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9 September 2004 Edition

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Fifth Column

DUP's Dublin stand-up

PETER ROBINSON, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and Ian Paisley's right-hand man, travelled to Dublin Castle on Tuesday to address the David Brents of the Small Firms Association.

Peter told the suits ahead of next week's peace process summit at Leeds Castle in Kent:

"Only time will tell the extent of the progress that will be made but I believe that the ingredients are in place, if all parties are willing to embrace entirely peaceful and democratic means, to achieve an agreed settlement...

"I believe that a number of factors combine to dangle before us the tantalising prospect of peace and stability, but the pace of progress is dependent on the willingness of the paramilitaries to leave the stage and the ingenuity of the politicians in meeting the challenges and opportunities to establish a wholly democratic, fair and just society."

Unionists backing a "wholly democratic, fair and just society"? Maybe this Peace Process is finally kicking in.

Behind the scenes

WHILE Peter Perfect was long on telling Dublin's captains of commerce about paramilitaries having to be willing to leave the stage, he coyly omitted to give his audience the benefit of his considerable experience of the DUP's big supporting role in loyalist paramilitary dramas over the years.

There was 1977, when the DUP co-starred alongside the UDA during another right-wing putsch known as the Ulster Workers' Council strike.

Then, four years later, the DUP set up their Third Force vigilante army, complete with illegal checkpoints, Nuremburg-style rallies in towns and midnight shows of strength on hillsides.

And then again, in 1986, the DUP helped found (and led) Ulster Resistance, a paramilitary-style force whose red berets Peter Perfect and Papa Doc Paisley proudly wore for the media and the unionist hard men. Members of Ulster Resistance stole plans of British military technology from Shortt's missile factory to sell to then apartheid regime in South Africa.

And, of course, the DUP-engineered Ulster Resistance later had the connivance of British Intelligence in smuggling huge numbers of weapons into the Six Counties to arms the unionist sectarian murder campaign against nationalists.

The DUP did business with the UDA and with the UWC. The DUP set up the Third Force. The DUP was a major shareholder in Ulster Resistance. Funny that no one mentioned Peter's previous enterprises.

The Clontibret Cowboy

RTÉ'S Tommie Gorman teased Peter on Sunday by asking if addressing a Dublin Castle conference of such respectable pillars of the 26-County establishment wasn't unusual for a man who once appeared in court for daubing slogans on the wall of a Garda station.

Peter chided Tommie and suggested that he might sue over such a suggestion, thereby halting the probing into Peter's enthusiasm for cross-border activities.

In August 1986, Peter led 500 screaming loyalists across the border in a night-time raid to seize the County Monaghan village of Clontibret. Reportedly armed (would you get 500 loyalists or unionist burghers together without some of them packing?), they stormed the local Garda station and gave the two Guards there a going over.

Peter Perfect was arrested and hauled off to the jailhouse where he is said to have kept his spirits up by singing Orange ballads and quoting from the Bible. He was fined £15,000 for unlawful assembly.

The 5th Column is delighted to set Peter Robinson's record straight.

Losing the plot

THE GREEN FINGERS of allotment holders at the Vista Allotments in Gilnahirk, Belfast, were all a tremble last week.

The gardeners had been boxed off earlier by officials to expect a big name. The Ground Force fans were eagerly anticipating someone exciting. "I thought the visitor would be Charlie Dimmock," said Cheryl Casement. They got Prince Charles instead. But the self-styled Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne did try out an old car seat in Cheryl's shed.

During the two-day visit to the Six Counties by the Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment, no one asked him about British Army decommissioning, demilitarisation or Bloody Sunday, not even at a function at RAF Aldergrove military base.

Tories gird their loins

TORY BOSS Michael Howard might want to take his crusade against 'yob culture' into the ranks of his party's own youth wing, Conservative Future.

As the party's poll ratings continue to slide, the young bucks in London CF will be holding their autumn cocktail party next month at the Stringfellows lap dancing club.

Howard's Hooray Henrys and Henriettas are being warned that the official reception and "complimentary champagne and canapés" run out at 10pm but they can lurch and leer well after that time if they want.

Their seedy host, Peter Stringfellow, is delighted. The West End lounge lizard isn't at all worried about the impact that holding an official Conservative Party function at a strip club for the Tories' drooping figures. Mr Seedy said:

"Certainly, the last time I spoke to Margaret Thatcher she didn't seem to be upset by what I do."

Chinese cracker

DUP COUNCILLOR Ruth Patterson (yes, it's that woman again) has targeted the Chinese community in her latest assault on cross-community relations.

Ruthless spoke out at a Belfast City Council debate against a proposal for a centre in Donegall Pass for the Chinese community.

Ruth claims that she has the interests of the Chinese community at heart.

"If the Chinese were to get their own one they would be excluding themselves from the rest of the community. I don't want to see a Chinese community centre open in Donegall Pass or anywhere else for that matter."

The DUP councillor stood firm against criticisms from the Anti-Racism Network and the Chinese Welfare Association and denied accusations of racism.

"I don't see it as a positive step for the Chinese community to exclude themselves by going into a nice, big community centre where they will not be involved with the local community. When I made those comments, racism couldn't have been farther from my mind."

If you've half a mind to be a DUP councillor, don't worry, that's all you need.

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