Why not just buy the magazine and watch the YouTube videos? ITV spends fortune on pointless ‘infiltration’ of H&D meeting

On October 6th H&D hosted our latest John Tyndall Memorial Meeting in Preston.  As with all previous such events, this was very widely advertised in advance and reported afterwards both on this website and in the current edition of H&D.  All of the speeches were professionally filmed and are publicly available on YouTube.

The John Tyndall Memorial Meeting in Preston, October 2017

Nevertheless a television production company sent two young female journalists ‘undercover’ into the meeting, where they secretly filmed speeches that would in any case be broadcast in full on our YouTube channel.  Unfortunately these ‘undercover journalists’ – who used the names Mary McShane and Mary Mead – also claim to have recorded private conversations with members of the audience at the bar and in cars travelling from the event.
H&D greatly regrets this invasion of privacy.  While our own editor and assistant editor have not said anything in private that we would not say in public, we of course have no idea what members of the audience might say in their own private conversations, especially when these are recorded, edited and taken out of context by journalists.

‘Undercover reporter’ using the name Mary McShane at the October 2017 JTMM in Preston

We would emphasise the following points in reply to allegations contained in a letter sent to our assistant editor by the production company (allegations which may or may not be featured in the programme):
Heritage & Destiny is a non-partisan journal reflecting a wide spectrum of nationalist ideas.  Particular articles in the magazine should not be taken as reflecting an editorial line or shared ideology, still less should it be assumed that H&D promotes any particular position or agenda held by authors of such articles.
– Events hosted by H&D similarly reflect a broad range of ideas – as should be obvious from the fact that such speakers often disagree with each other on particular issues and represent diverse parties and groups.
– The London Forum and allied forums in various parts of the UK again feature a diverse range of speakers – the clue is in the name “forum”.
– Some of the individuals featured in the forthcoming ITV programme have no connection whatever with H&D.  For example, while we fully accept Anne Marie Waters right to her own opinions on Islam, and we deprecate attempts to silence her, there have been many articles critical of Ms Waters and her associates published both in the magazine and on this website.  Within the broad spectrum of nationalist ideas represented by H&D, we have sometimes printed articles which conform with Ms Waters’ anti-Islam agenda, but most articles on this theme have been critical of her approach.  In particular our assistant editor’s ‘Movement News’ column has been consistently critical of the EDL, Liberty GB and the rest of the ‘Islam-obsessed’ wing of nationalism.

Dr Jim Lewthwaite speaking at the 2017 JTMM

– It would be seriously defamatory to accuse our assistant editor of expressing sympathy with any form of terrorism during his speech at the October 6th meeting.  What he did say (and repeated in the current edition of the magazine) was that the Terrorism Act makes a mockery of the English language in its designation of a wide range of purely political activities as ‘terrorist’.  These concerns about the wide-ranging remit and potential injustice of the Terrorism Act are widely shared across the political spectrum.  Serious criminal charges have emerged against some individuals since the October 6th meeting.  None of those individuals was present at the meeting, and for obvious legal reasons we cannot comment further at this time.
– Our assistant editor did indeed state at the October 6th meeting that Ernst Zündel, Ursula Haverbeck and others prosecuted under Germany’s notorious laws suppressing free historical research will be seen as “heroes of the Europe of the future”.  Their alleged crimes are not in any way illegal in this country.  H&D does not promote any particular interpretation of Second World War history, and indeed some articles in H&D have suggested that nationalists should avoid association with historical revisionism (while others have argued that defence of academic and political freedom is central to our cause).
– As regards the Brexit referendum, there can be little doubt that concerns over immigration were the main motivation for many (arguably most) pro-Brexit voters.  It should be noted however that a significant minority of British nationalists took a pro-Remain stance in last year’s referendum, and this debate was featured in the magazine.
– In short, to draw “links” between diverse individuals and groups attending a meeting/forum (and in some cases between individuals who have never met or had anything to do with each other) is at best absurd and at worst defamatory.

Peter Rushton speaking at the 2017 JTMM

H&D Issue 81 Published

The new issue (#81) of Heritage and Destiny magazine is now out. The 26 page, November-December 2017 issue, has as its lead –

Ernst Zündel – 1939-2017 – German Patriot, Champion of Historical Truth and Free Research

Issue 81
November-December 2017

Contents include:

  • Editorial – by Mark Cotterill
  • Britain’s Stasi State: 2017 crackdown on nationalists  – by Peter Rushton
  • Book Review: Archeofuturism 2.0 –  by Guillaume Faye – reviewed by Ian Freeman.
  • John Tyndall Memorial Meeting 2017 – full report of this year’s event.
  • Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd: South Africa’s Greatest Prime Minister, Part VII – by Stephen Mitford Goodson
  • Book Review: Left-Right Loyalist – by Frank Portinari – reviewed by Stevie Cartwright.
  • Ernst Zündel 1939-2017: obituary by Peter Rushton.
  • Mass Madness – Simon Sheppard asks: Is it us or them that’s cracked in the head?
  • Movie review: Dunkirk – reviewed by Mark Cotterill.
  • Two pages of readers’ letters
  • Movement News – latest analysis of the nationalist movement, by Peter Rushton

If you would like 2 sample copies please send £5.00 /$10.00 or for a year’s (6 issues) subscription, send £26.00 (UK) – $48.00 (USA) – £35.00/$48.00 (Rest of world).

Video from 2017 John Tyndall Memorial Meeting

Almost all of the speeches from the 2017 John Tyndall Memorial Meeting are now available online. Due to a slight technical fault, posting of editor Mark Cotterill’s speech has been delayed for a few days.

70 nationalists attend Preston meeting

More than seventy nationalists attended the John Tyndall Memorial Meeting held at a venue just outside Preston city centre yesterday afternoon.

Following ‘anti-fascist’ attempts to disrupt the 2015 event, and complications with the original venue, this year’s JTMM was unusually held on a Friday rather than a Saturday, which helped avoid a clash with the National Front’s event in Birmingham the following day.

Speakers at the 2017 John Tyndall Memorial Meeting

Thanks to an excellent security team there was no trouble of any kind, and we had a very good event, chaired by John Tyndall’s old comrade Keith Axon, former West Midlands BNP organiser.

Speakers included Benny Bullman, lead singer of Blood & Honour band Whitelaw and longstanding British Movement activist; Julie Lake, South West Forum organiser and SW NF organiser; Richard Edmonds, NF Directorate member and right-hand man of John Tyndall in both NF and BNP; Mark Collett, author of the new book The Fall of Western Man (reviewed in the current issue of H&D); Dr Jim Lewthwaite, former Bradford City Councillor and Chairman of the British Democratic Party; Mike Whitby of British Voice; Stephen Frost, British Movement National Secretary and author of the recent biography of Colin Jordan, ‘Twas a good fight; and H&D‘s assistant editor Peter Rushton.

Benny Bullman addressing the 2017 John Tyndall Memorial Meeting

Mark Collett speaking at the 2017 John Tyndall Memorial Meeting

South West Forum and National Front regional organiser Julie Lake

NF Directorate member Richard Edmonds, formerly National Organiser of the BNP

Richard Edmonds with the framed photograph of the 1977 Lewisham NF rally, presented to mark his 45 years in nationalism

The event brought together nationalists with extensive political experience, including at least six former councillors from Blackburn, Darwen, Bradford, Burnley and Coedpoeth (Wrexham), and several longstanding branch, regional and national organisers. Groups represented (some with merchandise stalls) included British Movement, British Voice, Western Spring, the Creativity Movement, British Democratic Party, National Front, English Democrats and Candour.

Meeting organiser Mark Cotterill thanked all involved, including audience members who had travelled from every part of the British Isles – including both Northern Ireland and the Republic – as well as Wales, Scotland and the farthest corner of England, the channel port of Dover. We even had one H&D subscriber all the way from Poland.

Video will be available soon.

Former city councillor Dr Jim Lewthwaite

Richard Edmonds (right) with former Burnley councillor Derek Dawson

BM National Secretary Stephen Frost

H&D editor and meeting organiser Mark Cotterill

H&D Assistant Editor Peter Rushton

Some of the many literature stalls at the 2017 JTMM, run by Paul Ballard (above and below)

 

A limited number of copies of the souvenir programme from this event are available for £5 from Heritage & Destiny, 40 Birkett Drive, Preston, PR2 6HE.

 

2017 John Tyndall Memorial Meeting, Friday 6th October, Preston

The 2017 Annual John Tyndall Memorial Meeting
 
Friday 6th October, 2017
 
Preston – Lancashire1pm – 6pm
 
Keith Axon: Meeting Chairman: – Longstanding friend of JT, former NF and BNP organiser
 
Speakers include (in alphabetical order):
 
Benny Bullman: – lead singer of the Blood & honour band Whitelaw, and longstanding British Movement activist
 
Mark Collett: – former Young BNP organizer, twice acquitted on ‘race-hate’ charges and author of Decline of Western Man
 
Richard Edmonds: – Longstanding friend of JT, National Front directorate member activist – former BNP national organiser
 
Stephen Frost: – National secretary of the British Movement and author of the Colin Jordan biography ‘TWAS A GOOD FIGHT’!
 
Julie Lake: – former BNP organiser, now National Front & South West Forum organiser
 
Dr. James Lewthwaite: – former Bradford City Councillor, archaeology lecturer, organiser for the British Democrats and Orangeman
 
Eddy Morrison: – Longstanding White nationalist, former NF, BNP and WNP organiser – now editor of the online newsletter  White Voice
 
Peter Rushton: – Assistant editor of Heritage and Destiny magazine & Russia Today and Press TV commentator
 
 Jez Turner: – former soldier in the Royal Corps of Signals, Pashtun translator, now chairman of the London Forum
 
Other guest speakers may be announced on the day
This year’s (second) John Tyndall Memorial meeting is being organized by Heritage and Destiny magazine and will be held in Preston, Lancashire on Friday October 6th at 1pm. If you wish to attend please call our office number – 07833 677484  for full details and directions to the venue (which will be in Preston City centre).
Doors open at 12 noon and meeting will start at 1pm prompt.  However, can you please aim to get to Preston for between 11.30am – 12 noon as we will have two re-direction points (one for those coming by car and the other for those using public transport) in operation and we want to get everybody to the meeting venue in plenty of time.
There will be literature/merchandise tables from a number of different nationalist groups at the meeting. If you or your group would like a free merchandise table to sell your wares at the meeting please contact us ASAP as space is now very limited

We also need more raffle prizes, so if you have anything you can donate to the raffle (or auction) please let us know – or just bring it along on the day.
There will be a buffet (including vegetarian); cash-bar; raffle (with some great prizes), auction and much more. So make sure you, your family and friends are free Friday October 6th and get yourselves over to Preston!
Those of you are coming by train/coach, please book up well in advance, or else all the cheap seats will be gone. Likewise if you need overnight accommodation in Preston, book now to get the best deals (call our office for advice if need be). We understand that a number of meeting attendees are staying in nearby Blackpool this year, where there is a far greater choice of B&B and hotel accommodation, so you may want to bare that in mind. If you are flying in the nearest airports are Manchester and Liverpool, both have direct trains to Preston.
There will be two socials – one on the evening of Thursday 5th for those arriving the day before – and one after the meeting has finished on the Friday evening. We have a great venue, which serves real ales and good food at very reasonable prices.
If for whatever reason, you can’t attend the meeting, but would like to send a donation, to help with the meeting costs instead, that would be great. Please send cheques or postal/money orders (made payable to Heritage and Destiny) to – H&D 40 Birkett Drive, Preston, PR2 6HE, or via PayPal to – englandfirstparty@yahoo.com
Thank you all once again for your fantastic support and we look forward to seeing and meeting as many of you fellow-nationalists as possible in Preston on Friday October 6th.

H&D Issue 80 published

The new issue (#80) of Heritage and Destiny magazine is now out. The 26 page, September-October 2017 issue, has as its lead.

H&D’s Peter Rushton speaks at Spandau rally – 1,000 Nationalists mark 30th Anniversary of Rudolf Hess’s murder

Contents include:

  • Editorial – by Mark Cotterill
  • White Sharia – A talk by Eli Harman adapted into an article  – by Simon Sheppard
  • Book Review: The Racial Loyalist Manifesto –  by Matthew Hale – reviewed by Martin Kerr
  • The Infantilization of Modern Man – by Richard Duuchesne
  • Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd: South Africa’s Greatest Prime Minister, Part VI – by Stephen Mitford Goodson.
  • Book Review:  The Fall of Western Man  – by Mark Collett – reviewed by Peter Rushton
  • Right of Reply – Ian Freeman replies to his critics (Stephen Frost and Martin Kerr) over his Haters, Baiters and Would-Be Dictatorsbook review
  • Carl Klang and his music – by Eddy Morrison
  • Western Spring’s John Tyndall Memorial – meeting report by Peter Rushton
  • Two pages of readers’ letters
  • Movement News – Latest analysis of the nationalist movement – by Peter Rushton

If you would like 2 sample copies please send £5.00 /$10.00 or for a year’s (6 issues) subscription, send £26.00 (UK) – $48.00 (USA) – £35.00/$48.00 (Rest of world).

Berlin march calls for release of documents on Rudolf Hess murder

H&D‘s assistant editor Peter Rushton addressed a rally in Berlin on Saturday 19th August, calling for the release of official British documents reporting on the death of Rudolf Hess, thirty years ago this week.

More than 1,000 demonstrators marched in the Spandau district of Berlin, close to the site of the infamous prison where Hess was incarcerated until his death aged 93 in 1987. By then he had been in Allied prisons since 1941, when he flew to Scotland in an effort to negotiate peace between Britain and Germany.

The memorial stone at the spot where Rudolf Hess’s plane crash-landed in 1941. This stone was erected by British nationalists Tom Graham, Wallace Wears and Colin Jordan, but was later smashed by communists.

Officially this death was recorded as a suicide: despite Hess’s advanced age and physical infirmity, he was ruled to have hanged himself from a window latch with an electrical cord. His family commissioned independent medical advice which drew attention to evidence that Hess had been murdered. (British historian David Irving has since revealed a conversation with the Berlin prosecutor Detlev Mehis, who admitted that the murderer was U.S. serviceman Tony Jordan.)

Two Foreign Office files containing the official investigation of Hess’s death by the Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch – FCO 161/69 and FCO 161/70 – remain secret, under a regulation normally used for sensitive intelligence material.

Marchers this weekend came from many parts of Germany and included representatives of numerous parties and groups.  The event was chaired by the NPD’s national organiser Sebastian Schmidtke and speakers included the NPD’s Dr Olaf Rose (a former member of the regional parliament of Saxony) as well as H&D‘s Peter Rushton and international guests from France and Finland.

German media admitted that this was the largest nationalist event in Berlin for many years. ‘Antifascists’ failed to prevent the march and failed to drown out the speakers.

Rudolf Hess (right) with Adolf Hitler and fellow National-Socialist leaders

‘Antifascist’ arson attacks damaged signalling equipment on railway lines near Berlin, which meant that hundreds of marchers were unable to reach the city. Around 250 comrades including NPD vice-president Thorsten Heise from Thuringia held a spontaneous demonstration in the Falkensee district, after the railway arson prevented them from reaching Spandau.

Due to the many oppressive laws in modern Germany, marchers and speakers at this weekend’s event were severely restricted in what they could say, or what symbols could be displayed.

However we were able to convey a clear message that murder can never be forgotten, and that justice demands the full disclosure of the true circumstances surrounding the incarceration and murder of Rudolf Hess.

This photograph of Hess was taken secretly in the grounds of Spandau Prison, where he died in August 1987

Click here for the full text of Peter Rushton’s speech in Spandau.

H&D assistant editor’s speech at Berlin demo

(This is the text of a speech delivered in Spandau, Berlin – with German translation – on Saturday 19th August 2017 by H&D‘s Peter Rushton.)

Spandau is the site of a shameful episode in my country’s history: the murder of Rudolf Hess, thirty years ago this week.

My country’s leaders ended Hess’s public life in 1941, beginning his 46 years of incarceration – first in Britain, then in Nuremberg, then here in Spandau.

Let us never forget that even at Nuremberg, Rudolf Hess was found not guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  He was convicted only of involvement in planning and preparing a so-called “war of aggression” – a retrospectively defined so-called “crime”.


I am not allowed to discuss the circumstances of Hess’s flight to Britain in 1941.  Although the achievements of the Federal Republic are so evident around us every day, it seems that this Republic feels threatened by any discussion of such historical matters!

The memorial stone at the spot where Rudolf Hess’s plane crash-landed in 1941. This stone was erected by British nationalists Tom Graham, Wallace Wears and Colin Jordan, but was later smashed by communists.



As late as 1987, the Federal Republic had to be protected against the 93-year-old Rudolf Hess, and even 30 years after his death, Rudolf Hess is seen as a threat to the post-1945 order, including the Federal Republic.


Last month the UK National Archives released thousands of pages of files about Hess and Spandau.  I visited the Archives in London and I have been reading those files.


In 1987 the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police stationed in Germany carried out an investigation of Hess’s death.  Yet both versions of their report (interim and final) remain secret.


They are officially listed as “retained” by the Foreign Office, under a regulation which normally applies to sensitive intelligence material.

Wolf Rüdiger Hess with the coffin of his father Rudolf Hess


This follows the advice of a telegram from Bonn to the Foreign Office soon after Hess’s death, in which a British diplomat writes:
“We agree that the autopsy report is not suitable for publication and that it would be preferable to avoid giving it to Wolf Rüdiger Hess.  …We also agree that it is desirable to act quickly.  This should help cut short speculation and allow media attention to move on to other things.”


There is no explanation of why aspects of the autopsy report and investigation were to be kept secret.

While the autopsy report is now public, the full reports investigating Hess’s death remain secret.

This photograph of Hess was taken secretly in the grounds of Spandau Prison, where he died in August 1987


Among the latest releases we can now see Foreign Office papers from the summer of 1989, drafting an official letter in reply to the late Ernst Zündel, who had asked Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for the release of these secret files, but we are still waiting for the whole truth.


Ernst Zündel himself was jailed for asking inconvenient questions; we are still waiting for the answers.


If the guardians of World Order truly wish to silence speculation about the murder of Rudolf Hess, these documents must be released – there can be no legitimate reason for their retention.


Those two vital reports are still secret: but what do we know from other files that are now public?


We know that in 1941 there was a plot to assassinate Hess, very soon after his arrival in Britain.  Brief details are revealed in the diary of a senior MI5 officer (Guy Liddell) and in correspondence between the Foreign Office and MI6.

Alfgar Hesketh-Prichard, a central figure in an earlier murder plot against Hess, is seen here (second right) with members of an SOE team that targeted Reinhard Heydrich a year later.

We know that this assassination plot involved Poles based in Scotland; and an officer of the Special Operations Executive, Alfgar Hesketh-Prichard, who was an expert sniper.

This same officer Hesketh-Prichard (a year later) commanded the assassins of Reinhard Heydrich.


That operation is well known, yet most details of the 1941 plot to murder Rudolf Hess remain secret.  What sort of ‘Poles’ planned this attempted murder; how and why did MI5 prevent it? What disputes took place within the British establishment?


It is illegal in the Federal Republic for me to speculate as to who might have been desperate to terminate Hess’s mission in 1941.  We cannot suggest what these assassins might have feared about Hess’s mission.

The recently published documents show that the authorities’ fear of Rudolf Hess even extended to censoring Yuletide cards.  A card sent from England by the political activist Colin Jordan was intercepted by the Spandau authorities at Yuletide 1983 and sent back to England to be investigated by our own ‘Verfassungsschutz’, the Special Branch.

Colin Jordan addresses a Trafalgar Square rally in 1962: a Yuletide card sent by Jordan to Hess in 1983 was censored by prison authorities

Many new documents in the archives are letters from Hess’s lawyer Dr Alfred Seidl, who fought a long and courageous campaign to oppose the entire basis of the Nuremberg charges against his client.

The recently released British documents give many details of Hess’s medical records, indicating for example that while he remained mentally alert even after suffering a stroke and partial blindness in 1978, he had many serious physical ailments, making the official account of his so-called suicide highly implausible.


Officially a succession of British politicians claimed that they wanted Hess to be released, and that his continued detention was due only to Soviet intransigence.


Then at the very moment when Soviet policy began to change, Hess conveniently (we are told) committed suicide.  It was very easy to blame the Soviets: but London had a problem when this excuse was no longer valid.

Independent medical experts agree that the horizontal mark across Hess’s neck indicates that he did not commit suicide (as this would have left oblique rather than horizontal scarring).



Given that the British authorities themselves accept the existence of a previous murder plot against Hess; given the extraordinary circumstances of his so-called suicide; and given its suspiciously convenient timing – all authorities concerned must admit that these suspicions can only be dispelled by the full release of all relevant documents.


Yet they refuse to do so.


Of course my country bears the main responsibility in this matter, but the Federal Republic in 2011 behaved even worse than the occupying powers in 1987, who had allowed Hess’s body to be released to his family for burial at Wunsiedel.


In 2011 this decision was reversed and a much earlier barbaric policy was reinstated, going back to a 1947 agreement in the Stalin-era to cremate Rudolf Hess, scatter the ashes and destroy even the box in which the ashes had been stored.


In fact in 2011 the entire family grave was destroyed.

The graveyard at Wunsiedel, before and after the official destruction of the Hess family grave in 2011



Such is the Federal Republic in the 21st century: their fear of National-Socialism and their barbaric counter-measures have taken us back to the Stalin-era – and in some respects worse than the Stalin-era.


We will only escape the shadow of Stalinism when German and British governments dare to confront the full truth of our history.


Only then will we have a free Germany, a free England, a free Europe.

Issue 79 of H&D published

The new issue (#79) of Heritage and Destiny magazine is now out.

The 26 page, July-August 2017 issue, has as its lead:

front cover issue 79Where Does British nationalism go from here? Andrew Brons calls for reassessment

Issue 79
July-August 2017

Contents include:

  • Editorial – by Mark Cotterill
  • Where does British Nationalism go from here?  – by Andrew Brons
  • Book Review: Offensive Diatribes, by David Abbott – reviewed by Ian Freeman.
  • UKIP Councillors wiped out in local elections: Is the party over? – Local election report by Peter Rushton.
  • Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd: South Africa’s Greatest Prime Minister, Part V – by Stephen Mitford Goodson
  • Book Review:  George Pitt-Rivers and the Nazis – by Bradley W. Hart reviewed by Eddy Morrison.
  • Spectacular failure of Tory election gamble: but BNP and UKIP are now irrelevant – General Election report by Peter Rushton.
  • H&D correspondent Eddy Morrison interviews controversial nationalist musician Alison Chabloz.
  • Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – reviewed by Mark Cotterill.
  • Two pages of readers’ letters
  • Movement News – latest analysis of the nationalist movement, by Peter Rushton

If you would like two sample copies please send £5.00 /$10.00 or for a years (6 issue) subscription, send £26.00 (UK) – $48.00 (USA) – £35.00/$48.00 (Rest of world) to:

Heritage and Destiny, 40 Birkett Drive, Preston, PR2 6HE, England, UK

For information on back numbers and subscription details, please click here.

St Patrick – the Patron Saint of the USA

st pats flag on blue background

To mark today’s worldwide St Patrick’s Day celebrations, H&D published two articles on St Patrick which have recently appeared in the magazine.

This first article – “Saint Patrick the Patron Saint of the USA” – was written seven years ago, but the same issues are still being discussed in Loyalist circles today – now mainly on internet forums. So it was fitting that we republished it (in hard copy in issue #77 of H&D) on the run-up to this year’s St Patrick’s Day.

It was America that spawned the St Patrick’s Day parade, not Ireland, and its origins are both Protestant and British…

As March 17th approaches, the annual debate has reignited on whether Unionism should embrace St Patrick and the day set aside for his commemoration. Over the last five years there has been a slow emergence of Protestant participation on the date, though that has been via the creation of new events rather than involvement in existing ones. This article examines the origin of St Patrick’s Day parades, this new emerging trend, its motivation and where it may possibly lead.

The question ‘where is the biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in Northern Ireland?’ at first glance would appear easily answered. Belfast most would say, with a few probably suggesting the Cathedral City of Armagh or even where he was allegedly laid to rest, Downpatrick. What will surprise many is that the largest parade for the last few years by sheer number of participants has been in the small County Armagh village of Killylea. It is here since 2005 the Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute Band have held their annual band procession and competition. Last year the Cormeen parade saw 42 bands take part (in comparison to the seven that paraded at the Dublin event), amounting to approximately 1800 band members. Thousands of spectators stood along the route, despite it being a bitterly cold evening.

The St Patrick's Day parade in Killylea, led by Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute Band

The St Patrick’s Day parade in Killylea, led by Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute Band

Cormeen Rising Sons of William chairman Mark Gibson explains that the bands original motivation for the parade came more out of necessity than anything else. “The band season is very busy, and when trying to find a date for our parade it was difficult to define one that didn’t clash with other bands locally.” Some members suggested March 17 as a solution to the problem, but the band was nervous. “We were concerned about how a St Patrick’s Day parade would go down in our community, the parade in Armagh never was very welcoming, but we made a decision to try it and it has been a success.”

From that initial year where thirteen bands took part, the parade is now among the largest in the Province. It’s not only the number of bands participating that has increased, but also the crowds attending to watch, and the event is increasingly becoming a fixture in the calendar for many Unionists. Another band, the Ulster Protestant Boys Flute Coleraine, have started a similar event on the date that too is growing. The ever increasing scale of both processions indicates clearly that there is certainly a willingness within the PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) community to be involved in St Patrick’s Day. Where the schisms emerge are with the issues of why and how.

It is generally acknowledged that in the distant past Patrick was not a controversial figure for Protestants in Ireland or beyond. His ‘sainthood’ was never conferred by the Pope and pre-dates the reformation, so he was never seen as being the possession of ‘Rome’. St Patrick was seen as an evangelical Christian who had made personal sacrifice to spread the gospel in Ireland. The anniversary of his death was observed and commemorated by all Protestant denominations to different degrees, with the Church of Ireland in particular very active.

The shift from an anniversary of religious significance towards an ‘Irish’ event however first took place in the United States in 1737. In Boston that year the Irish Charitable Society, made up of Protestant immigrants (some of whom were British Soldiers), held their first meeting and dinner. The purpose was to both honour Patrick in the context of their Protestant faith and to reach out the hand of friendship to other Irish immigrants. The exercise obviously struck a chord and the practise spread, with the first recorded parade in New York in 1766, with again British Soldiers of Irish blood heavily involved. It was America that spawned the St Patrick’s Day parade, not Ireland, and its origins are both Protestant and British.

During that period in history the vast majority of Irish immigrants were Presbyterian, however from 1830 it was Catholic arrivals who were in the ascendancy. With that change began an emphasis towards anti-British sentiment in the demonstrations. In the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War anything portrayed as anti-colonial was well received, with even the many original Protestant immigrant descendants non-antagonistic of this motivation. Many British ‘Loyalists’ had left for Canada, and effectively the descendants of the original Protestant Irish settlers remaining saw themselves as primarily American in identity, with all that was left for their original ‘homeland’ of Ireland simply folk memory and sentimentality.

Mike Cronin, author of A History of St Patrick’s Day, states that whilst this tradition was developing, back in Ireland the first parades didn’t take place until the 1840s and even then they were organised by Temperance societies. Mike emphasises the lack of public celebration “The only other major events in nineteenth century Ireland was a trooping of the colour ceremony and grand ball held at Dublin Castle.” So even as late as 1911 the largest St Patrick’s Day occasion in Ireland was still rooted in a joint Irish and British expression of identity. Protestant churches and some Orange Lodges throughout the island appear to have held minor functions on the date, but these were very subdued affairs, and essentially even post-partition very little changed. Catholic observance of the day continued to different degrees in different areas, as did the Protestant nod to Patrick.

Right up until the 1960s the primary theme of St Patrick’s Day in both Northern Ireland and the Republic still remained religious observance, with even from 1923 to then public houses and bars in the Republic of Ireland closed by law. A poll conducted in 1968 suggested that 20% of Northern Irish Protestants at this stage still considered themselves Irish. The onset of civil unrest in Northern Ireland coincided however with the importation of the American style to St Patrick’s events in Dublin and elsewhere. Now whilst a violent conflict was being waged in the name of all things Irish, St Patrick’s Day parades were starting to display the features that had developed in the United States. On these parades Irish identity was perceived by Northern Protestants as being defined as aggressively anti-British and anti-Protestant, with the disjointed and casual nature of the parades and the now integral alcohol element alien to PUL parading traditions and customs.

The type of St Patrick's Day image most readers will recognise, from one of the many New York parades.

The type of St Patrick’s Day image most readers will recognise, from one of the many New York parades.

As the IRA campaign escalated, many Protestants simply could not divorce the fact that these celebrations displayed an exclusive form of Irish sentiment whilst a campaign was being waged against them in the name of Ireland. As the years progressed, in Northern Ireland in particular it became apparent that the day was being deliberately used in many instances as an extension of the Irish Republican war against Unionism.

Grand Orange Lodge Director of Services Dr David Hume reiterates the view that in the recent past it has been the nature of the parades and commemorative events that turned Protestants away. “The perception among Unionism is without doubt that Irish Republicanism and Irish Nationalism has used St Patrick’s Day parades as a weapon, effectively using the ‘shield’ of Patrick to express obvious militant anti-British and therefore anti-Unionist sentiment.” David believes that the manner and focus of these events is totally at odds with the purported motivation. “St Patrick’s Day should be used as a day of reflection on the religious significance of Patrick, something far removed from the aggressive and confrontational use of symbolism; and the huge emphasis on alcohol consumption that currently seems to be the case.” David bluntly states that the date isn’t an important one on the ‘Orange’ calendar, but recognises that it does have a place in society.

There remains one annual Orange Order parade related to St Patrick’s Day, which is held each year in Ballymena. One of the participating Lodges is The Cross of St Patrick LOL 688 which was founded in 1967. A lodge spokesperson describes the motivation behind its formation as being “to reclaim the heritage of Saint Patrick” explaining that “Brethren were concerned that Patrick’s heritage was being hijacked by Roman Catholicism and Republicanism.” The lodge’s concerns would appear to have been reflecting the growing sense of alienation the PUL community was feeling regarding St Patricks events.

There is no doubt that this alienation effectively forced many Protestants into an automatically negative position regarding St Patrick’s Day. With the advent of the IRA cessations of violence and the ongoing political process however, it has become apparent that many within Unionism have been able to reflect much more on the meaning of St Patrick’s Day for them. The ending of a violent ‘Irish’ physical campaign has given space to examine the date, with many now realising that it once was a date of relevance that they were forced into denying, and there is a willingness to make it relevant again. Nevertheless this reflection and willingness has not as yet manifested itself into significant participation in civic St Patrick’s Day parades.

With a few exceptions, such as the participation of an unashamedly Loyalist Blood and Thunder band in the 2003 Limerick St Patrick’s Band competition, Unionism still does not feel comfortable taking part in the modern version of a St Patrick’s parade. Concerns still exist regarding the involvement of militant Republicanism in such events along with the aggressive use of flags and symbols, but the problem seems to go much deeper.

The Cross of St Patrick Loyal Orange Lodge 688

The Cross of St Patrick Loyal Orange Lodge 688

Iain Carlisle of the Ulster Scots Community Network has a very straightforward and unambiguous answer regarding Unionist involvement in St Patrick’s Day events. Iain states very clearly “I don’t think there has to be ANY justification given for Protestants or Unionists marking Patrick’s day”, but goes on to say that “there is however a fundamental difference of approach to both Patrick as a person and the means of celebration within the Unionist community”. Iain’s comments would appear to reflect not just a general uncomfortable position with the overtly ‘United Ireland’ underlying St Patrick’s Day theme, but the actual motivation and method of celebration.

All historical examinations of Protestant Irish and their approach and relationship with Patrick indicates that for them he has never truly deviated from having a purely theological relevance. On St Patrick’s Day however the majority of Catholics, Irish Nationalists, Republicans, those of Irish descent and indeed anyone who wants a day out, St Patrick’s significance as a religious icon is purely tokenistic. St Patrick is merely a figurehead for overt Irish nationalism and a holiday. In turn the Unionist tradition of parading has developed from a military perspective and the American style parades are an alien concept, being perceived as being undisciplined and overtly casual.

Whilst new events have arisen, it is obvious that Unionism has no desire to abandon its central belief of Patrick’s religious relevance, and in addition is reluctant to embrace what it sees as an alien approach to parades. Even with the emergence of band parades on the date, they in themselves are a much more disciplined and subdued practise than their counterparts on the day. Whatever the future holds, it is clear that the PUL community is going through an ongoing examination of Patrick and his relevance to them. As journalist Chris Ryder recently pointed out “there will be no going back to the view that St Patrick was a Catholic, and a saint only for Catholics.”

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