While political euphoria shifts from huge gains for Sinn Fein & the DUP to concerned but almost amusing interest from the British public on the politics of the north, can we return our focus to the Six Counties/the north/N. Ireland/Ulster.
The Loyalist Communities Council issued a statement in support of Pro Union candidates and encouraged the Loyalist/Unionist community to vote in numbers across the board. There is no doubt that this statement had a massive impact and that the main beneficiaries were the DUP. Anyone who thinks the huge turnout of voters, even in the safest of Unionist constituencies was unrelated is, well, probably English.
I don’t want to misrepresent the LCC statement, it was about the Union and it succeeded. I do know more than a few Loyalists though and I’m aware of some of they’re concerns at the lack of support in working class Loyalist/Unionist areas. I would also guess they have more progressive views on a lot of the social issues than the DUP, but I suspect they’re primary concern is investment in areas they feel have been forgotten.
With that in mind will the LCC now issue another statement outlining their priorities and listing some specific demands on how to address the deficits in representation of the Loyalist community. The LCC have delivered, will they now ask the DUP to deliver, and will they share their expectations.
Investment in programmes to address lack of educational programmes, youth services, cultural programmes, LGBT+ , gender inequality, drug & alcohol addiction services, crime, illegal drug use and policing. I’m aware these issues are not confined to the Loyalist/Unionist community but I’m also aware that people working to address those issues in Loyalist areas feel they are being shortchanged and even demonised. I assume from the name Loyalist Communities Council that these issues are just some that you are passionate about and would suggest you get your list in ahead of the Tories. As you well know from experience, secret promises aren’t worth much.
There are legit people working in Loyalist areas and they’ll be looking to you. There are many who will say your just gangsters and hoods and while I know there are elements formerly under your control, who can’t/won’t move on, I also know you’ll need support to either challenge these people or isolate them and develop a confident Loyalist community who can get on with tackling disadvantage.
Again I’ll state, these issues are by no means confined to Loyalist communities but I’m not saying anything you haven’t said yourselves. Political Unionism has abandoned you repeatedly, don’t let them do it again. good luck.