening.

The next time a loyalist makes the claim that the PSNI is pro-republican I hope they'll be reminded of this. Fenians are expected to put up with paramilitary-led provocation and a constant threatening presence facing their homes but if they dare to reacted they're committing hate crimes? Words cannot express just how ridiculous and one-sided this place is sometimes. For the loyalists there is complete freedom to disrupt the city in whatever way they see fit without fear of arrest but for the Fenians the slightest protest back is a hate crime. Where the right to resist is removed you have dictatorship and when you have dictatorship the only answer is uprising. No doubt Sinn Fein will condemn the three for their actions but for my part I can't commend them enough. The more you accept bigotry, aggression and hatred the more they will flourish so well done to somebody, anybody for finally taking a proactive stand against the creeping return to second class citizenship. One of the watchwords of republicanism has always been "they have rights who dare defend them" and it is heartening to see that that spirit remains alive, even if the movement's current leaders are determined to stamp it out. Long overdue.
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
When it comes to the supposed end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland there are a number of people who, regardless of my personal opinion of everything else they have done, can claim a share of the credit for the events. John Hume, Seamus Mallon, Gerry Adams, Father Alec Reid, Rev Roy Magee, Archbishop Robin Eames, Chris Hudson, Albert Reynolds, John Major, Peter Brooke, Mo Mowlam, Gusty Spence, David Ervine, Billy Hutchinson, Gary McMichael, Joe English and Ray Smallwoods can all legitimately claim to have played a role. As admittedly can Martin McGuinness, despite my well-documented hatred for the man. Yet one person who can claim no role whatsoever in Elizabeth Windsor and yet the self-same Martin McGuinness is now praising her for apparently being the leader of the peace process.

It is one of the paradoxes of Ulster loyalism that it is based on blind obedience to the United Kingdom and yet is equally based on the deliberate flouting of that country's legal system. The way most loyalists reconcile this paradox is to insist that their loyalty is purely to the Queen and not to any of her governments and therefore they can be hardcore Brits but reject every British administration. As such the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Freedom Fighters effectively existed at Her Majesty's pleasure and yet in near thirty years of loyalist activity never once did Lizzie speak out and say "I'd rather you didn't kill Fenians in my name, thanks lads". Say all you want about her having to stay above politics but innocent people were being killed by her devotees and if there was a way to influence that anybody with a shred of humanity would have spoken up instead of the deafening silence the old bat always maintained. And yet McGuinness, a man who still occasionally claims to be a republican, has the unmitigated gall to make his recent comments.

It doesn't take a genius to see where all this gradual shift towards monarchism is leading - Sinn Fein taking the oath of allegiance at Westminster. It would hardly be a shock given that they are already junior partners in a collaborationist government but it would be the final nail in the coffin of Sinn Fein as any sort of Irish republican party and the final part of their conversion into a long-term reunification, right-leaning nationalistic party that is happy to work with the same people they labelled occupiers not so long ago. The bitterest pill to swallow is that McGuinness' Petain-esque behaviour no longer causes any ripples and, far from inspiring outrage in the republican grass-roots, will probably see Sinn Fein top the polls in the European and local elections next month.

I guess I'm the one who has the problem as everybody else seems perfectly happy for Irish republicanism to be dead and collaborationism to be the order of the day but it's a sorry state of affairs when history is rewritten and principle negated just to ensure a very greedy man can continue to get his big money and his little bit of power. What's that rumble? James Connolly turning over in his grave.
keresaspa: (Cow)
As a consequence of Donegal Celtic's continuing extended hiatus from all football, combined with the rainfall levels that suggest it really is Sodom and Gomorrah times again*, I was able to continue my tour of the backwaters of east Belfast on Saturday. My travels took me to Sydenham, deep in the arse of the east, to witness the spectacularly named East Belfast take on Derriaghy Cricket Club (who play football, despite their name). I'm not sure if the UVF's Jamie Bryson, an extreme right candidate in the upcoming elections now too, was playing for his club side or not but if he was it made sod all difference as Derriaghy wiped the floor with East Belfast, winning 6-0 despite having a perfectly good goal disallowed and a penalty saved.

Of course last year Sydenham was all over the news after a mural of George Best was replaced by one of the UVF, resulting in a lot of hand-wringing by those in the media and politics who still like to continue with the canard that the UVF ceasefire is genuine. It's not an area of Belfast I regularly visit so it was only Saturday that I finally saw it with my own eyes:



Disappointed to say the least. Given the fuss that had been kicked up I was expecting it to be a massive triumphalist epic covering several buildings but in the end it was a crappy little thing about ten feet high on the side of a tiny little outhouse.

Leaving aside the nonsense of the message (if loyalists are being oppressed it is by the government, which is part of the British state apparatus, so blind loyalty is frankly the daftest reaction going and with their savage beatings and drug dealing there are few oppressing loyalist communities more than the Uve) I think the fuss was all pretty nonsensical. Regardless of their message, I'm something of a fan of the paramilitary murals and am generally left rather cold by the "community mural" crap that goes up in their place. We all know the loyalist paramilitaries run their estates so for me it makes sense to have their stuff on the wall rather than covering it with some old crap about Ulster Scots (which nobody in the loyalist estates of Belfast speaks anyway) or CS Lewis (whom nobody in the loyalist estates of Belfast reads anyway). As spontaneous outpourings of dissent and examples of outsider art I love the bones of them and frankly one of the great shames of recent years has been the way Sinn Fein has taken control of the walls in the republican estates and are plastering in them in all that "cultural" crap that has become their obsession now that they're lurching increasingly to the right. Apart from anything, were there something really worth getting worked up about it would be the fact that the nearby Belfast City Council-owned park and sports facility is plastered in UVF insignia too but nothing was said about that.

In and off itself this mural is hardly anything to write home about but I for one would rather see it than some fantasy of smiling children or, worse yet, yet another one about the bloody Titanic. And as for the argument that a paramilitary mural will dissuade tourists from visiting Sydenham, frankly any tourist that visits Sydenham is bloody mental anyway. Let's face, the UVF is as active as it ever was so why pretend otherwise? If the Fenians have a problem then resist Sinn Fein's dominance and put up murals in support of the New IRA but getting all precious about a statement of fact (that the UVF remains armed and active) is just silly.

* I appreciate that Sodom and Gomorrah were totally separate from Noah and his flood and were destroyed by fire and brimstone rather than rain but the New Creation didn't bother recording a song about Noah and their Jesus Freak craziness deserves a bigger audience.

From a purely aesthetic point of view my favourite loyalist murals are this one, this one and this one (subsequently removed), although I rather like this one too because I made money out of the picture.
keresaspa: (Cassidy says...)
So, after all the fuss we've had with the UVF recently it now appears that the UDA is about to stagger back into life, although at least they will be getting on each other's cases rather than the Fenians. It has been all action on my "beloved" Shankill Road recently and it all stems from the UDA and its machinations. Now if you're sitting comfortably I'll begin (and bear with me on this one as it all gets a bit complicated and the dramatis personæ is rather extensive).

Jackie Coulter was a member of the West Belfast Brigade of the UDA/UFF (they're the same thing but the UDA was, shamefully, a legal organisation under British law until 1992 so it needed another name to allow it to kill with impunity), serving as commander of the C3A Commandos, part of the Brigade's C Company, which serves the lower Shankill area. In the 1990s C Company, then the whole Brigade, came under the leadership of Johnny Adair, with C Company becoming notorious for the volume of sectarian killings undertaken by its two top hitmen Gary "Smickers" Smyth and Stephen "Top Gun" McKeag. Top Gun however was not popular with many of his fellows and eventually fell foul of Adair. Top Gun was for a time doinking Coulter's daughter Tracey but, like many men of violence, domestic abuse was also part of his stock in trade and when Tracey told her father about this he in turn spoke to Adair who arranged a punishment beating for the by-then-sidelined McKeag. The heroic Johnny was soon on the firm with Tracey Coulter himself, although she was one of many to be getting wee Johnny's length at the time.

Adair was close to the LVF, a militant splinter-group of the UVF, and as such he joined them in feuding with the UVF. As part of this feud Jackie Coulter was shot and killed by the UVF along with Bobby Mahood, supposedly in a case of mistaken identity when a passing UVF gunman thought that Bobby was actually his brother, LVF kingpin Jackie Mahood, and shot up the car on the off-chance. This feud subsequently petered out as Adair was returned to prison but following his release he began a feud with the rest of the UDA in an attempt to gain control of the entire organisation. This culminated in Adair arranging for South East Antrim Brigade boss, and neo-Nazi supporter, John Gregg to be killed, leading in turn to Adair and his supporters being ran out of Belfast by the rest of the organisation.

Just before Adair's downfall he had split with a number of his old comrades, not least Mo Courtney, widely reported as a British agent and one of the gunmen for the murder of Pat Finucane. As a result Courtney was able to remain on the Shankill and continue to be a big wheel in the post-Adair UDA, although his time as a bigwig was interrupted by a spell at Her Majesty's pleasure for his part in killing former Adair prodigy Alan McCullough.

Courtney was released from prison and returned to the Shankill and pretty soon graffiti attacking Tracey Coulter began to appear in the lower Shankill. Before long however Courtney himself was attacking Coulter and he faces sentencing for that in the new year. Unperturbed, Courtney's goons moved against the now hated Coulter a few days ago by hosting a Belfast barbecue at her Shankill des res. In a show of Coulter's bravery/idiotic stubbornness (delete as applicable) she has vowed to remain in situ, despite the long-running (and at times rather indecent) graffiti campaign being ramped up but it hasn't ended there.

Jackie McDonald, the head of the South Belfast Brigade and effective capo di tutti capi of the wombles, has been working to distance the UDA from obvious rackets as criminality tends to interfere with his myriad government-funded schemes and as such he, along with his stooges in East and North Belfast, have reacted to the developments with disapproving clucks. Certain members of the North Belfast Brigade had been close to the increasingly loose cannon western leadership, which also continues to operate a whole slew of rackets, and when they were recently expelled they were welcomed into the West Belfast Brigade with open arms. I happened to find myself on the Shore Road last evening and passed some daubings against local brigadier John Bunting to which I paid little attention (pictured right). However it now seems the expelled members were behind these and a rerun of the 2002-3 feud between West Belfast and the rest may be in the offing.

I suppose it's all inevitable in a way. The UDA, with its large and non-selective membership, has always been a volatile proposition at the best of times and it has struggled to find a role in post-ceasefire life. Its Ulster Democratic Party political wing was a victim of the 2002-3 silliness and there has been obvious tension between the increasingly legit McDonald (who, despite his current actions, has a long history as a racketeer) and other leaders who have been less adept at chousing grant after grant out of the government. So far it all seems to be mostly playground stuff but if it continues to escalate we could be looking at yet another full-blown UDA feud, just like in the good old days. Either way, the continuing nonsense that the loyalist paramilitaries are on ceasefire is once again exposed for the canard that it is. I expect there to be little or no repercussions from this (and the prominence of the UDA-linked West Belfast Ulster Political Research Group in the Twaddell Avenue protests cannot go unnoticed) because it suits the powers that be to pretend everything is hunky-dory here but, as Tom so rightly stated, "don't you believe it".
keresaspa: (Mikado)
So, once again on Saturday the centre of Belfast is to be off limits to all as it is taken over by loyalist marchers, this time an outfit calling itself Loyal Peaceful Protesters, essentially the UVF, sundry hangers-on and a bunch of young junkies threatened with having their drug debts called in if they don't march.

As leader of the Progressive Unionist Party and nominal leader of the protest Billy Hutchinson argued that yet another unwarranted disruption of people's lives over a piece of cloth and the right of sectarian bigots to celebrate UVF murderers in front of their victims "is legitimate and lawful and will also highlight the other issues that are impacting on working class Protestant communities, including increasing poverty." The most depressing possible thought is that Hutchinson actually believes that although I suspect it is just what he has to tell himself to get through the night.

At heart I suspect Hutchinson is a genuine man of working class politics but he has completely painted himself into a corner down the years and is now flailing around in a desperate attempt to justify to himself his decision to crawl into bead with the extreme right. The protests are about flags on City Hall and the fact that republicans don't want Orange Order and paramilitary flute bands passing their houses and have sod all to do with increasing poverty, an issue that impacts upon both communities equally and which is being ignored by the major parties and the British government overlords to which Hutchinson is avowedly loyal. If he really believes that poverty can only be solved by a sectarian approach then maybe Hutch has willingly gone over to the extreme right and is seeking to position himself as the Otto Strasser of loyalism.

In a way his options are limited. There was a time when Hutchinson was a big cheese in the UVF but these days he is cocky on the biscuit tin, flailing around desperately trying to gain some influence but increasingly ignored by the true leaders. He preaches working class politics and the fact that loyalists (and no one else) are suffering poverty but yet he happily hitches himself to the UVF and its drug dealing empire and intimidation of the same loyalists, counting UVF commanders like Winkie Irvine amongst his party colleagues. Billy can soothe his conscience all he wants with fantasy stuff about flag and march protests being about social issues but he knows fine well they aren't and that they amount to nothing more than nakedly sectarian shows of strength by the UVF.

The increasingly irrelevant Martin McGuinness recently broke his silence on the affair by suggesting that the protest was being orchestrated by the UVF before adding that he had heard rumours about Francis I being a member of the Catholic Church, but frankly his opinion is of no consequence as he has happily allowed it to go on. The same goes for the execrable Teresa Villiers - if Belfast is indeed open for business then how about you put in an appearance on North Street on Saturday afternoon, Teesy? Thought not. Interesting too that what is increasingly taking on all the trappings of fascism and has the vocal support of the BNP, National Front and other fringe extremist groups is being totally ignored by Anti-Fascist Action and the rest of the self-declared hard men. But that's the way it always has been here - a privileged group sees aspects of its dominant position eroded and it screams no fair and rises up, completely unopposed by the republicans who, as usual, are satisfied with the merest of scraps from the master's table.

Is there poverty in loyalist areas? Yes, but how is that going to be addressed by stupid and pointless rabid nationalism and flag waving? Poverty didn't suddenly appear the day the union jack came down from city hall and if it went back up tomorrow it wouldn't suddenly disappear, no matter what cloud cuckoo land ideas Billy Hutchinson might be trying to convince himself of. Take your concerns to the DUP, disrupt their lives and above all stop voting for them and stop welcoming a rabid monetarist like Nelson McCausland to your protests when his stated desire to copy the frankly evil policies of Iain Duncan Smith will only push those already in poverty further down instead of wasting all your energies on bigotry. And above all stop attempting to make poverty a sectarian issue and instead reach across the religious divide to the underprivileged of Ballymurphy, Turf Lodge and the rest of the republican sink estates instead of emphasising the constructed differences that your masters made to keep us all down in the first place. Or to put it in more simple language, fuck flags and fuck marches, stop being such lumpenproletariat idiots and then you might start to see poverty being tackled.

The whole "shared future" argument is a load of old bollocks, an attempt by Peter Robinson to neutralise the Irish unity argument by downplaying the sectarian aspects of the British dimension. Yet it's somewhat ironic that the loyalists, who, after all, are the ones who trumpet the importance of Britishness the loudest, are the only ones to vocally object whilst Sinn Fein continue to buy into the whole farce, despite the clear contradiction that a future cannot be shared by two communities who want diametrically opposed conclusions to their situations. On Saturday, once again, Loyal Peaceful Protesters will assert their ethnocentrist identity and I'm sure they'll live up to their name as the event will no doubt pass off peacefully as it is difficult to initiate clashes when you are completely unopposed.

Edmund Burke may have, for the most part, talked wall to wall crap but he was onto something when he opined "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Now, by no stretch of the imagination is McGuinness a good man but alas it seems that the few good men republicanism has left are happy to follow his lead in doing absolutely nothing in the face of rabid sectarian hatred. The bigotry and hatred is something you get used to - it's always been there and always will be. But when resistance dies what is left? Sickening.
keresaspa: (Henrietta emo)
When we examined the Twaddell Avenue protests recently you will remember that they included banners with the command "respect our culture" thereon. Leaving aside the benefits of occasional iconoclasm and the fact that not so long ago this, this, this and this could all be termed culture but are now thankfully condemned to the scrapheap where they belong the order was there - whatever we do is culture so love it or leave it.

In that case I presume the same courtesy must be extended to the other side. Apparently not:



Yup, a recently painted mural celebrating the league success for the traditionally republican Cliftonville club as well as their (non-existent) communist heritage is defaced with a dose of nakedly sectarian graffiti expressing fairly irrelevant disapproval for the pontificate of Francis I. So I suppose it's a case of "respect our culture but we reserve the right to crap on everybody else's". Good to know where you stand I suppose - special treatment for a chosen people and the Fenians must know their place as the second class citizens they once were. And I'll resist the temptation to end with some bitter rebuke to the concept of "shared future" as even I'm getting tired of that sign-off.

WATP

Oct. 14th, 2013 08:59 pm
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
For the past several weeks a loyalist bivouac has existed at Twaddell Avenue, a street that links the Crumlin Road to the Woodvale Road near the top of the Shankill. Twaddell and its encampment face the republican Ardoyne area which has been the sight of a number of controversies regarding loyalist marches recently. The Parades Commission has determined that triumphalist loyalist marches past the republican area are not acceptable, which seems perfectly reasonable, and the response has been to have a round the clock presence right in the faces of the Ardoyne residents, to remind that we are the people and this is our turf.





The Progressive Unionist Party showing plenty of progressive thinking there as usual. But I digress. Time was the Ardoyne yahoos would have been on that rubbish like a tom-tit on a horse-turd but the response now? Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. Just take a moment to drink that in. A naked display of extreme nationalism, hatred and provocation right in your face dressed up as civil rights (I'm not sure where it is an enshrined civil right to intimidate and threaten people with extreme right political marches glorifying UVF murderers but you can't expect logic from these idiots) and the response is nothing. I wouldn't mind but this is Ardoyne, an area that has always prided itself on its reputation for resistance and yet their response to this sort of provocation is to stand around like a bunch of gongoozlers. Hell, can you imagine if a republican flute band wanted to have a parade commemorating Lawrence Montgomery and Frankie Donnelly past the Woodvale? The UVF would have Ardoyne set alight before they could beat one tattoo out.

I passed this latter-day Blackshirt rally the other week and there was two old men in charge of it and today there was nobody and yet nothing was done, it was left untouched without a single hood going over and tearing stuff down or writing a bit of graffiti. Hell, even if they're prepared to tolerate such hatred then what is stopping them replying in kind by sticking a bunch of republican insignia on the Ardoyne shops facing Woodvale? Sauce for the goose and all that. But still nothing.

I was pretty surprised by the lack of response but not as amazed as I might have been as the grubby hand of Sinn Fein is clearly at work again. They know that if they show even the slightest bit of balls then their big money appointments in Stormont will go for a Burton and the green of the scrouse is all that Martin McGuinne$$ and his cronies care about these days. What is disappointing is that the republican people on the ground are happy to be cast in the role of helots who will happily accept anything thrown at them so long as their masters get their thirty pieces of silver from the Westminster overlords that they claim to oppose so much. As much as the loyalists are increasingly sickening me with their lurch to the extreme right I have to admit that they suit themselves no matter what the consequences for the unionist politicians. It's a real shame that the republicans are happy to live on their knees rather than treat their self-proclaimed masters with the same disregard. A proud tradition of defiance and a refusal to bend to masters lies in tatters today.
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Monkstown is one of the historic old townlands that make up of County Antrim and it is - along with Carnmoney, Glengormley, Jordanstown, Whiteabbey, Whitehouse and Whitewell - one of the seven villages formally merged in 1958 to form Newtownabbey, a new town on the outskirts of north Belfast that is now Northern Ireland's fourth largest settlement. Inevitably, what with Newtownabbey being, for the most part, solidly loyalist, there are a number of loyalist sink estates dotted around the area, but the place is probably best known for it's medium-light industrial estates (heavy industry is all but dead here now outside the shipyard and even that is only kept open to stop the UVF coming out in insurrection). Canadian telecom giants Nortel were formerly a big wheel in the area but the recession claimed them and their factory is now a memory. Despite this the Nortel social club continues to exist and their football club, formerly known as Standard Telephones & Cables, continue to function under the moniker Nortel FC. With Donegal Celtic kicking their heels on account of their previously documented failure to enter the Steel & Sons Cup it was to this area that I decided to decamp today, in order to watch the aforementioned Nortel face the might of Comber Rec in the Premier Division of the Amateur League.

My decision was informed by the good grace of the otherwise execrable Translink Metro bus service to bring back the £2 Saturday day ticket meaning that I could be spared the near nine mile hike and thus was free to explore the outer reaches of the Greater Belfast non-league scene. Nortel's Monkstown Avenue home is on the edge of Cloughfern, an area I don't know very well, so I had a right job finding the place, especially as the entrance to the ground was for no particular reason concealed from all view. In the end I was lucky to make it in time for kick-off, despite arriving fifteen minutes early. Mind you, that's pretty typical of this place as most football clubs, bar the very biggest, get very shoddy treatment from their local councils when it comes to grounds and I suppose Nortel should be thankful they have one at all.

NAFL rules demand that all intermediate teams must at least have a fence round their ground and that's about as far as Nortel have gone in terms of development. Still it didn't put the supporters off as a decent crowd turned up, including about twenty or thirty from Comber (pretty embarrassing given that last week, two leagues higher, I was one of only nine who made the short trip to support DC in a losing effort at nearby Distillery) and, for some reason, two separate and completely unrelated miniature schnauzers. The match itself was, rather surprisingly, a total belter. Less than five minutes in Comber had a penalty, a cheaply given-away affair in which the Comber man backed into the defender until he fell for it and put his arm across the Comber guy, allowing him to crumple as if hauled down. For all the good it did them though as the Nortel keeper saved it and it galvanised the team as they took a 2-0 lead, with their number 11 running riot down the flank to set up two goals for the number seven. Nortel dominated the first half and could have had a few more, missing a couple by inches and hitting the bar.

Comber came back after the break, helped by some duff refereeing, and were soon back in it with a well-taken goal. Then all hell broke loose. A strapping, bald and rather fat gentleman wore the number four shirt for Comber and had put in a good shift in defence when he suddenly lost the bap and took a swing at a short shaveling who had come on as a substitute for Nortel. Naughty boy received his deserved marching orders and the game became rather needlesome thereafter but ten man Comber refused to lie down and scored a second with a wonderfully struck free kick. The man advantage soon told though as the profligate Nortel had wave after wave of attack, finally bundling the winner in late on with what appeared to be an own goal by the Comber keeper. A couple more could have been added, including a strike that hit the post, but in the end 3-2 was to be it.

Monkstown Avenue is unquestionably a poor ground, even by the standards of the league, it's very difficult to approach and the whole industrial estate vibe is rather soul-destroying. But despite all this the football on display was a wonderful exhibition of blood and thunder enthusiasm and was as good a way as any to spend a fine autumnal day. And heck, DC could do worse than have a look at Nortel's number eleven whose passing was startlingly accurate for this level. DC's administrative screw ups were ludicrous and an embarrassment to the club but if all these off weeks can be filled up with football like this then I'll not really mind after all.
keresaspa: (Chaplin Modern Times)
As everybody knows Sinn Fein are a staunchly working class party and to prove that the current incumbent as Lord Mayor of Belfast is their man Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, a newspaper owner with extensive business interests in the United States and a former director of that stupendously well-run conglomerate Northern Ireland Water. As part of his duties in the sainted office of mayor Marty (let's dispense with all that Irishian crap, shall we) paid a visit to the newly reopened Woodvale Park, a bit of ground up the top of the Shankill that long-term readers will recall as a favourite haunt of my good self but which has been "improved" as part of the ongoing haussmannisation of this old town. However whilst there Marty, a representative of the political wing of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, got terribly upset after a bunch of loyalist protesters (pretty much a tautology these days) gave him a few wee slaps round the bap as part of their commitment to the values of their being only one queen, only one crown and not having Fenians in this town.

Well, forgive me for going against consensus, but hard cheese, Marty. I may disagree with the vast majority of ideas associated with loyalism but they hate republicanism and as far as I'm concerned all credit to them for demonstrating that. Millionaires like Marty and his head-buck cat McGuinness might be spouting a load of old crap about "shared futures" but as usual they're thinking of naught but their own money. The crisis in republicanism that has come about since Sinn Fein replaced the SDLP as the biggest pro-Paddy party may have emasculated republicans but the abject failure of political loyalism has meant the same thing has not been replicated on their side. Marty and his lads need to realise that there is a significant group here that detests them and no amount of brown-nosing Elizabeth Windsor or any other form of sell-out will change that.

As someone whose sympathies lie with true republicanism the most depressing thing is that if a bigot like, let's say, Nelson McCausland were to arrive on the Falls he would face little or no hostility. Hell, Nelson could probably roll up in his limo and hack up a phlegm ball onto the front door of St. Peter's and the locals would still tug the forelock. Within their hearts I know that a lot of grassroots republicans are very dissatisfied with the way things are here. The Assembly may have ensured a vastly improved standard of living for the elite within Sinn Fein and some of their favourites but it has done next to nothing for the virtually abandoned bedrock in places like Ballymurphy, Turf Lodge and Twinbrook where the reaction to unemployment, soaring suicide rates, child poverty and increasing alienation seems to have been a shrug of the shoulders. There is only so long people can survive on the fact that their self-described leaders have their snouts in the trough before they finally demand real change.

No, there'll be no condemnation of the loyalists on this one from me. Their anger should equally be directed towards their unionist masters but at least they have the guts to show their disaffection with the system at some level. The sooner the republican people on the ground remember where they left their balls and start making their own disaffection heard as well the better as far as I'm concerned.
keresaspa: (Chaplin Modern Times)
So, it has finally happened. The status anxiety mob, raised on a diet of "we are the people" and Protestant ascendancy on the one hand and knowing their place and serving their masters on the other, have finally decided to found their own extreme right majority supremacist party. I spoke at great length (to zero interest) about the Ulster People's Forum and their relationship to the extreme right so I'll not rake over old ground but I will point out two unusual quirks about the latest addition to right-wing extremism:

1. "Protestant Unionist Loyalists" might have been kept down by their masters in the mainstream unionist parties but do they really believe that the man to properly represent their interests is the millionaire Jim Dowson? As much as I loathed the lasted extreme right loyalist leader, George Seawright, at least he lived among them on the Shankill and had to make ends meet as a taxi driver rather than having umpteen businesses and money spinners on the go. I also wonder what the other "Protestant Unionist Loyalists" in the new party would make of his close relationship to the very very Catholic Justin Barrett? And if memory serves in his waste of trees "The National Way Forward" didn't he advocate the Republic of Ireland reclaiming a big chunk of Northern Ireland for their own? Doesn't sound very Unionist or Loyalist to me.

2. It's a good thing that their website states that they have "no political ambitions" because they have sod all chance of winning any power. The National Front and the BNP were both rejected out of hand so there is no desire for the extreme right and, despite the high profiles afforded to them by the media, the Progressive Unionist Party and especially the Ulster Democratic Party never made any real dent in the big two's support so there is clearly little to no desire for political loyalism either. Still at least it will allow Willie Frazer the chance to keep a close watch on activities and report back to his people *wink*.

And if PUL is what they now want to be called does that mean that William McGrath and John McKeague could legitimately be called PULPs? I'll leave you to work out what the second P stands for. It's shame Liam Adams isn't a PUL too, I suppose.
keresaspa: (Cartman)
My recent decision to prioritise Donegal Celtic over Cliftonville has proven to be a sensible one after today's shenanigans. For those who didn't catch the story those flag protest idiots, with the connivance of their friends in the filth, decided to picket Seaview with their phalanx of butcher's aprons despite the fact that Cliftonville were due to play Crusaders there in front of a sell-out crowd. When the cops tried to move them at the eleventh hour things turned ugly and the missiles came flowing, resulting in the supporters not being able to gain access to the ground and the match being cancelled. Sickening. I can recall in the mid 1990s during the fun and games that was the Drumcree protests Glentoran hoods stopping Reds supporters getting to the Oval for a semi-final and now the bigots have broken out the same technique because Cliftonville are a "Catholic" club. In an ideal world there would be repercussions but we know there won't be as it has been shown time and again that these knuckle-dragging bastards are above the British law and the republicans are too shit-scared to lay a finger on man-jack of them. So why was my decision to put DC first a wise one? Well, had I been in the Cliftonville end last Saturday I would have been caught up in the hype and bought a ticket for Seaview to watch the top-two clash but would have a done a tenner in the process as the game will presumably be rescheduled for midweek and getting buses out of the Shore Road at after ten following a Cliftonville match is a little too much of a walk on the wild side for your author.

But soft. Obviously my non-attendance at the Seaview débâcle indicates that I was up at Suffolk Road and a shock win against Ballinamallard was witnessed. Not so much a shock due to the result, as the Mallards have gone off the boil somewhat recently and so getting something from the game was always a distinct possibility, but the way the match played out. DC were frankly a pile of steaming horse crap from the word go, unable to string two passes together and giving away more fouls than Free Chicken Day at Murdoch's. Yet Ballinamallard were nothing special either and they struggled to do much in front of goal despite the odd bit of decent play and they also demonstrated a heartening inability to defend corners. This proved their undoing as it was from a rare corner that Ciaran Burns struck to score the only goal of the game and his first in green and white. Really I had thought that the corner had ceased to be efficacious somewhere around 1993 so kudos to the Mallards for going old school and reacting to one as if a meteor had just clipped the summit of nearby Divis Mountain. Backs to the wall stuff from thereon as seemingly every DC player got a yellow card, not least Paul Bradley who was sent off near the end, but in the end it a rare win was secured. Wins for fellow strugglers Distillery and Dungannon meant that it did nothing to alleviate relegation fears but admittedly anything less would have made the position significantly more discommodious.

So from a personal point of view today was a good one as I witnessed a rare triumph for DC but from a wider point of view today was a day that should (but won't) live in infamy as once again a group of narrow-minded, nationalistic bastards made life that little bit more unbearable for people by preventing them doing what they want to do, all in the name of a piece of cloth. If this place gets any more backwards John Miller Andrews will be let of Hell to take charge again. Shared future my arse!
keresaspa: (Karl Marx laughing)
I once used this little forum of mine to suggest that Jim Allister's baby, the Traditional Unionist Voice, could be considered a fascist party. I was being flippant of course as it is at best a High Tory throwback and at worst an extreme right vanity project but either way it falls some distance short of fascism. Recently however I have got to thinking about how the current flag protest movement and its Ulster People's Forum directors relate to fascism and that proves to be a little less cut and dried.

As the establishment unionism and loyalism have always tended towards the right but whether they have ever produced true fascism (and I'm ignoring any nonsensical attempt to use the term fascism as a synonym for racism, dictatorship or "I don't like it") is highly debatable. If we assume fascism should be ultra-nationalist, radically populist, seek to build a mass movement and be desirous of palingenesis or a complete rebirth of society, then the closest fit seems to be the Ulster Vanguard. Of course when they were formed they were simply conservatives adopting the trappings of militarism and when William Craig had his brain fart and decided that his preferred solution was power-sharing with the SDLP they suddenly became the most moderate of the radical unionist parties (and forget the United Ulster Unionist Party splinter group, who were little more than a TUV forerunner) but during the period when they advocated the establishment of a hard-line independent "Ulster" and were seemingly prepared to advocate violence against any opposition they came as close to fascism as this place ever has seen.

But if we turn to the current movement it is clear that some, if not all, elements of fascism can be identified. The flag protest movement are possibly the most populist movement to emerge since partition and their rhetoric is increasingly been couched in a highly populist rejection of the existing politicians. Equally a rejection of liberal democracy, seen by the likes of Gentile and Payne (although less so myself, I must admit) as central to fascism, can be detected from the very basis of the initial protests given that the flag was removed from the City Hall due to a democratic vote and the rejection of that decision clearly represents a rejection of that process. Nationalism goes without saying. The assertion of group rights, the prominence of the flag, the insistence that some are members of the "group" (Ulster Protestants) and that there are "the other" who are without the group and therefore enemies are pretty much textbook examples of ultra-nationalism and really need no more discussion. Similarly the mass movement idea is self evident as the flag protests have been the ultimate social movement, seeking to get as many numbers as possible onto the streets and relying on the sheer force of human bodies for intimidation. Indeed involvement has been as important, if not more so, than ideology at levels not seen since the formation of the UDA or the Ulster Workers' Council strike.

Palingenesis is so far largely absent from official policy, such as it is, although at lower levels the virulent strains of anti-Catholicism that run through the membership hint at a desire for a Protestant state. In typical post-modern fashion, this has manifested itself in social network groups attached to the protests advocating the eradication of Catholics. Their apparently preferred constitutional arragnement of direct rule is a fairly non-radical solution although it remains to be seen whether or not this is Willie Frazer's personal opinion or that of the wider movement whilst a desire for a return to a mythical golden age can in itself be seen as palingenetic. The Italian Social Movement, one of the few post-war groups to ever self-identify as fascist and achieve mainstream levels of support, talked of nostalgia dell'avvenire in this context, a backwards look to the future.

Willie Frazer's former involvement in the Ulster Independence Movement, a group whose Ulster Patriot journal frequently featured the thoughts of Romanian fascist leader Codreanu (a favourite of former National Front organiser and UIM big cheese David Kerr), hints at past associations with a group that was at least tolerant of fascism and, whilst it is rather guilt by association, Frazer's prominent role in proceedings suggests that at least the Ulster People's Forum would not immediately recoil at the ideology. A case can be made for the UIM as a fascist movement in the manner of the Nick Griffin wing of the National Front and the International Third Position but I'll not go down that avenue here and now as it is not strictly relevant.

So far the protests have gone through two stages. The first was as a response to a leafleting campaign by the DUP aimed at whipping up opposition to the Alliance as part of their wider attempts to regain control of their bulwark East Belfast seat from that party for Peter Robinson. In this stage it was an old case of an arch conservative establishment figure trying to use latent extreme right sentiments to further their own ends. From Franz von Papen's disastrous attempts to use the Nazi Party to further his own career all the way down to David Cameron mobilising anti-European xenophobia in an attempt to extricate himself from an uncomfortable coalition that is as old as the hills. Somewhere along the line however the DUP lost control of the protests and they entered a new phase, one of bitter resentment, ethnic nationalism and populist right wing politics in which the initial stated aim of returning a piece of cloth to a building has been confused with the introduction of vague demands for social reform and explicit attacks on the minority community, effectively giving birth to an extreme right, but ideologically weak, protest movement whose demands seem increasingly diffuse and uncertain. Conspiracy theories abound with "big lie" propaganda helping to fuel bigotry by arguing that Catholics get all the good things despite the figures still showing unemployment as higher among the Catholic community than the Protestant community. When proletarian resentment, driven by the decline of the heavy industries that the Protestant working classes traditionally dominated, gets turned on an internal out group rather than the system itself we are clearly in right-wing extremism territory.

Politically they have been so far characterised by an immaturity that is perhaps inevitable given that of the leaders only Frazer has any political background and even that has been very much on the fringes. One need only look at the bizarre events of last week when Jamie Bryson announced that the Ulster People's Forum had severed their ties with Frazer only for them to announce a united front later that same day. Had there been the slightest bit of political maturity Fraser and Bryson would surely have conducted their tiff in private. On a wider level however the absence of this maturity has left them without any real ideology. In some ways many of their followers are comparable to the impoverished people who followed the Chartists in the nineteenth century, feeling that in their own mind there was an agenda for social reform even when the stated aims were clearly solely related to the organisation of government. The flag protest and Ulster People's Forum are as yet not a fascist movement as they haven't reached that stage yet and are still stuck in the wider extreme right mode of resentment and bitterness. It's highly possible that they might never exit that mode and indeed their overall basis is weak and conditional for, were there to be a capitulation and the flag was returned tomorrow, it seems likely that Fraser and Bryson would disappear into the background and the general loyalist population would return to their default position of blindly following the major unionist parties. Equally attempts by the Progressive Unionist Party to cash in on the protests by publicly taking a much more hard-line stance than usual seem unlikely to work as Bryson has shown no desire to become a member and Fraser has old associations with the UVF's bitter enemies in the LVF.

If Bryson and Fraser decide to go the whole hog and build a new mass loyalist party from what they have now Northern Ireland might well find itself with its first indigenous truly fascist movement a good 90 or so years after everywhere else but we aren't there yet (and even if we end up there, there are no guarantees it would excite any interest). Instead we have an extreme right protest movement full of people who are very angry about a lot of things, aren't sure just who to blame and so turn their anger on the people in their midst whom they define as being different to them. Not so much a local version of the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento as a local version of the English Defence League then.
keresaspa: (Snowman)
Snow. It's arrived don't you know. Actually it arrived first on Friday when I was roped into a shared taxi home and a mixture of the treacherous conditions, a big crash just up the road from me and a yet another series of protests by those flag-waving, bigoted, fascist, spidey loyalist fuckers (yes, I'm so sick of that shit that I have actually deployed one of my truly rare f-bombs) meant that the thing ended up costing a whopping twenty five quid and lasting over two hours for a 1.8 mile journey. Right royal rumpus and no mistake. Inevitably Saturday was washed out as all matches in Belfast bar Crusaders were called off but I didn't fancy battling my way through the protests to hit Seaview so I gave it a miss. The snow largely disappeared yesterday but now it has returned with a vengeance. Fortunately I was already ensconced in the old homestead by the time the real stuff hit (touched for a bit of sleet this afternoon, but nothing too major) so I can be altogether more appreciative of it. If it lies or keeps going tomorrow my mood will undoubtedly sour but for now I can appreciate its savage beauty.

You know what's coming by now )
keresaspa: (Tijuana toad)
I happened to come across a copy of yesterday's Daily Mirror whilst waiting for my most recent physiotherapy appointment today. Apparently on Friday between 6 and 7 PM we are to be treated to something called "Operation Standstill" where the queen's highways are to be blocked by hordes of angry flag wavers hell-bent on preventing anybody from going anywhere. Apparently the reason for this is because loyalists are sick of how they are being treated. Really? This place is being brought to a standstill because a majority of representatives that you helped to elect came to a decision within the rules of liberal democracy and you are the ones who are sick of how you are being treated. Well, everybody else is sick to the back teeth of you lot and the pointless disruption you are bringing but never mind as I suppose democracy means "give me what I want or else" in loyalist circles. Also noticed Peter Robinson is asking people not to attend protests any more. Too late now Robbo, like Ian Paisley before you you have climbed into bed with the paramilitaries to get them to do your bidding but unlike Paisley you don't know how to play them properly and they are now outside your control. It seems strange that Paisley has played no part whatsoever in all this. Happen he really is on death's door or maybe he is just that little bit shrewder than Robinson and decided not to get tangled up in the whole mess.

Elsewhere as part of these despicable protests about a piece of cloth it seems that one group of loyalists intends to protest in Dublin in a few Saturday's time. Good idea I suppose as a decision that can only be taken by Belfast City Council should have been protested in an unrelated city since the start. And who is behind this lark - why "victims rights protester" Willie Frazer of course, the who demands justice for "republican atrocities" whilst declaring his support for LVF leader Billy Wright. That's the LVF that killed 18 people, 13 of whom were civilians, and the same Billy Wright that was Brigadier of the Mid-Ulster UVF, one of the most active and notorious units of the Troubles.

It's interesting to wonder why someone who was a candidate for the late and unlamented Ulster Independence Movement even cares about a union jack flying when his membership of that party suggests that he wants to separate from the UK altogether and establish once and for all the legendary Protestant state for a Protestant people. Far be it from me to suggest that Willie just likes to cause trouble and draw attention to himself regardless of how much bullshit he is talking but the only other conclusion I can draw is that Willie's UIM membership was simply due to the fact that pro-LVF leaders like Clifford Peeples and Kenny McClinton dominated that worthless party in its death throes.

The last time WIllie took his merry band down to Dublin for a little bit of intimidation his then hobby horse "Love Ulster" got seven shades of shite knocked out of it by the local hoods. If there is still any cojones left down there the same thing needs to happen again, just so as finally some sense might be knocked in to Frazer's mixed-up head.

And whilst we are at it the flag is flying from City Hall today, apparently because it is the birthday of the fragrant and beatific Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and the Alliance insisted that this day be protected as a union jack day to pay homage to our new saviour. Good to see the republicans out protesting about such a shameful and triumphalist attack on their sensibilities. Oh.

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