In case you happened to miss it yesterday, I made a wee blog post; The Death of the Progressive Unionist Party?
What I thought I was producing yesterday afternoon in the throes of belting my political frustration out on the keyboard, was nothing more than another rant, much like any other I have published to my site. Turned out to be an altogether different beast entirely …
With massive thanks to LAD for sharing the post, over 4,000 people had read my mutterings and musings before lunch time today. And since last night I have been inundated with very kind and generous comments by those who agree with the sentiments I shared, and even nice words from those that did not.
While I have nothing else specifically to add to what I said yesterday I thought it only right to address some of the questions and comments put to me since the blog published. Many I simply do not have the time to reply to individually while some also deserve more than a few lines. Hence the arrival of a new blog post to do just that.
I suppose the first thing to mention is my remarks on Gareth Cole. While not one person disagreed with me on the character of the guy, few people did point out the following on his Twitter bio:
“My tweets don’t necessarily represent the PUP and may be used to stimulate debate”
|Cole's twitter account https://twitter.com/GarethCole_PUP|
In my opinion, if any politician uses their Twitter account to promote their electoral campaign, makes it abundantly clear that they are a candidate for their respective party, and plasters their face and party email address over their bio, rest assured your actions on that account may reflect on your party. If in addition you are being inappropriate and your fellow party members not only choose to ignore but defend your actions, you can be pretty certain that it is reasonable to conclude that your actions are representative of your party.
I have never understood the disclaimer many politicians, or public figures, use on their social media accounts. It is the real world equivalent of masturbating in public while shouting, “Please don’t tell the boss!”
When you are a public servant representing others and you choose to open a social media account, whatever you say and do on there will be held to very close public scrutiny, and rightly so! If you don’t like it, get out of politics or off social media. Simple really!
Let me put it another way. Imagine Gareth Cole had a column in the Belfast Telegraph and published half of what he has published on his Twitter timeline through the newspaper. Would he still be as openly defended by his PUP colleagues? Would he still be a candidate for Carrickfergus? Would he even still be a PUP member? Would he even make it to print?
I suppose my overall annoyance with Gareth Cole is in the fact that he will go on the canvassing trail soon doing the whole door to door thing. What Gareth will show up on your doorstep that day? Will it be the Gareth that will claim to bring jobs, security, rejuvenation, and all sorts of wonderful things to all the good people of Carrickfergus? Or will it be the Gareth that will absolutely do feck all for any Republicans, posts photos of Anna Lo with the headline, “Tiocfaidh Ar LO”, always ready to stir anger and hate towards Nationalist communities, and will be only too happy to put a Union flag up on your nearest available lamp post?
The later Gareth is unlikely to produce itself in the real world, though I would have so much respect for him as a person if he did deliver the true version of himself. No, I am sure it will be the aforementioned fictional Gareth knocking on doors with a wonderfully bright innocent smile.
Damn shame that he is even still being put forward as a credible candidate …
Bigger shame that his party and colleagues cannot comprehend the damage he is doing them all …
I had dozens of messages from young men and women from, what they described as, working class Loyalist communities across Northern Ireland thanking me for my words and wishing that they could put in to words also how they were feeling. They wanted to be able to tell people it’s not all about flags and marches in those communities and that they wanted more.
This is what angers me more than anything! How is it even possible that these young people feel that they have no voice? How the hell are the people charged with giving these people a voice not being held to account for an unacceptable failure of their duties? Because they do not rally behind flags and protests they are of no worth?
Despicable! No excuses or apology can even begin to fathom it.
The only thing I can say is to any young (or older) person left to feel abandoned by those that call themselves (and clearly not fit to be) political representatives, is that you have the loudest and greatest voice of all; your vote!
Don’t vote for any of them. If anyone has put flags and marches to the fore of any of the real issues that genuinely affect you, vote for none of them! Vote for a party that is prepared to tackle the things that matter to you.
Better yet, why not vote for a party where their political policy is all inclusive? Try voting for a party the works for you irrespective of whether you or your community is predominantly Catholic or Protestant. There is nothing to fear and everything to gain by breaking the mould of an unspoken political staple in Northern Ireland of voting based on religion, not policy.
You can make a positive change if you become the change that you want! There is no better time than now!
Most parties are holding voter registration sessions across the province. If you are not registered then do get yourself registered. If you choose to register through a session held by any particular party do not feel you are then obligated to vote for that same party. You are not. Your vote is between you and the ballot box, no one else.
Please do not feel any pressure or intimidation to vote for a party that puts you and your needs second.
I will respond to each and every one of those people individually that have contacted me with concerns and expressed a desire to be heard. And if any of those people do have something to say I am more than happy to give a platform through my blog.
In closing my blog yesterday I alluded to a point that the PUP, DUP, and UUP are all chasing the same vote. I have been asked by a few to explain and expand on the point, so I will.
The catalyst for my blog was that News Letter article. It was a confirmation that PUP had become as hard line as the DUP and UUP has ever been in order to scoop up the support of the more “extremist” voter.
So is it any surprise that the DUP and UUP have not criticised Billy Hutchinson’s comments? After all, any derision of Billy’s views would be a derision of the voters they are so keen to keep under their wing.
|Billy Hutchinson "killing catholics justified" comments gnored by the DUP and PUP|
I think it is a given that both DUP and UUP (and PUP) see the Alliance as the single biggest threat to them, or more specifically they see Anna Lo as the one that can potentially turn the tide. They have proven that well in recent days.
The political crucifixion from loyalists of Anna Lo for making innocuous comments about a united Ireland and describing Northern Ireland as a colony, while comments about murdering Catholics goes unchallenged, is appalling!
How does that even happen? How can anyone’s sensibilities determine that describing a country as colonial is disgusting and offensive, and yet someone justifying murder is just a bit “meh!”
|Anna Lo. She has views. It's a disgrase!|
It is a vulgar and crass political game which the DUP and UUP have been playing for decades. It would be easier if either, or both, just used the campaign strapline, “Say No to Lo, say “meh” to murder”.
The PUP have also tried to play the game but haven’t the wit nor experience to play it well. Very cleverly, DUP and UUP have sat back and allowed PUP to get the hard line all wound up over flags, OTRs, parading, and let the continued UVF affiliation and Hutchinson comments slide so as not to “offend” those hard liners.
You can then be sure that when the time is right, both the DUP and UUP will come out swinging and exasperating that a PUP vote will weaken the Unionist vote overall. And with the PUP doing all the donkey work and getting their hands (and reputations) dirty to put fire in the belly of those that can’t see past the end of their flag pole, the hard liners will vote as they have always done for fear that there might not be anyone to shout about their flags.
Together with the ridiculous assertions on Anna Lo and the Alliance intention to unify Ireland, they will also effort to swing back the moderate Unionist to voting DUP/UUP having not had to spout a single word on extremism, while the PUP have no chance of getting the moderate because of their blind embracement of extremism.
Game over, and the death of the PUP.
But how did Anna Lo become such a threat to the Loyalist parties? The irony is the UUP, DUP, and PUP created the threat themselves.
As you all are no doubt familiar, Anna Lo made some comments about flags and murals some time ago which provoked the most ludicrous reaction from the loyalist parties. But the condemnation then transformed in to a much uglier beast. The racist abuse that Anna Lo received was horrific! And not one loyalist politician (that I am aware of) could bring themselves to condemn it unreservedly without getting the wee sly dig in about her thoughts on murals and flags.
The outpouring of support for Anna from the majority of people in Northern Ireland was incredible, and rightly so! And at that point it became all too evident that the failure of DUP/UUP/PUP to respond to the racial abuse with any kind of dignity was losing them the moderate.
And now, despite Anna getting continued abuse online and off from loyalists for her mural and flag comments, our political leaders in the loyalist world still continue to portray her as the single biggest threat to the Union to claw back the moderates they failed to retain.
And that my friends is why the DUP and UUP have taken a deplorable tact to avoid addressing the Hutchinson comments on the murder of innocent Catholics. I am running out of negative superlatives in these past days to describe these poor excuses for leaders.
So remember boys and girls, a vote for DUP/UUP/PUP is a vote for racism, flags, and ignorance of murder to keep the Union intact and keep the flag flying all year around. Your health, education, social well-being, etc, they might get round to at some point.
I have been asked opinion on some other things; murals, parades, dealing with the past, looking to the future, and a host of other things. I am not sure that my opinion or thoughts would be any more interesting or relevant than the next persons. But the engagement from people empathising and relating to what I have written so far has been humbling.
So I will, over the course of the coming days and weeks, share some of those opinions and look forward to engaging some more on the real issue that affect every single one of us.
USED WITH VERY KIND PERMISSION AND ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED HERE