‘The Past – “personalised” and “unsolvable” – one observer tells the eamonnmallie.com website…’ By Brian Rowan 

  A unionist MP and former soldier has said loyalists should be included in the latest effort to achieve agreement on addressing Northern Ireland’s past. Tom Elliott, MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone, was part of an Ulster Unionist Party delegation that recently met Secretary of State James Brokenshire at Stormont. That meeting was after Brokenshire…

‘A terrible ignorance’ – By Brian John Spencer

Easter, 1916 – a terrible beauty was born. It had a dark and little seen twin; a terrible ignorance of the people of the North. South of the border, the Easter Rising is almost universally acclaimed. A singular understanding of history imposed, and a singular way of being Irish understood. Professor Michael Laffan wrote: “When I…

‘Them’uns get away with everything’ … by Brian John Spencer

In 2011 a study at Harvard and Tufts found that white people in America, on average, believed that anti-white racism was a bigger problem than anti-black racism. Perception is different from reality. Further research showed that this perception, of black privilege, was bogus. The reality is that the white community still enjoy many privileges and…

Billy Hutchinson – a British Loyalist in Dublin

I’ve felt green of late. Not a political conversion, rather, the green of envy. Jealous of the energy, vision and action of the Irish unity lobby. The unionist caucus by contrast is inert and anaemic. Unionism is now the politics of Ourselves Alone, endlessly playing the grievance card. Unionism is reclusive. Unionists exhibit the traits…

Paul Gallagher – A bigger man than you or I

  Last week marked the 21st Anniversary of the Ceasefire declared by the Combined Loyalist Military Command. It was heralded as an end to decades of Loyalist violence. Earlier that year I met a handful of their colleagues who entered my home one evening and proceeded to empty the contents of a sub-machine gun into…

‘Bonfire of the hipsters’ – By Brian Spencer

  In, ‘Get real and love Northern Ireland for what it is warts and all‘ published in the Belfast Telegraph (July 17 2015), Fionola Meredith was sincere and rigorous, but also hilarious. She suggested we forego all criticism of bonfires and unsightly aspects of Belfast, and instead reserve our opprobrium for “Belfast hipsters.” This is…

‘Boho Surrender’ – By Brian John Spencer

There’s a backward Belfast, and there’s a bourgeois Belfast. Two Belfasts. Two Northern Irelands. Rory McIlroy versus Bryson Belfast; unbridled optimism versus plangent wallow, nostomania and self-pity. The two young men are roughly coeval with 1998 Northern Ireland, but each is radically polarised on the modern Irish Question. Each is a strong indicator of Belfast’s…

‘Marching in circles’ – By Jonny Byrne

The recently negotiated Stormont House Deal, which some have labelled ‘an agreement to make an agreement’ was dominated by discussions about welfare reform and the legacy of the past. According to media reports the issue of parading was sidelined, as Unionists were not prepared to enter into discussions while the parading and protest dispute in…

In Defence of Jamie – and Others like him: by Sophie Long

I have watched, with interest, the ongoing exchange on Eamonn Mallie’s site, between Jamie Bryson and Brian John Spencer. The two figures represent two, opposing camps, within ‘Unionism’, in its loosest sense. Spencer, the spokesman for the “silent majority”, is emblematic of liberal Unionism, or, as they are often called, ‘garden centre Prods’. Bryson, on…