JIM Allister’s the Nigel Farage of local broadcasting That’s not to say that he resembles the toadish English firebrand whose face is never straight and who's never happier than when he’s whingeing and gurning about Brexit – although you may have your own thoughts on that. Rather, it’s to say that, like the Reform Party founder, the TUV leader is never off the airwaves.

So much so that the Former Biggest Show in the Non-Existent Country is generally viewed as something of a home from home for him. Indeed, so regularly does he appear on the show that it’s been suggested BBC Ulster should just grasp the nettle and put him down as co-presenter. I don’t know about that, but I do think they should at least put a star above Jimbo’s name on the dressing room door.

Stephen Nolan is the former Golden Boy of BBC Radio the Province, whose glitter, after recent issues with photographs and ratings, appears to be fading with every boogaloo phone-in. He seems finally to have responded to incessant social media ribbing about Jimbo’s ubiquity and reports now suggest that the North Antrim MLA’s  appearances have been cut back to five a week.

Elsewhere in the Ormeau Avenue schedule, Mr A-Lister seems similarly less visible and audible, and that leaves a gaping hole when it comes to uncompromising Loyal Ulster commentary. That hole, it turns out, is Ron McDowell-shaped.

Shankill TUV Councillor Ron – the party deputy leader – has in recent months become the face and voice of the party. The good news is that when he’s on TV he manages not to emulate his boss's impression of a Victorian undertaker with high blood pressure; and when he’s on the wireless he manages not to sound as if he’s sitting in the smallest room in the house wishing he hadn’t run out of Senokot.

Despite being of a more congenial mien, Ron’s every bit the crackling Catherine wheel of fury and suspicion that his boss is. Ceaselessly patrolling the union ramparts, there’s nary a word spoken or a gesture made by the enemies of Ulster skulking below in the dark that doesn’t invoke his considerable rage. But I have to say that I was surprised this week to find that the latest target of his righteous rage is… the Scots. Or at least the Scots in Hampden Park on Tuesday night when the home team was beaten 0-1 by Michael O’Neill’s boys.

You may have noticed the Jocks lustily booed the English national anthem. Not surprisingly, they don’t much like it because one of the verses urges the Good Lord to help the English “crush” those “rebellious Scots”. Ron took that personally because Our Wee Country borrows the English anthem with the result that half the players lustily sing along while it’s played and the other half find something of compelling interest on the tips of their boots.

“Respect costs nothing,” thundered Ron. “The national anthem is a banner representative of everyone in Northern Ireland and it is that which was disrespected.”

I have to say that when Ron says the English national anthem represents everyone in the Occupied Six I can only imagine he’s never been in the Roddy’s any time the band strikes it up on TV. And I can only imagine that he doesn't know what a banner is. It seems a little asymmetrical for Ron to demand that the Scots supporters respect an anthem which prays to God that they and everyone else north of Carlisle may feel the wrath of a Redcoat musket. Especially when you're making that demand on behalf of the people who own the anthem.

Respect's a two-way street, Ron, and if you want to walk down certain streets you gotta earn permission. Or else you don't walk.

Seem familiar?

The not-so-secret Secret Army

SPOTLIGHT: THE Secret Army – a never-before-seen film that I had never seen before except for that time when BBC Ulster broadcast it five years ago.

You gotta hand it to the Beeb, their cross-platform promoting of the programme in the past couple of weeks has been absolutely Homeric. And the reviews of the programme by BBC presenters and their regular contributors have been uniformly gushing. I'm not sure if the programme is going to win any TV awards, but it’s a shoo-in when it comes to the gong for Services to the English Language Conditional Mood. If, could, would, should, maybe, perhaps, if only – current affairs is all well and good, but programmes which not only allow but actively invite you to draw your own mental pictures are surely the way to go.

SENSATIONAL: But was Spotlight's The Secret Army all it was made out to be?

SENSATIONAL: But was Spotlight's The Secret Army all it was made out to be?

For instance, if the programme about a film about the Ra in the 70s had simply been presented in the raw, without signposts to the vast wilderness of possibility and conjecture that lie beyond it, it most likely would have passed without much fuss. But with the help of occasionally informed speculation and vague but intriguing directions from a battery of venerable experts with degrees in IRA Studies from the University of Conjecture, I managed to work out for myself the story behind the movie behind the TV film behind the phone-ins…

Martin McGuinness might have worked for the Brits. But it’s entirely possible he might not have – who knows? But isn’t it remarkable that he was possibly allowed to remain free even though it could be that the spooks might have know about it. But then again, they might not have.

And there’s a very real possibility that the brains behind the IRA film worked for the FBI. Or was it the CIA? (There were that many letters in the programme it was hard to keep up.) Think about it. He was a Yank. He worked for a number of little-known organisations that sound like the kind of thing the CIA would invent as fronts in an Oliver Stone movie. The three initials of his name can spell out C.I.A. (if imaginatively jiggled around a bit).

A member of the crew could well have been a Nazi hunter – a bit like the hero out of Marathon Man. Or was it The Odessa File? And given his putative links to the Holocaust and Israel, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he worked for the shadowy Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. No, wait. Shin Bet.

Mossad or Shin Bet?

Do, definitely Shin Bet. Possibly. 

Sin é.