24 June 2004 Edition
The 5th Column
DUP on the TV
A BALLYMENA DUP councillor who believes that TV bosses beamed out "subliminal messages" to brainwash Six-County telly watchers into supporting Sinn Féin wants a seat on the Film & Television Commission so that he can vet what we watch and improve the morals of the movie industry.
The commission is responsible for the development of the film and television industry in the Six Counties and is headed by drama king Kenneth Brannagh. Now the DUP wants its own drama queen in on the act and they've nominated Councillor Robin 'Square Eyes' Stirling to watch out for us.
Square Eyes is apparently glued to his goggle box, watching out for Provo programming. He famously attacked UTV for showing a still of Gerry Adams that was just a tinchy little bit bigger than other political leaders in the evening news slot's opening intro sequence. Mind bending stuff indeed.
Even Radio 4's Archers serial, the long-running soap opera about muck-spreading and rhubarb folk in rural England, isn't safe from DUP interference. When an Archers character from Ballymena made a joke that people from there were tight with their money, reliant Robin piped up, accusing the revered Englsih institution of perpetuating stereotypes. We're sure Robin would have been as quick to denounce any similar references to nationalists -- and that he will be in the future!
Not a fair cop
RUC SUPERINTENDENT Eric Anderson has retired from the discredited paramilitary police but that hasn't stopped him from resorting to trial by TV and setting up republicans for assassination by unionist death squads because he hasn't been able to get evidence to convict them.
Last week, Anderson popped up on a BBC TV documentary, The Day Mountbatten Died, which focused on 27 August 1979, the day when the IRA assassinated the British Royal Family's Lord Louis Mountbatten off the Sligo coast and 18 British soldiers in a separate attack at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint in County Down.
Anderson has publicly named one South Armagh republican former prisoner (released in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement) as being allegedly involved in the devastating Narrow Water ambush. No evidence; no proof — just the word of a cop in a police force up to its necks in collusion with unionist death squads.
Where else in the world would the authorities let one of its senior police officers conduct his own trial by TV? They wouldn't be let get away with it in England, but then there always has been one law for the RUC and another for everybody else.
Sanders back in the saddle
NEVILLE SANDERS, the Tory chief of Peterborough City Council sacked after anti-Irish comments following the suicide of an RIR soldier, has been re-elected as an 'Independent' councillor after the Conservative Party refused to stand against him.
The old bigot made international headlines when he told the Belfast Telegraph that he was "fed up paying taxes to cover for the lazy Irish" and the Six Counties can "f*** off and run its own affairs". The outburst came after Carrickfergus Council asked Peterborough City Council to support a campaign for an independent inquiry into the suicide of RIR soldier Paul Cochrane.
The embarrassing row led to Conservative Party head office sacking Sanders after he refused to apologise. He was allowed to keep his council seat as an 'independent' although it was expected that he would lose it in this month's local elections. But local Tory big-wigs gave their old friend a free run and he was re-elected with the bulk of the Conservative Party vote swinging in behind him.
Rival Independent candidate Simon Potter, who lost out to Sanders by 206 votes, said:
"Peterborough as a city has lost. You could tell by the cheering of the Conservatives that the local Conservatives continue to stick two fingers up at their own head office."
Naughty Neville is, though, still under investigation by the local government watchdog, the Standards Board for England, which is investigating three separate complaints against him after his anti-Irish remarks.
Clash of ideas
BAND MEMBER Mike Devine, part of a Clash tribute group, was arrested earlier this month in England after a text message he sent was intercepted. The text, a lyric from the Clash song, 'Tommy Gun', contained the words "jetliner" and "hostages" and was, apparently, sent to the wrong number. The recipient then phoned the local Bobbies who, in turn, sent the Special Branch goon squad with flashing lights, sirens and guns to arrest Devine in his office before interrogating him at length.
Devine was later released without charge but how did the Devine Special Branch intervention come about. Something to do with the eavesdropping by the GCHQ spy centre on all mobile verbal and text traffic perhaps?
Euro 2004 belly flop
NO, this isn't about England's beefy idol, Wayne Rooney, but the even more rounded group of British MPs who went out to support him.
While the British Government is busy lecturing people about the need to exercise and lay off the junk food, 17 MPs flew out to Portugal to watch the Euro 2004 England v France match — courtesy of the big burgers at McDonald's.
England's humbling by France didn't curb the beefy Brits' appetites and they joined Portuguese dignitaries for a reception of sherry, champagne and canapés before a four-course dinner that included starters of melon or swordfish, main courses of roasted stone bass with spinach or leg of lamb followed by cheese or the traditional Lisbon almond dessert, Toucinho.
The McDonald's junket left a particularly bad taste with soccer's money men, coming just days after MPs called for the Football Association to drop McDonald's as a sponsor.