I nearly fell off my chair whilst reading the Irish News this morning. The front page splashed on these comments from UDA emperor Jackie McDonald:
A leading loyalist last night blamed far right BNP and Combat 18 supporters for a spate of attacks on Romanian families who have been forced to flee their homes in Belfast.
UDA leader Jackie McDonald, who denied that loyalist paramilitaries were connected to violence against Romanians living in the south of the city, said he believed the attackers came from outside the area.
Well, the question there is which area. They came from outside the university area, yeah. But it’s accepted by most people that they came from the Village, an area where Jackie has some influence.
And he warned the BNP against trying to recruit young men in loyalist areas of south Belfast amid reports that the right-wing group was planning to stage a rally in the Sandy Row area this weekend.
McDonald, who has offered to support the Romanians, said the attacks had to be “condemned outright”.
“There can be no justification for it but there is no way the UDA was involved and it is dangerous to attach these attacks to loyalist paramilitary groups,” he said.
It seems that what is exercising Hard Bap is the possibility that the UDA’s good name might be besmirched by commentators linking it with the BNP. Which sort of says something about Nick Griffin’s push for respectability.
Inside the paper is Newton Emerson’s column, much of which is a dig at the Socialist Party, although it’s a relatively good-natured dig. But what I wanted to quote was Newt’s opening:
It is difficult to know how anyone can be a British patriot and a Nazi, given how British patriotism is defined by the defeat of the Nazis. It is particularly difficult to know how anyone can be a south Belfast loyalist and a Nazi, given the loyalist propensity for decking south Belfast in Israeli flags. But however grotesque, stupid and violent the cause or effect, you can guarantee that some people will try to exploit it.
UPRG spokesman Frankie Gallagher, for example, reckons neo-Nazis would not be attacking Roma families if he was properly funded to take youth groups to Poland. Yes, Frankie wants to take the Nazis into Poland. Will they be packing their Israeli flags for that?
Ah yes, the wonders of the UDA’s political thought. I’m sure some conflict resolution money could be found for this valuable work…