Exposing bigotry or exposing their own bigotry? Loyalists Against Democracy: part 2

LAD R

Part 2 continues with responses that I received from people who wished to comment on the Loyalist Against Democracy website.

From a male church leader with a long history of involvement in peacebuilding:

‘I’m not a huge fan of the site though I have dipped in and out from time to time. I suppose my main problem with it is the same problem I had when the church made statements condemning violence (in either camp) but there was little going on on the ground to change things. The megaphone approach of condemnation or satire by middle class Christians or secular-humanists, unmatched by a willingness to get hands dirty and change hearts and minds is ultimately self-defeating… driving those you pontificate about further into a corner… Especially when LAD has turned its ire on those like John Kyle, who are trying to make a difference. This only serves in fulfilling the paranoia of those who claim to be on the margins already by forcing them further out of “respectable” society. My other problem with it as a satire site is that a lot of it just isn’t funny… That said, the campaign against the facebook site by those within loyalism, be it the repeated claims of harassment getting it banned, or the denigration of it as “Republican” is further proof that large swathes of loyalism are not interested in democracy or free speech, but only in hearing their own perspectives and prejudices repeated… But then they have learned that trick from established unionism with it’s constant criticism of the “liberal” BBC because it shines a light on the poor behaviour of the PUL community… The BBC (and media in general) doesn’t need to do any investigative journalism to uncover the shadowside of the PUL community – we parade it for the world to see… putting it on facebook and youtube… Yet when the BBC or LAD or anyone else draws attention to it then there is a loud cry of foul republican plot… If the PUL community put its own house in order then LAD would be out of business and the BBC would only be reporting the misdemeanours of republicans…’

From a female writer involved in education:

‘I suppose I would start by saying that if they are serious about challenging sectarianism then the way to go about it probably isn’t to only have a go at one side of the community. But aside from that…

The PUL people (who also actually count as ‘the people’ despite the fact that LAD seem to think they represent, er, everyone) may not have legitimate fears but they are certainly real fears, and those fears won’t dissipate through ridicule. I am angry at the flag protestors too. I’m angry that they have harmed their own community so much. The LAD group wants to suggest that they’re only having a go at flag protesters but their page is full of nasty comments about working class PUL in general. Last Christmas I sat and listened to a taxi driver in East Belfast who said he felt suicidal because he’d lost so much business. Those were his people on the street- very possibly people that he agreed with ideologically- and they were crippling him. So when everyone gets lumped in together they include him, and they include the bus driver who, that same evening, had his bus bricked as [my partner and I] sat at the back (the brick bounced off the window but the window completely shattered). He was really rattled, and he had to continue his round.

LAD like to make fun of people for poor grammar and spelling, they like to suggest that working class PUL people are thick. I say, if they’re so clever then why are they spending their days on photoshop making crap jokes? If they’re concerned about sectarianism then perhaps they should be championing those people doing community work is difficult areas. Low literacy isn’t a joke, neither are the suicide rates in East Belfast. There are plenty of working class PUL people spending *their* days trying to keep kids off the streets and trying to sort this shit out.’

From an elected PUL male politician:

“LAD was apparently born out the flag protests and quoting them “L.A.D. is a cross-community, non-political group set up to combat the growing tide of sectarianism in Northern Ireland through the use of satire” in effect they have evolved to be an instrument which mainly parodies some within the PUL community. Yes they undoubtedly highlight sectarianism but do seem to ignore other types of sectarianism from within republicanism for example. At times I find myself occasionally agreeing with them when they highlight the unelected ‘leaders of on the ground loyalism’ doing or saying simply stupid things, in fact things that I would imagine would embarrass many Unionists and Loyalists.

I’ve read comments on Facebook from a very unrepresentative section of the PUL community [LAD has then highlighted] which is appalling, sheer hatred of the RC community which has no place in our society. But I would feel confident that similar stuff is written on Facebook about ‘Pradisans’ but LAD choose to ignore it. Perhaps their core readership wouldn’t find it so funny?

One final issue that I would have is how funny does LAD think it is to highlight some within the PUL community who have difficulty spelling? How is that tackling sectarianism? Rather it is simply making light of an issue of educational under achievement which should be addressed but this is certainly not the way to do it. Is LAD then achieving its core aim?  Not by my standards.”

From a male community development worker in a Loyalist area:

‘Mmmmm. It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure…I laugh, but I know I shouldn’t. The ludicrousness of loyalist incompetence is vying with genuine compassion for a struggling community. But I’m also aware that there is a darkness to loyalist culture that needs to be exposed and satire is a critical tool in exposing it. So I welcome the satire, though is it just me that detects that whilst in the early days there was genuine comedy in it, in recent weeks a really nasty streak seems to be emerging in the material.

Wonder too whether is is possible to be satirical about republican culture. Maybe I’m just not aware of where it’s happening.’

Male community development worker and peace worker:

If I’m honest, I’ve laughed out loud at some LAD posts and sworn out loud at others. LAD is a sign of the times we live in, lacking depth or accountability. It’s own haste trips itself up and is reactive which is always easier than creative. I find it cruel yet I laugh so what does that make me?

It’s unwillingness to engage face to face is worrying but not untypical of Norn Iron.’

This is more what I was trying to say:

‘It is easier to be against something than for something. And yet, it is much more gratifying to create than to destroy.’ – Miroslav Volf

A final thought from a very experienced community relations worker:

Step back. Point. Laugh. Call it satire. Call it whatever you like (and “satire” can cover a multitude of sins) but when it starts and stops there then in the final analysis its falls far short of any constructive address of Loyalism’s often genuine short-comings. In the final analysis it is very little real use to anyone. It’s easy though (far easier than a genuine involvement) and will get you attention if there are a few laughs to be had (and yes I have laughed at some of their material).

At this point I should also declare my own bigotry. I am from protestant working class unionist stock. Truth be told i jettisoned my unionism many years ago so LAD’s material doesn’t offend my pretty much non- existent Unionism/Loyalism. However when it openly declares its middle class credentials and castigates and ridicules entire working class communities then my working class bigotry can get a quick re-visit. So who am I to talk eh?

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6 thoughts on “Exposing bigotry or exposing their own bigotry? Loyalists Against Democracy: part 2

  1. The first commentator, the clergy man made some good points: “.. This only serves in fulfilling the paranoia of those who claim to be on the margins already by forcing them further out of “respectable” society…”

    As well as:
    ” Yet when the BBC or LAD or anyone else draws attention to it then there is a loud cry of foul republican plot… If the PUL community put its own house in order then LAD would be out of business and the BBC would only be reporting the misdemeanours of republicans…’”

  2. I can agree with many of the comments made above but, not surprisingly, disagree with many. Just a few points: 1. people like the taxi driver and the bus driver are not the same as the thugs and idiots that participated in street violence and roadblocks/civil disobedience over the flag protest (unless they participated when not working). Highlighting and ridiculing people for blatantly sectarian comments is entirely fair even for petty spelling mistakes. If someone wanta to post a comment calling another section of the community “smelly f#####g scumbags” for example they deserve to be ridiculed

  3. If one takes to the streets to cause violence or damage to public property, or even take to social media sites to spew sectarian bile then I don’t see the harm in highlighting the thugs that they are. This is the majority of the context on the LAD web site.
    As for the “digs” they have on William I would not consider tasteful if he really was working for the victims of all people in Northern Ireland. I believe in my own opinion that he is working for the victims of the PUL community, but only if such work will cause tensions between Unionism and Nationalism.
    I think that both hard-line Loyalism and Republicanism is ridiculous and having such views only leaves hatred for those who do not share the same view.

  4. These “digs” are simply at anyone who doesn’t fall for the “liberal” BS and aren’t merely offensive to the working class. These “LAD” people (along with I see another commenter here) are nothing other than useful idiots doing the IRA’s job for them through encouraging the genocide of the Protestant and Unionist people and loss of self-determination. They are effete self-loathing sissy-men who couldn’t defend themselves in real life if they tried, and mock those who actually have the backbone to have the principles to do so; their only solution to anything is appeasement because they are weak and pathetic. The only reason other countries are stable is because in other countries people fly the flag of the nation with pride and are uncompromising about the subversion of their own constitution. It is the same degree of being out outbound all reality that we see from those with the same mindset in liberal academia, with their nonsense ideas that incompatible nationalisms can exist on the same territory. They cannot. The Irish two-state solution for peace was in 1921, and every attempt to appease those trying to eradicate the Loyalist homeland since then has only ever resulted in more violence and more and more alienation of Loyalist people in their own homeland (5x smaller than that agreed for Irish Nationalists down the road)

    • OK, I’ll bite.

      ” These “LAD” people (along with I see another commenter here) are nothing other than useful idiots doing the IRA’s job for them through encouraging the genocide of the Protestant and Unionist people and loss of self-determination.”

      Even if you aren’t referring to me I’ll still stick my oar in.

      The IRA wanted a united Ireland. Back in the day of ‘unionist = Protestant, nationalist = Catholic’ there was a chance this could come about due to the march of demographics.

      However, since things like dual nationality and the promise of an Irish language act this formula no longer works. To be a Catholic is to no longer be an automatic nationalist pro-unification voter.

      This is as annoying to SF almost as it is annoying to some loyalist quarters as it only takes an ounce of intelligence to extrapolate from these givens that a less ‘fleg, crown, KAI, no surrender’ approach and a more “we are Northern Irish, here’s our flag, here’s our anthem and here’s our languages and sports” approach would have absolutely crippling effects on modern republicanism.

      Luckily for SF they’re quite aware of this and do their best to quietly strangle the pro-NI approach where and when they can.
      They’re also quite lucky that traditional loyalism and unionism is completely oblivious to this chink in republican armour and they do their best to scupper the appeal of NI to people of a nationalist background at every opportunity with their ‘WATP, “go down south”, Ulster-flag-or-bust, “bring on civil war” ‘ ranting.
      Such ranting has as much appeal to people of a Catholic or nationalist background as a lads’ weekend in Mecca does for 19 year old British holiday makers.

      Explaining this to your average loyalist is like explaining to an evangelical Christian that the world is older than 5 – 7000 years old:
      You could take him/her to a museum, show him or her the fossilised remains of dinosaurs or life forms from the Cambrian explosion and afterwards they will look back at you in either an angry fashion or a fashion of pity (for you) and say the equivalent of “fleg”.

      It will not be taken on board.

      The scientific principles with which they place their faith in when they go to a hospital or place of technology are simply forgotten about when showing them the massive bitey thingy that ate things hundreds of millions of years ago.

      I have no problem with this, they can believe as they wish, it is no skin off my nose.
      However, the modern direction of loyalism and political unionism does affect me.

      To watch them follow the path of proven failure when they could be delivering a death blow to nationalism is mind boggling.

      With a few small sacrifices the rug could be pulled out from under the feet of SF.

      But no. Loyalism wants to stick to the tried and tested “no surrender” approach which has not produced a single victory since NI was born.
      This mentality incubated the PIRA,

      It continues to feed SF to this very day. Look at how much sympathy SF received thanks to Gregory Campbell’s remarks.

      Will they never learn?

      Here’s an example:
      In 2012 Peter Robinson said “Unionism must reach far beyond its traditional base if it is to maximise its potential. That means forming a pro-Union consensus with people from different religious and community backgrounds.”

      Shortly after SF unleashed the city hall fleg debacle even though they could have done at anytime in the previous ten years.

      Is it a coincidence that they waited till unionism reached out to Catholics?

      Within weeks all unionists retreated back to their trenches and come the time of the Haass talks they angrily dismissed the idea of a Northern Ireland flag claiming it was ‘part of the republican agenda’ even though SF ALSO OPPOSED THE IDEA.

      UNIONISTS ACQUIESCED WITH SF. THEY HELPED THEM. SF KNOW A NEUTRAL NORTHERN IRELAND FLAG IS BAD NEWS FOR THEM.

      Unionists and loyalists were played like a fiddle.

      Again.

    • ” They are effete self-loathing sissy-men who couldn’t defend themselves in real life if they tried, and mock those who actually have the backbone to have the principles to do so; their only solution to anything is appeasement because they are weak and pathetic”

      SF don’t want an NI flag. Unionists ‘appeased’ them, not the middle of the road types.

      Nationalists and some middle of the road types want an Irish language act.
      Demographics and a shift in modern attitudes mean that this will happen some day:

      Should unionists bleat “no surrender” and oppose it till the last moment when they are powerless to amend it or should they roll with it now and demand a few key changes such as renaming it to ‘the Ulster Gaelic Language Act’ or the ‘Ulster Language Act’ and incorporate East Antrim/Scottish Gaelic Act into it too?

      Who has more chance of being attacked:
      a unionist in a unionist area who just shouts “no surrender” and follows the crowd or the unionists who speak out when they believe unionism is going down the wrong path?

      Jamie Bryson is safe in Donaghadee but the Rev Bingham endangered himself when he questioned the actions of the Orange Order.
      It’s not easy speaking out against your fellow unionists, it can actually be quite dangerous.

      “The only reason other countries are stable is because in other countries people fly the flag of the nation with pride and are uncompromising about the subversion of their own constitution”

      Nearly 50% of NI is of a nationalist background.

      Please explain how being “uncompromising” will work. Truly. It’s a baffling statement to make.

      “It is the same degree of being out outbound all reality that we see from those with the same mindset in liberal academia, with their nonsense ideas that incompatible nationalisms can exist on the same territory. They cannot”

      Right. So, English nationalism, Welsh nationalism and Scottish nationalism don’t share the same territory of Great Britain/UK Major?

      And speaking of nationalism, what happens to Irish nationalism if it is partly eaten up by a Northern Irish identity?

      If you keep the arena as a British vs Irish fight then the shrinking ‘British’ side is going to lose. If the introduction of a Northern Irish identity eats away at the other two belligerents then all bets are off.

      How can you not see this?

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