Following the Northern Ireland Assembly election in March this year in which I was an unsuccessful candidate, I received a strange letter from a well-known figure in the Omagh area. In the letter the individual concerned gloats over my poor electoral result and states that he is responsible for my defeat!
The individual in question is Conor Keys, a vulgar “comedian” and sometime debate host and a supporter of the Omagh LGBT group.
He is also the Co-ordinator of FOCUS, a community organisation in Omagh.
I have been a candidate in four elections since 2014 and I have taken part in two pre-election debates hosted by Mr.Keys, one in 2014 and the other in 2015. I was invited to take part in the 2014 debate by Mr Keys.
I was invited to take part in the 2015 debate by a Journalist from the Ulster Herald newspaper. This debate was entitled “West Tyrone Decides” and was a joint venture between the Ulster Herald and Mr.Keys’ FOCUS organisation.
The letter referred to above and penned by Mr.Keys is reprinted below and we believe it is right and proper to “go public” with it because of the hostility it spews forth.
Read it and see an example of actual “hate speech.”
(Letter begins. Any mistakes or word omissions are left as in the original. The letter-writer, Conor Keys, typed and signed his signature at conclusion of letter.)
Dear Mrs. White,
After your recent Election results, I felt it was time to write to you to fill you in on the real reason why your votes are down. You seem to blame a lot of people for your demise and I feel it is time for me explain to you exactly why they were down.
After your pitiful attempt at a protest at the LGB&T meeting in June 2015 you wrote a Blog entry and personally named me in it. (I did not know that you had a “blog”, it was pointed out to me by a friend due to me being named in it and, for a giggle, I now check in once in a while). I will not discuss the details of any LGBT “bias” at this point as it is irrelevant, but you saying I have a bias is like me telling someone they are overweight. (Pot, kettle and black come to mind)
Anyway, you wrote in your Blog:
Why was Conor Keys who is obviously biased in favour of the LGBT lobby permitted to host the West Tyrone Decides debate?
This is where your political ignorance comes to the fore and it is very clear that you and your husband have absolutely no idea about Politics or any of its workings. You use the word “permitted” like it was something I was invited to do? You seemed to assume that a Political Debate was something that was organised by the “powers that be” – an automatic happening once you enter Politics – and “they” then “permitted” me to host?
Let me educate you on something…. There is no debate unless someone takes the initiative to hold one.
I organised the Debates. I came up with the idea to hold them. I invited you and all the others to attend. I volunteered my time to host it. It was to promote Active Citizenship through our organisation and local media, I was not paid for it and it was free for anyone to attend.
“West Tyrone Decides” was a follow-on from the Council Election Debate in 2014 that you participated in; which I also organised. This event was not greatly attended, approx. 120 in the audience, yet it enabled you to get a lot of publicity in local papers and, ultimately, 67 votes. After “West Tyrone Decides” you received a huge increase to 166 votes thanks to a packed out auditorium of 340 and an online stream with 7,000+ viewers.
It became apparent that your press coverage and social media profile came from events that I organised. Events that I had absolutely no obligation to invite you to, but I did, as I believe in Democracy. However, I started to realise that without me, no one in this area would even know who you are. However, I could not be sure.
So, last year, I decided not to hold an event for the MLA elections, so that I would not be part of the public airing of your hate-filled rage. Even though I had many requests to do an event, I held off. As you well know, a debate did not happen. I want you to know that you were the reason that I decided not to organise one. The effect? You halved your numbers last year to 85 and hardly anyone heard your nonsense.
This year, I, again, made the same conscientious decision not to organise the event. Considering the many hot topics currently in the political landscape, I’m sure even you and your husband could imagine the amount of requests (and this time paid offers) I had for another political debate. Again, I held off so that you could not air your rubbish. This time, your vote dropped to less than half of last year. That was me. That was my contribution to your political career. That was my part in Active Citizenship – never forget that.
I will probably organise further Debates in the years to come as it is a great way of getting citizens more active in Politics. If you are silly enough to stand for election again, I just might “permit” myself to invite you again.
Yours, in absolutely no faith at all,
(End of letter)
If readers wish to see Conor Keys hosting the 2015 pre-election debate, click on the link below and skip approx 1 hour to hear the candidates introduce themselves (I am the last to speak) then skip to the last question (5) at 2 hours 43 minutes. The question is about homosexuality. The hostility to my Biblical views on the part of Conor Keys (and most of the audience) is striking.
The UK will have a general election on 8th June this year. I will not be a candidate in this election. The overarching reason for my decision not to stand is the lack of support for my Biblical views from Evangelical Christians in West Tyrone.