What we have we hold! Not an inch! No surrender! No Pope here! No Catholic need apply! I wouldn’t have a Catholic about the place.
Some of the slogans and catch cries of unionism seem quaint and old fashioned nowadays. Relics of another age. And that’s only the printable ones. No doubt that sentiment exists yet but its public expression is on the wane. No longer politically correct. Even though the emotion may linger on. And not only in the TUV.
Some senior DUP members find it hard to come to terms with the new dispensation. They wander around Stormont like lost souls ever alert to the possibility that the young person sharing the lift with them or the queue for lunch might be a Sinn Féin staffer. Difficult to know who to be polite to or friendly with in this place. It’s easier to avoid the public face of Sinn Féin. But all the rest of them? That’s a different story.
That is why the DUP detest the TUV. Jim Allister says what some of them think. Even though they might not admit it nowadays. Not publicly at any rate.
Publicly all the talk is about unionist unity. Makes sense. I like unity. Good politics. Consensus building. Nil neart le chur le cheile. Unity is strength. Except when it is on a negative agenda. Like the Assembly on Monday. On Monday the DUP tabled a motion to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the disbanding of the B-Specials, without any sense of irony whatsoever, and the formation of the UDR. They were supported in this by the UUP. Unionism United.
But for what purpose?
For the purpose of revisionism.
This blog has no problem with any one celebrating the UDR or the B Specials. That’s their own business. As long as it is not in the chamber at the Assembly.
That is why I and others opposed their motion.
The B Specials were an armed wing of the old Unionist regime at Stormont.
Along with the RUC they were responsible for oppression and violence against nationalists over many decades in defence of that regime.
But I am very conscious that members and former members of these organisations and their relatives were killed by republicans.
So I tried to be measured in what I said.
Everyone should regret the fact that any one was killed. I certainly do.
At the same time there is no avoiding the shameful record of the B Specials or the fact that it had to be disbanded by the British Government in 1970.
The UDR had a similar history. It also was scrapped.
The British Government of the day made no bones about what these organisations were for. They armed the unionists to defend the union and partition, and equipped them with all the weapons of coercion, sectarianism and terrorism to do this.
So too with the UDR. When the British establishment felt the need to protect their mainstream regiments they recruited more expendable local and indigenous people to do their work for them.
They founded the UDR as part of their Ulsterisation strategy.
I can understand why some people joined these organisations, and I have no doubt that some of them may have behaved bravely in the conduct of their duties.
However it is my strong view that these organisations and their members were used by sinister elements in the political and military elites here for their own narrow ends. And when they had served their purpose the British Government, as expedient as always, got rid of them. Just like that!
Even a brief glimpse at the history of the UDR or the Specials would satisfy all but the most jaundiced eye that these forces were entirely subversive.
The history of the UDR in particular is replete with accounts of its involvement directly in the murder of Catholics, and indirectly in the murder of hundreds more through collusion with unionist death squads.
In many cases files and photos of nationalists and republicans were passed over to unionist death squads, frequently from within the UDR.
It’s over 40 years since Terence O Neill told us that ‘Ulster is at a cross roads’. If Monday’s debate is to be heeded it appears that elements of political unionism are there still.
Thankfully most everyone else has moved on. If the DUP backwoods men doubt that, maybe they should ask Jim Alister.