jobs not creedIt’s crazy is n’t  it ? Marching …marching…marches ad infinitum….Years and years of it . The nationalists aren’t nearly as possessed by it as the riven unionist community .What do they call themselves now …the “PUL”…isn’t  it ? Protestant Unionist Loyalist…community.

Well if you are a “protestant” you’ve got to” protest” …haven’t you? That’s what a protestant is all about isn’t it. It should be part of the DNA. although I’m not sure that some of these Creationist Protestants actually believe that DNA exists at all . It’s all too mixed up  with  that evolution stuff to be healthy….too much like  the Devil’s Buttermilk if you go down that road….  Then there’s the “Loyalist” bit too .Nobody is sure anymore what that’s all about anyway . Loyal to what? Loyal to whom? it’s a bit vague now, that one .There used to be a loyalty to the Queen but she’s messed that all up now by consorting with the old republican enemy .She’s even made friends with Martin McGuinness . She’s had a laugh or two with him which is likely to have had many a Women’s Institute member choking on her cress sandwiches.She  seems to enjoy the idea of getting a look around the  Irish Republic every now and then  too. You can imagine , can’t you .? Her living just an hour away for eighty odd years and  she couldn’t have a wee dander around Ireland. A wee holiday down around  Achill maybe? Just to get the head showered.I’m sure the curiosity was killing her too .There’s all that mad wild beauty and scenery to take in and she had to wait until she was an old lady to get a look around. The next thing you know she’ll be lecturing about the misuse of her flag in Northern Ireland and William and Kate will be buying a summer home in the Irish Republic as a quiet getaway hideout. Is nothing sacred anymore?

 Anyway , now that she’s gone over to the Dark Side , what are they going to be loyal to now? Maybe they’ll have to come up with a new label .Maybe PUU would do? Protestant Unionist Ussuns or something like that might work .

Anyway . the Nationalists haven’t  a whole lot to get up  and and protest about or march about .There ‘s the Internment Rally, of course  .I remember a whole lot of them…the Nationalists… were interned back in …9th August 1971. I had just started my first proper job in Belfast  then  . That was a rowdy time , no question. “Operation Demetrius”, they called it. You didn’t have to bother with trials and and all that old nonsense back then.  The British mounted an operation in which they arrested  342 people from the Nationalist community.There were an awful lot of innocent people locked up in the two days of the operation. There was no one from the protestant community taken even though a lot of them were involved in violent acts for the previous five years or so . That was because the PUU….{Are we calling them that now?} ….were “the  People” .They used to paint that up on the walls didn’t they? “WE ARE THE PEOPLE” in BIg White Letters on gable walls . That meant that laws were for us and anybody who wasn’t in our gang could take a running jump through a flying doughnut! In fact , the rest  of those buggers weren’t really proper people anyway. What’s the expression?….Oh yes, they weren’t really “properly house-trained”, were they? They never scrubbed their doorsteps well enough, did they? Somebody said their eyes were set differently too. There were too close together …or was that too far apart ?  People would make those kind of observations. They’d talk about the state of their garden or how they dug with the Left Foot. Left Handers ..Now they called them “Kitterpaws”.. A sure sign of Satan’s Spawn if ever there was one .You have to watch those Left Handers…the Paul McCartneys and the Jimi Hendrixs…Left Handers to a man …I have a daughter like that …..You have to keep an eye on them all right!

 We are  “the People” after all.Ussuns All the rest of them weren’t worth the price of  a trial.  Courts and that were for us. Those Nationalists didn’t need to waste their time on courts and lawyers.It  was simple just locked them up ..Simple…that’s not too complicated , is it?. Well …there were ructions after that.Some 7,000 people were either forced out of their homes or fled, frightened that they’d be burned out of their houses  or killed anyway. They went all over the place , but many settled miles away or over the border. Refugees everywhere that year. Myself and a mate were hitch-hiking down south that year and we pretended to be refugees. A lovely couple picked us up and gave us food and shelter for the night down near Killarney.. Well…it could have been true , couldn’t ? They were a lovely couple anyway and we were very appreciative.

There were about twenty four people killed at that time  and a lot of those who were interned were tortured by the British authorities. Ach well , you can only do these things for a while before some busybody in another country notices and sticks their oar in …

Then the women and the children used to get the metal bin-lids out every year and bash the hell out of them on the ground every 9th August . They used to use the lids like warning , war drums when there was a possibility that soldiers would break into anyone’s house. There were no cell-phones then, remember….. The Troubles might have been a whole lot different if the cell-phone had existed .Mind you , the authorities would probably have banned them in Ireland anyway . Remember those CB radios …Citizen’s Band Ten Four….? No …They didn’t much fancy those either, but every cowboy you came across , had one in his car.

The bin-lids were a bit noisier than smoke signals , but very effective for a while anyway. They made a racket like  Ginger Baker on  steroids {I know…look him up!}…. in a scrap- yard. That went on for years afterwards ..every 9th of August….The Fenian Lambeg Drums!! Then they brought in rubber bins with rubber bin-lids .

Now , the conspiracy theorists will have you believe that rubber bin-lids were brought in pretty quickly to stop those folk protesting every year .You can’t make a lot of noise with a rubber bin-lid after all .  Ha ..that slowed them down a bit.Then they put the tin hat on it by bringing in those German wheelie bins .You can’t do a lot with them besides hiding the odd dead body , can you? I suppose you could play a paradiddle on the side with a drumstick if were so inclined. I suppose they have some of those metal bin-lids in a museum somewhere up some wee side street. A whole story about “the Bin-lid and its place in the Armed Struggle” would be written up on the walls on Big Charts.. That’s probably why they don’t want to do that big Maze Development Project at Long Kesh . The Nationalists  want somewhere where they can gather together all those old bin-lids so that they can have an annual “Lid -Bashing Festival” every 9th of August. Peter Robinson and the DUP are having none of that. No Protestant Unionist Ussun every bashed a bloody bin-lid , so we’re having none of it !!.I wonder what kind of letter he’ll send from Florida this year….just an aside ….a wild thought….

Now you’d really wonder why “protestants” didn’t” protest” at the introduction of internment. You’d think they’d want to “protest” at the drop of a hat , wouldn’t you ? They really are very selective about this “protesting” lark when you get down to it. .I suppose that’s down to the fact that no one started locking any of them up until 1973…a couple of years later .

The policy of internment was to last until December 1975 and during that time 1,981 people were interned…..1,874 were Catholic/Irish /nationalist/republican, while 107 were Protestant/loyalist/ Ussuns. That might leave a sour taste in the mouth in many homes.

 The Ussuns were always a bit slow on the the uptake really, weren’t they?.It took  the mention of flags to wake them up .You’ve got to have something worth  protesting about …after all.

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