THE BLOG

Stand Up for Northern Ireland's Tahrir Square

11/10/2013 09:27 | Updated 23 January 2014

2013-10-09-IanKnoxLoyalismBrianJohnSpencer.jpg

We don't have a political opposition in Northern Ireland. We have one giant, self-serving, autocratic, aberrant sectarian mill. Young people don't have jobs or a meaningful future and talking-clock politicians debate the tribal politics of Protestant versus Catholic. A remarkable historical anachronism in these days of enlightenment. We can adapt the words of Roger Scruton to sum up the situation:

"One thing that has been very noticeable, especially in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt [and in Northern Ireland], has been the emergence of democratically elected governments that have no time for opinions other than their own."


We don't have an opposition on the streets either. On the streets rules a nightmarish mob of "loyalists" - thugs and economic vandals. (Certainly, it's a VERY VERY odd form of "loyalism" that attacks the Queen's officers). Organised stupidity masquerading as culture and as a civil rights movement. The whole mass pimped out and propped up by unionist politicians. The cowardice of unionist elites in the face of their know-nothing "loyalist" wing is contemptible.

As a young person I ask: How do you build an economy, opportunity and a future on a two-pronged shower of one, barbaric sectarian leaders and two, cultural and economic vandals? Well you can't. As Fintan O'Toole wrote,

"Dumb politics don't create smart economies."

You'd think there was no hope for Generation Y in Northern Ireland. Then emerged Loyalists Against Democracy (@LADFLAG) (blog here). The closest thing Northern Ireland has to Tahrir Square in Egypt or Gezi Park in Turkey. A social media and online parody group committed to unveiling and assailing the naked sectarianism, bare racism and transparent illoyalism of Northern Ireland "loyalists" and other sectarians.

Lad, entirely non-fanatical and non-violent. By folding their arms, putting on a knowing smile they have started to pull down the whole rotten edifice of loyalism. Finally Northern Ireland has an opposition. Finally Northern Ireland has a ray of hope that civil society is willing to pushback and fight the forces of barbarism.

Here's some examples of the non-speak that would otherwise go unchecked if it weren't for the boys and girls behind LAD.

And another:

In their own words, LAD is a watchdog against sectarians, they "perform a valuable public service, shining a light on bigotry, violence and sectarianism." LAD said in a tweet:

It's all so harmless - irony, humour, satire - but all so powerful. All LAD does is hold up a mirror. There is no need to attack loyalism's character. For loyalism is not only a sinister self-parody but it is destroying itself by its very actions. But there's a problem with this suicide: their own self-destruction would mean ours as well.

And so Northern Ireland needs LAD. LAD is the only voice of sanity and the only force that is lifting up the pavement and showing to the world the filth and doomed futility of loyalism, hardline Irish republicans and other sectarians. But here' the other problem. LAD, Northern Ireland's only opposition, has been all but entirely shut down by Facebook. Entirely the cynical doing of loyalists (the ones fighting for "civil rights") who have made a sustained effort to shut down their only opponent by spamming the reporting feature on Facebook.

Loyalists Against Democracy have done what has long been needed: stood up to Northern Ireland's drunk uncle - "loyalism" - and said what everyone else was thinking and too scared to say - That you cannot behave like a barking-mad pack of ideologues. But if politicians won't stand up and oppose brutality and barbarism, LAD will. LAD will speak up for the normal people of Northern Ireland. We need them. But now they need your help. Ladies and gentlemen, this is urgent. Loyalists and sectarians are taking away what is most precious to the young people of Northern Ireland, their future, their peace and their prosperity and politicians are doing absolutely nothing. Loyalists Against Democracy are standing against the brutality. I beseech you. Are you with them?