WHO DO YOU TRUST ? by Harry McAvinchey


There is a lot of talk about “Trust” at the moment. Unionist politicians have this particular bit between their teeth. They  profess the need to “trust” Nationalist politicians  such as those in Sinn Fein before they will sit in government with them again. You might ask when did they ever “trust” Sinn Fein politicians or even when would they ever  find it in themselves  to trust Sinn Fein politicians in the future?

You might think a nebulous and vague inner mental concept such as the very  personal idea of “trust” , is the very last thing to bring up in the context of politics in Norneverland,  when we’ve all gotten on very adequately well without its encumbrance  for a surfeit of years. It’s a very odd idea and a very idiosyncratic novelty  to aspire to when we have never trusted each other….. ever. There has always been what is being thought  behind hooded eyelids and raised eyebrows and what is actually  being said for public consumption on the media..That’s why Sinn Fein had to jump through all those hoops about  decommissioning weapons, is it not? Outsiders had to be brought in to verify everything because nobody here trusted anybody to do anything without an impartial referee or three .

Realistically it would be a very odd thing for any trust to exist  between political rivals. The Ulster Unionists don’t trust the DUP for example. What the DUP think of Alliance or the SDLP is anyone’s  guess. It’s a mystery but  I don’t think there’d be much trust there either  . Didn’t the DUP set Alliance up for a campaign of hatred  from the knuckle-draggers a couple of short years ago over some nonsense about flags? Trust Alliance?… No they all but had them burned out of their offices by proxy, after spreading infamy about them  via a batch of several thousand leaflets that all but slandered the party.

So why this talk of “trust” now?

There’s a pretence that the  Executive is about to be pulled asunder because Sinn Fein have somehow given the go-ahead to return murder to the streets in their name.Sinn Fein have declined to believe that analysis and no-one has seen any proof of it so there is an ongoing  stalemate. All that has been decided is that the Ulster  Unionist Party and the DUP don’t trust Sinn Fein or each other. That might be fair enough .I did n’t believe  Prime Minister Tony Blair’s imaginary “Weapons of Mass Destruction” either when he romped into Iraq as America’s lapdog and  caused unholy mayhem .  I still remember the mothers and wives of soldiers arguing with him about it on television. He wanted us to believe that weapons existed without proffering any proof and he used it as a context for his political adventure . Nobody found any weapons , but it was too late by then when the bodybags were being stacked into aeroplanes and the hospitals were abrim with injured Iraqi children.

No it’s no good talking about “trust” when dealing with politics .It’s no good pretending either that there is no hypocrisy involved when we know that down through the ages for the whole of the Twentieth Century and for the first fifteen years of this new century , unionist politicians have rubbed shoulders with the “terrorists” or “anti-terrorists” which suited them. Only last year they gathered in an unholy alliance to proclaim a Graduated Response with a motley crew who suited their agenda. Whenever politics don’t work for them  ,you can really “trust” them to forget politics and bring insurrection back to the streets . Norneverland was founded on unlawful gun-running and largely sustained by unionist  mismanagement and low-level violence right up until the Civil Rights campaign of the 1960’s.

Just this week, information was released that the UDR consisted of a force made up of 97% armed and trained protestants who apparently  could not be trusted to side by the forces of law and order if they were forced by circumstances  to choose sides. That really says it all.

Everyone was supposed to put their “trust” in this “legal”  armed  group, no matter their political viewpoint.

Down through the years there were many of these groupings,”legal” or “illegal”, openly  or covertly  supported by  unionist politicians from the Unionist Establishment .Some of them made no bones about it , such as William McCrea who shared a platform with Billy Wright when he was known to be a psychopathic  killer of some infamy  and skill    and more recently  Peter Robinson and TV Mike Nesbitt and various Orange Order luminaries shared their dream of a “Graduated Response” with the likes of convicted  murderer Billy Hutchinson .In October 1974 Hutchinson and a fellow YCV member, Thomas Winstone, murdered two innocent Catholics  because their assumption was that any  Catholic equalled a republican.

That kind of support for the wilder men of unionism  is hardly surprising because these were the  kind of men whose votes were being harvested or hunted at regular elections and whose armed  unthinking muscle was required  should politics fail once more . Most of these men came from working-class communities  and were used as easily malleable cannon-fodder by their betters in unionism’s idea of  government. In many cases they had to be  interchangeable  between friends, families , the Orange Order and the various handsomely paid security forces.They had to be, for no other reason that they came from that same homogenous gene-pool of unionist voters. These were the same men who marched annually on the 12th of July or took to the streets in a Workers Council Strike  at the behest of unionism.

You’d better take a very deep breath before we proceed any further…..

Throughout the years of Unionist’s rule …the Official Unionist Party and latterly the DUP who soaked up those same voters….began with the rump of the  Ulster Volunteers in 1912 when they decided to take the law of the land into their own hands . That tradition of lawlessness continued with an alphabet soup of groupings that makes the the IRA’s title  seem pedestrian….

They included  the Ulster Protestant Association {UPA 1920–1922},the Ulster Protestant Volunteers{UPV1966–1969},Ulster Volunteer Force,the Red Hand Commando,the  Young Citizen Volunteers (youth wing),the UVF, the RHC,YCV{1966–present},Ulster Defence Association,Ulster Freedom Fighters,Ulster Young Militants (youth wing},UDA,UFF,UYM1971–present,Ulster Resistance1986–?,Loyalist Volunteer Force{LVF1997–present},Orange Volunteers{OV 1998–present} ,Red Hand DefendersRHD1998–present ,Real Ulster Freedom Fighters{Real UFF 2007–present},Ulster Protestant Action (UPA), 1956–1966,Ulster Special Constabulary Association (USCA), 1970–1975,Down Orange Welfare (DOW), 1972–?,Orange Volunteers (OV), 1972–1980s,Ulster Volunteer Service Corps (UVSC), 1972–1974,Ulster Service Corps (USC), 1976–?,Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC), 1966–1969,Ulster Army Council (UAC), 1973–1974,Ulster Loyalist Central Co-ordinating Committee (ULCCC), 1974–1976,Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC), 1991–1998,Protestant Action Force (PAF)…….

Like I said, they all spilled out of that same gene-pool of Protestantism , Orangeism and Unionism  and it’s really no surprise that although the names change and they are nominally legal or illegal, in Norneverland , “whatever that might mean”, as Prince Charles might say, , having been “Raised On Robbery “, as it were, we tend to accept that this is how things have always been since any of us can care to remember.A substantial percentage of our community have embraced this homogeneity avidly by actually referring to themselves as the “PUL community”. They’ve actually embraced another alphabetical moniker .”The Protestant Unionist  Loyalist” tribe wishing as they do to be stripped of personal individuality and  stamped like a stick of Blackpool Rock with the writing all the way through.

As far as “trust” is concerned there is no evidence  to be seen from unionism that they have attempted to cultivate any of that  “trust” in their attempts at shared  governance these past  several years of the experiment. You can erect sweet little statues of hands across the water in togetherness until the cows come home  but In fact the very opposite pertains . The proffered hand of friendship has been slapped down time and time again .Some find it difficult to even engage in the most anodyne courtesies and at times there have been  physical attacks on politicians  in the streets .

We can expect  mass-civil unrest should the very idea of a discussion about a possible political change  involving the notion of a united country ever reaches the debating chamber, even if there was a majority to support the idea..

“Trust” is a two-way street but we are all being forced to pretend otherwise..

23 Responses to WHO DO YOU TRUST ? by Harry McAvinchey

  1. billy August 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    trust eh,that reid and good are good examples,good on the nolan show giving it the tear jerker story as the last rifle been surrendered then running back to the public funded corrymella to collect his wages and expenses,then reid he knew more than the lads been sent out on jobs that a ceasefire was being planned yet he let them carry on,thats only the so called men of god you can picture what else was going on,

    • paddykool August 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

      I am afraid I didn’t hear that Nolan show , Billy.What about a little more detail for the readers eh?

  2. ben madigan August 28, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    great post harry –

  3. dededeoprofundis August 28, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    Why drag poor Joni Mitchell into it, Harry?

    • paddykool August 29, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

      dededeoprofundis …I suppose a lot of us here were raised in a hardscrabble way compared to our modern children…Our parents” robbing Peter to pay, Paul” it was called… {and balance the household books}….i’d call that “Raised on robbery”… just like Joni mentions too.I’m sure I came across the phrase in some ancient ganster film with Bogart, Cagney and Edgar G. Robinson

  4. Gerard August 28, 2015 at 11:41 pm #


  5. KopperbergCentral August 29, 2015 at 3:12 am #

    What has Harry got to say about the Darkley Gospel Hall Massacre?

    • ANOTHER JUDE August 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

      What do you have to say about the Greysteel massacre? I don`t get your point.

    • paddykool August 29, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

      Well KopperbergCentral.Harry would say that apparently that murderous attack was carried out by guys purporting to be either the INLA or possibly something called the Catholic Reaction Force….whatever that was supposed to be At the time the RC Cardinal was quoted as saying “that those involved could not call themselves Catholics”, so he might know.

      I personally met Pastor Bob Baines of the Darkley church shortly after this atrocity where so many peoople were murdered . He was advertising wire for fencing. as I recall he kept and managed a whole lot of chickens . He was a fine, personable man and we had a pleasant conversation which ended with him selling me some good chicken wire for a garden fence I was building . It was a good deal and we shook hands on it.That takes me back some thirty years ,KopperbergCentral . Now what exactly is it you are trying to say?.

  6. Jim Neeson August 29, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    Marvellous!! All our “Troubles” in one fine assessment.

  7. ANOTHER JUDE August 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    Brilliant piece of writing Harry, mind you having read the list of organisations, what about the Loyalist Association of Workers (formed during one of the loyalist strikes, round the time of the Dublin/Monaghan bombings) The Third Force, Paisley`s motley crew of arms permit wavers and parka jacketed thugs and Vanguard, the quasi NAZI like group which was led by Bill Craig, a sort of Mussolini/Hitler clone, complete with out riders and sinister flags.

    • paddykool August 29, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

      Ta AJ…the list of alpabeticals was growing so long that I was on the very verge of slipping in a few extra newly-minted ones just to see if you were all paying attention….apologies if I’ve left out any favourites there!!!

  8. ben madigan August 29, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    Sorta re-blogged your post here Harry Hope you approve



    • paddykool August 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

      Not at all ben .There’s nothing like being plagierised by the best , eh? Mind you …..you might have to ask Jude …our Most Highly Esteemed Blogmeister and Master of All Celestial Ceremonials to sort out any copyright issues…ha ha !

      • ANOTHER JUDE August 29, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

        We all remember Nigelgate from earlier this year when Jude published that fine photo of the grate man. No, that is not a spelling mistake.

  9. Séamus Ó Néill August 29, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    Excellent article Harry, but I feel I must add my tuppence worth regarding legal protestant militiamen ….The B Specials ,a motley racist sectarian crew who ,because of their infamy , had to be disbanded or rather morphed into the RUC Reserve ,The UDR ,again because of their exemplary behaviour towards that “untrustworthy” section of the population ( believe me ,its not only Sinn Féín they don’t trust ) had to be disbanded or rather morphed into the RIR. Then we had the RUC itself ,again ,similar story ….end result PSNI. What I’m saying is “They haven’t gone away ,you know ” Legal Protestant militiamen exist in large numbers and are armed to the teeth and I hear whinging and yapping about trust from that monotonous monotoned Mike…..Yes indeed Mike , but WHO do WE trust?

  10. Mary Jo August 29, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Thanks for that excellent analysis of Unionist lawlessness. I’ve witnessed it all my life but never before saw detailed so completely and so succinctly.

  11. Sarah August 29, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    if we are talking about trust issues and wouldn’t it be fun to send all parties to a camp where they could work on their trust issues with a trained facilitator? After the first 50 preconditions, I’m afraid the facilitator would likely take the bridge… yet talking about trust, is it not true that many in the loyalist working class distrust not only their own politicians but the british government? I guess I’m thinking back to what Gerry Spence had said (think it was him) about unionism being rotten to the core – that’s a terrible paraphrase but something to that extent. I think there are class issues particularly within unionism that have their own set of trust problems. BTW – excellent article.

    • paddykool August 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

      Thanks for the thumbs -up sarah …some like to call these things “class” issues but that’s never quite true .They are really issues of individual education and tribal paranoia.
      There’s nothing to stop anyone from any kind of background cultivating their own minds . It’s all right there for them but some never read a book.It’s not always encouraged , mind, and the “group-mind ” ethos is constantly re-instated , reinforced and strengthened by those who fear individual thought. They get them from a young age and fill their minds full of some addled ideas about history and religion. Then they delude them into voting for politicians who do not have their best interests in mind. It seems to be a fairly easy thing to achieve too. it can be engendered by fear.It’s not just one side of the divide either . The thing is though that the nationalist Sinn Fein is a left-wing party with socialist leanings, whereas there doesn’t appear to be a left-wing idea on the unionist side of the fence. that alone has caused some weird problems .How can it be that all the unionists in the spotlight are basically conservatives?How bloody weird is that?

      You can see it right now with the UK Conservatives under Cameron where the number of Lords in the House of Lords is on the increase.That’s the antithesis of democracy really, but people vote the likes of the Tory party into power to lord over them and allow them to do this kind of thing. It’s much the same with the unionist parties here. Most seem to be anti-labour, anti-socialist and anti-social progress or free- thought and yet they have managed to capture a lot of voters. You have to ask yourself about stuff like that…never mind asking yourself about esoteric stuff like “trust”….

      Add to that the fact that you’re really not going to see any free-thinkers willingly allowing themselves to be turned out and march the streets in strange bedecked sashes and uniforms every year to proclaim a conservatism that keeps them at the bottom of the social heap…and actually makes them feel proud of that position. Nobody could make that stuff up.

  12. Baxter88 August 30, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    Powerful words Jude. The nail has been hit sq.
    Unionism seems on a road of self destruct. Unable even to reach out
    the hand of friendship or break bread with thy neighbour.

    As Republicians grow more assertive it is incumbent we try to reach out to those who don’t share our vision.

    I believe wholeheartly that Sinn Fein are firmly behind this peace process.
    As Danny Morrison said recently on Radio Ulster – The Guerillias are in Govt. The war is over. Whether individual members of a defunct IRA carried out the shooting of KMcG is another matter.

    Should the 250000 voters who voted for this party be held accountable for the actions of a few individuals?

    Sinn Fein are on the March.
    One listens to the forked tongue of UUnioism spouting nonsense about trust. Rubbing shoulders with Loyalist thugs gangsters and drug dealers and lambasting Elected Reps of the nationalist community.

    Herein lies the reality. Void of leadership, bickering and bollocks it leaves a broad door which may not be easily shut.
    Behind that door is a world of pain. An Ocean of grief , a vortex of anguish.

    Just what some fools desire. But they know not what they wish for.
    This is a new generation Tir Na Og. It belongs to the youth.

    Mike Nesibtt is playing to the gallery. Rallying to the voters who have drifted away to the Fundementalists.

    For me Sinn Fein are really trying their best for all of the people of this island. I have never voted apart from the GFA which I gave my consent.
    Given a vote next time they have my blessing.

    • Jude Collins August 31, 2015 at 8:31 am #

      Thank you, B88, but the accolades belong not to me but to Harry…

      • paddykool August 31, 2015 at 9:38 am #

        Thanks for the commendation, Jude. Baxter88 has addled some valuable detail to the story , though. As he says..

        “Herein lies the reality. Void of leadership, bickering and bollocks it leaves a broad door which may not be easily shut.
        Behind that door is a world of pain. An Ocean of grief , a vortex of anguish.
        Just what some fools desire. But they know not what they wish for.”….

        Some of us are writing from that bedrock of memory. We know evil things were done on all sides and we’re not foolish enough to think that some worms haven’t been properly sealed back into the can.The worms are on every side . It’s not for want of trying though. Some are trying to seal as many back in as is possible and are trying to work at proper grown -up politics .Some are playing games with power and money and are even still unable to begin a reasonable political conversation these many years later. They shy away from real poitical engagement.. By word and deed they are actively giving encouragement to elements who see progress as a defeat. They don’t actually yet understand what a shared society of very differing views has to entail….never having had to think in those terms before.They are still unable to understand that it’s just not all about just “them”. They lack true leadership to allow them that simple understanding .

        There are 250000 voters , as you say ,Baxter88 who placed their vote in good political faith with a party of their choice.They don’t all want violence on the streets either but are being sacrificed for the few worms that can’t easily be returned to that old fetid can by anyone .
        Politicians like TV Mike Nesbitt are playing with their futures for quick , transparent political gamesmanship which is indefensible in any rational debate.His “moralistic” arguments simply don’t stack up. They mightn’t need to ,given the feeding frenzy across the board to put down Sinn Fein in any manner possible.Most of it has to do with power-playing but I think it may rebound on their rivals. What doesn’t break you actually might make you stronger , after all.

        Don’t get me wrong .If there is a criminal republican or loyalist element still involved in smuggling , money-laundering or whatever violent crime on whatever side of the divide they are operating, I want them sorted out unambigiously.I want them treated as criminals with using “proper” police-work , trials and all the rest, but i want it done fairly and with evidence that I can see….not like some of the things that have happened in the violent past.

    • sarah m August 31, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

      true enough that the education is for those who want it. Maybe the class structures aren’t as structured as yanks like me would like to think they are – downton abbey and all that. yes, socialism is a dirty word isn’t it? Too bad even when some concepts are definitely helpful and useful to people and society in general