Over the last several months the political opponents of the Democratic Unionist Party have repeatedly criticised the grouping’s ever-closer ties with various British terrorist factions in the north-east of Ireland. In particular, the DUP’s public appearances with the Ulster Defence Association or its representatives, a banned militant group in the United Kingdom, have drawn much condemnation. In the view of some observers the party’s actions seem purposefully designed to attract the approval of hardline pro-UK voters in the disputed region. In the aftermath of last March’s shock performance by Sinn Féin and to a lesser extent the Social Democratic and Labour Party in the Stormont crisis election, pro-union sentiment has coalesced around the idea of communal unity. While the DUP and the competing Ulster Unionist Party have declined to stand candidates against each other in certain Westminster consistences, to maximise the unionist ballot, the former body has also reached out to the violent fringes of unionism.
Since the start of the year – and in the full glare of the press – senior representatives of the DUP have met with known members of the UDA across the Six Counties. They have visited organisations and buildings under its influence, including its Belfast “headquarters”, have leased constituency offices from its affiliates, have attended rallies and demonstrations with its leaders, and ensured that millions of euros in UK government funding continues to pass through its hands. As result of this cooperation the illegal terror faction has urged its activists and supporters to campaign for the Democratic Unionists, a call the party has pointedly refused to reject (indeed the weasel words of some DUP MPs on the subject have brought to mind Donald Trump’s dissembling in relation to support from so-called White Nationalist groupings or the KKK in the United States in 2016).
If the metropolitan press in London cared about the UK’s legacy colony on the island of Ireland, or Irish-British relations in general, all of the above would be a national scandal. Instead the focus of Britain’s media is on thirty year old historical links between the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the wartime Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin. A former insurgent movement which has been at peace with the United Kingdom for over two decades thanks to the negotiated Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Meanwhile the Ulster Defence Association is still at war, this time with its own community, shooting dead a man in County Down just last week (though this incident did not stop the DUP leader Arlene Foster meeting the former UDA boss Jackie McDonald within forty-eight hours of the murder).
A further step in the DUP’s pan-unionist electoral strategy seems to have been reached with the declaration by the Loyalist Communities Council, a front-organisation for the banned terrorists of the UDA, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando, urging block voting by pro-union supporters.
The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) urges every unionist and loyalist voter to ensure they turn out and vote for unionist candidates in the forthcoming general election. Sinn Fein, and the other anti-unionist parties are seeking to capitalise on the uncertainty created by the collapse of the Stormont Executive, and the impending Brexit negotiations to move Northern Ireland away from the United Kingdom. This will only succeed if unionists fail to register their votes for unionist candidates.
The LCC deplores the unwillingness of the main unionist parties to co-operate to maximise unionist representation at Westminster. In constituencies where there is a risk of losing a seat to republicans, we ask that unionists vote for the unionist candidate most likely to win that seat. In particular we offer the following guidance:
In Fermanagh South Tyrone we ask that every unionist votes for Tom Elliott
In North Belfast we ask that every unionist votes for Nigel Dodds
In East Belfast we ask that every unionist votes for Gavin Robinson
In South Belfast we ask that every unionist votes for Emma Pengelly
If there is a maximum turnout of the unionist electorate not only will three unionist seats be protected but a fourth (South Belfast) will be won back for Unionism.
The LCC particularly warns all unionists and loyalists against voting for Alliance Party candidates. Many unionists think they can retain their unionism yet vote for Alliance candidates. They are sorely mistaken in that belief. No party does more to undermine the Britishness of Northern Ireland, and foment community mistrust and division than the Alliance Party. Any unionist who votes for the Alliance Party is driving a nail into the coffin of the Union. This Party must be rejected at the polls by all unionists and loyalists.
The LCC will be continuing its efforts after the general election to encourage greater co-operation amongst unionists to ensure that unionist representation in Councils and in any future Assembly is maximised.
While newspapers across the water obsess over meetings between elected members of the Labour Party and Sinn Féin some three decades ago, in the UK’s overseas territory of “Northern Ireland” the majority pro-union party is publicly courting the support of an active terrorist organisation and its offshoots. Though one doubts that we will ever see the DUP’s Arlene Foster being repeatedly grilled on television the same way Jeremy Corbyn has been over the last year. As noted before, the Irish are condemned by the British for having “terrorists” whereas the British insist that they have “paramilitaries”. And that insistence shapes and influences all political – or electoral – reporting by the media in Britain. Now or in the past.
Is fíor é. Chuala mé ceannaire ó Chumann Cosanta Uladh á rá go tarcaisneach gurb í an ghaoth chéanna a shéid beatha istigh sa Pháirtí Aontachtach Daonlathach agus i gCumann Cosanta Uladh. Uaireanta, bhí na daoine céanna sa dhá eagraíocht.
An ghaoth áirithe a raibh sé ag tagairt di ná an foréigean agus na caismirtí a tharla ó 1970 ar aghaidh. Ní nach ionadh mar sin go bhfuil dlúthghaol eatarthu. Bhí an tuairim chéanna acu faoi cad a bhí ag tarlú agus conas freagra a thabhairt i gcoinne an méid a bhí ag tarlú.
It’s another example of the primacy of British/Unionist victimhood narrative that shapes almost ALL media coverage of the Irish conflict – in both Britain and Ireland. The Phoenix magazine recently noted that Orange Order bands are often little more than fronts for loyalist terrorist military drills – yet more evidence that loyalist terrorism is inextricably linked to the Unionist establishment – very much including groups like the Orange Order, the Black Preceptory, the Purple Arch and the Freemasons. That last connection goes a long way to explaining why so many organs of the southern media support Orangeist Unionism so strongly.
Never mind the policies – eh? At least that’s the LCC’s motto. I’m always struck by how difficult it has been for even a mildly moderate unionism, in terms of say slightly left of centre – it seems social democracy is just too far, to develop. It just never seems to happen (and Alliance’s soft-unionism is pretty well right of centre).
the problem is that “a mildly moderate Unionism” – however devoutly to be desired – is a contradiction in terms. There’s no way it can exist. The last 100 odd years have proven that
The PUP tried a more “socialist” approach but that didn’t work. Look at Sophie Long’s short career within working-class, left-of-centre unionism. The APNI is about as liberal as unionism gets and even that is of the middle-class garden centre variety. Sorta, Home Counties Tory lite.
I’m not sure that ideological unionism can develop a left-wing, as such. Irish nationalism, in classical terms, is inherently anti-colonial. So you can get and maintain/justify/root a left-wing spin (not discounting its opposite form, too). Unionism is inherently pro-colonial or colonial-apologist. That pushes it towards conservative or reactionary stances. More defensive than progressive.
Crude analysis, I know, but there is something to it.
Btw ASF I’ve noticed lately I can’t gain access to your blog using the Bing search engine – I have to go into Google to get it. When I type in An Sionnach Fionn on Bing lots of stuff about the blog comes up – but not the blog itself. Just thought I’d let you know.
Yeah, I know. Bing has never rated ASF high in its search results but it’s worse of late. I think there are sixty odd hits for ASF compared to 30,000 for Google. I have made the site as Bing-compatable as possible using all sorts of recommended trchniques but with no success. I’ve had other issues of late with other services, “coincidental” complaints across platforms in a single week and so on. Odd.
not so odd. really
The complaints were a pain the ass because they hit Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in a single week, leading to access issues, community guideline hits, etc. Sorted it out in the end except for YouTube. Probably just someone with a grudge hitting up the complaint buttons in one session. The Bing thing is odder, though poor referrals from it are to be expected given its lower profile to Google.
Thanks.You’re right – it’s definitely worse of late – I never used to have a problem reaching here via Bing. Maybe it’s a sign you’re rattling powerful cages…
I don’t see what the loyalists are worried about. All 4 main parties are basically unionist now anyway. ‘Nationalist’ SDLP MPs swear allegiance to the ‘queen’ and shinner MPs soon will as well.
Unionists must be really shaking in their boots that an anonymous bitter poster who goes by the name of “the Phoenix” spouts empty soundbites full of worthless bile on a Republican internet Forum slagging off all and sundry, especially those who destroyed the Orange terror statelet.
By the way, still waiting to hear the role you played in destroying the Orange statelet…….oh and spouting anonymous, endless, bile on an Internet Forum does not count.
British rule is as secure as ever thanks to your party. Unionists certainly aren’t shaking in their boots over the likes of yous. When you sell out everything you believe in you find you have no friends on either side.
Translates as :
” I played absolutely no part in destroying the Orange statelet.
I sat on my fanny instead and did absolutely nothing. However, I reserve the right to remain anonymous and spout endless, meaningless bile and direct my bitterness towards those who did destroy the Orange statelet.
I re-confirm I have absolutely nothing to offer – except mindless bile on an Internet Forum”.
You just offered nothing yourself,Turdo. If that is your real name.
“destroying the Orange statelet”
“those who did destroy the Orange statelet”
I don’t want to be accused of mindless bile too, but what do you mean by “destroy”?