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His critique of Labour leadership's republican leanings set the internet alight ... so who exactly is Steve Moore and what drove him to write it?

Ivan Little profiles an Ulster exile whose blog connected with people in ways he never expected

Published 23/09/2015

Personal view: Steve Moore
Personal view: Steve Moore

Steve Moore is happy that his social media claims about the republican leanings of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his sidekick John McDonnell have gone viral on the internet but this articulate Surrey-based Belfast exile isn't quite so keen for the spotlight to focus on himself.

"I'm reluctant to put myself out there," he says. "I don't really want to become the story. What I'm trying to avoid is being drawn into chat shows and phone-ins. I don't want to be seen as a spokesman on the Corbyn-McDonnell issue. I'm interested in opening the story for others in a sense."

And the 50-year-old Co Antrim man has insisted that he has no desire to enter politics in his homeland.

He says: "I've never been involved in Northern Irish politics. I've no history or experience of them at all. But what I wrote was a very personal piece about what it feels for me is Corbyn and McDonnell dredging up a past that I thought we had all left behind.

"My sense is their antediluvian views were parked in the 1980s. And what I want to do is to challenge them to be open and honest about their republicanism.

"Obviously they are entitled to be republicans but they should say so and not try to spin it out and make themselves out to be peacemakers."

Moore's blog on a website called medium.com has been widely circulated across social media and he says: "I've had thousands of tweets and the article is connecting with people in a way that I wasn't sure it would".

The father-of-two's main professional role is as a crowd-funder, where a large number of people are asked to help raise finance for businesses and projects by donating small amounts of money.

Moore, who's writing his first book about the history of British think-tanks, grew up in a housing development between the Rathcoole estate and Whiteabbey.

He went to Belfast High School and the University of Ulster where he gained a degree in business studies. He moved to England in 1986 where he's been involved in a wide range of jobs.

On several websites it's said that he co-wrote a satirical review called Now Before The Weather, The War, which toured the country and earned rave reviews, but he was also a civil servant working on a number of high-profile employment and welfare initiatives.

His CV says he's been a director of several economic development companies; an adviser to, among others, the BBC and Microsoft, and he also worked as a cross-platform strategist in different roles for Channel 4 for almost seven years, mainly in youth and educational programming and digital projects.

He also curated and facilitated more than 80 major conferences and festivals and he was for two years the chief executive of David Cameron's ill-fated and at times contentious charity, the Big Society Network.

From Moore's writings on the medium.com website and from claims in a book by the former CEO of Big Society, Paul Twivy, it's clear that both men are divided on the reasons for the demise of the charity.

On one website Steve Moore calls himself a clear-eyed, undeceived Belfast boy who is an events curator and an innovator of open politics.

He says it was John McDonnell's much-criticised apology on Question Time last week for comments he made in 2003 when he called for dead IRA members to be honoured for their sacrifices that prompted him to write his blog called Jeremy Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth.

He says: "It seemed like the apology was an attempt to draw a line under everything and I didn't feel satisfied by it. I felt it was very unconvincing. He apologised if his comments caused offence but he didn't retract anything."

Moore prefaces his blog with references to two IRA killings on the same day in October 1992, one with highly personal associations in Belfast, the other in London.

Moore's father - a fireman who had witnessed the horrors of the Troubles including Bloody Friday - cradled his friend Constable Jim Douglas in his arms after he had been shot in the Monico Bar in Belfast's city centre as patrons watched horse-racing on the TV.

A few hours later an IRA bomb claimed the life of psychiatric nurse David Heffer in another pub, this time the Sussex Arms in Covent Garden.

"I used the two killings as an evocative backdrop to the conversation over Corbyn and McDonnell rather than letting it become a dry conversation," he said.

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