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An MLA for all?

I may have covered him before in this journal but, at the risk of raking over old ground, I must draw attention to the fact that as an inhabitant of South Belfast I will, on 5 May as part of the Assembly election, be able to cast my vote for John Hiddleston. That's right the Traditional Unionist Voice are once again inflicting John Hiddleston on us as a candidate but I now have the privilege of being able to vote for him. According to the TUV's rather slapdash website Hiddleston has "lived and worked in South Belfast for most of his adult life". Far from it.

Hiddleston was profiled in Searchlight magazine in January 2004 and from that we can fill in some background details. That he's a graduate of QUB is true but the TUV website overlooks a lot more of his story. The militant Ulster Vanguard was one of the first groups to build up links with the extreme right in Britain and, as Martin Walker points out in his book National Front, the Vanguard's 1972 London rally was partially organised by the NF and addressed by their then leader John Tyndall. The NF attempted to link up with the UDA around this time although UDA Chairman Andy Tyrie wasn't convinced and proscribed dual membership in 1973. Unperturbed however the NF arrived in Northern Ireland after the Ulster Workers' Council strike of 1974 and it was this version of the NF that the young Hiddleston, also involved with the Vanguard, joined. A prominent figure within the NF in Northern Ireland, he edited their regional journal the British Ulsterman, a paper published by Red Hand Commando founder, Ulster nationalist and one of the darkest and sleaziest figures in the history of this place, John McKeague. In 1978 Hiddleston even managed a piece for John Tyndall's personal journal Spearhead, an organ that devoted space to biological racism, Holocaust denial, Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy and other nastiness.

Hiddleston emigrated to South Africa in 1979, following close friend and fellow NF member Alan Harvey. The two would soon co-operate on the South African Patriot. Hiddleston left South Africa in 1983 after what Searchlight described as "political differences and accusations over missing funds". The following link is a pro-Harvey whitewash that should be taken with a huge dose of salt but it clearly suggests magazine funds were funnelled directly into Hiddleston's own account before dismissing him as "proven scumbag". Takes one to know one but clearly he upset his comrades in Azania, although the claims about his anti-Israeli views are sure to make him unique amongst Unionists. Hiddleston was named by Sammy Duddy as a British state agent in the pages of UDA journal Ulster after Harvey fed him dirt although Hiddleston would sell his story to the Sunday News denying the accusations.

Now devoid of Hiddleston the South African Patriot would continue and by the late 1980s it had developed close links to the Ulster Patriot, a shady affair that was effectively the in-house journal of the Ulster Independence Committee (later Ulster Independence Movement). The UIM was led by Dungannon-based vicar Hugh Ross, a man who regularly appeared in public sporting a very realistic toupee:

Ulster Patriot was shady for a number of reasons although one of the main ones was that most of its content was anonymous. Wiggy generally appended his name to whatever he wrote as did current Ulster Scots Agency bigwig and Wordsworth in training* Deirdre Speer, whose genealogical journal Ulster Origins was offered for sale through Ulster Patriot. As a side-note, the other publication offered for sale there by "Richard Cameron" (a name frequently used by UVF bomber and later Progressive Unionist Party spokesman Billy Mitchell) is a diatribe in support of independence that, whilst claiming to be reasonable, includes such gems as "the new Ulster government should not be deterred from taking whatever action may be necessary to ensure the prosperity and greater good of the Country, and of the Ulstermen and women who have pledged their full allegiance to it" if the Taigs don't leap for joy at the new arrangement. A final solution for the Fenians then although as it further enlightens us "one cannot do otherwise than regard Ulster's Roman Catholics with at least a little suspicion and apprehension". However "this is not bigotry...it is honesty and common sense". Thanks for clearing that up "Cameron", whoever you were (and I doubt it was Mitchell incidentally as the UVF were never Ulster nationalist).

The mysterious main writer for Ulster Patriot was most likely David Kerr, the NF organiser in Northern Ireland following its post Anglo-Irish Agreement revival under John Field, and, according to a profile in NF magazine Nationalism Today, the chairman of something called the North Belfast Independent Unionist Association and publisher of its journal Ulster Sentinel. Kerr has always been a prolific writer of polemic and the clues are legion. For instance, although avowedly committing to democracy, they make it clear in issue five that any group that doesn't agree with independence (for which read Fenians) would quickly find itself outlawed, effectively meaning a "democracy" without opposition (a bit like the Assembly really). Similarly "foreign goods" are condemned as un-Ulster in 1ssue three whilst, in probably the biggest clue of all, the same issue also includes a quote from Romanian fascist Iron Guard leader Corneliu Codreanu. An obscure figure at best, Codreanu was something of a darling of the "Political Soldier" wing of the NF that Nick Griffin was associated with during the 1980s and to which Kerr offered his allegiance. Heck, Kerr was probably one of the very people in Northern Ireland who had even heard of Codreanu. Kerr was also involved in the production of the NF policy document Alternative Ulster around 1989 in which they advocated the establishment of a "national-revolutionary state" which would revel in hardship and poverty (again, a bit like today), something that was straight out of Codreanu's bleak play-book. Kerr at the time was close to moustachio Nelson McCausland, then an independent councillor on Belfast City Council and the target for frequent praise in the magazine. McCausland has never acknowledged any links although photographic evidence suggests otherwise.

The rest of the story is so well known that it hardly bears repeating but to summarise Ross was named by Sean McPhilemy in the hotly-contested The Committee, threatened to sue but never did, left politics and saw the UIM disappear after a brief period when it fell into the hands of LVF-related dissident loyalist pastors Clifford Peeples and Kenny McClinton. Kerr published Ulster Nation for years and became something of a Bill Boaks figure, contesting several elections and losing them all hard but also seems to have disappeared off the scene. Ulster Nation was last heard of being bigged-up on the website of the hard-line British People's Party. Needless to say Ulster Patriot, which was widely linked to the loyalist paramilitary group Ulster Resistance and devoted space to supporting that group's three members Noel Little (a one-time close associate of Paisley and Robbo), Samuel Quinn and Jim King after they were arrested in Paris for attempting to run guns from (you guessed it) South Africa, is a distant memory.

But I digress. Hiddleston was largely off the scene until around 2003 when he emerged as one of the more prominent supporters of then South Belfast MP Rev Martin Smyth in his ultimately unsuccessful campaign to unseat David Trimble as Ulster Unionist Party leader. Hiddleston, who was also editing an obscure publication calling itself Ulster Watchman at the time, even acknowledged his earlier NF connections, although he rather disingenuously claimed he had only "attended some National Front meetings" and never been a member. An unsuccessful candidate in 2003 for the party, he would subsequently leave them and eventually wash up in the TUV, running in the east as a failed Belfast City Council candidate for them in 2011, as previously covered.

Hiddleston may not have been the most high profile figure in the world but his shenanigans within the extreme right on two continents are a matter of public record and yet he remains a TUV member in good standing and their preferred man to represent them in Stormont for South Belfast. I'm gratified by the fact that his chances of getting elected in "leafy South Belfast" (never mention this constituency without that adjective) are slim to none but that a man with such a record is foisted upon us is an affront to public decency by this toxic party. I'm still deciding which of two no-hoper candidates I'll be voting for but Hiddleston definitely won't be one of them and I urge everybody to reject this racist in probably the most diverse constituency in Northern Ireland. A disgraceful choice by a truly disreputable party.

*The Cruthin refers to a made-up group of ancient migrants from Scotland who supposedly settled in Ulster and thus make us completely distinct from the Irish biologically. This little flight of ethnonationalist fantasy is the creation of Ian Adamson, the former Ulster Unionist councillor and "historian" who always makes sure to include his doctorate in his writing but never mentions that it’s a medical doctorate and his real job was as a gynaecologist. Needless to say serious archaeology pays no heed to his ravings.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2016 05:09 pm (UTC)
As usual, all those initials make my head spin, but I learn stuff I never did from Time!

Although my first reaction was, "Yes! Who needs APA and Chicago?"

Edited at 2016-04-06 05:13 pm (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2016 06:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I really should define initials the first time I use them but I do get carried away. Just like I really should get a better scanner!

Yes! Who needs APA and Chicago?

I'm rather afraid my reaction that was "I thought Farooq and Bradshaw were from the South". I watched far too much bad wrestling in my 20s!
Apr. 7th, 2016 10:16 pm (UTC)
Here's hoping this man's full back story comes to light and he is trounced.
Apr. 7th, 2016 11:56 pm (UTC)
He'll lose no worries - South Belfast really isn't TUV territory and if there are any dissenting Unionist votes going the demented Ruth Patterson is more likely to net them. Mind you, sad to say that there are people here who would probably vote for him more if they knew about his NF connections.
Feb. 19th, 2017 07:46 am (UTC)
Feb. 19th, 2017 05:46 pm (UTC)
Good insight.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Percy Sugden
The Ayatollah


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