It’s no coincidence that every time a satirical outlet that gains popularity shines an uncomfortable light on the bigotry, incompetence and general fuckwittery of what passes for politics™ in Northern Ireland that outlet ends up marginalized, maligned and suppressed.
The Portadown News (PDN) was perhaps the original satirical inward looking but outward facing observation of the madness that is Northern Ireland. Daily many thousands flocked to its messageboard to read the latest postings of the there gathered commentators who poked relentless (and unforgiving) fun at those who were up their own holes with self (deluded) importance. Nobody was safe from the satire. Politicians, terrorists (one and the same in some cases) were all fair game. Until, that is, someone realized that through the very existence of the Portadown News the world became aware that tribal politics, sectarianism and bigotry were the holy trinity of what made Northern Ireland tick. It’s an uncomfortable truth that our politicians need these three things to forment in order to justify their own existence. A world looking in on the antics and inaction of our politicians is just a bit too much for them and the tribal status quo to handle so they do what they always do – they oppress it.
Newton Emerson was eventually unceremoniously and intentionally “outed” by a columnist at the Andersonstown News (a “newspaper” which supposedly supports free speech) and thus came to an end a platform where people could, largely unfettered, comment on life in Northern Ireland without the traditional Government spin being applied and for all the world to see.
Fast forward several years and we see a facebook entity Loyalists Against Democracy (LAD) make a similar stand on foot of the violence which erupted (and continues) after the “Fleg protests”. Social media and the internet have changed a lot in the intervening years since the sad demise of PDN and the following of the LAD page on Facebook quickly grew as word spread that, once again, there was an outlet for people to report on and expose the bigotry, sectarianism and ineptitude of not just elements of the population but large swathes of the political elite.
Politicians, Government Departments and political leaders were horrified that someone armed with access to the internet, a camera phone and the wherewithal to record with it could show the world that contrary to all the millions (if not billions) spent on press, spin and inward investment there are elements of Northern Ireland society that are stuck several hundred years ago in a triumphalist past who are unable to “move on” from that mindset or work towards a proper shared future.
Just as previously was the case with PDN those who stood to lose the most from being exposed as hate mongers and exponents of whataboutery sought to have LAD suppressed and removed from Facebook. As per usual they have succeeded in suppressing what are, ultimately, the valid opinions of many thousands of Northern Ireland’s citizenry because to deal with what they were exposing would have been a step too far.
The LAD site has now been removed by facebook for what I understand to be the sixth time. Thankfully the admin team are maintaining their blog here http://loyalistsagainstdemocracy.blogspot.co.uk/ and they seem resolute in their determination to keep on exposing to the outside world what passes for politics and political leadership™ here in Northern Ireland.
I would urge everyone to support their efforts otherwise we are doomed to allow our political elite to repeat the cyclical sectarian mistakes and injustices of the past in order to keep people like us downtrodden at heel and beholden to their thinly veiled bigotry.
Time for change.
As LAD say (tongue somewhat in cheek) “WE are the people”.