Willie Frazer

It is hard to take Willie Frazer seriously. For several years I was just prepared to believe that he was well……..a victim. Not a very nice one. But a Victim. Thats the problem with Victims….especially our Troubles victims. Not much (in the grand sheme of things) has happened to me in the years since 1969….and while I would love to think that if the worst had happened to any member of my family that I would be an inspirational advocate for victims (like Alan McBride) or a peace campaigner (like Joyce McCartan) and the truth is that I have never been tested…Thank God….so I just dont know.

Or do I? I know enough about my character to know how petty humiliations such as being stopped and searched by some Kings Own Scottish Borderers (or in some versions of my war diaries…the Black Watch) on the Grosvenor Road in Belfast in 1973. The bastards made me take my shoes off….in the rain….and frankly I hope the bastards roast in Hell. So probably I am no Alan McBride or Joyce McCartan.

The narrow minded “victim” …the unforgiving victim is maybe the kinda victim I would be. In fairness to myself….my nearest and dearest …think I am a better person than I give myself credit for.

Either way….I have for the most part….granted Willie Fraser the courtesy of being a man who has lost family members to Terrorism (as he would see it) in South Armagh and has earned the right to be whatever kinda victim he chose.

Yet he is the most high-profile campaigner for victims….or more precisely SOME victims. For Willie, only the victims of republicans are genuine victims.

He has been …………ahem……understanding of loyalist terrorists, sees little problem with state collusion with loyalists. He was a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment and alleged by a Garda member at the Smithwick Tribunal of being a member of the terrorist group, Red Hand Commando…an allegation he denies. But he has been a fringe unionist politician….never in the mainstream.

As a victims campaigner, he was the leading light in FAIR (Families Acting for Innocent Relatives) but it is an organisation which attracts some controversy because of its use of funding.

The extent to which Frazer is a victim (with or without a political agenda), a self publicist and conspiracy theorist who uses his victimhood to avoid too much scrutiny or just a buffoon….that is a legitimate question. Do we treat him as a knave or a buffoon? He has been the most visible “Flegs protestor” but he does himself an injustice when he claims not to be a public speaker because at heart he is the “man of the people” with the rustic rural accent, an obvious anti-intellectual which the crowd…..lets be frank…..the mob loves. An anti-politician…..but a cute one.

But the combination of being PRIMARILY  a victim (in some eyes) and PRIMARILY a buffoon (in some eyes) and PRIMARILY  sinister (in some eyes) has effectively meant that there is no consensus around him. No reasonable analysis.

Is he bad? Is he mad? Is he dangerous to know?

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18 Responses to Willie Frazer

  1. I’m going to go with dangerous to know and mad.

    I love him being wheeled out onto TV as everytime he opens his gob he does whatever cause a massive bad turn. I think he is more to be pitied than feared and he acts as a lightening conductor for those who are unthinking, we have them in every community, however, I would worry if he were to ever get some serious ground swell of support behind him, though to be honest he sabotages any sympathy or support he may ever garner fairly quickly and easily.

    • The fact that he is ….I am trying to put this diplomatically…..anti-intellectual is what makes him so popular with the worst kinda loyalist. It would be impossible to imagine him as even the least able DUP backbencher.
      Loyalists distrust Intelligence.

  2. As much as I dislike his politics, and his acknowledged hypocrisy, one must be mindful of the loss of his father. Yes, he was a member of a British Army militia (a force with a fearful reputation) but he was still someone’s father, someone’s husband.

    However Frazer is most certainly NOT a campaigner for the rights of “victims”. Whatever the justification for his views (and perhaps there never needed to be one) he is now indelibly associated with the militant extreme of the British Unionist community on the island of Ireland.

    I don’t see him as “mad” and I think that lets Unionism off the hook to do so. He combines conservative, right-wing politics with sectarian Protestant fundamentalism and racist British colonial supremacism. He is very much an “Ulster” Unionist of the old school. The same school that forced the partition of Ireland, the creation of the apartheid northern state, and all that stemmed from that.

    I see Willie Farzer and I think “Plantation”. I suspect those who follow him still curse the Elizabethans and Cromwellians for not having done the job properly.

    • A good point about Plantation. He is part of the whole Peep o Day, Protestant Boy ………militia/UDR tradition,
      To some extent Frazer has traded on Guilt.
      It is normal that people should realise that he is a victim and therefore show a degree of respect as well as cutting him some slack. But he has now used up that “respect” and is exposed as being really nothing more than a bigot.
      But maybe he is playing to a second form of guilt. The loyalist mob is uneducated and almost feral. And the collective leadership…such as it is is barely coherent. To lampoon them….Frazer, Jamie Bryson and Ruth Patterson is almost too easy. Ive done it myself in 140 characters on Twitter.
      Yet perhaps there is an element of elitism about that. Clearly they are not democratically elected leaders. Clearly there is no “cause” worthy of the name. But do they deserve more than Ridicule?

  3. sammymcnally says:

    In fairness to Willie, if there was a poll tomorrow on Unionist attitudes to SF and the IRA I suspect a large % and probably a majority would describe them as murdering fenian terrorists who should not be near the seat of government or council chambers. Given that Unionists are locked into the current process(after some coercion from Her Majesty’s government) I suspect that the boul Willie is saying (admittedly very badly) what most Unionist politicians (and probably most Unionists) actually think or at least broadly reflecting their views as the 2 main Unionist parties are signed up to working with said Fenians.

    • here are some good comments on this thread.
      But this is interesting.
      The majority of unionists and/or Protestants tend to be against power-sharing with R-wuns.
      But in essence it is for two different reasons and Williw probably represents both.
      At one level there is an aversion to sharing power with republican terrorists (as they would see it) that the old RUC, B Specials, UDR …the militias have been sold out. That the terrorist campaign has been retrospectively made respectable.
      There is a second strand that is simply anti-Catholic. That a “plantation” mentality similar to Manifest Destiny in 19th century USA or Liebenstraum (sp) in 20th century Europe…..or indeed the west Bank of the jordan. You cant argue with GOD and ultimately there is a section of Protestantism which ultimately believes that Catholics are children of a lesser GOD.
      And perhaps thats also true of “liberal unionists” of a Whig, Guardian reading tendency.
      And therein lies the flaw at the heart of the entire process?

      Are Catholics and/or republicans unworthy to share power? Are Protestants “better”? Morally superior?
      And can any peace process survive that kinda deep rooted bigotry?

  4. factual says:

    Given that his father and 4 other family were killed by the IRA I don’t really wish to make any comments other than that this is a heavy price for anyone to pay. And it no doubt has affected his mental health.

  5. sammymcnally says:

    FJH,

    Yes I think you are right, more moderate Unionists dont want a Fenian (in the armed insurgent sense) about the place and less moderate Unionists dont want a Fenian(armed or not) about the place.

    The Flags thing(which must rally puzzle Mainland Britishers) probably represent the the strain of ideology of the less moderate bunch but I think even the more moderate Unionists seem to have some degree of sympathy for the protesters but presumably are at least a little embarassed by the carryon.

    Factual,

    Yes, irrespective of Willie’s antics, although actually amusing at one level (may prove to be even more dangerous than we have witnessed so far) but do need to be placed in the context of his own losses.

    • I think Willie’s sad experiences lose weight given his unqualified (yep, I know he ammended that recently when his funding got pulled) when one considers his family’s suspected involvement in certain loyalist activity and the oft noted reluctance of the police, over many years, to allow him a PPW. There are other issues about his past that are easily found but I don’t want to touch them here for FJH’s sake

    • ardmajell55 says:

      FJH. ‘They locked up a man who wanted to rule the world. the fools, they locked up the wrong man’ Leonard Cohen could have been referring to Willie Frazer in this quote.

  6. There is an interesting (well, I thinks so) parallel between unionist’s, Willie especially and pro zionists in their tactics. The most basic, most obvious, is to have zero interest in anyone else who suffered/suffers because they see themselves as above all others.

    Another is the free use of critics as bigots, terrorist or (as in the zionst case) anti-semites and this is done to such a degree that the terms have become valueless. Unionists are fond of borrowing the worst of what happened to Jews in Europe which, as well as being disgusting, exposes them for the nonsense they are eg. genocide or ethnic cleansing in border areas (makes you wonder who votes for Tom Elliot etc), even whilst example of real ethnic cleansing is daily in our media.

    What’s interesting is past associations of unionists (and again, Frazer in particular) with genuinely anti-semitc groups such as the KKK and Combat 18 but there’s an interesting circle in the extreme right were groups are anti-semitic but support israel because of their Islamaphobia.

    What speaks more of this than Jim Dowson and Nick Griffin’s involvement?

    Of course, the former Apartheid supporters of the DUP and UUP have no issues with giving Willie, Jamie, Winkie (where’s he gone?) legitimacy.

    • One of the strange coincidences of the past three months has been the number of comments which in some way reflect the things I am preparing for USA (now less than a month away).
      I will expand on these points in a seperate post.

  7. I repeatedly caution people against thinking there is anything such as a flags dispute, there isn’t. This is part of a campaign by unionists and loyalists that certainly began this July and possibly last June, with the organised UVF attack on Short Strand.

    Obviously, there are other elements that are benefitting such as the agenda to regain East Belfast, finance for .loyalist gangsters, keeping working class Protestants down and the completely empty rhetoric of unionism, exposed for what we always knew it was, solely an ethic of hate and paranoia

    • Youre right about East Belfast……its probably the area of Norn Iron that I know least….and its electoral history is actually more turbulent than it appears. A lot depends on DUP ability to be “respectable” and to “lead the mob”. I would not want to predict anything there……..especially since Iris-Gate…….Robinson appears like an absentee landlord.
      But certainly the spectacle of Willie Frazer in Belfast….is an odd one.

      • ardmajell55 says:

        FJH It occurred to me some time in the summer that the ancestors of these rioters were probably sent by Brtain/England over here in the plantation, not just for political/colonial reasons, but to get rid of a social class they wanted out of the civil society and thought they’d kill two birds with one stone. If they had been doing this in the 19th century the same ‘probem families of the criminal classes would instead have been transported to australia and save us a whole lot of grief here in the interim. Just a thought.

      • “To Hell or Ulster”

  8. Meant to add: outside of that, the unionist parties have NOTHING to offer and they know it.

    I’m astonished that anyone ie. the media, falls for the pantomime that these idiots are challenging the unionist parties, they aren’t.

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