GUEST BLOG by regular contributor Brian John Spencer

Loyalists Against Democracy (LAD), myself and others in the public sphere are regularly reproached for making fun of illiteracy, bad spelling and linguistic mishaps. I'm regularly rebuffed as a "snob". A charge I reject and have responded to here and here.

Those who are "mocked" for bad spelling and for poor grammar have committed unpardonable and intolerable acts. They do not hold special privilege in society. They are not beyond criticism. When they commit gratuitous and promiscuous criminality they inflict social and economic misery across the whole of Belfast and the whole of Northern Ireland. By these acts they wield arbitrary power over a moderate majority. 

In what name and for what cause do loyalists commit these unpardonable acts? They say that Sinn Fein are "chipping away at our culture?" and say that people are trying to wipe out protestants. As I've said before, these are grand claims. And here's my main point: grand claims cannot go unchallenged. Arbitrary power cannot go unchallenged. 

One way in which arbitrary power and grand claims have to be challenged is in the most basic form - by their linguistic presentation. Including by their grammar and by their spelling. As David Ogilvy and George Orwell say below, poor language indicates poor thought. And poor thoughts must be seriously scrutinised, checked and if appropriate, discarded.

If terrific power is wielded and extravagant claims are made by loyalists, and are made with elementary spelling and grammatical errors, surely these are poor claims or at least questionable? 

When terrific power and extravagant claims cause huge social, economic and reputational  damage, those errors should be noted and noted very clearly. Because these errors tell us that these grand claims are in fact, ill thought out. That the arbitrary power has dubious and questionable motives.

George Orwell said in his famous essay Politics and the English Language here:
"[English] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible... If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers."
And as David Ogilvy said:
 "People who think well, write well."
Orwell built on this when he said:
 "If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them."
The spark that lit the flame. Original DUP/UUP Anti-Alliance leaflet
Then all of a sudden, you've been prostituted and puppeteered. Just as the Goebellian pamphleteers did of impressionable loyalists. For if someone thinks for you, and you act on those instructions, we just have to look to the famous Ghandi quote:

'Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.'

Poster for ANOTHER protest on January 11th 2014
I say what we need is some sense, more thinking, due diligence, reason and rationality brought into the debate. We need loyalists to look at the basic facts. For example, the fact that more and more Catholics are comfortable with remaining within the Union. That the Union is safer than ever. The fact that unionists need to need the numerical rise of Catholics. That violence actually weakens the case for the Union, as Hugo MacNeill said here. That the world has changed, not ended. That violence and mayhem is exactly what Sinn Fein wants. 

That those loyalist leaders who compare loyalists to Jews in Nazi Germany are misusing and abusing language, misusing and abusing history and misusing and abusing the emotions of, and in fact betraying, ordinary working class Protestants.

Lastly, when I say loyalists, I am not speaking of ordinary decent loyalists. I speak of the riotous and violent loyalist. It is not I who makes the sweeping generalisation, but those who seek to whitewash Loyalism and smear me in the process by saying that I'm unfairly grouping loyalists. It's they who make the generalisation. It's self-evident that I'm not talking about ordinary, decent working class Protestants; they neither make grand claims nor wield arbitrary power (as I stated above). 

It's high time that people stop making excuses and apologising for sectarianism and criminality and start giving some actual answers, solutions and alternatives to the actual problems that really matter.