Current Affairs Politics

UUP Lord Kilclooney Attacks Leo Varadkar With “Typical Indian” Jibe

For over thirty years, the Monaghan-born politician John Taylor, who sits as Lord Kilclooney in the upper house of the British parliament, was a central figure in the unionist politics of “Northern Ireland”, the United Kingdom’s last scrap of colonial territory on the island of Ireland. During his long career in the Ulster Unionist Party he gained infamy as a senior member of the one-party regime at Stormont during the final bloody years of its existence, before becoming the deputy leader of the ousted organisation, representing it in the House of Commons and the European Parliament during the 1980s and beyond (in the latter legislature he was aligned with the short-lived Group of the European Right, founded by the explicit fascists of the French National Front and the Italian Social Movement).

For most Irish people, north and south, he is indelibly associated with the McGurk’s Bar Massacre of 1971, when pro-UK or loyalist terrorists allied to the British Army* bombed a pub in Belfast, killing fifteen civilians, including two children. The then Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs was one of those who spread the false story that the bombing was an “own goal” by the Irish Republican Army, a premature explosion taking the lives of its activists and supporters. Despite an official 2011 investigation into the historical atrocity dismissing the allegation, and uncovering the true sequence of events, the now retired representative continues to claim that the premises was a “drinking hole for IRA sympathisers”, outraging the bereaved as late as last year.

In recent times, John Taylor has become fixated with Leo Varadkar, the leader of Fine Gael and Taoiseach na hÉireann. In particular, the Dublin TD’s mixed parentage, Irish and Indian, has become a source of constant commentary and ridicule for the ex-UUP man. Again and again, through a new-found enthusiasm for Twitter, the British parliamentarian has fired racist barbs at Varadkar, obsessing over his perceived and innate cultural – or biological – failings. This has culminated in his most recent tweet, featured below, where the so-called Lord Kilclooney describes the Taoiseach as a “typical Indian” because of some imagined slight or act of “disrespect” against the pro-union minority on the island.

For those who understand the dog whistle chauvinist language of British unionism in Ireland, this is much more than an appeal to straightforward racial animus. It fits with the whole “south of the Border” rhetoric favoured by some unionist leaders and commentators. The occasional lapses into the apparently pejorative use of “Mexicans” to describe those who live outside the partition-frontier surrounding the UK-Occupied Six Counties. The lowly natives beyond the Northern Pale. Through such terminology, and his popularity, John Taylor illustrates the irredeemable nature of a strand of supremacist and ethno-sectarian unionism. It is beyond reform or reconstruction, an ideology that can be made no more civil – or civic – than one can mainstream or tame neo-fascism or alt-rightism.


*Note: The atrocity at McGurk’s Bar in December of 1971 was carried out by a gang from the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in Belfast, a terrorist grouping in the city closely linked to the Military Reaction Force (MRF). This was a secret British Army death squad which carried out numerous assassinations and drive-by shootings during the period. The MRF directed and armed the UVF bomb-team, clearing the way with the removal of checkpoints and patrols by the regular British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary; the counterinsurgency police.

14 comments on “UUP Lord Kilclooney Attacks Leo Varadkar With “Typical Indian” Jibe

  1. Breandán

    But Monaghan is in Ulster and it’s not British-ruled. Was he “ethnically-cleansed” ( as he might put it) out of it?


  2. Suppose the fact he was shot and hit 5 times by the Official IRA back in 1972 made him a wee bit angry? his is more of his home spun wisdom:
    “The distinction is to ensure that each individual in Northern Ireland is equal in life’s opportunities, whereas politically it means nationalism is a minority political force.”
    “nationalists were entitled to be involved in the administration of Northern Ireland but they had to “recognise they are a minority and can’t dictate terms”.
    “But when it comes to equality, which is the word used by Sinn Féin, they are a political minority in Northern Ireland.”


    • That is true, it was the OIRA. I recall when Taylor was regarded as a ‘moderate’ in the UUP, a distinction without meaning I sometimes think.


      • Some of his utterances in the 1960s and later in the 1980s don’t give much evidence of that. It’s like the press a few years ago claiming that Peter Robinson was on the cusp of winning small “u” Catholic voters with his careful garden centre Catholic outreach. That was almost immediately followed by Robinson setting the idea on fire. Outside of the APNI or some Greens moderation in elected political unionism is a rare thing. One could almost argue that the continuing dynamic of partition and the northern statelet makes it almost impossible from their perspective. What is “moderation” on the basic questions of nationality, citizenship, sovereignty, etc?


        • +1 I’ve never been convinced by the moderation argument – not that there aren’t moderates but they’re few enough


    • Judging by the press archives and histories of the period he was like this long before the Troubles.


  3. William Davidson

    At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious Lord Kilclooney isn’t a member of the U.U.P., he sits as a crossbencher and the current leader, former leader and other prominent members of the U.U.P. have condemned what he said about Leo Varadkar in the last few days


  4. Seán Mac Ḃloscaıḋ

    So messed up


  5. kerdasi amaq

    “Ulster will always remain British…but will Britain always be British?


  6. kerdasi amaq

    The reason that Britain has no future…



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