Over the last few years there have been some yelps of protest from the sub-culture that gave the world the Famine Song.
Apparently they didn’t like the words I had chosen to characterise their world view and once challenged by me they reacted like fascists from central casting.
It has been a feature of the British Far Right in recent years to make counter accusations against those who call them out for their hatreds, especially journalists.
This is a tactic copied from the Front Nationale in France and this was referred to in a motion to the NUJ Delegate Meeting in 2012 in Newcastle.
Of course the Famine Song was the racist ditty which was used to fill the void after the banning of their favoured anthem the “Billy Boys” by UEFA in 2006.
The song itself was ruled racist and illegal by the highest court in Scotland in 2009.
Sadly some sports journalists in Scotland defended the Famine Song when it first appeared in 2008 and 2009.
They were wrong and they have yet to apologise, but they really should.
What the Famine Song demonstrated was that, apparently for some, the Rangers match day experience required racism to make it a complete day out.
If they couldn’t wade up to their knees in the blood of ‘fenians’ then the descendants of An Gorta Mór had to get their evacuation notice.
That particular piece of music refers to Billy Fullerton a man who led a street gang during the inter-war years in Glasgow.
The eponymous founder of the gang was also a self-declared Fascist and founded a branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Glasgow. Of course Mr Fullerton knew all about ‘fenian blood’ and how to spill it.
In my book ‘Minority reporter: Modern Scotland’s bad attitude towards her own Irish’ I spent some time explaining why I used the term ‘klan’ to describe the sub-culture that sang the Famine Song.
I discussed with the book editor that my use of ‘klan’ with the lower case ‘k’ was also very intentional, rather like the use of conservative with a small ‘c’.
She had proofed the work and had ‘Up Capped’ the ‘K’ word.
I demurred and said that to use the upper case ‘K’ would be to imply that the genocide choir down Ibrox way were in fact formal members of the KKK.
They’re not, but Billy Fullerton was.
Over the last few days in Belfast the folks that I refer to as the ‘klan’ put up a flag.
A Klan flag…
That’s ‘Klan’ with a Kapital ‘K’ although I’m sure they’ve never read ‘Kapital’ as reading isn’t really their thing in klanland.
Actually the failure to acknowledge the power of culture is a weakness in Marx’s model.
Only Antonio Gramsci within the Marxist tradition really saw the centrality of culture.
The Northern statelet was designed to sustain a specific hegemony and that is what the KKK flag in east Belfast was all about yesterday.
There is some research to indicate that flags make people feel differently.
In the last two years parts of Northern Ireland, particularly Belfast, have been the scene of flag protests over the decision of Belfast City council to only fly the Union Flag on designated days.
This has led to some people being brought before the courts including this chap.
What the flag protests demonstrate is a problem that some in Northern Ireland have with the new dispensation.
The Northern Statelet since its creation had the public space dominated by a British mono-culture.
Those days are gone.
If the public space cannot accommodate all cultural expressions including Irishness then it should be a neutral space for all.
Equality or neutrality.
It really is that simple.
The process of othering people and then targeting them is not a new departure for the people who have no problem with a KKK flag in Belfast.
Indeed it defines them.
Whether they are threatening newly arrived people in Northern Ireland or walking in a circle outside a Catholic Church in Belfast and telling the congregation to ‘go home’ this is what they’re about.
It is a sub-culture defined by xenophobia and not by some harmless over identification to a mythologised Brigadoon across the North Channel.
In recent years they have felt the need to invent a language ‘Ulster Scots’ with unintentionally hilarious consequences…
Another core element within this sub-culture is historical illiteracy.
What they are also possessed of is a sense of exceptionalism that is entirely misplaced in the early 21st century.
In a modern knowledge based economy many of their young people, especially the males, are functionally illiterate.
Moreover learning and education do to seem to have high esteem in what they themselves call the ‘PUL (Protestant Unionist Loyalist) community’.
Their world view makes the real world rather uncomfortable for them and that’s their problem right there.
They are culturally ill-equipped to deal with diversity and multi-culturalism.
Moreover the growing nationalist demographic has already subverted the rationale for the Six County statelet.
The polity was created in 1922 when British Prime Minister threatened Mick Collins with “terrible and immediate war” and the nationalist community in Belfast experience loyalist pogroms.
The Northern statelet is no longer the Orange State and it has lost its utility function as a Volkstaat for The People.
They are haunted by nagging doubt that they might not be in fact The People, but just people.
That means that they are no better than the Polish family that just moved into their street or in any way superior to the native born Catholics in Belfast they tell to go home.
If the ‘PUL’ is in a culture war then it is equality that is on the other side of the battlefield.
That is why they are the klan and that is why they have to lose.
When their atavistic hatreds are vanquished then we will all be winners on this island and in the country they claim to have a connection to across the North Channel.