Northern Ireland

Barbarous Pagans - On this day in 1923

A statue of Vladimir Lenin
A statue of Vladimir Lenin A statue of Vladimir Lenin

November 30 1923

THERE are some troubles within Russia of which the world has not learned up to the present. Trotsky and Lenin are inventing “conspiracies” again as an excuse for ferocious persecutions at Kieff [Kyiv]; the campaign of destruction against religion has been renewed; priests and members of religious orders are arrested daily; the revered Catholic Archbishop of Petrograd is dying in a wretched cell.

Meanwhile the Bolshevist leaders are making frantic efforts to secure recognition and to establish commercial relations with other countries. Some Englishmen are willing to trust them. America insists on holding aloof – and wisely, for Russia is ruled by a band of barbarous pagans.

Hard-hitting Irish News editorial warning countries not to believe the Soviet Union’s propaganda or to legitimatise it by interacting with it commercially.

'Say, Boys, Are you Protestants at All?'

An attempt was made on the Shankill Road last night to hold an open-air demonstration by a series of meetings in support of the candidature of Mr RJ Lynn. The effort was a signal failure, and was entirely a fiasco. The opposition were in the majority at each of the three gatherings; the speakers were subjected to continuous heckling, and had to give up the task of addressing the crowd. The candidate himself was absent throughout the proceedings.

“I always thought the Shankill Road was a place where you could get fair play.”

“What’s wrong with the Shankill Road at all? I am afraid there is something wrong.”

“Say, boys, are you Protestants at all?”

“If the man who called me a liar will come up to this brake I’ll give him a swollen jaw. That’s the stuff that I’m made of”.

These were some of the remarks made by Mr Thompson Donald at one of the meetings, and indicate the tone of his oratorical effort. He stood with voluminous notes in his hand, unable to use them, most of the time silent as the Sphinx, helpless in the face of the opposition, and at intervals of two or three minutes yelling out half a sentence drawing forth an avalanche of interruptions.

On one occasion – after saving his breath for about five minutes – he got out a full sentence, but the response was not as anticipated by Mr Donald. “I said the other day that I would rather see Joe Devlin in the Imperial Parliament than Mr Midgley” was the sentence. A voice – “There is no Home Rule question now”, and another voice – “Three cheers for Joe” – and the cheers were enthusiastically given.

Exasperated speakers promoting Robert Lynn’s candidature for the Westminster election in December 1923 lash out at the less-than-loyal reception received on the Shankill Road for the Ulster Unionist cause.