Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Willie Frazer detained at his home this morning…

Wed 27 February 2013, 1:12pm

UTV reporting that Willie Frazer has been arrested...

A 52-year-old man was detained at a house in the Tandragee Road area of Markethill, Co Armagh, just before 9am on Wednesday.

He is currently in police custody being questioned on suspicion of public order offences linked to the Union flags protests.

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Comments (155)

  1. GEF (profile) says:

    Interesting article by Jim Dowson, without realizing he was to be lifted by the PSNI shortly after writing this:

    “FLAG PROTESTS, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?”
    By Jim Dowson.

    http://mail.ntlworld.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=fb893c86e8&view=att&th=13d2b42d24b18b1c&attid=0.1.1&disp=vah&safe=1&zw

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  2. tacapall (profile) says:

    Not a virgin media customer GEF, have you another link ?

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  3. DC (profile) says:

    I googled it and found the speech on LAD facebook page, it is long, point No4 is interesting.

    FLAG PROTESTS, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

    Ok, let us take a calm analytical view of where we are now and where we need to go in the SHORT term. Willie Frazer questioned in PSNI station, Jamie on the run, dozens of lads on remand and hundreds more to be charged. Well, nobody said our fight would be easy and in any conflict there are casualties and that’s not being flippant or harsh but I no doubt am on the Police hit list and so be it, I like everyone else involved knew the risks and thought OUR flag worth it, so we need to accept this and be grateful for the bravery of our people in making the sacrifices they have. We are all someone’s sons, brothers, sisters, mothers or fathers and we are all in this TOGETHER!.

    Now, unlike most people involved in this conflict I am a full time campaign activist and political PR professional, I run a very successful political marketing firm that handles the campaigning strategy of several political parties and lobby/campaign groups here in the UK, the USA and in Europe. I say this not to boast or to appear superior, no way, but only to point out that I actually know what I am talking about and do this stuff every day in life and have done for nearly 20 years. That all said I will now give my considered opinion on the situation based on the analysis of me and other full time professionals in the field of campaigning who are senior partners in the firm, who between us have over 100 years of successful campaigning under our belts.

    No 1 priority in any campaign is to work out the beginning, middle and end strategies BEFORE you start the campaign. This must also include several achievable goals, exit strategies and a degree of flexibility in executing the game plan as the enemy will quickly catch on to what we are doing and change the goalposts at times. The other thing a smart opponent will often do is to try to side track us or have us fixate on an aspect of our campaign that distracts us from the core value or main target, this is a common tactic in ‘counter campaigning’ and our enemies are very well versed in these tactics I assure you. Peter Robinson is a master tactician, devious and far more ruthless than even Gerry Kelly when it comes to political manoeuvrings and self preservation.

    EXAMPLE: what is the main goal on a Saturday? To walk on the road into city hall or, the rally itself? Of course it’s the rally, that’s what shows the world what we are about and brings our presence to the City for all to see , so that’s that target for our enemies to destroy. So how do they go about it, well, it’s easy, they make the walk in illegal hoping that decision will outrage the protesters who will then focus in on this issue and be drawn into a conflict with the PSNI who WILL stop us from marching in on the road. In turn the energy and resolve of our people will then be directed onto “we demand to walk in” rather than the city hall rally itself, we get tied up in conflict and the city rally dies a death…standard counter campaign tactics that any half decent professional politician or campaigner understands. Sadly our naivety is allowing our enemies to play us like a fiddle.
    No2) In any conflict one needs to identify who exactly the enemy is. Ultimately we all know that the main enemy is Republicanism, that’s obvious but it’s a bit more complex than that as the shiners have absolutely NOTHING to lose by our actions, they know the flag will not go up until at least the next elections and as the PUL community do not give SF any votes there is little they fear from us out our protests and general political awakening. So who has the most to lose in the fight? Who has most to fear from the new, politically motivated working class loyalist awakening? I will tell you…The Unionist establishment and especially the DUP!

    What do you think the ‘Unionist Forum ‘is really all about? Who is on it? Are the flag protesters on it??NO, all those on it have NOTHING to do with the protests whatsoever, so what’s it all about? In my opinion it is about removing support from the protests and stopping any emergence of a working class loyalist voting bloc that could threaten the status quo. Robinson and Nesbitt are travelling the country talking to so called ‘community reps’ about ‘PEACE 1V MONEY’, grants and local initiatives…..get the picture? And at the same time some organisation are ordering their OWN people OFF the protests!! Simultaneously, the PSNI are being ordered to behave in a very provocative way towards the protesters which has resulted in violent conflict that alienates public opinion and support from us and our cause. Again primary school stuff to those who are politically experienced but a tactic we have failed to recognise until very recently. The PSNI are indeed being used as a weapon against us but the hand that swings that weapon is that of Peter Robinson and the entire Unionist establishment, don’t fall for the wee Gerry Kelly stage managed meeting with Baggott the night before Willie was arrested, of that be in no doubt.

    No3) So, now I have to be bold enough to say what we should do in MY opinion, I hate folk that say what’s wrong but will not stick their neck out with a solution so here is my potential short term strategy: A) Get OFF the roads ..Period! No road blocks, no white lines, again, the goal is protesting and showing the people that we are still here, we can do that from the corner of the junction just as well as on a white line, it may also encourage more people to come back to the protests. B) Firm up the City hall rallies every week, have a big PA system, play music, maybe a kids theme and forget walking in on the road EVERY week, but arrange a monthly LAWFULL march in with bands, every other week walk on the pavement or get the bus in, it’s the rally that is the main achievement not wearing out the tarmac on the Newtownards Rd.

    4) Start a professional and targeted campaigning. Hit high profile events like grand openings of buildings where politicians are in attendance, hit the golf clubs they hang out in, the clubs they belong to, inconvenience and embarrass then in front of their posh pals. Boycott economic targets, businesses of MLA’s and the apparatus of the state. Initiate vehicle demos that leave in convoy and travel through town centres at peak times and on Saturdays, 30 cars with flags and horns and lights going are hard to miss. Plan to disrupt major prestigious events that will bring our cause to the world’s media attention. Start a ‘flag on EVERY house campaign across Ulster. Lets face it, the current level of street protests are simply unsustainable and if do not act quickly we shall appear to lead our movement up a cul de sac with no way out.

    Finally, as you can see there are lots of things we can do and some we must stop doing, our enemies wish to have us banging our heads against the brick wall of the PSNI, they are terrified in case we get smart and become ‘flexible’ and innovative, conflict hinders us and saves them! Some of our current advisors are in the ‘conflict resolution business’ and it is a business, but this is NOT what we need right now as our conflict is ongoing and we need to win it. Therefore we need experts in conflict transformation, no more guns but the cultural war is still raging so we need to fight with new weapons and they are: Intelligent, flexible and professional campaigning, using methods that have worked the world over. We also need dedicated, hard working and smart coordinators who can give good, clear and sound direction to us on the ground. Communication is EVERYTHING in any campaign or conflict arena and causes live or die by their ability to communicate the game plan to the people on the street and at present the whole flag protest movement is very poorly served with accurate information and direction coming out from a central command set up.
    All the above things are achievable if we work smart, it’s not all about the amount of work, as you will work hard emptying a bath with a fork but you will achieve little, it’s about working SMART and I believe we can do it if we take a serious look at where we are and where we want and need to go. I believe in my people but we are 30 years behind the shiners and do not have the luxury of a long learning curve or learning through our mistakes. We need to fastback the process by copying what’s been done before and fine tuning proven tactics to our unique Ulster situation.
    This article may ruffle a few feathers…good, this is no game or hobby we are about here, and this is a struggle for more than a flag it’s about the legacy we leave behind for our children and grandchildren. It may even be about Ulster’s very survival so I am not overly concerned if I dent a few egos or take the wind out of some folks sails, if you can’t handle the heat…get out the kitchen! Remember our forefathers had to go over the top for Ulster and for US, they had to face the horrors of Passchendaele, the Somme or Ypres , all we have to do is be determined , faithful and SMART! Let us start the smart phase today by by-passing the trap laid for us by the Unionist elite and their PSNI puppets.
    Jim Dowson Belfast 28/Feb/ 2013

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  4. tacapall (profile) says:

    No 4 certainly is interesting and seeing as the enemy is republicanism can we take it these people are simply monarchists rather than unionists. Will they target the St Patricks day parade and the 12th parades, if not then is nationalism the real enemy.

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  5. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Been waiting a long time for the ‘smart phase’. Something tells me we will still be waiting this summer.

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  6. DC (profile) says:

    What isn’t clear is that even if Jim and his lot were to replace mainstream unionism what would they do in power that could further the aims of re-Britification?

    I think the only way forward is to scrap super councils, drop power out of Stormont and down into councils and boost local democracy so that identity issues and other things like schools etc and other public services are placed in democratic control as close to the people as possible.

    If stormont could be by-passed and councils given power, councils could cut the cloth to suit local needs and tastes and take over instead, this wouldn’t deal with Belfast as it is a divided city; but, perhaps, councils with more powers could offset the sense of loss that is perceived to be out there by showing the respective communities that it is possible to use public office to create public space that is in line with community identity and outlook.

    The Alliance party would call this balkanisation i guess but that’s the only way forward i can see, there would be benefits in doing this for both unionists and nationalists alike.

    Stormont would be needed for big macro issues like agreement around financing councils and handling the money coming from Westminster and implementing other laws that have regional relevance.

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  7. GEF (profile) says:

    Looks like this recent article may be Mr Dowson’s last post to facebook for the time being anyway.

    “Judge Kelly ordered the 48-year-old, who also faces four charges of taking part in an unnotified public procession and encouraging or assisting offences, to hand over any and all of his mobile phones, any computer he has in his home and not to go within a kilometre of any parade, protest or procession.

    Having heard that Mr Dowson – who is originally from Airdrie in Scotland – contributes to dozens of Facebook pages and regularly addresses crowds gathered at Belfast City Hall, Judge Kelly also ordered that anyone who lives with him must also hand over any communication device they have.”

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  8. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    The Alliance party would call this balkanisation i guess but that’s the only way forward i can see,

    The way forward is for people to learn to share the space that we all collectively occupy.

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  9. tacapall (profile) says:

    What benefit is re-Britification to the society we have today ?

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  10. DC (profile) says:

    The way forward is for people to learn to share the space that we all collectively occupy.

    I don’t see how having 26 newly empowered councils would not do that in fact decisions closer to the people and integrated that way using local communication networks like local papers etc is probably a better way of ‘learning’ given its proximity to the people.

    Than having minority type parties and politics in stormont attempting to tell people what is good for all of us despite not having the votes from…well…all of us. But I guess you’re ambitious!

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  11. DC (profile) says:

    What benefit is re-Britification to the society we have today ?

    I guess it would help with managing the expectations of those that define themselves as British.

    Losing powers from local councils to a veto-blocked stormont is a bit like outsourcing and using consultants in the public sector, it actually debilitates thinking and over the long term it wrecks confidence in having the ability to make and take decisions for yourself which you are paid to do anyway and in terms of local councils and stormont elected to do anyway. But in terms of local councils local solutions cannot be applied due to the way stormont has control over the things that matter.

    Why think for ourselves whenever someone else can step in and do that but problems arise whenever that someone’s knowledge and actions aren’t as good as the people they were advising who could have done better – and in time you just lose hardheadedness and belief that you have control over things. As the powers that be above you bring in other external people, mistakenly thinking they have more knowledge than people who have been working in the area or certain field for years.

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  12. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Hmmmm

    As far as I remember the last time we had any amount of power given to councils, over housing for example, those wanting more Britishness abused the power they had with gross sectarianism in home allocation.

    Even now we can get a glimpse where giving more power to local councils would lead- every council with a Nationalist majority promotes full rotation of top posts- every council with a Unionist majority doesn’t. Nuff said.

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  13. Bangordub (profile) says:

    GEF,
    UPC has been remarkably quiet on these pages since Feb 27th.
    Can’t think for the life of me why

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  14. DC (profile) says:

    V good point Bangordub, twitter account reflects this too. Is UPC Jamie i actually thought it was somebody else, but now that you mention it..!

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  15. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    DC- given Dowsons politics, BNP Nazi, holocaust denier I wouldn’t put too much stock in any of his ramblings.

    I mean ffs if he subscribed to a party who deny basic historical facts how can anyone take him or his ilk seriously.

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  16. GEF (profile) says:

    Bangordub, maybe UPC was the scarlet pimpernel for wee Willie or Jamie who are both on remand. Looks like the arrests have changed something. Now the protesters are all going from East Belfast to City Hall by bus

    http://news.google.co.uk/news/url?ct2=uk%2F1_0_s_5_1_a&sa=t&usg=AFQjCNH4w924YhjS_wDYyFx6gQhhWW20LA&cid=43982005407701&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.u.tv%2FNews%2FFlag-protesters-take-the-bus%2F849fdb5e-9636-466f-9f2a-edde2ac9c5ea&ei=KCQyUfmVMtHd8QP2MQ&rt=SECTION&vm=STANDARD&bvm=section&did=-2100303937528959896&sid=en_uk%3An&ssid=n

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  17. Reader (profile) says:

    redstar2011: Even now we can get a glimpse where giving more power to local councils would lead- every council with a Nationalist majority promotes full rotation of top posts- every council with a Unionist majority doesn’t. Nuff said.
    So what? As recent events have made clear, office sharing does not lead to power sharing. Both Dungannon and Newry/Mourne councils have acted in a blatantly tribal and majoritarian fashion in recent months. There’s no point in pretending it’s just Nationalist minorities that have anything to worry about if more power is devolved to bodies without proper power sharing built in.

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  18. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Reader- my point is Unionists cannot even match up to their Nationalist counterparts when it comes to sharing out posts, admittedly, in relatively powerless councils. Why?

    I mean take a place like Lisburn- never, ever a Nationalist in any top council position. Total supremacist bigotry- don’t have a Fenian about the place mentality. Are you seriously saying that type of council should end up with serious power?????

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  19. DC (profile) says:

    Ulster Press Centre / Jamie’s mum:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8spZlTfYDw

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  20. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    I can understand the woman’s emotion. Her son has been incarcerated in a tough prison system for over 30 errrrm hours

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  21. Reader (profile) says:

    redstar2011: Are you seriously saying that type of council should end up with serious power?????
    No. In fact, what I said was “There’s no point in pretending it’s just Nationalist minorities that have anything to worry about if more power is devolved to bodies without proper power sharing built in.”
    And, so far as I can see, the only reason nationalist councils are willing to share out posts is because in councils with little power, those official posts have no power at all. Token Prods, there for the optics.

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  22. JR (profile) says:

    Jamie and Willy were both happy to hold thousands of people from carrying on with their lives and going about their business for hours on many evenings over a many weeks. They would still be doing so if they were at liberty. I have no sympathy for either of them.

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  23. Bangordub (profile) says:

    Now that the Ulster Press Centre is, eh, at least temporarily, experiencing a loss of its communications facilities, can we expect a return to normal rules on Slugger? ie: staying on topic, no hijacking of threads, the ad hominem rule being applied without fear or favour.
    Perhaps I am imagining things but some rules appeared to be applied with a certain flexibility in that regard, perhaps with reason.

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  24. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Reader- And to follow that line of thinking through you agree that Unionist controlled ones are so bigoted they won’t even allow Nationalists those same powerless posts- they can’t even stomach token Fenians?

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  25. DC (profile) says:

    If you Facebook ‘Jim Dowson’ his profile has been taken down by Facebook, or so it would seem. That didn’t take long!

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  26. Reader (profile) says:

    redstar2011: And to follow that line of thinking through you agree that Unionist controlled ones are so bigoted they won’t even allow Nationalists those same powerless posts- they can’t even stomach token Fenians?
    No, I would say that the difference is the unionists distrust tokenism, whereas nationalists are happy about it so long as it doesn’t interfere with the exercise of actual power. It’s a cultural difference, I suppose. Personally, I prefer unionist directness over nationalist hypocrisy. However, let us know if you see any signs that nationalists are willing to share any actual power when they don’t have to.

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  27. DC (profile) says:

    Furthering what Reader has said can anyone highlight a significant compromise that Nationalists have done recently that kind of goes against the grain of key policy or something, the flag wasn’t a compromise as such as it was a backing of an Alliance amendment rather than something actually proposed by Nationalists.

    What I would call as a significant compromise would be something like designated days in nationalist-run councils or something like that…

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  28. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Lol

    You don’t seem able to get by the fact that when push comes to shove Unionist councils basically don’t want a Fenian about the place- token or otherwise.

    I understand that’s how it always was for them and its hard to break old habits, but sadly for them that ship has sailed and be it bigoted councils or “fleg” types the messages the same- things ain’t going back, get used to it.

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  29. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    DC what about any Unionist councils making a gesture of allowing a Fenian a top post?

    As regards Nationalists gestures they backed your police force, met your queen etc etc. in other words a hell of a lot more than unionists who as I say still wont even countenance rotation of council posts.

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  30. Bangordub (profile) says:

    DC,
    “the flag wasn’t a compromise as such as it was a backing of an Alliance amendment rather than something actually proposed by Nationalists”
    That is an incredible somersault of logic.
    For avoidance of doubt. SF and SDLP were for taking the flag down 365. The unionist parties wanted it up 365 in controvention of their own practice in other councils. Alliance proposed a COMPROMISE as they saw it. ie: in line with what other unionist councils (eg Lisburn) are doing. The SDLP and SF went with that COMPROMISE. Am I thick or something? what am I missing?

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  31. Bangordub (profile) says:

    redstar2011,
    The single biggest and overwhelming compromise of nationalists was to accept that the entity founded in 1921 could decide its own constitutional future democratically and essentially internally. The very antithesis of how it came about in the first place and how it had been (mis)governed since then.

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  32. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Bangordub

    1 I was really only talking about the very recent “ad hoc” items

    2 you are of course entirely correct. I lack your more effective way with words.

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  33. DC (profile) says:

    I went onto the Sinn Fein Belfast City Council webpage as at one time it did have on it that SF viewed the Alliance proposal as a stepping stone and therefore do not own the compromise as such and owning the compromise would be about nationalists proposing it than relying on others to bridge the gap – besides it was a 95% reduction in the flag and that’s not really a compromise is it? Although i guess it’s the sort of deals unionists have gotten used to by now.

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  34. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    DC please take this in the spirit it’s meant. You are as far as I can make out the polar opposite of my own position but seem no mug and up for debate

    Now that we are in a situ where more or less the population is heading towards 50/50 (wouldn’t get too wound up by surveys etc as they dont reflect what people actually don’t the ballot box) why would you not accept both flags or even an agreed flag?

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  35. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Typo- should read ” do at the ballot box”

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  36. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Although i guess it’s the sort of deals unionists have gotten used to by now.

    You’re right, they got used to it when they implemented it in Lisburn and Craigavon.

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  37. DC (profile) says:

    I would also have been more content with the flag coming down whenever there is that much vaunted outright nationalist majority in Belfast, rather than Alliance advancing things by around 15 years or so and taking it down too soon, if things happen before their time it usually is more controversial than something happening naturally and knowing there really is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.

    But this wasn’t the case.

    You would have thought that given Alliance’s history within unionist areas especially loyalist areas that that party could have done what the SDLP always does re SF, fall into line. Alliance should have fallen into line and blocked the motion, unless SF proposed it themselves then it could have ducked voting on it and it would have carried 24-21?

    The Alliance party has become a symbol of tarnished honour in loyalist areas anyway.

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  38. DC (profile) says:

    Comrade – shouldn’t you be out there uniting communities and stuff…

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  39. Bangordub (profile) says:

    DC,
    With respect, are you seriously suggesting that alliance, and I’m nothing to do with them, should have “fallen into line” with the DUP and what’s left of the UUP? Seriously?

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  40. DC (profile) says:

    Correct, the complete removal motion and thinking behind that was all spawned inside SF’s Belfast City Council offices and that’s where it should have stayed.

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  41. Bangordub (profile) says:

    Perhaps I have my facts wrong but I thought it was an SDLP motion to remove the flag? Would you like some proof?

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  42. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    DC- thanks for that

    But you (correct me if I am wrong) almost seem to recognise that as regards equality in two flags etc its almost inevitable- in Belfast at least. If that’s the case why not strike now for the best “deal” you can, agreed flag or whatever?

    Why sit Canute style huffing and puffing now waiting for possibly sooner than you think there ending up only 1 flag over City Hall and not a British one?

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  43. DC (profile) says:

    Don’t mention that party ever again on here – the idea being to keep the profile low and finish it off, but I had been reading myself that it was SF that had been working on it, I am trying to think where…

    i have remembered…

    agenda ni – http://www.agendani.com/flag-friction

    Sinn Féin was therefore in a stronger position to press for its ‘equality or neutrality’ policy i.e. fly the union flag and Irish tricolour together or fly neither. As the flying of both flags was unacceptable to unionists and the Alliance Party, Sinn Féin proposed that the union flag be removed entirely.

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  44. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Sometimes, when politicians and people get stuck on an issue like this Belfast City Hall Flag furor, it seems like things are going nowhere. But one doesn’t have to go too deep into memory to find times when it would have been quite a welcome development if the biggest problem unionists had with Sinn Fein was how their representatives voted at City Hall, or Stormont for that matter.

    At any rate, glad to see Jamie got his appetite restored. Must have been one of those 24 hour hunger-strike things.

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  45. DC (profile) says:

    Things just haven’t been the same around here since Ulster Press Centre went incommunicado.

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  46. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    DC, I was never really sure he wasn’t just spoofing with the constant, well, he doesn’t appear to be here so I’ll let it be.

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  47. DC (profile) says:

    I could’ve sworn he was a certain someone in the PUP, but it would appear otherwise. Although he did say once he was around at the time of the GFA being signed as in he was party to the actual discussions…

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  48. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    UPC stated about the GFA “I’ll remind you that I WAS THERE when the document was being negotiated and when it was finally agreed.”

    Jamie Bryson I understand is 22 years old.

    Seems he has been politically active at the top level since the age of 8, if my mathematics holds together.

    Whose negotiating team was he a part of, was it the political wing of the “WhyDon’tYou” kids?

    Surely this even rivals the original Tory boy William Hague in terms of youthful political activities?

    Still it does mean that Jamie has about 12 years more political experience than Mike Nesbitt. Next leader of the increasingly right wing UUP?

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  49. Ulster Press Centre (profile) black spot says:

    Sorry to disappoint you fellers but I’m still here and still free. Just been very busy with work recently.

    Though, in the Nazi state NI is becoming, how long until Loyalists are interned for espousing their views on Internet blogs as they currently are for doing it on the street?

    Matt Baggott’s current dancing to Gerry Kelly’s tune is merely proving to Loyalists that, in Northern Ireland, violence (and the threat of it) pays. I have no doubt that many Loyalists out there are learning this valuable lesson.

    An interesting summer lies ahead. Good luck everyone.

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  50. DC (profile) says:

    Jamie’s mum?

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  51. Ulster Press Centre (profile) black spot says:

    Much too hairy.

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  52. DC (profile) says:

    LEADING Union flag protestors Willie Frazer and Jamie Bryson are now understood to be sharing the same prison cell.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/headlines/latest-frazer-and-bryson-in-same-prison-cell-1-4849316#.UTUPLJm0F8w.twitter

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  53. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    I’m sure they will calm each other, DC.

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  54. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Matt Baggott’s current dancing to Gerry Kelly’s tune is merely proving to Loyalists that, in Northern Ireland, violence (and the threat of it) pays. I have no doubt that many Loyalists out there are learning this valuable lesson.

    Oh, for sure. Loyalists never threatened violence against anyone.

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  55. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    UPC, for clarification sake, are you saying you are too hairy, or Jamie’s mum is too hairy?

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