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Tommy Henderson, Independent MP for Shankill.


Cruimh

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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
 


thegregster

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He was an anti-Catholic bigot. A dinosaur.
 

thegregster

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Nixon? Undoubtedly. Hardly so for Henderson - he took a lift home from the Irish News Van after the speech.
:roll: 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.
 

thegregster

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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.
 

Cruimh

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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.
 

Ramon Mercadar

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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.
 

Little_Korean

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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...
 

former wesleyan

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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.
Niall Tóibín uses the line in his " reading from the Book of William " sketch ; about the Roman Catholic Church spreading it's testicles all over the world.
 

Levellers

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The OP is revisionism of the worst kind.

Strip Unionism of its bigotry [which in reality it doesn’t need] and it is threadbare ideologically.
 

Ramon Mercadar

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Twaddle. How is it "revisionism" to post about a 'dissident' Unionist?

Its not. You are merely posting a historical article.

But now my atavistic inner nationalist emerges and condemns you as a running dog of imperialism: an orange setter.
 

picador

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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
Mildly interesting post, old boy.

Of course 'the infamous John W Nixon' is a far more interesting character. Perhaps you could tell us more about him?
 

Picasso Republic

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May 31, 2011
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Responses to the OP make for an interesting straw poll of how tolerent our Republican elements are of 'alternative cultures' even when nothing is posted re Nationalism.

Good old shinners - open borders for unrestricted hordes of 'working class' africans and every attempt made to airbrush from history those who are the only other group with the right to declare as a birthright Ireland as their home.
 
Last edited:

shantykelly

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Mar 19, 2010
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Cruimh, is that the James Kelly that used to write for the Irish News? Either way, wouldn't mind hunting this book down.
 

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