Loyalist Flag Protests: Meet the Leadership

After another night of illegal loyalist road blocking descends into violence, with 8 PSNI officers injured, it has emerged that the loyalist protesters have formed a ten-member leadership committee to articulate their cause. Amongst the leaders elected are Willie Frazer, Johnny Harvey, Pastor Mark Gordon and Jamie Bryson.

The new loyalist leaders have wasted no time in forming a wish list, according to Willie Frazer:

We unanimously supported a return to direct rule and we agreed we will not be talking to politicians until they re-engage with people on the ground,” he said.

“We are saying that the flag has to go back up on Belfast City Hall; one-sided inquiries about the past have to stop; the demonisation of the security forces [during the Troubles] has to stop and there must be an inquiry as to how the £1.5bn peace money from Europe was spent. Who got it?”

The choice of leaders is interesting. North down-based loyalist Pastor Mark Gordon, a reformed glue-sniffer, has been making noises in Bangor in recent years, accusing the North Down council of “working to a nationalist agenda which will inevitably see the diminution of our culture and heritage.” That’d be the North Down council to which a nationalist representative has never been elected…..

Gordon was involved with the North Down Association of Bonfire Committees which threatened in July 2011 to organise a Prods in the Park rally to coincide with the BBC Proms in the Park event held in the borough that year. Gordon was also involved with the UDA Garden of Reflection in Bangor’s Kilcooley estate, which was the subject of much controversy when it was revealed that the Housing Executive and Department of Social Development were involved in organising and/ or funding the project.

Johnny Harvey, chairman of the Ulster Protestant Voice, has been to the forefront throughout the loyalist flag protests. Before Christmas, he rejected claims that Belfast traders were losing out due to the city centre protests:

Everything is being blamed on the protests, but at the end of the day we’re in a double-dip recession here and the online surge in shopping is growing.

Jamie Bryson was in the public eye before the flag protests. As vice-chair of the North Down Somme Society, he criticised North Down Council’s failure to support the group’s efforts to be involved in the main Remembrance Day commemorations in Bangor in 2009 after the Royal British Legion warned it would walk away if the allegedly loyalist-aligned group was included in the proceedings. In February 2011, Bryson met Martin McGuinness in Bangor as part of a group protesting on the issue of European funding for North Down’s loyalist communities.

Here’s Jamie explaining his family background, reasons for becoming a born again Christian and how Mark Gordon has influenced his life. At the linked page, Jamie can also be seen addressing loyalist protesters in Ballymena, where he declared to the assembled masses- including many with scarves covering their faces- that “Ulster’s back, Ulster’s risen again.” The linked video footage includes Jamie speaking at a protest in Newtownards, where he said “Ulster’s British, Ulster’s free and that’s the way it’s gonna stay.”

Inspired by the plight currently facing Glasgow Rangers, Jamie has written and published a book entitled ‘Four men had a dream.’ Below is the Amazon description of the book:

Four men had a dream is an inspirational story of friendship, love, loyalty and redemption.

Billy is a long lost footballing prospect, his best friend James is a school drop out whos (sic) life consists of smoking dope.

John is a WW2 veteran with emotional scars that turn to bitterness as he seeks peace in the bottom of a pint glass.

Bob is a pastor, a WW2 veteran and soul mate of Johns (sic) who has found peace through God and forgiveness but yearns to be reconciled with his long lost soul mate John to whom he hasn’t spoken since a dreadful falling out on the battlefields of WW2.

All four mens (sic) lives come together in the chasing of a dream, to see their football club Glasgow Rangers rise from the ashes of Division 3. The mens (sic) lives weave together to provide a fascinating, at times very funny and at times tear jerking tale of epic proportions. An ailing Glasgow Rangers side who have nothing but Billy and a few worn out 9 in a row legends set out on a journey that all started when FOUR MEN HAD A DREAM…

Jamie has been very busy on twitter recently. Last night, he tweeted to the Police Federation that they should “tell the truth, PSNI attacked peaceful protestors,” referring to the East Belfast violence. He has also tweeted that “I make it my aim to ensure the Lundys in cahoots with the IRA cannot continue to deceive ulster Protestants.” Additional tweets include stating:

“think Peter Punts deeds might be exposed soon.”

 

Jamie has also written a book entitled The First Shades of God, apparently the first in a series called ‘50 Shades of God.’ Here is the Amazon description of this book:

The first book in the 50 shades of God series. A short book that will leave you thinking for a long time.
The 50 shades series consists of 3 books of thought provoking and radical short studies that ask tough questions that are unpopular in modern Christianity and challenge the conventional Church wisdom with radical ideas and viewpoints that are sure to cause a stir among the great and the good. This book provides the first 16 studies of the series.
From the use of force to why traditional Churchs (sic) cannot attract young people, this book looks at it all.
Written by a radical young Christian with big ideas that go totally against the grain this book will either set you on a crusade to change the world or you will put it down in disgust.
Hailed by some as a God inspired ‘turn it all upside down’ blueprint and dismissed by others as a book to be kept out of the public domain.
One Church said ‘This book should be banned, it is too radical and has the potential to inspire to many minds for radical change.’ Read for yourself and make your own mind up. How dangerous can one mans opinion really be?

Gotta say I’d love to know which ‘church’ made that last remark……

And, finally, to Willie Frazer.

Willie is no stranger to these parts, having priors when it comes to flag-induced rage- though, on that occasion, Willie experienced a touch of colour blindness after it was revealed that the ‘Tricolour’ flying from the catholic primary school he deemed an ‘IRA training ground’ was in fact the Italian flag, being flown as part of a European exchange programme.

Willie intends on leading a group of loyalists to Dublin soon to demand the removal of the Irish National flag from the Houses of the Oireachtas in protest at the removal of the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall.

It is, of course, ironic that Willie mentions the issue of European funds as one of the matters of contention agreed upon by the loyalist flag leaders. Willie’s own organisation, FAIR, was asked in November 2011 to return more than £350,000 by the EU after investigations were conducted into how money allocated to the group had been spent.

 

 

  • Submariner

    Nolan should be asking Bryson if he is a UVF supporter and why he has been photographed carrying the flag of a proscribed terrorist orginisation

  • Lionel Hutz

    SK,

    “Look up “Dunning-Kruger effect” in a dictionary and there is a picture of Jamie Bryson holding a UVF flag.”

    Lmao, thanks for that. I was trying to think of the name of that condition earlier today. It’s an affliction that affects so many of our extremists. Anytime I hear a dissident supporter talk about his “analysis”, I want to fill my ears with cement.

    Comrade,

    I heard that last night. It was so bizarre because not only would he refuse to speak for his forum, he also got angry when being drawn on his own views. He was quite clearly just trying to air his grievances about the police and wanted the entire interview to focus on that.

    And then there was a claim that a young child was injured by nationalists. AFAIK that hasn’t been independently verified. These people have tried to everything on anyone. They’ve failed so now they’re just gonna hang the young ones out to dry and blame it on youffs

  • ayeYerMa

    I have not seen this “UVF flag” but it wouldn’t surprise me if a few Republican commenters here needed a bit more education on “UVF” history. No doubt most knowledge of Republicans here is derived from all their time spent on Wikipedia — where it goes out of the way to conscientiously separate all IRAs but lumps the two drastically different UVFs together.

  • galloglaigh

    aym

    What was different about the two organisations? The UVF in 1920 were running round Norn Iron murdering Catholics because they were Catholic. They even murdered a Protestant WWI veteran in Derry, because he was in the process of converting. So let’s not try and paint them as anything other than bigoted and sectarian thugs and murderers.

  • MALCOLMX

    Lets be honest here, most if not all the UVF 1912 flags carried and erected throughout belfast are to represent the modern UVF of Shankill butchers fame etc knowing that placing 1912 on a flag some how makes the flag legal. The two organisations of the UVF are not that different.

  • MALCOLMX

    See the bigoted and sectarian thugs of UVF 1912-2013 are at it again in east Belfast tonight.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Lionel, agreed. These guys seem to have a real thing for making up things and circulating them as fact. On the facebook page I have seen people claiming that the council had agreed to reinstate the old flag policy and, as we have seen today, that the Garda were being drafted in.

    If there really was an injured baby I’m sure we’d have seen the family interviewed by now. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to anyone to make a complaint to the Ombudsman.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, sonofstrongbow. My aleatory comment was a humorous follow-on from galloglaigh (7.24 pm). I never learn.

    If things get too difficult for the police, they should think about asking for the support of UN troops. Some clever people think that’ll never happen, but then some clever people were promising us that the #flegs thing would be over by the end of December.

  • DC

    I am hearing the PUP is to a make a statement within the hour to do with talks with police in east Belfast.

  • anne warren

    According to
    http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/issues/military.shtml

    UN military personnel can be called upon to:
    1. Monitor a disputed border
    2. Monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas
    3. Provide security across a conflict zone
    4. Protect civilians
    5. Assist in-country military personnel with training and support
    6. Assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they may have signed

    I really can’t imagine which would apply in NI (No 2 possibly?) taking into consideration the type of places UN troops are sent to in the world. They have far more pressing tasks.
    The PSNI has said they can manage. If the situation worsens to such a stage that they can’t I am confident they can call on other UK police forces for help and support.
    That’s what the Metropolitan did during the London riots which were much worse than what we are seeing at present in NI
    If Londoners were jailed for 6 months for looting a bottle of water, what type of sentences can we expect for attempted murder of a police officer, issuing death threats, etc

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks, Anne. I had nos 3 and 4 in mind.

    Does anyone know if shots really were fired yesterday?

    I hadn’t thought much in terms of other UK police forces. In the back of my mind is an idea that HMG is unwilling to employ the regular army on our streets ever again.

    But the use of UN troops would internationalize the problem, and perhaps even proclaim that the GFA had failed.

  • anne warren

    Thanks for your reply David
    “HMG is unwilling to employ the regular army on our streets ever again”
    I think this is a true assessment.

    “But the use of UN troops would internationalize the problem”,
    David it is not an international problem .
    It is a UK issue.
    I believe that was the original stumbling block to calls for UN intervention at the start of the troubles.

    “and perhaps even proclaim that the GFA had failed”
    I don’t think anyone wants to see failure of the GFA/Belfast Agreement.
    Until something better comes along, it’s the only show in town.
    Its outworking has been abysmal to date

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks, Anne! Yes, better to preserve the GFA than to lurch into the unknown. But the #flegs thing is taking us into ‘here-be-dragons’ terrain.

  • BluesJazz

    “Does anyone know if shots really were fired yesterday?”

    Nope, but it helps with the massive PSNI overtime sheets and the Orlando economy should do well out of it.

    the Police Federation were quick out of the blocks to demand more resources ie promotions and even more overtime for their civil servants, many of whom sustained injuries on their (taxpayer provided) iphones and blackberry’s during the massive civil unrest in recent weeks.
    Terry Spence is the new Finlay Spratt.

    Oh well , sure we can take it out of the healthcare budget. The English can well afford it.

  • BluesJazz
  • BluesJazz

    By Geoffrey Biffin – See all my reviewsThis review is from: Four Men Had a dream: May the streets be broad and narrow…..: 1 (Paperback)
    I only found out about the book when i saw Jamie get involved in the PEACEFUL PROTESTS to get the ulster flag put back up on the city hall. Boy was i glad i did – it is a belting read about LOYALISM, friendship and faith. The dialogue is really realistic and you can almost imagine yourself sitting down the Shankill Rangers Club with a pint of harp listening to the lads having there banter about the GERS, LOYALISM and the CRACK.

    But beyond all the fun there is a deeper meaning to the book and that is about FAITH in GOD. Ulter has lost its way because we have turned away from GOD AND HIS SON THE RISEN JESUS CHRIST. you only need to look our you’re door to see the effects – drugs and crime evryewhere. i know this and Jmaie knows it too. The only was we will bring back ULSTER and bring back the FLAG is through GOD. GOD! GOD!GOD! There i said it 3 times because its so important! When we turn back to GOD ulster will be back and the flag will be back. Harland and Wolf will be back too and the yards will ring out with the sound of PROTESTANT HAMMERS as loyal men build great ships again like Titanic or other less famous ships.

    Jamie when is your next book coming?!! I cant wait. we should set up a discussion forum online for
    LOYALIST books like this one or we could all meet up in real life – there must be loads of LOYALISTS who like a good book!! we could meet at my house on mondays or wednesdays as i have football training on tuesday and thursday.

  • BluesJazz

    Put here because deleted elsewhere

  • Trapattoni

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20979512

    Jonny Harvey has leftthe UPV group and joined the PUP.

  • DC

    Jonny Harvey spoke very well on ‘The View’.