No to a neutral and shared Northern Ireland – declares Loyalist Jamie Bryson

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The peace process in Northern Ireland has been a failure. The logjam of mandatory coalition is as predictable as it is inevitable and the only solution put forward by those still supportive of the basic architecture of the institutions given to us by the Belfast Agreement, is to bury the head in the sand and push forward, because if we don’t, we may go back to the bad old days. I made this point on only a few weeks ago, who would take us back? Surely not those who now tell us they are wedded to democracy? Do we only have peace because we have a process to the liking of Sinn Fein/IRA?

There is no alternative shout the supporters of the process, but what of the man at the very top of the process, the man at the head of its implementation, Peter Robinson? He said in 1998 that “there is always an alternative to the IRA in Government”. Now we are told that our current system is the only show in town. It seems we must sustain the system of Government that Peter Robinson himself says is “not fit for purpose”. How illogical is that?

People regularly bemoan the dissenting voices of those of us who oppose the agreement. People like me are lambasted as wreckers and destroyers trying to take us back to the ‘bad old days.’ Of course I would deny that. I believe that the fact that people such as myself gain any sort of traction with anti-agreement political views, is in itself a testament to the failure of the peace process.

Anti-agreement Unionism is not on the fringes. Over 100,000 people voted for the TUV and UKIP in the last European Election. If you are claiming the peace process has been a success, yet 100,000 people are still opposed to it, then it is clear that all is not rosy in the garden. It is rare to see someone go from anti-agreement to changing their position to pro-agreement, so it stands to reason that the figure of 100,000 will steadily grow, the further on into the ‘process’ that we go.

Some of those who themselves agreed, campaigned for and extolled the Belfast Agreement are now themselves openly questioning the wisdom of that very same agreement. This stands as testament to the fact that the Unionist people were conned.

Some of those who campaigned for the Belfast Agreement cannot even justify their continued support for it any longer.

If there was a genuine peace settlement, then people like me would have no place in political activism because we would have nothing to resist. Instead we have this sham of a peace ‘process’, which in effect is little more than a ‘piece by peace’ process, that seeks to plot a course of cultural cleansing and aims to create a neutral Northern Ireland. It is only logical that traditional PUL culture and identity are not compatible with a shared Northern Ireland, hence why the relentless campaign to undermine, demonise and criminalise all expressions of our culture.

I, and many like me, do not want a neutral Northern Ireland. We are British and proud of the fact. We do not wish to neutralise or dilute that, to create some sort of neutral and shared Northern Ireland ‘peace generation’ identity.

If a shared future means selling a little bit of ourselves and ‘toning down’ our culture to appease those who wish to destroy us, then it is not for me.

Unionism and Republicanism are diametrically opposed. There is no common ground on which to stand. Some on the left will speak of the value of working with Republicans on social issues, and I accept there are many vital social issues that affect us all, but one must keep in mind that Republicans want to get Unionists into this ‘common ground’ position, so as they can then manipulate them and neutralise Unionist opposition to a 32 county socialist state.

The continued criminalisation of Protestant culture, coupled with the relentless PSNI/PPS pursuit of former loyalist combatants, leave the PUL community with little or no confidence in the instruments of policing and justice. The lack of confidence in policing and justice is a legacy of the Hillsborough Agreement, when a political lifetime became six weeks and when the ‘pre-condition’ of the retention of the full time reserve was ditched in spectacular fashion. Those examples are only the tip of an extremely rotten ice berg.

If the peace process is to work then the vacuum that allows people such as me to exist must be removed. I am no diplomat or peace maker. I have an interest in politics because I feel we are being walked down a blind alley by the sham process that is dressed up as peace and I feel that that must be resisted.

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  1. Please go away jamie, you’re from Donaghdee and never saw any of the conflict plus you where only 4 years of age when they declared a ceasefire. Also your parents are rich and that makes you more than middle class, wanna trade places Jamie cos you wanna live someones life who grew up during the conflict. Why don’t you live mine Jamie, I grew up without my dad since your hero’s the cowards shot him dead for no reason! Having no dad has always been a wet dream of all you morons in the North Down area, WHY WAS YOUR DADDY NOT SPEAKING OUTSIDE CITY HALL WITH YOUR MOMMY?

  2. Stephen_Glenn on

    Actually Jamie is those from both sides who cannot work through the issues to bring about a shared future who are the ones who are keeping us back and would take us back. Being shared does not have to be neutral, but there has to be respect to the sensibilities of others views.

    As for the Belfast Agreement there was no viable alternative for it then, or sadly now. Our politicians have not grown up enough to be able to move past sectarian politics and therefore we still need to have power sharing as otherwise an increasingly large minority of the population would be overlooked by a privileged majority, of which Jamie you are a part.

  3. Martin Donaldson on

    Could Jamie give an opinion regarding him and his association with legal highs and why he pushes them on children on belalf of his rapist friend Davey for financial gain?

  4. Ben De Hellenbacque on

    “100,000 people voted for the TUV and UKIP in the last European Election” which represents just 5.5% of the population. Much is said about your inflated sense of self importance and exaggerated self belief and intelligence. The words ‘inflated’ and “exaggerated” not only apply to you personally but also to the weight you give to the figures you love quoting. You might be taken more seriously if you displayed some grasp of reality and of primary school maths.
    You need luck more than most so I wish you it kiddo. Until it comes your way keep supplying the laughs.

  5. Jeremy Cooke on

    You say “Unionism and Republicanism are diametrically opposed” – why is this ? Is there not a franchise of Unionists who would seek to maintain the links between Britain and NI but who also would reject the Ruritanian trappings of royalty and empire ?

    Republicanism is a legitimate and honourable political philosophy. The argument about where the lines for the franchise(s) are drawn on these islands does not preclude changing the system which governs us within this union.

  6. Am Ghobsmacht on

    What is Jamie’s alternative? Actually? He lambasts those who say there is no alternative yet doesn’t offer them ‘the path’.
    Spit it out Jamie or keep digging (I personally would like to see some sort of opposition in the assembly).
    And if it’s direct rule that Jamie wants, does he really believe that the British government wouldn’t punish unionism for bringing down Stormont?
    You can bet your last 5 pound flag that they’d rush through an Irish language act or something equally ‘horrifying’ just to slap unionists around a bit.
    And let’s say Jamie’s mystery alternative comes to light.
    Then what?
    Will people suddenly cease to be outraged by tyres and effigies on bonfires? (No).
    Will working class unionist areas suddenly flourish? (Unlikely)
    Will people suddenly not find loyalist paramilitary flags and murals reprehensible? (No).
    The alternative is to focus on making unionism attractive to the people of Northern Ireland.
    The people of Northern Ireland are now a very mixed bunch, it is no longer just Catholic or Protestant, there is a spectrum ranging from very catholic at one end and very Protestant at the other but with a broad range of half-assed ‘Christians’ in between and an ever increasing number of atheists and agnostics too boot (not to mention all the other religions).
    Unionism is not about behaving like ghouls at a bonfire.
    Unionism is not about flags.
    Unionism is not about crushing those who disagree with it.
    Bryson seems to think that removing the more ghastly elements of unionist ‘culture’ is somehow selling out.
    This is nonsense. Dangerous nonsense.
    Scottish unionism triumphed in the recent referendum.
    It did not need flegs or bonfires or humiliation (in fact the unionists were very opposed to such things).
    Rid unionism of it’s ugly ball & chains and it can expand throughout Northern Ireland.
    The problem is people like Jamie care too much about what their mates in the band think f them and won’t dare dissent.
    Edwardian unionism is dead, it is time for 21st century unionism, one that is open to Catholics, Atheists, agnostics and other religions.
    Jamie should try and lead, not follow or seek to win approval from the bass drummer…
    Finally, could Jamie highlight which parts of ‘Protestant Culture’ are being ‘criminalised’?
    If said examples have potentially illegal activities associated with them (such as building a tyre laden bon fire beside a petrol station e.g. Finvoy) then he may have to hold his wheesht…

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