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8 September 2005 Edition

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Fifth Column

Love is a private affair

LOVE can be confusing and never more so than in the 'Love Ulster' campaign that fringe unionists hope can stop Irish re-unification.

Quizzed about the presence of Orange Order leaders like Robert Saulters unloading campaign newspapers in their paper re-enactment of the 1914 UVF gun running alongside well-known UDA and UVF heavyweights, one unnamed Lover told reporters: "I don't know if people are paramilitaries or not." (He probably didn't give his name in case he offended famous faces like South Belfast UDA boss Jackie McDonald.)

Anyway, the big Orange Bobby Saulters was there "in a private capacity". No doubt just like Jackie McDonald and all the other UDA and UVF "brigadiers".

Look in the Mirror

SHANKILL MIRROR board member John MacVicar, wasn't so coy about the unionist paramilitary presence and he even defended the involvement of the UDA and the UVF.

"The reality is that loyalist paramilitaries are part of the Protestant community. They, along with a lot of other people, were part of the conflict we have been involved in and they need to be part of the resolution."

A view that McVicar's unionist colleagues do not, however, take of IRA members and ex-members in the nationalist community.

DUP doesn't second that emotion

IN BALLYMENA, Ian Paisley's DUP party refused to even discuss a motion at Monday's monthly authority meeting urging the local council to "abhor" the wave of sectarian attacks on Catholic families AND Protestant families in Ballymena and other parts of County Antrim -- just because it had been tabled by Sinn Féin!

The motion was passed 9-0 anyway, without the DUP councillors taking part.

DUP backs Protestant Boys

BALLYMENA DUP councillors did, nevertheless, bring themselves to vote for a motion congratulating three loyalist band parades because they managed to keep it peaceful.

The bands included the less than multi-culturally inclusive Ballymena Protestant Boys. Ballymena Council voted to send the Protestant Boys letters of congratulation by 19-3.

Counting the cost

ELECTION EXPENSES by political parties are usually trumpeted in the media to suggest that Sinn Féin buys its success at the polls. Not so last week, with the release by the Electoral Commission of figures for finance spent on the last Westminster election campaign, which did not break the £250,000 barrier. They were:

SDLP: £154,088

DUP: £91,191

Sinn Féin: £44,211

Alliance: £21,124

The Ulster Unionist Party was not on the list, indicating that Trimble's thrashing cost a lot more than any of the other parties.

Rip-Off Republic off

EDDIE HOBBS'S top-rating RTÉ TV consumer show, Rip-Off Republic, which ended this week, will not be given another series.

Montrose bosses are insisting that the series, which has been critical of the Dublin Government and the authorities for failing to protect consumers, was never intended to run for more than four programmes.

RTÉ insists that complaints by PD and Fianna Fáil Ministers, none-too-subtle hints about RTÉ licence fees having to be reviewed by the parties being criticised by RTÉ, and a letter of rebuke from Mary Harney's appointee to the station's governing RTÉ Authority and former PD spin doctor Stephen O'Byrne, have nothing to do with the decision not to run another series despite rare record viewing figures of nearly a million people.

Who let the dogs out?

THE SIX COUNTIES has a worse record in its treatment of stray dogs than anywhere in England, Scotland or Wales.

Research by the Dogs Trust says that nearly 11,000 dogs were collected in the Six Counties in the past year; 4,000 were put down because they could not find a home.

UDA stray, 'Mad Dog' Johnny Adair, had to go all the way to Bolton to find a home rather than be put down by his previous owners.

Rolling Stone could kill Prince Philip

ROLLING STONE guitarist Keith Richards has been rocking the media with a string of hits at various personalities and Prince Philip.

Richards first had a pop at Sir Bob Geldof and said the Stones had turned down the whole Live8 gig because he thought the old Boomtown Rat was too much like a rat up Tony Blair's drainpipes.

"I just thought the connection between Geldof and the Labour Party was just too tight, and I don't see debt reduction as being like — it's not going to feed the babies down there. I mean, who's this gratifying and where are the Africans? Where was their say?"

Then, after deriding Mick Jagger for junking the Stones' anti-establishment reputation by bending the knee for a knighthood, the wrinkly rocker had to apologise for saying that Sir Mick Jagger had "a small cock".

Later, the plectrum plucking pensioner refused to play a Stones gig in Boston, USA, if 25 glamourous female professional dancers performed on stage behind his leathery physique. "Keith didn't like sharing the stage with the beautiful young things," according to a source quoted in the New York Daily News.

Now he's really rocked the house by telling reporters that he likes the British queen (Richards has consumed an awful lot of drugs in his 61 years) but he could "kill" her husband, Prince Philip.

According to contactmusic.com, he declared: "Ah, the Queen, I like her. God bless her. But the old man I could kill."

Mr Richards has not been arrested by the Department of Homeland Security for questioning. He is not Arab; he is not black; he is not a Muslim. He's a rich, white Westerner.

Serious croquet

A MAN who played croquet and "took tea" on a lawn in Parliament Square, opposite Westminster, has been arrested under new laws curbing the right to protest.

People — not even a man in a stripey blazer armed with cucumber sandwiches and a croquet set -- are no longer allowed to protest within 1km of the "The Mother of Parliaments" without prior permission from the police. The maximum penalty is up to a year in prison.

Croquet Man was busted under the Serious Organised Crime Act. Serious.


A MUSEUM to the body-building antics of Arnold Schwarzenegger before the Austrian-born actor became George W Bush's Governor of California is to close.

The small museum, tucked away in a corner of the Schwarzenegger Stadium in Graz, near Arnie's home village, displays gym equipment, photos and paintings.

It is due to shut down in the coming weeks. It won't be back.

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