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Thread: Tommy Henderson, Independent MP for Shankill.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Default Tommy Henderson, Independent MP for Shankill.

    Reading “Bonfires On The Hillside” by James Kelly - packed with humour and history.

    In the days when most nationalist MPs had an absentee stance on attending Stormont, the "opposition" to the Unionist Government was mostly provided by Two Shankill Road Independent Unionist MPs, Tommy Henderson and the infamous John W Nixon, the Labour MP Jack Beattie and two "dissident" nationalist MPs who disagreed with abstention - T.J. Campbell K.C, and Alderman Dick Byrne.

    Tommy Henderson, painter by trade, who was the Independent MP for Shankill Road, and thorn in the Unionist Government's side, was what can only be described as a character. He delighted in winding up Lord Craigavon, especially when he had guests in the Distinguished Visitors Gallery.

    His famous sally in the Commons that bureaucracy had multiplied to such an extent that ‘it had become like the testicles of an octopus spread all over the Province’ brought another explosion of mirth. The story spread far and wide and years later I heard the then Prime Minister, John Andrews, pointing out Henderson to a visiting British Cabinet Minister as the author of the famous ‘octopus’ story.
    Pages 94 – 95.

    However he achieved ‘fame’ for a filibuster that lasted 9 and a half hours in his contribution to an Appropriation Bill that started on 26th May 1936 and ended 3:55 AM on the following morning.

    BBC News - That's not a filibuster, this is a filibuster

    A special edition of Hansard had to be brought out to deal with the speech, about which Kelly wrote:

    Even to talk nonsense for nine hours would be a considerable achievement but to keep within the rules of order and avoid being ordered to sit down on the grounds of “tediousness” was a remarkable performance. It was a speech of wit, invective and broad humour, with imaginative forays into low comedy, as, for example, he spotted the item ‘Stormont hen relaying station’ on the Ministry of Agriculture estimates and went on to picture at length the absurdity of white-coated civil servants chasing hens with toilet tissue in their hands!
    Pages 95 – 96.

    And for those interested, the speech is available on-line

    The Stormont Papers - View Volumes

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    He was an anti-Catholic bigot. A dinosaur.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegregster View Post
    He was an anti-Catholic bigot. A dinosaur.
    Nixon? Undoubtedly. Hardly so for Henderson - he took a lift home from the Irish News Van after the speech.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruimh View Post
    Nixon? Undoubtedly. Hardly so for Henderson - he took a lift home from the Irish News Van after the speech.
    A supporter of the B Specials=anti Catholic bigot.
    Tommy Henderson was an anti-Catholic bigot.

    Stop trying to rewrite history. Making a dinosaur out to be some sort of "character". Its clear he hated Catholics.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegregster View Post
    A supporter of the B Specials=anti Catholic bigot.
    Tommy Henderson was an anti-Catholic bigot.

    Stop trying to rewrite history. Making a dinosaur out to be some sort of "character". Its clear he hated Catholics.
    The quotes are from James Kelly's book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruimh View Post
    The quotes are from James Kelly's book.
    I doubt too many are interested in your attempt to portray a Unionist bigot as some sort of character.

    Only Jim Allister sees the "stormont" period as something to be proud of. Even UUP/DUP dont want to know about that part of history. Even they now more or less admit its an embarrassment to them. Bigots like Basil Brooke arent something to look back on with any great pride.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegregster View Post
    I doubt too many are interested in your attempt to portray a Unionist bigot as some sort of character.

    Only Jim Allister sees the "stormont" period as something to be proud of. Even UUP/DUP dont want to know about that part of history. Even they now more or less admit its an embarrassment to them. Bigots like Basil Brooke arent something to look back on with any great pride.
    This is the History Forum. The Speech is online - that is History.

    Take your poop stirring to the NI Forum where it belongs.

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    Politics.ie Member Ramon Mercadar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruimh View Post
    Reading “Bonfires On The Hillside” by James Kelly - packed with humour and history.

    In the days when most nationalist MPs had an absentee stance on attending Stormont, the "opposition" to the Unionist Government was mostly provided by Two Shankill Road Independent Unionist MPs, Tommy Henderson and the infamous John W Nixon, the Labour MP Jack Beattie and two "dissident" nationalist MPs who disagreed with abstention - T.J. Campbell K.C, and Alderman Dick Byrne.

    Tommy Henderson, painter by trade, who was the Independent MP for Shankill Road, and thorn in the Unionist Government's side, was what can only be described as a character. He delighted in winding up Lord Craigavon, especially when he had guests in the Distinguished Visitors Gallery.



    Pages 94 – 95.

    However he achieved ‘fame’ for a filibuster that lasted 9 and a half hours in his contribution to an Appropriation Bill that started on 26th May 1936 and ended 3:55 AM on the following morning.

    BBC News - That's not a filibuster, this is a filibuster

    A special edition of Hansard had to be brought out to deal with the speech, about which Kelly wrote:



    Pages 95 – 96.

    And for those interested, the speech is available on-line

    The Stormont Papers - View Volumes
    Ah! I'd heard the testicles speech attributed to Johny McQuade. But he was reported to have spoken about the testicles of Republicanism spreading throughout Ulster.
    In 1908, in London, at the Olympics, Irish American Martin Sheridan announced “This flag dips for no earthly king," when the US team paraded past the royal box.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramon Mercadar View Post
    Ah! I'd heard the testicles speech attributed to Johny McQuade. But he was reported to have spoken about the testicles of Republicanism spreading throughout Ulster.
    No better place to hear testicles than Stormont - past or present

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    Politics.ie Member Little_Korean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruimh View Post
    However he achieved ‘fame’ for a filibuster that lasted 9 and a half hours in his contribution to an Appropriation Bill that started on 26th May 1936 and ended 3:55 AM on the following morning.
    Nine hours? Impressive - but I'm sure it was beaten somewhere, sometime...

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