Loyalists have been left feeling betrayed and unrepresented

Not many of us will have been too surprised at last week’s violence.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 6:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 6:56 pm
PSNI riot squad officers try to keep nationalist and loyalists apart at Lanark Way interface in west Belfast last week. Dr Dingley writes: "It is completely wrong that loyalists take it out on PSNI but the authorities should charge law-breaking politicians"

And probably most of us will also have been wearied by the usual condemnations from the usual hand-wringing crew, ie those who don’t live in the run down areas, low income, no job, no nice houses to live in and so on.

Not many people who work in peace and conflict resolution have to live in those neighbourhoods, and if the did they would know the sense of despair, hopelessness and powerlessness those in habitants feel.

Added to this, all they see from their politicians and the peace and reconciliation bandwagon is lies, deceit and no sense of direction, let alone anyone to express ordinary unionist-loyalist interests, anger and frustrations.

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So the loyalists express themselves in the only way open to them and likely to make anyone listen.

Yes, it is completely wrong that they take it out on the police, who they should be supporting. But the authorities should also be ensuring that there is a sense of justice in the community. How? Well first they should be prosecuting law breaking politicians who endanger the public good by breaking Covid regulations when they should be setting an example.

Second, they should be going after organised crime rings whose criminal assets are estimated at well over £1 billion, eg PIRA.

Third, the glorification of terrorists is supposed to be a criminal offence in the UK, eg those honouring Bobby Storey, the PIRA ‘intelligence’ chief.

But spare a thought for the chief constable, as all people in that post are under great pressure not to disturb the ‘peace process’.

At the end of the day, this is what it is all about. But there is no ‘peace process’ because PIRA are still armed and all their organisational structures are still in place.

The chief constable recently told this newspaper that the PSNI stands by the 2015 assessment of paramilitaries.

The republican threat is ever present and directs all government policy, ie keep bombs out of London at all costs.

Don’t tell loyalists that all is wonderful and peaceful, if only they would stop their rioting, they know it isn’t true and that there is a much bigger use of violence going on and that is republicanism’s ongoing armed threat.

PIRA now don’t have to actually bomb London or shoot security forces, they just have to let London know they can and might. Meanwhile, the dissidents play an useful role as a kind of proxy for PIRA, ie if ‘we’ don’t get what we want you’ll have to deal with all these dissidents.

Meanwhile, added to the distortions about the ‘peace process’ and decommissioning of weapons we now have the government’s deceit and dishonesty over the Northern Ireland Protocol and the borders down the Irish Sea.

But the government probably doesn’t really care, it has no MPs here and the DUP were easily duped and now no longer needed.

And Boris appears to have a track record on ‘porkies’ that probably leaves him inured to any sense of shame.

Throughout the last 23 years ordinary unionist working people have been left feeling betrayed and unrepresented – one reason they voted for Brexit (like their northern English counterparts).

At least in England they could give Labour a good kicking for their betrayal and vote Conservative, what does the ordinary unionist ‘worker without work’ do? Worse, where is there any unionist thinking or effort to address these issues?

Dr James Dingley is chair of the Francis Hutcheson Institute

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