The first GUEST POST by our new regular contributor Am Ghobsmacht



I sometimes wonder if the Siege of Derry was the worst thing that ever happened to the Ulster Protestants.

The modern day Protestant wonder solution to everything  (a WD40 for emergencies if you will) is to cry "no surrender", stubbornly dig his/her heels in and wait for the inevitable to happen.

Somehow though the inevitable didn't actually happen at Derry.

In fact, it all went the wrong way around:

They replaced an experienced and able commander (Lundy) with two not-so steely characters, Messrs Baker and Walker, who, just for the record, wanted to surrender the city too (never mentioned).

A relief force arrived from England, saw that it was a waste of time and after discussing the situation with Lundy buggered off to England again

Where the Jacobites went wrong: French siege engineer?
Somehow, a superior Jacobite force with French backing couldn't do what needed to be done despite Derry's vulnerability and squandered a golden opportunity.

On one hand, a great victory for the Ulster 'Protestants' but at the same time the start of a crippling legacy.

The solution to nearly every big obstacle since then has been the same; lock the gates and cry no surrender.


It was the case for keeping Ireland as part of the UK, they refused to countenance it as a mere dominion  (and less British too?) state such as New Zealand, Canada or Australia.
Now the Queen's head can be found on coins from these three countries, but no longer for Ireland.

Not an inch lead to "well, quite a lot actually".

Roll on the civil rights campaign. No surrender. The awful attempts at stifling reform gave rise to the Provos and its chaotic campaign.

The Anglo-Irish Agreement: "No Surrender!". Maggie says "tough titty!", happens anyway.

Drumcree: "We will walk this road". They still haven't walked that road

Flegger-geddon: "Our flag will fly again, 365". So far, that seems as likely as Gordon Brown becoming a Las Vegas star entertainer.

Twaddell: "We will walk this road!". Yeah, sure.

So on and so forth. And now with the Haass pow-wow in town there are a whole range of goodies for Unionists to shout 'no surrender' at and wonder why everything has gone wrong:

Unionism: "Learns from its mistakes...."


New Northern Ireland flag.

Advantages:
Removes all doubt regarding Northern Ireland's flag status
Gives Northern Irish sporting teams something (legitimate) to fly at events
Won't have the Loyalist connotations of the ulster flag
Will be more acceptable to potential Catholic unionists (or 'Catholics who vote for the status quo')
Will give Sinn Fein something to worry about (as in it could be a symptom of unionists catching themselves on. How scary!)

Disadvantages:
Will annoy fleggers
Is obviously part of a Sinn Fein plot to destabilise loyal Ulster and their objections are a cunning bluff, you fools...
New Northern Ireland Flag: Such a cunning republican plan that even republicans oppose it...
(from 'New Flag for Northern Ireland's' Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/newniflag  )


Designated Days Across Northern Ireland

Advantages:
Will stop unionists from looking like the knuckle-draggers in these talks
If successful will see the Union Flag flying where it hasn't flown for some time
Will bring the unionist councils in line with other British cities.

Disadvantages:
Will annoy fleggers
Being more like the rest of Britain will make us, erm, less British...?


Flying the Tricolour on state visits

Advantages:
We'll be like every other country than has the dignity and respect for other states

Disadvantages:
Will annoy fleggers

Respecting Flegs: One way street?


Show some respect, decency, sobriety and common sense at controversial parades

Advantages:
Will rob 'residents groups' of their ammo
Will stop the parades from being so intimidating
Will stop them (the aggressive minority of bandsmen) from looking like aggressive dicks every summer
Will adhere better to the Orange Order's Christian principles

Disadvantages:
Will annoy fleggers
Is an obvious ploy by Sinn Fein. We don't know why as aggressive parades help their cause and makes them look like the good guys but it must be a Sinn Fein ploy....

And the usual candidates that even Haass won't touch:

Moving the regional stadium to a neutral area, flying a new NI flag and playing a NI anthem

Advantages
Expands the current potential for support from just Protestant unionists to other people who live in Northern Ireland (whoever they maybe?)
Might actually qualify for a competition instead of being a journeyman of FIFA
More people may have pride in Northern Ireland football team instead of just half the country.

Disadvantages:
Will annoy the fleggers and the more vocal OWC types (some of whom may be fleggers...)


An Irish Language Act

Advantages
If unionists agree to it whilst they have a negotiating position they have the chance to tailor it to their liking (whatever that may be) e.g. perhaps add more of a Scottish flavour to it? Make it conditional that Sinn Fein cease the use of Irish in their literature? Demand Tayto be printed in Irish? I dunno, but they can do something.

When it eventually does get passed they'll have no say...

Disadvantages
It'll annoy fleggers
It'll please the fenians.
Pleasing the fenians will annoy the fleggers even more...

WHAT. THE. BLUE. BLAZES?!?!?!?!?!


Of course, the standard response from the 'leaders' of the Unionist camp is to say "no!" and expect to cling on with the whitest of knuckles until demographics forces their hand.
At which point they'll have no influence.


The unionist leadership seems absolutely oblivious to the fact that demographics is overtaking them.

King Cnut: Terrible orangeman...
King Cnut, the Viking King of England and (a fair whack of) Scandanavia knew he couldn't stop the tide from coming in.
He decided to prove it to his followers and let the sea come in about his feet and throne whilst he ordered it back.

The are no King Cnuts in the upper echelons of Unionism.

They seemingly think the tide will just 'stop'.

Just when they should be at their most dynamic and determined in terms of reform and reshaping Northern Ireland to make it a more appealing place to ALL of NI's citizens they instead listen to those who have entrenched themselves.

From a Darwinian point of view this is asking to be taken out of existence.


Unfortunately, a number of unionist leaders don't believe in Darwinian theory and as such even fear the word 'evolve' let alone implement some sort of evolution.

This is all the more shocking given the military tradition of the Ulster-Anglos. The upper crust of Ulster Anglican society have produced an incredible amount of military talent.

The top 5 British generals of WWII were of Ulster stock (and there were more besides).

General Sir Alan Brooke
Chief of Imperial General Staff
Churchill's Top General
One of the 'Fighting Brookes of Fermanagh'
Saw 'the bigger picture'
 Churchill's right hand man was one of the 'fighting Brooke's of Fermanagh'.

Not to mention officers like Blair 'Paddy' Mayne, soldier and hellraiser extraordinaire who was instrumental in the original SAS missions in North Africa.

The Ulster generals and officers were heavily involved in North Africa in WWII.

The front moved constantly, they didn't just pick a place, cry "no surrender!" and fight to the death and lose the ruddy war (well, maybe at Tobruk, but they did at least have the Royal Navy supplying them...).

No, they had to keep an eye on the bigger picture and accommodate it, regardless of how galling the short term moves may have been (e.g. withdrawing from parts of the front).

This shows that strategic vision isn't alien to the Ulster Unionist community but it has been severely lacking this past half century.

They have no 'end game' or refuse to believe that it will end.

Men like Alan-Brooke, Auchinleck, Dill, Montgomery, Alexander, Dorman-Smith* and Mayne saw an end game or at the very least adapted to the ever shifting circumstances of the war theatre.

They weren't stuck in 1688.

Alas, the same can't be said for their political successors. In a time where dynamics and change are required we instead see more walls, literally and metaphorically.

Nationalism and republicanism have time on their side, Unionism does not.

Governor Walker: A Lundy?!
 At least Governor Walker contemplated surrender (or 'change' in this context), Governor Robinson seemingly does not.

Having said that, Derry survived the siege, Northern Ireland on its current trajectory will not.

Thanks Pete...

















* Interesting chap Eric Dorman-Smith/Dorman-O'Gawen.
 A strategic visionary who was instrumental in the North African campaign.
He was also a Catholic Ulsterman and his disillusionment with the establishment led him to dabble with militant republicanism after the war.

For more info on him and Ulster's top military brass try this for size: http://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Irish-marshals-Patrick-Marrinan/dp/0948868023

Really, it's quite the eye-opener.















6 comments
GUEST BLOG by Ed Simpson (originally published here)

In his blog post for Loyalists Against Democracy, Brian John Spencer accuses me (and others like me, but I warrant a mention by name) of indulging and nurturing those who commit promiscuous violence. Quite an allegation. He bases this accusation, seemingly, on my criticism of some of the language and output from the LAD collective and their supporters. Accusing them of snobbery, Brian argues, is me trying to halt criticism of Loyalists and flag protesters. 

Brian, who has never met me and clearly knows little about me, has got it completely wrong. Loathe as I am to adopt a hipster tone, I was criticising Loyalists, and Jamie Bryson in particular before it was so fashionable and before Brian had probably even heard of Jamie Bryson. I stood for election against Jamie's party (and did very badly) so I'm not really sure that Brian's accusations of 'keeping quiet, saying nothing' are fair. What Brian doesn't appear to understand is that my objection isn't that LAD; Brian; and others criticise Loyalism - it's the way they criticise that I object to.

When the Flag Protests began last year I didn't hold back with my criticism, but was careful to make sure it was valid and based on the issues. I had countless online arguments with Jamie on his Facebook page (I'm not sure Jamie and I have ever agreed on anything) but I still felt perfectly safe when observing the protests and Jamie - and other Loyalists - were friendly and courteous. It's possible to be diametrically opposed to someone and their beliefs without dehumanising them in the way that LAD often does. 

You can - rightly - take a Loyalist to task for claiming that their culture is under sustained attack, or for claiming that they are being treated like Jews in 1930's Germany. You can mock Jamie for his continued assertion that the PSNI are little more than agents of the IRA. You can highlight the disgusting hypocrisy and dishonesty of the DUP who had no problem with Designated Days until they sensed it offered them an electoral opportunity. What you can't do (at least, not if you want to claim you're not a snob) is attack the traits and behaviours of people that have no relevance to the issue. There's no shortage of references to Buckfast on the LAD Facebook page. I've yet to hear someone tell me why that particular drink is so relevant to the debate.

I have issues with LAD's parody of Loyalism as it does seem to be rooted in superiority - their parodies almost always focus on poor spelling and grammar and a lack of understanding of the realities of the situation - but I am more concerned with the way that their facebook fans join in the parody and, often, take it up a level. This isn't considered criticism - it's just out and out pisstaking and mockery. So, when I offer up my concern at such pisstaking, it's not - as Brian believes - my effort to shut down criticism, it's my effort to try and prompt real, thought out, and constructive criticism. More criticism, please, if you will.

Another aspect of Brian's post that concerns me is that Brian seems to believe that he is leading the charge of the moderates - those poor souls who have previously been so voiceless but now have found their voice and want to make it heard. Sorry to inform you, Brian, but there has been no shortage of opportunity for moderates to make their voices heard and their votes counted and they have consistently chosen not to. It's not out of fear: it's out of complacency. Since 1998 things have generally been going pretty well for the moderates and they've been quite complacent to live relatively peaceful, prosperous and unaffected lives. 

Now though, things are different and the things that the moderates thought were resolved by the 'under the rug' approach have come back to upset the peace. Once again, moderates are starting to make some noise and demand this 'nonsense' is resolved. Lovely. I'm sure now we'll see massive and revolutionary (for NI, anyway) changes to social housing and education policy which will get to the root cause of these issues. Or maybe not. The fact that John O'Dowd and Edwin Poots, the two ministers responsible for education and housing aren't front and centre in this debate is telling. Where are the long term solutions? All I hear from Brian is 'wise up'. That would be nice, but I'm not sure it's really the basis for a policy. Brian needs to be careful that his march of the 'aggressive progressives' doesn't end up as just a group of people who don't really like another group of people. I don't hold out much hope though.

A commenter to Brian's last post made some excellent points about the use of language and it's use to either unite or divide people. I believe that we will make progress - real progress, not the kind Dr Haass is overseeing - when we unite our people to some common goals. I can't imagine anything less likely than wanting to unite with people who call me scum.
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GUEST BLOG by Brian John Spencer



















They make grand claims and wield arbitrary power over a moderate majority and you can do absolutely nothing about it. Nothing. You have to shut up and put up. Less you be a snob. Less you be seriously assaulted.

Upon this equation the progressive majority have long-time been silenced. They are the muzzled moderate. This is the worst kind of censorship: Self-censorship and prior-restraint. Silence is enforced by two means. First, by the charge of being a "snob". Second, by the use of fear and intimidation. Let's look at each in turn.

Firstly, being the "snob". This is the standard charge laid against myself and others who speak against the worst elements within loyalism. And it comes from two sources, liberals and loyalists.

You get it from liberals like Ed Simpson who err towards indulging and nurturing those who commit promiscuous violence. You can be accused of being snobbish, elitist or intolerant for simply saying criticising the most extreme within the working-classes.

History will surely judge this an abject failure. A failure on the part of liberals for their inability to stand by their principles and fight movements, which are sectarian, homophobic and racist. This “liberal formula” is an illiberal bar on free expression. This “liberal formula” is not a recipe for pluralism or multiculturalism. To the contrary, this formula is the exploitation of pluralism for use against this very concept. This is a victory for bigotry, the anti-plural and anti-multicultural.

Then you get it from loyalists like Jamie Bryson who want to whitewash their responsibility by smearing people like me as a "snob" and in one swipe render my view and my voice worthless. For as Newton Emerson said: "ever since the Good Friday Agreement, [snobbery] seems to be the only crime you can commit in Northern Ireland." Alex Massie spoke in equal terms here, that being offensive has become "the greatest sin imaginable."

Upon this first formula we must not hurt the feelings of the vandal. This is horrendous. This is what Christopher Hitchens calls "multicultural masochism". Upon this formula, the violent vandal has the whip-hand over the muzzled moderate, and you can say nothing.

Secondly, fear and intimidation as a means to shut out criticism and unwelcome views. The whole history of Northern Ireland has been of a very violent minority who racketeer, blackmail and extort the progressive moderate. By this equation, the whole history of Northern Ireland has been of the best leaving as social and economic emigrants, or staying and speaking out against deviants and feeling the heavy hand of intimidation and violent attack.

Think Edgar Graham. As Alex Kane said, "All we need to know, and remember, is that was killed because he was an enemy of all paramilitarism." Upon this second formula, the worst in society are beyond reproach. The best are hostage to news-talk and fear. This is abhorrent and a perversion.

What are we to do? Loyalists and other extremists are not beyond reproach. They do not hold a special privilege in society. There is no specialist branch of ethics known as loyalist exceptionalism. They have committed and continue to conduct unpardonable behaviour and must be held to account. For too long extremists have been long-nurtured, never checked. For too long we have bent the knee to madness for fear of being a “snob” and for fear of violence.

Having experienced the absolute absence of opportunity in Northern Ireland and felt the searing of indifference of politicians to that absence, I have made it my mission to speak boldly, openly and freely to call out hypocrisy, corruption and mismanagement wherever I see it. And this applies to loyalists and other extremists who hope, wish and intend to turn Northern Ireland into a bucket shop. I in turn hope, wish and intend their containment and call to account.

I want to utterly expose their absolute absence of ideas or alternatives. This means speaking plain English. It means calling a spade a spade. A violent vandal, a vandal. A racketeering gangster, a racketeering gangster. It also requires you to be provocative. As Peter Tatchell said, dismantling hidebound orthodoxies requires people to be contentious, disputatious, uncivil and even rude.


Change does not come by the moderate’s tradition of speech that is staid, dull and conformist and terrified of offending people. This is cowardly, shameful and masochistic. You cannot tolerate intolerant bigots and vandals. Those who play nicey-nice and stand indifferent are approvers, colluders and sustainers of delinquency (albeit tacit).

The muzzled moderate needs to become the unmuzzled-muscular-moderate. The aggressive progressive. They need to abandon their habit of neutered speech, cleansed of anything even slightly contentious, colourful or offensive. As Tom Hickey said here, the young and the moderates need to adopt the skills of contestation. As The Quilliam Foundation said in their policy document here, the moderate needs to adopt the doctrine of ‘civil intolerance’. 
“Ideas and ideologies that sow division, bigotry and hatred such as those that may eventually lead to terrorism should not and cannot be left unchallenged in our society. Here, a doctrine of ‘civil intolerance’ is encouraged.”
I’m on board with civil intolerance and contestation. I ask: are you with me?
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You may have heard about the golf shop in Belfast city centre that yon big middle aged fat bloke tried to set on fire with his handy dandy firebomb.  He kinda messed it up and set fire to himself before he bravely ran away like a human shooting star screaming "mammy mammy."

Well it turns out he is a well toasted member of that dissident group that no one can say the name of, ya know, the Eggnog Na Heron ah fuck it I'll just stick to the Scots Gaelic version of it Oogly Na Boogly .

They have released a statement saying how golf is the game of elitist, imperialist, British oppressors who dress funny and play a round with the boys and it's sooo boring.  Rory McIlroy should take note, it's all on him. He should play for Ireland instead of living in America, making loads of money and shagging hot chicks .... whats that about? 

They went on to say:

Other elitist games such as tennis and cricket are also legitimate targets and should beware, we are not afraid to fuck up your carpets in our struggle to gain name recognition ..... oh and a united Ireland, I nearly forgot that one. 

For the life of me I could never work out how killing yer own people could possibly achieve a united Ireland. Much like how rioting and being total pricks could never get yer fleg back, it will only get you mocked.

Old Knudsen did a little investigating and it turns out that the Oogly Na Boogly are getting money and experienced advice from terrorist sympathisers on the east coast of America.

A popular American terrorist trick is to fill a paper bag with dog shit, place it on the porch of yer target's hoose, set the bag on fire, ring the door bell and run. When the target answers the door and sees the flames they go to stamp it out thus setting off a foot plus dog shit chain reaction.

The money for the lighter fluid and the paper bag came through ok but the phone line was a bad connection.
Instead what the Oogly Na Boogly did was get a shit head and put a paper bag on his head and told him to set fire to it in a golf shop . Dissidents are not very intelligent people, a life on welfare or a job in politics are the only real life options open for them .... no wonder they are so angry. 

The people of Northern Ireland have a don't give a fuck attitude, we have the strength and courage of warrior poets of old and probably some Buckfast flowing in our veins, if we plan to go shopping or to go partying, the threat of a bomb or some fat bloke setting himself on fire will not deter us.
The Troubles did not break us, sure it made us paranoid, suspicious of all and incapable of love but it did not break us, nor will the fuck witted Fleggers or the pathetic Oogly Na Boogly.   


"Fear is for the weak, don't waste my time"  ~ Old Knudsen 

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Dear LAD,

I'm Northern Irish, I'm Irish, and I'm British, (Scoff at this if you will). I grew up in "Bandit Country", but I let myself arrive at my own conclusions with regards to politics. I arrived at the moderate “side”, wanting Northern Ireland to function as a normal place, however, the 15 years since the GFA have deepened my dissatisfaction. Sinn Féin and their “Don’t worry, eventually there will be a United Ireland stance”, The DUP and UUP (Can they be classed as separate political entities anymore?) with their staling rhetoric, homophobic, racist, and boldly sectarian outbursts have made me lose hope somewhat. It disappoints me to see a deep, trench-like divide in politics, instead of working for the good of NI, (or so they will claim) they frequently only seem to think of their votes, not voters or constituents, but votes.
Simply put, they cannot agree on anything. They cannot agree on a bridge. On a flag. On economic support for the less fortunate among us. On integration of education. On dealing with the past. The list goes on. 

Where is the next generation in all this? Where are their voices? They struggle to make themselves heard over chants of TIOFAIDH ÁR LÁ! And NO SURRENDER!

Inspiring young people like Hanna Nelson, who said in her speech upstaging Barack Obama, “As a 16 year old I don’t want to live in the past, I want to live for the past. I want to live in a country where it is not my religion that is important but my value as a person which is significant”; have their bold, impassioned and exciting sentiments praised by politicos like Peter Robinson, only to have them utterly forgotten about and ignored the next day by those same people.

Some vain hope is laid on the shoulders of the Alliance party, the SDLP, and new parties such as NI21. NI21 is an excellent example of how attitudes can change, perhaps more can in the future, but for now, these parties strain to project their ideas, or, indeed, take action. They remain as silent as the majority they represent. Again, heartbreaking for those among us who just want peace.

It seems to be a boorish and disgraceful cycle of bombs, bullets, rhetoric and incompetent leadership.

Can it change? Yes. Everything can be changed, if we try hard. If young people speak out, against the deadly cycle, and the sectarianism, break down barriers, and re-think our mentality. Only then, will we truly see change, and truly see human respect for everyone. I will not lower myself to saying “sides” as it makes me cringe.

Where are the silent majority? We want to hear you!

Yours sincerely,

A disheartened 15 year old. 
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Over the past year we have witnessed are British culture being chipped away and the proud Loyalist people of Ulster being prevented from displaying their heritage based on drink, flegs and oppressing Catholics.

Years from now, historians will see the connections that many 'tap' Loyalists already see with the way the Protestant community has been treated to how the Jews in 1930's Germany were treated.

Genocide I tell ya ..... well someone on the telly said it was genocide so it must be true, don't question just repeat it..... Thats are way.
How can you explain the 8,500+ protesters who weren't at the recent 30th November parade when 10,000 were expected?

Ach who to believe in all this he said she said business? Sure you could believe yer eyes when yer stuck in traffic on a cold dark night with with a group of drunken Spides holding flegs blocking yer way but that would be too easy.

After reading that the Protestant Coalition and former fleg activist Jamie Bryson had offered to meet with the faceless thugs of 'LAD' but got no response, Old Knudsen wondered, what are they trying to hide?

I went deep undercover and soon all the secrets of LAD were at my feet. Instead of just asking for money for some alleged tuck shap for prisoners, LAD gets you to send them money and in return they send you back high quality merchandise like t-shirts and mugs ..... Aye, yer a mug if you fall for that, sounds like something those traders of Belfast would do.

I met with LAD and it's flunkies at their secret headquarters on the Upper Malone road, we sat around drinking tae and re-enacting Monty Python sketches.    

It was clear that Old Knudsen was their bit of rough, only to be tolerated as long as he amused. When they started sacrificing chickens to Satan, Old Knudsen had to go .... a strange lot. 

How can anyone agree with LAD's wish for the people of Northern Ireland to live in peace with equality for all as long as it didn't involve the oppression of others?  What a crazy fucked up idea.

Respect, dignity and integrity .... we don't do none of that here!

Humiliating the working lower class Loyalist people of Northern Ireland as they disrupt traffic, offend everyone that isn't them, destroy town centres, attack police and try to ruin yet another holiday season is not cool, just as it isn't cool to mock the Dissies going around planting bombs and shooting at police meat wagons.    

No, hold on a minute I'm lost, damn this Flegger brand glue!  I shall now expose LAD as many others have failed to do.



 LAD is yer Ma! and she has a glass eye with a goldfish swimming in it.  



Anonymous has the last word here:


"Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others."      
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Swine-y Todd


Yesterday a blog was posted by a "Dublin musician" called Frankie Regan, explaining how he was so shocked by the sectarianism and bigotry on display on the LAD page, that he was moved to approach the distributor of our Christmas charity single and request its removal.

Take it away, Frankie...





So far, so funky. He's just a typical musician who jams with his friends before checking out chart positions of his other muso friends. Groovy.

LAD have a confession to make: We found it very hard to believe that anybody under the age of 55 would write such a toe-curling, embarrassing opening paragraph. Still, maybe the Dublin music scene is full of 25 year old hipsters who like to act like they're middle-aged advertising execs with no idea how to write something that sounds vaguely human.

On we pressed...



Like he said, he's a singer/songwriter from Dublin. He really thought we in the "Grim North" had moved on, but like he says, he has few friends from here.

So incensed was young Funkmeister Frankie by the deeply offensive and sectarian nature of the lyrics in 'Last December' he decided to dig deeper...





Still no mention of the fact that this was a charity single, with 100% of the proceeds going towards those in need. Regardless, our brave singer/songwriting hero from Dublin decided to press on, for the benefit of all the other musicians whom he hangs with, laying down phat tunes and recording them on their iPad minis, just like in the advert...





There then follows an IRC chat with the distributors that he prints in full (yeah, we read it so that you don't have to). The result was this email and a triumphant sign off by people's champion, Frankie Regan...




Note the emphasis that this was not a loyalist campaign, but a fightback by the public, presumably both north and south of the border, who are sick of LAD's behaviour and charitable endeavours. We particularly loved the Sláinte sign off (complete with missing fada). Cos that's what they do south of the border to avoid being mistaken for those dorty nordies you know.


 And now, the truth.


You may have guessed this already, but we're not convinced that this horseshit was written by a young Dublin singer/songwriter, principally because most of the images belong to someone called David Todd. This piqued our interest, as a man of the same name had recently posted comments on Facebook and Twitter about our page, and specifically our charity single. This David Todd is not a singer/songwriter from Dublin, in fact he's a middle-aged man who lives only 160 miles from Dublin, near Coleraine.

How do we know this? Cos "Frankie" left little clues sprinkled all round his piece. And thanks to some eagle-eyed friends of LAD, we were able to piece together the evidence.

His Amazon screenshot for example, has his first name helpfully still in the frame, along the top of the page...




He also uses identical screenshots to the ones he uses on the LAD Exposed page (by the way lads, still waiting for the exposure)...






And in case there was any doubt, we were able to uncover the creator of the screenshot of the record company's email. Thankfully Davy likes high quality images that retain the "artist" data...





So who is he?

Funnily enough old Dave was emailing us last weekend a tad miffed that he thought we had removed some of his no-doubt fascinating and insightful musings from the LAD page.




He forgot 'false witness', but maybe he ran out of room.  He also seems to be pretty keen on taking pictures of the bawnds. This is from his Flickr account...





And here's his opinion on Covenant Day...





So he's definitely not a loyalist then. We have one question: how did Frankie Regan end up with a load of David Todd's images in his blog?

Well, we're pretty certain Frankie doesn't exist, but we'll leave it at that and consider the matter closed.

Sláinte,


LAD
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Fellow anti-democrats of the most loyal and British Province of Ulster, join us in raising your flegs (sorry, nat that one) and a bottle of Bucky to LAD, which celebrates its 1st birthday today.

Born out of lawlessness and thuggery, raised on frustration and stupidity, LAD has had a bumpy first year, filled with many ups and downs.  There have been many pointless spats and arguments over the last 12 months, and on reflection, LADmins were mindful of the George Carlin quote,


 "Never argue with an idiot.  They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience."

With those words in mind and having read a recent blog on Slugger O'Toole by Alan in Belfast (and associated comments) LAD realise that too much time is being wasted getting bogged down among the idiots while the bigger picture is being overlooked.  We're grateful to Alan for writing such a balanced piece and also for providing us with something of an epiphany.  In becoming embroiled with meaningless gibberish, LAD has been dragged off piste, forgetting how to have fun in the process.

LAD plan to change that!

Thousands of LADs are now involved, directly or indirectly via social media and it is this involvement that helps make LAD so successful.  We fully intend to continue providing an environment in which the normal, embarrassed majority can use wit, humour, and intelligence to face down the lunatic fringes from both sides of the divide, however, no more will we engage in petty or insidious arguments and to that end, we will be having something of a cull to remove those insignificant individuals who seek purely to annoy in the hope of gaining publicity and who persistently aim to cause friction. In short, we're going to have fun again!


So, if you find yourself still able to access our Twitter in half an hour, congratulations, we consider you a worthwhile member of the community.  For those of who do get blocked, we say "so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu."

Are only crime is LOLaty

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*** UPDATED 07/12/2013 09:30 ***

We have been contacted by several people who have informed us that the woman originally named in this post has blogged to say that she has received an abusive Facebook message in response to our post. This was not our intent and we want to make it clear that we wish nobody to contact this woman with any further abuse. Northern Ireland's history shows that tit-for-tat solves nothing.

In the interest of drawing a line under things and focussing on the positive aspect of the charity work we've set out to do, we've removed the post that was originally here.

We want to make it clear that we stand by EVERYTHING we said in the post and can prove all of our claims. We feel however our story has been told and that the existence of the post would serve no other purpose than to feed negativity.

We will not be bullied by anyone, and the response to our original post proved that the LAD community are a determined bunch who will never let ignorant bullies win.


Here's the synopsis of events:

We announced that the charity we would be donating proceeds from our Christmas single to would be SOS Bus NI and began heavily promoted this heavily on social media.

One lady questioned our motives and integrity and penned a poisonous blog post (which was subsequently removed).

We received word from SOS Bus that they had received abuse from numerous people based on this blog post and as such felt it would put the charity at risk to accept the donation from us.

We posted the article that was originally here telling the full story and encouraged anyone who wanted to make a donation to SOS to do so directly at their JustGiving page. What happened next is incredible. Hundreds of pounds of donations flooded in within minutes of the post going live. We have saved as many donation notes as possible from JustGiving and posted them below. Apologies if yours isn't there, The JustGiving site only displays four at a time and the donations were being made so quickly that we may have missed a few! Apologies if we've included the same screenshot twice - it was difficult to gather them all together :)

We were incredibly moved by your generosity and helped turn a negative situation into an incredibly positive one.


Moving forward, we will be still be selling the single and raising money for a charity, however to protect the charity we will not be publicly disclosing who we donate to. We will make ever effort to have the donation witnessed and notarised by either the press or a public figure (or both) when the time comes.






12 comments

GUEST POST

This post was originally published here and used with kind permission


2013 has been a bad year for the poor citizens of Northern Ireland. First we had the loyalist ‘fleg’ protestors wrecking the place because Belfast was now as British as Sheffield and then, like a spide discovering a forgotten Buckfast stash, going on a second bender when their right to practise a culture of loud triumphalism was impinged.

From this smog emerged the likes of seasoned shit-stirrer Willie Frazer, shrill know-nothing Jamie Bryson and shady far-right blow-in Jim Dowson and his ‘non-political’ political shakedown/party. Refreshingly, most people have no idea who these morons are. Until they have their weekend shopping or trip to the hospital disturbed by the latest loyalist tantrum that is.

To those more in tune with the online echo chamber from which these characters draw strength, and an over-inflated sense of self-worth, the danger their views - if not their persons - pose to the prosperity of Northern Ireland is plain to see.

Forget the tabloid tales of Bryson’s alleged working patterns, the agenda for which he appears to have appointed himself spokesman is the most unashamedly divisive and prehistoric since the days of Paisley Sr.
Using fairly basic coded language - whether by design or otherwise - he speaks to a grassroots outlook which views nationalists and republicans as one and the same, Catholics as lesser beings and all three as completely lacking in relevance within the context of Northern Ireland. It is this well of bubbling resentment which fuels the continued loyalist demonstrations advocating civil and human rights that not a single one of them has lost.

One need only listen to the flailing paranoia exhibited by Caroline from Lisburn on Radio Ulster today. Don’t switch off before east Belfast bloviator Jim Wilson starts invoking Nazi Germany. It’s almost beyond belief. But not quite.

Comparisons between Nazi Germany, North Korea and Northern Ireland are vile
Whether it is dismissing Sinn Féin’s hefty electoral mandate or sulking about their participation in the democratic process, all while peddling hazy conspiracies, Bryson is nothing but a fringe figure. His voice, unfortunately, is a very loud one. He is what passes for a leader of this incredibly angry protest ‘movement’ and therefore it is he to whom the media turns when attempting to divine the reasons for such discord. Not even the PUP, a party presumed to have its finger on the pulse of working-class Protestant communities, appears to possess any detailed knowledge about why loyalists continue to take to the streets.

Bryson’s newest grift, a preposterous plan to picket those respectable businesses apparently crazy enough to sponsor the GAA (an institution with over a million devoted followers), is straight out of hardline unionism’s golden years. This is not the first time that the GAA has been erroneously christened “a terrorist organisation”, nor will it be the last. Yet this latest slander, along with the wider disrespect shown last week to the departed Fr. Alec Reid - a man who begged for the lives of those murdered soldiers before administering to them some measure of Christian dignity - represents an insidious attempt to whittle away at the legitimacy of everyday entities (however disparate) important to Catholics in the North.

Irish News November 28th 2013
Past failures at the polls notwithstanding, Bryson and his cohorts appear to be speaking for rank and file loyalists. Until more sensible views prevail to overshadow this nonsense the public perception of loyalism as an ignorant and hate-filled ideology will continue.

Given Northern Ireland’s small size, it is the curse of the country’s normal, appalled majority that it is forced to live in close proximity to this kind of dangerous cross-community stupidity. Indeed, the green side of the divide is just as willing to offer up its own version of disruptive political grandstanding, albeit in a far more sinister guise.

The loyalist fondness for pointing at dissident activity as indicative of mainstream republicanism is both cynical and ridiculous. These splinter groups have existed for many years and their occasional actions are a sad fact of life here.

The recent upswing, however, is worrying. It is also irritating given that their public support is probably commensurate with their numbers: tiny. Civilised society has moved on from a time when republicans were blowing the shit of this place and none of us wish to go back. The dissidents, maddeningly, don’t seem to give a toss and so, once more, we have car bombs in Belfast, suspicious objects on the border and police checkpoints. So far so 1985.

Dissidents are not the same as the ‘fleg’ protestors. They are much, much worse. For the all the loyalists’ cringe-worthy gibbering, they are essentially exercising their lawful and democratic right to assemble and to protest. They may be subject to legal restrictions (which they routinely flout) and their motivations are almost wholly without merit but at its core none of this comes close to the dark criminality of hijacking civilians and planting bombs in their cars. Yet it is in the gleefully unrepentant determination to cause maximum destruction, chaos and even injury that the two groups conflate. And it is of this naive attitude to incendiary rhetoric and casual acts of violent disorder that the general populace truly despairs.
On the one hand you have Jamie Bryson et al looking back on the madness of the Troubles as if they were halcyon days. Bryson’s romantic notions about loyalist paramilitaries are particularly laughable. They suggest a startling level of ignorance when it comes to recalling the horrors of much of Northern Ireland’s past.
Dissident republicans also seem determined to drag us all back to a time best forgotten. Like rowdy distant cousins, they wish to re-fight a family dispute long settled though still raw. It doesn’t matter how much ‘community activism’ they undertake in Catholic areas, nor how poetic their latest handles are (‘Óglaigh na hÉireann’? Yeah, super), the fact remains that they are despised by almost every person with a functioning moral compass.

None of this is to suggest that ordinary people are completely divorced from the things these fools presume to protect. There are Orange men out there who are able to sleep through the night without worrying about marches being halted at the Ardoyne shops. Many a unionist is able to survive quite happily without the Union flag flying from atop Belfast City Hall.

Nationalists too may celebrate their cultural identity free of any desire to bomb a building or kill a police officer. Republicans have embraced politics without any ill effects. The world continues to turn.
For everybody else, there are simply more important things to worry about, concerns not exactly aided by a Stormont executive fixed on catering to our divided political back-and-forth. We are, nevertheless, fortunate to live in a country where institutions are bending over backwards to ensure equality and parity of esteem.

We do not need loyalist protests reclaiming fictional human and civil rights. We do not want a small band of disaffected republicans attempting to blow up shopping centres. Northern Ireland is a place populated by decent, honest, intelligent and hard-working people who are unafraid of the world beyond the ends of their streets. They wish, perhaps above most things, to be left alone to enjoy it.

To the idiots and nutters, extremists and terrorists, please feel free to leave.

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It has been a while since we announced the official charity partner for our Christmas single. Unfortunately circumstances beyond our control mean that we will no longer be raising funds for the Northern Ireland’s Children To Lapland Trust.

We have withheld making this announcement until we were able to secure a new charity partner. We are delighted to be able to announce a charity that we feel incredibly passionate about - SOS Bus NI



SOS Bus NI is a volunteer centred charity that is making a real difference to children, young people and adults on the streets of Belfast. It offers a unique mobile mini bus service that can be located wherever it is needed.  Trained volunteers and medical staff operate from specially designed and equipped vehicles deploying satellite foot and mobile patrols to extended areas of need.  This ensures that professional caring services are delivered to the vulnerable in times of crisis when required.  SOS Bus NI believes in partnerships and works with other voluntary organisations, the emergency services and statutory bodies to create a safer place for everyone.  It is committed to growing and delivering this help wherever it is needed.

SOS Bus NI provide an invaluable service to the homeless, victims of crime, suicidal people, people who have over indulged in alcohol and/or drugs as well as acting as first responders to injured persons.

Having witnessed the incredible work they do first-hand, LAD are delighted introduce SOS Bus NI as our official charity partner and look forward to raising as much money as possible to assist with their fantastic work.


You can find out more about the amazing work SOS Bus NI do on a daily basis at the following links:
http://www.sosbusni.com
https://www.facebook.com/SOSBUSNI
https://twitter.com/sosbusNI
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Sunday Life - December 1st 2013

If you have just discovered LAD via the Sunday Life we thought we'd give an update on where we are now and all the places you can keep up to date with LAD:


FACEBOOK


Despite multiple attempts to get rid of us we are back and bigger than ever on Facebook with over 10,000 likes and a 'reach' of over a quarter of a million people. We're like a bad cold that won't go away. Our current page has been active for just over 6 weeks now.

https://www.facebook.com/BELFASTLAD



TUMBLR


We've recently signed up to Tumblr and you can get your LAD fix there too.

http://ladbelfast.tumblr.com/




TWITTER


The LAD Twitter is going from strength to strength with nearly 7,000 followers. We even got tweet of the week on The View!

https://twitter.com/LADFLEG






YOUTUBE


We've just passed the 1,000 subscriber mark on Youtube. If you're not already subscribed make sure you do as we've big things planned!


http://www.youtube.com/SuperLADtube

Coming Soon: The LAD Christmas Song

Our charity Christmas single will be released on Sunday 8th December and will be available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and We7. The song is a cover of Wham's Last Christmas and is full of fleggy goodness.
LAD Christmas Single: Last December by Paramilitary Wives - released Sunday 8th December 2013
0 comments

GUEST POST


This post has been written by regular contributor Brian John Spencer



Let’s get this very straight. There is no absolute and unabridged right to protest. People like Simon Hamilton who say there is an "absolute right", are very wrong. Yes the land is planted thick with laws which protect our liberty. However, protections also exist that limit liberty, in the event and only in the event, that a person's use of freedom infringes the liberty of other persons.

In a Northern Ireland rapidly advancing in civilization, the whole history of the flags protests has been one of anti-civilisation; of gratuitous and promiscuous violence and vandalism. Of the anti-civilisationists acting to deprive and limit the rights of those who wish to live in civilization with liberty, peace, safety and prosperity. Protest and march after march, loyalists have shown themselves pathologically incapable of marching peaceably or in a manner that is open, decent or even remotely family-friendly.

As Visit Belfast found out from some very unfortunate tourists, it's been the consummate jungle and booze filled circus. (And let's come back to that matter in a later day, that the 12th has degenerated into a festival of piss (preface here).)

And on this matter the precedent has been set: loyalist protesters exercise their liberty at the expense of society's liberty. This cannot stand. We cannot tolerate this. Their violent experiment has been tried and they will continue it upon us at the expense of our liberty. 

On these grounds, I can present the argument that these marches should be heavily restricted in way that is in accordance with the law, and in a way that is neither an indiscriminate or disproportionate restriction on a person’s right to protest. 

Here's the European law:
Article 11 – Freedom of assembly and association 
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. 
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State. 
By virtue of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights you possess the liberty to protest by holding meetings and demonstrations with other people.

By virtue of Article 11 you possess the responsibility to act peacefully and without violence or threat of violence.

On the balance of rights and responsibilities, the right to protest may be restricted provided such interference has a proper legal basis, is necessary in a democratic society and pursues one of the following recognized and legitimate aims:
– National security
– Public safety
– The prevention of disorder or crime
– The protection of health or morals
– The protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Any interference in the Article 11 right must not only be justifiable, but necessary. 

Here's domestic law:

There are a number of legislative provisions which allow the restriction or prosecution of public protest. Provisions such as offences under the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, the Protection from Harassment (Northern Ireland)Order 1997, the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Anti-social Behaviour Act2003

In the event of breaching the terms of any parade set by the Parades Commission, this is a crime under the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.

In the event that a person incites another person to disobey a Parades Commission ruling, that person can be charged with inciting a breach of a ruling as a specific offence under the Public Order Act.

The argument:

Now, I submit myself to my honest and honorable readers: Do loyalists march peacefully, without violence or threat of violence? Do they compromise our national security? Do they compromise public safety? Do they promote disorder and crime? Do they pervert the freedoms of others? Do they unleash fear and uncertainty writ large across the whole of Belfast?



I take leave to submit that Loyalists have consistently violated every single one of these elementary duties they owe towards their fellow citizen. Newton Emerson agreed. He said in the Sunday Times here that "Flag protesters have rode roughshod over all these concerns and it is irresponsible to indulge any notion of their “right” to do so."

By that fact, the simple case should be made that this coming march should be heavily restricted if not banned.

By the Loyalist precedent for violence, I suggest that there is an imminent likelihood that Saturday's peace and prosperity will be breached. On the balance of liberties, I submit that Loyalist protesters will hold sway over the city and hold much of civic society hostage by their delinquency.

Because of our indulgence of them, Loyalism has constructed a hideous mentality of Loyalist exceptionalism. That they can act with impunity and that they’re immune from the laws we must subscribe to. Call them out and you get more rioting. Call them out and you get accused of police brutality. This is a hideous distortion.

They have also constructed some disgusting grievance culture. That they have it hard in a way unlike any one else. Catholics and nationalists have it hard. Moderate loyalists and unionists have it hard. These are challenging times for us all. You would think that beyond the walls of loyalism lies a utopia. This is babyish babble.

Now ladies and gentlemen, what are we to do? I suggest we take a stand and offer a modicum of civic opposition. Loyalism wields arbitrary power over a civil majority in Northern Ireland. They make grand, abstract claims. No power can exist unchecked. Grand claims cannot go out unopposed.

They can have their protest this week. But I suggest something changes. Friends, I beseech you. They will repeat their foul experiment upon us. As long as we let them. Stop appeasing this horrendous nonsense. It's time to stand up and oppose these squalid little bigots who masquerade themselves as civil rights protesters and call them out for what they are: uncivil shites. Use the law as it exists. Lodge complaints. Campaign against this shower of loyalist incontinence.
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Irish News November 26th 2013
Back in August a group known as Loyal Peaceful Protesters submitted an application to the Parades Commission for a parade on September 21st 2013 from Belfast City Hall to Woodvale, setting off at 2.00 p.m.

September 21st 2013 Application
The Parades Commission permitted the parade but stipulated that it should leave Belfast City Hall no later than 12.30 p.m. and be clear of Royal Avenue by 1.00 p.m.

Parades Commission determination on September 21st 2013 parade
In the event the organisers decided to ignore the Parades Commission determination and actually left the City Hall at approx 1.30 p.m. and made it's way down North Street shortly before 2.00 p.m. 

UTV News report on September 21st 2013 Parade

In the lead up to the parade rumours began circulating on Facebook that a deal had been done with the PSNI to facilitate the original parade time that had been applied for.

We did not believe these rumours and the PSNI were very visible on the day itself in telling those involved that the parade was 'unlawful'.

September 21st 2013 PSNI Warnings

We published a blog to this effect on September 23rd 2013.

TURNS OUT WE WERE WRONG - kind of

We contacted the PSNI regarding the allegations of  'secret deals' and received this reply:

PSNI reply to LAD query on late start time of September 21st 2013 parade

So while the late start time was indeed unlawful, the PSNI had informed the organisers they would not attempt to prevent a later start time, intent on minimising the likelihood of "harm, injury and disorder."

Which is fair enough.

This weekend the same organisers have applied for another "civil rights" parade in Belfast City Centre on Saturday November 30th - one of the busiest pre-Christmas shopping days and incredibly important for local traders.

November 30th 2013 application

Yet again the Parades Commission have placed certain restrictions on the parade, stating that it must leave Belfast City Hall by 12 noon and be clear of Royal Avenue by 12.30 p.m.

Parades Commission determination on November 30th 2013 parade
However, once again it seems that the organisers are sticking by their original plans and encouraging people to attend as originally planned. 

Ignoring the Parades Commission
In addition to Facebook posts, flyers have also been distributed in parts of Belfast today - again emphasising the original start time.


All of this begs a few important questions:
  1. If the PSNI can overturn Parades Commission decisions for 'operational' reasons - what exactly is the function of the Parades Commission?
  2. Has another deal been struck to facilitate a later start time this coming Saturday November 30th?
  3. What the fuck is going on?
Happy Christmas Belfast 

Update:

Looks like Wee Jamie is plugging the unlawful start time as well.

Wee Jamie Bryson plugging unlawful start time on his Facebook page









3 comments