Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

McCann meets….Jamie Bryson

Thu 9 January 2014, 6:27pm

When I put out a call for who I should interview on this segment Jamie Bryson’s name came up. He is a controversial character and invokes very few muddled opinions as the interview went out live on Lisburn’s 98FM the twitter feed went into action with people tweeting praise and criticism in equal measure.

I wanted to treat Bryson like I would treat any interviewee, give him the chance to give his viewpoint and then give a critique to it when I could. I will leave you to be the judge of whether I did that well enough but I do believe that people like Bryson need to be engaged with, rather than ignored.

We spoke for nearly thirty minutes about the direction of unionism, flags, the Haass talks and his political future. Below are some select quotes but there was so much content that you really do need to listen to the interview in full to get all of the key bits.

I asked him if he became First Minister tomorrow what he would do in government

I would get out of mandatory coalition to begin with and if Sinn Fein are democratically elected and people want to vote for terrorists, well we are in a democracy so we have to accept that they have a right to be represented in that democracy but they do not have a right to have a mandatory veto over the government.

On why he wouldn’t sit with Sinn Fein in government

Well Sinn Fein have not renounced terrorism, they do not carry it out anymore but they have found a new battlefield and obviously the new battlefield is politically but the example that Sinn Fein set is that violence pays and violence gets rewarded. When Sinn Fein stand up and praise and glorify the actions of the IRA it sends the message to young Protestants who feel as Sinn Fein claim they felt in the seventies and people laugh whenever young Protestants say that we feel oppressed but that’s genuinely how we feel.

But would he share power with those linked to Loyalist paramilitaries?

I’m honest and I don’t tell lies about what my views are. Personally I believe that the IRA were terrorists who set out to destroy this country. Now if the British government had allowed the UDR, RUC and the British army to take on the IRA as they wanted to…there would never have been a need for the likes of the UVF. Unfortunately the British government did not let the good men of the UDR, RUC and the British army take on the IRA, so that is why Loyalist paramilitaries came into being.

I pointed out at this stage that the UVF actually came into existence in 1966 but we pressed on…

What about broader nationalism (SDLP) as a possible coalition partner?

I would happily work with ordinary nationalists with people like the SDLP; I don’t have an issue with that. I doubt that I would be able to form a voluntary coalition with nationalists because of our aims and objectives would obviously be very clearly apart.

On the Alliance party he believes they

are just the moderate wing of Sinn Fein.

Following that I got a bit of a surprising answer where he told me he has more time for someone like Gerry Kelly who is open and honest about his views and opinions than some of the more compromising views of the Alliance party. I must admit thinking to myself could there be some ground a preference deal?

On the Haass talks, he once again rejected the proposals as another compromise and told me that he received a draft of the agreement from one of the Unionist parties but would not say which party or who gave it to him.

On the upcoming elections, Bryson confirmed to me that he will be standing in the European elections and will also contest a ward in the local elections but has not decided where yet. But the real target for him is the DUP. He did say that no matter how he performs he will be continuing on his fight for the issues he cares about.

I concluded asking him about his legacy to which he said that he simply wants to be remembered for somebody who never gave up their principles for power and money.

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Comments (77)

  1. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Very good interview, David. I like your interviewing style.

    Could I suggest Johnny Harvey of the PUP? He was also a flag protestor and has now made his way into party politics. It would be interesting to hear his views and appraisal of the Haass talks.

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  2. Tir Chonaill Gael (profile) says:

    Probably about time our Jamie acquired a mandate to justify the level of (over-) exposure he currently enjoys on this site.

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  3. As a SDLP member, I might have a mandate around the same time Jamie Bryson gets one and I look forward to negotiating with him.

    Personally I dont see the fascination. He was at a seminar at Univ of Ulster last month and the interesting thing was that so many of the academics wanted to speak with him. It almost seemed like paying homage to him.
    I let the moment pass.

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  4. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    David I like the way you establish a sincere conversation with your subjects, rather than trying to “catch them out” in the way Nolan does. You style reminds me of Stephan Sackar’s BBC Hardtalk series of interviews.

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  5. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    fjh

    I have no doubt that encountering Jamie Bryson in a seminar is like discovering a novel species of Fauna in the Serengeti for many of those academics. He is original source material for potential peer-reviewed publications.

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  6. DC (profile) says:

    Intellectuals fancy Jamie.

    Jamie fancies Jelly.

    Jelly fancies Judith.

    And last but not least, Charles Gould fancies David McCann.

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  7. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    DC I have never seen David McCann.

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  8. DC (profile) says:

    Oh Charles stop denying it by saying you haven’t seen him as what does that matter to sapiosexuals? Proof – all unctuous over his contributions you are!

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  9. Mr Gould,
    Well its mutual isnt it? Academics will get some kudos by meeting Jamie Bryson.
    For example if you look back to Alan’s blog posted here in or around 10th December, you will note that Dr Paul Reilly, a participant in the seminar is actually writing a book on Social Media and Protest. I dont know if he is actually met Jamie Bryson but it would seem logical and perfectly proper that he does. Indeed it would be remiss if he didnt.
    Yet some of the academics and others in attendance did seem to treat his appearance as if they were paying court.
    Yet its a two way street, isnt it?
    Both academics and the subject gain in credibility.
    I think thats the point Tir Chonaill was making.
    Indeed I made much the same point in a Blog (on that seminar) earlier today.
    Obviously for many academics…particuarly those of a middle class or non- Norn Iron background, some people can appear exotic.
    To those of us who are from a working class background or a Belfast background, there is little mystique.

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  10. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Following that I got a bit of a surprising answer where he told me he has more time for someone like Gerry Kelly who is open and honest about his views and opinions than some of the more compromising views of the Alliance party. I must admit thinking to myself could there be some ground a preference deal?

    Not at all.

    Whether Bryson knows this or not, I think the fact is that he understands Kelly because he sees that they both think in the same way and are cut from the same cloth. Kelly embodies his preconceptions of who his opponents are and reaffirms his instincts. He also knows that Kelly is not a political threat in terms of his efforts to build himself a profile solely within unionism.

    Alliance and other moderates are more of a threat because they contradict and upset his simple black and white worldview.

    Something similar was pointed out on Slugger a while ago. Sinn Féin will happily invite DUP and other hardline unionists to debate with them at “West Belfast Talks Back” because they are not a threat. They won’t debate in public with dissident republicans, because they are. It’s the same thing.

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  11. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “Sinn Féin will happily invite DUP and other hardline unionists to debate with them at “West Belfast Talks Back..They won’t debate in public with dissident republicans ”

    They’re not so hot at inviting the SDLP, either, CS.

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  12. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    “Alliance and other moderates ”

    Any chance you could explain how Alliance is in any why moderate when they rejected the Haas agreement?

    I see they do a bit on uup but none on themselves:

    UUP show their true colours in rejecting Haass

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  13. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Bryson also repeats a fallacy I pointed out a couple of days ago, with respect to the evils of mandatory coalition.

    Unionists are about to lose their majority in the assembly. If the number of unionists falls to 53 (or less) out of 108, how can a voluntary coalition government be formed which does not have Sinn Féin ? These people are not aware of the situation they find themselves in.

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  14. DC (profile) says:

    From a Unionist point of view losing or potentially losing the majority is more reason to keep designations and all party government?

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  15. Red Lion (profile) says:

    So Loyalists like Jamie claim Alliance to be the moderate wing of Sinn Fein, while a lot of nationalists claim Alliance to be soft unionists. Other nationalists attach the snidey title of ‘letsgetalongists’

    Pissing off such a wide range of polarised groupings, Alliance must be doing something right.

    How dare Alliance try to attract both Catholics and Protestants to the same party, the bastards.

    I’d rather be a ‘letsgetalongist’ than a ‘don’tgetalongist’.

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  16. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    McSlaggart, as I think should be self-evident, Alliance did not reject the agreement.

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  17. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    DC – yes that’s my point.

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  18. DC (profile) says:

    The trouble with Alliance is that it isn’t cross-community in terms of gathering in unionists and nationalists alike and trying to close the gaps between them in terms of identity politics and ideology so on.

    It is a party that attracts all sorts and is for everyone and no one in particular and it does attract protestants and catholics, but its outlook doesn’t help heal old divisions, sometimes it interferes and makes things worse eg the union flag.

    It doesn’t help by writing into the News Letter all the time pretending to be Unionist when it suits and then doing un-Unionist things and then confusing voters and News Letter readers who then feel tricked and resentful and some hateful eg burning down Alliance offices.

    I think what needs prioritised is closing down gaps between the old traditions and then moving on into the ill-defined land of Northern Irishness, if it really develops properly.

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  19. As far as I know I am the only nationalist who uses the term “letsgetalongerist”. Alas it will never make the Oxford English Dictionary. Miley Cyrus got there first with “twerking”.
    More realistically alliance is a coalition of liberal unionists and LetsGetAlongerists (sincere ones and opportunistic ones).
    But the assertion that Alliance are doing something right because both sides are being unpleasant to them is a bit silly.
    Rather like a football referee relying on the fact that both managers are complaining about his decisions.
    But it wouldn’t really be a great election slogan to claim to be the Millwall of Politics. “Everybody hates us”

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  20. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    As for the message on the whole, Bryson is clear enough. Nationalists must abandon their views and become unionists in order for their politics to be accepted.

    Good luck with that one.

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  21. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    To be fair to Jamie Bryson, he did articulate an interesting criticism of Alliance and one that I have sometimes thought.

    He said that Alliance, instead of having their own “first principles” position, takes a position that can be summed up as follows: Alliance = (DUP + SF)/2.

    Sometimes I have wondered if they have avoided a position they might have held when they hear the DUP or Jim Allister propose it, because their approach is to want a median position.

    It is perhaps unfair, but its not the first time I have heard that view.

    A policy of equidistance is unattractive to voters if its too explicit, because it comes across as suggesting Alliance have no principles of their own, their principles are a function (the median or weighted mean) of the other parties principles.

    The SDLP for instance have clear social democratic and civil rights first principles of their own – their principles are not a weighted function of other parties principles. There is a root, a clear radical tradition.

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  22. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    fitz,

    yeah it is a bit silly to say that you are automatically right just because unionists and nationalists are both criticising you.

    However it does expose the tribal parties somewhat for what they are. If you look at Alliance with your unionist filter on, they look like a bunch of republicans. If you look at them with a nationalist filter on, they look like small-u unionists or whatever. Both of those can’t be right at the same time.

    I’ve often heard Alliance being described as soft unionists. I’ve never heard Alliance of being soft nationalists – until about a year ago. It would appear that Alliance stopped being soft unionists when they voted for designated days (even though it was itself a policy previously supported by unionists). In other words, unionism is all about what you think about a flag.

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  23. tacapall (profile) says:

    Surprise surprise the skiprats putting himself up for election, I wonder what party he’s going to be nailing his colours to the mast with, the UVF fronted PUP or the UVF fronted Protestant coalition, either way he’ll get as many votes as there is flaggers and most of them are children.

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  24. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Sometimes I have wondered if they have avoided a position they might have held when they hear the DUP or Jim Allister propose it, because their approach is to want a median position.

    This logic only makes sense if you perceive Alliance as being at the intersection of two communities.

    Alliance fundamentally does not conceive itself in those terms and it does not recognize the basic notion that NI consists of two communities. No, Alliance figures do not sit around in a group and decide whether or not to accept or reject policies that make them seem too unionist or too nationalist.

    Given that Jim Allister and most of the DUP hail from bible-thumping fundamentalist Christianity, moral absolutism and an age-old tribal imperative, it seems unlikely in the first place that Alliance’s squishy liberals would ever find themselves facing the dilemma of agreeing with the TUV.

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  25. LetsGetAlongerism is actually a crowded field. Alliance is clearly the market leader.
    And as I have said Alliance basically came from Liberal Unionism….Phelim O’Neill, Robin Bailey, Tom Caldwell ( you might wish to remind me of Tom Gormley of course) and the New Ulster movement. I dont think many would disagree.
    And theres also LetsGetAlongerist….some extremely honourable people like Basil Glass and Addie Morrow, to name but two. I dont think many would disagree.
    But I hold the view that there are there are more than a few opportunists.
    Merely splitting the difference between opposing nationalist views and unionist views…is the very worst kind of LetsGetAlongerism.
    Its …Mathematics.

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  26. Neil (profile) says:

    or the UVF fronted Protestant coalition

    He’s not that daft.

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  27. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I don’t think Addie (RIP) deserves your label, FJH. If I recall correctly he’s one of the ones who sued the unionists for being prats at the time of the Anglo Irish Agreement. Apparently, Peter Robinson jeered “I’ll take your farm off you” at him. The people in Alliance who had the most difficulty with the idea of working with the DUP in government were the ones who hail from that age.

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  28. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    CS

    Regarding Alliance, I traditionally thought of them as a classic mainstream liberal party, in the sense of John Stuart Mill for example: individual human rights, democratic reform, pluralism and tolerance of differences, socially liberal (eschewing moral authoritarianism) etc, equality for women, LGBT, etc. There is a deep tradition there in that could be emphasized.

    I may be missing it, but they don’t seem to communicate that tradition to me lately in their speeches and communications, but I might be wrong.

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  29. sean treacy (profile) says:

    Charles ,when did the stoops ever invite SF to one of their events?

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  30. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    “Comrade Stalin (profile) 9 January 2014 at 9:32 pm

    McSlaggart, as I think should be self-evident, Alliance did not reject the agreement.”

    They did not sign up to the final agreement like sdlp and sf.

    The fact that Naomi says “We do not want an open-ended process ” makes it all the stranger that Alliance did not sign up to the agreement.

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  31. I absolutely agree on Addie Morrow and as a 1970s vintage person, I can categorically state that Basil Glass was much respected.
    And I fully accept your point that that the Alliance veterans have a problem with DUP (and indeed Sinn Fein).
    There is a harder, nastier….or if you prefer more pragmatic element to Alliance which sits uneasily with traditional Alliance values.
    Indeed in July 2011, I spoke with a person with family connexions to Alliance who said more in sadness that his relative would be turning in his grave at the current version of Alliance.

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  32. tacapall (profile) says:

    Indeed Mc Slaggart -

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-25674003

    “The chair of talks aimed at resolving parades, flags and the past has said the two unionist parties and Alliance have to justify their decisions not to fully endorse his proposed agreement”

    Unionists are pure amatures when it comes to PR.

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  33. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Long: Clarity required on DUP intentions on future Haass process

    http://allianceparty.org/article/2014/008489/long-clarity-required-on-dup-intentions-on-future-haass-process

    I liked this line:

    “we will not allow process to be used to avoid tough decisions,”

    :-)

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  34. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Charles,

    Alliance links with the Liberal Democrats and others such as FG go back some time, they were certainly well established by the mid 90s when I joined, which was around the time Alderdice was made a Lord. David Ford is probably more responsible than anyone else for pushing to integrate more Lib Demness into Alliance, which he advocated during his pitch for the leadership.

    McS

    We’re getting into word games here, and not for the first time. I am aware that SF and the SDLP claim to have endorsed the document, but this means little in practice – what exactly are they endorsing ? I’ve read the document and I can find very little in terms of real meat to get hold of. The flags section seems particularly thin. It’s very easy for the nationalist parties to push their endorsement for the purpose of political strategy, but I prefer being honest with people about the limitations of what ended up in it.

    I think Naomi’s comments are a reference to the fact that while progress was made not very much was actually agreed, and the parties actually failed to seal a deal.

    fjh, I understand what you are saying and the spirit in which you’re saying it. In fact, it may surprise you to know that Alliance’s “elders” (many of whom have now of course passed on) are held in very high esteem by the party especially those of us in the younger set who were privileged enough to have met them. Oliver Napier in particular.

    Alliance was always about participation, since it was founded, and I think Alliance’s current leaders are carrying on that tradition. A lot of the people in the senior part of the party were closely involved during the 1990s to watch the SDLP and UUP systematically shaft Alliance and cynically manipulate the process with the intention of freezing the party out. That is the source of what I suspect you are referring to as the “nastiness”. It’s all very well to sit on the fence and be nice and inoffensive while the other parties dump all over you, but this accomplishes little.

    I guess it’s also a fact of life in any political party that once the older generation have retired and moved on to the point where they are more free to say what they like, they can speak their mind about things and wind up their replacements for fun. Apparently we’re going to hear quite a bit of this from Ian Paisley (senior) next Monday.

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  35. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    “I am aware that SF and the SDLP claim to have endorsed the document,”

    It is hass who said ” Alliance have to justify their decisions not to fully endorse his proposed agreement”

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  36. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Alliance did justify it. There’s a big page on the website somewhere which goes into this in detail.

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  37. Barney (profile) says:

    Charles wrote
    “I traditionally thought of them as a classic mainstream liberal party”
    That can mean anything…….

    Alliance are a unionist party not in the slightest liberal. They are fiscally conservative, some members are flat earthist homophobes and some are/were rachman like landlords. In short they are just an other political party, unionist but the volume is turned down.

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  38. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Barney

    “That can mean anything…….”

    You quoted a small sub-part of my text; if you had quoted my full paragraph the meaning was quite specific, and entirely legible within the broad taxonomy of mainstream European political groupings.

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  39. Neil (profile) says:

    http://allianceparty.org/article/2013/008475/ford-this-isn-t-the-comprehensive-agreement-the-people-deserve

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  40. DC (profile) says:

    I think given the responses above no one knows just what the Alliance party is all about at the moment, it is as elusive as New Labour to pin down.

    It has broken with traditional liberal Unionism and also not lived up to its commitment to liberal democratic bread and butter policies gay marriage and abortion being two things.

    But for it behaving like that – all over the place – the good thing is that no one knows exactly what it is but it remains bizarrely something to everyone, therefore it has probably succeeded as a catch all protest vote party over the last while, esp due to the serious collapse of the UUP, boringness of the SDLP and the DUP behaving like head bangers and pretty much unvotable.

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  41. Neil (profile) says:

    All on the web site. Flag policy and everything. As always if you’re lending your support I recommend familiarising yourself with the policies and procedures beforehand.

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  42. Barney (profile) says:

    Charles wrote
    “Regarding Alliance, I traditionally thought of them as a classic mainstream liberal party, in the sense of John Stuart Mill for example: individual human rights, democratic reform, pluralism and tolerance of differences, socially liberal (eschewing moral authoritarianism) etc, equality for women, LGBT, etc. There is a deep tradition there in that could be emphasized.”
    That is not actually true, I present Mr Seamus Close as exhibit A.

    Liberalism can mean anything just like everyone thinks they are the voice of reason.

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  43. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Alliance are a unionist party not in the slightest liberal. They are fiscally conservative,
    some members are flat earthist homophobes and some are/were rachman like landlords.

    There are members in Sinn Féin who fit all of those definitions. The current Lord Mayor of Belfast is an arch capitalist – albeit a very nice one. There are stacks of republicans with property and farming interests out West. Not least dear old Slab.

    In short they are just an other political party, unionist but the volume is turned down.

    As discussed earlier, Jamie Bryson reckons Alliance are a wing of Sinn Féin. Your comments are equally credible.

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  44. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Seamus Close certainly isn’t a liberal, this is true. By extension, the fact that his leadership ambitions went unfulfilled should tell you what you need to know about the party.

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  45. Barney (profile) says:

    DCWrote
    “It has broken with traditional liberal Unionism and also not lived up to its commitment to liberal democratic bread and butter policies gay marriage and abortion being two things.”
    Well I’m not sure what liberal unionism is but i’m sure as hell no elected unionist supports gay marriage in public.

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  46. Barney (profile) says:

    Stalin that is the point, alliance is just another party and like any party anywhere contains the full spectrum of freaks.
    Its pointless having a romantic view of any party cos your wee heart will be broken……

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  47. DC (profile) says:

    Yeah silly Seamus Close he just wasn’t as clever as Naomi, when you go for leadership positions be sure to stand when there are no other contenders.

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  48. DC (profile) says:

    and all joking and knock about aside this is the actual party that has seen off the DUP in the east!

    Peter Robinson is finished, was years ago.

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  49. Neil (profile) says:

    Peter Robinson is finished, was years ago.

    Let’s hope Unionism as a whole doesn’t make the same mistake, eh DC? Failure to recognise the lay of the land early on can be devastating.

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  50. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    I actually agree with ford that Haass is not the comprehensive agreement people deserve. It represents progress but it does not address all the issues, particularly the flag issue.

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  51. Comrade Stalin…yes I broadly agree.
    Although rather than being shafted by UUP and SDLP, the Alliance Party did a pretty good job at shafting each other.
    Yes there is a harder, nastier element there.
    And generally speaking its the younger element who say “No more Mr Nice Guy” “And Nice people Come Last”.
    Generally speaking they are an unlovely lot…in part because they are political professionals who have never done a real days work in their lives. In part because they are the Internet generation….where rudeness and crassness dominate.
    And partly because the nastier element in Alliance are mad keen on budget cuts.

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  52. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    I didn’t see a lot for Alliance in the draft.

    Fjh. Don’t you think Sdlp can be accused of having been/being too nice?

    Nice to other parties that are not nice back!

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  53. DC (profile) says:

    Yes with Peter Robinson as the pilot of Northern Ireland, I fear he may have done a Captain Kevin Hunt, turned off the good working engine of Unionism, instead of ‘reverse throttling’ troublesome Nationalism.

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  54. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “The fact that Naomi says “We do not want an open-ended process ” makes it all the stranger that Alliance did not sign up to the agreement.”

    @McS,

    In English the word agreement refers to the product of different parties agreeing upon something. When they don’t agree there is not agreement merely proposals.

    DC,

    Alliance stopped being a unionist party when it was formed back in 1970. It has never pretended to be a social democratic party. As a liberal party it seems strange in a land plagued by two competing versions of nationalism: Ulster/British nationalism and Irish nationalism. The Progressive Federal Party in South Africa was just as mysterious to both Afrikaner nationalists and African nationalists. When majority rule came a few of its members ended up joining the ANC, but the majority party ended up absorbing the old National Party of the Afrikaners who suddenly appreciated the value of institutionalizing protections for both democracy and individual rights. Something that they never appreciated when they were the artificial majority of white politics.

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  55. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    “I pointed out at this stage that the UVF actually came into existence in 1966 but we pressed on…”

    The IRA didn’t just come into existence in the 60s and 70s either ye moon.

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  56. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    *loon

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  57. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    As someone above astutely pointed out the Alliance Party stands for little other than the logical fallacy of the false middle ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation ).

    Essentially, it stands for nothing in the real world and assumes that it is possible for a constitution-less land of nothingness, equally rejecting anything said by whomever the 2 largest parties may be, and ignoring the fact that a middle ground between two mutually exclusive ideologies IS NOT POSSIBLE.

    Alliance therefore, attracts a disparate range of followers with only one thing in common: dishonesty and shiftiness delivered in a patronising tone in the style of Naomi Long. I know Unionists who vote Alliance for the reason that they think that primarily it is a way to get the Unionist status-quo in the back door long-term. Equally, I know staunch Republicans who vote for them and see it as a long-term move to gradually enforce appeasement of Republicans one chip at a time (after all, since there is actually little middle ground between mutually exclusive ideologies such as Unionism and Republicanism, and since Unionism is the status quo, then in the most part “compromise” only results in Unionism gradually losing and Republicanism gradually gaining, thereby prolonging the Republican “struggle”).

    Bryson makes this point well. Belfast “Agreement”-style fudge and dishonesty offered by many in Alliance can only go on for so long and will not offer a long-term peace. Straight-talking has potential to deliver so much more; something which Bryson also does when referring to Loyalist paramilitaries — the motives for their existence often simply ignored as publicity remains with Republican representatives justifying the the main driving force behind the violence — the Republican “struggle” — and said imbalance of publicity contributing to an insidious re-writing of history in the process.

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  58. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘ignoring the fact that a middle ground between two mutually exclusive ideologies IS NOT POSSIBLE.’

    Seems to happen in the Scottish parliament, but hey- ho.

    But back to Bryson, who is little more than a self-serving publicity seeker (ref: his ready acceptance of David’s scenario where Jamie was FM) who the media, certain unionist parties and academics are clearly over-indulging is that because he has no really consistent argument , an unfamiliarity with events and timelines and a Napoleon complex, he is increasingly talking himself into trouble. There appeared to be potentially libellous remarks about certain legal figures in that interview and he also recently appears to have taken on the mantle of spokesperson for various illegal Loyalist paramilitary organisations.

    As an aside, I did rather enjoy his subversion of Kafka when he appeared to imply that unless an arrest has been made, no crime has occured, with regard to the East Belfast UVF

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  59. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Neil

    I had read that bit from Ford in your link and honestly did not think it was Alliance giving their reason for rejecting Haas deal.

    Of course their is things in the deal you do not like but you still need to give a reason for not agreeing to the overall package.

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  60. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Unfortunately for Master Bryson the GFA is the only game in town . From there it’s a UI with perhaps a brief messy period of Direct Rule .

    Could be fun electing him to Europe though . He could be exhibition material in the Brussels zoo .

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  61. foyle observer (profile) says:

    The fact that this little boy Bryson has been mentioned about five times since David McCann’s original post, speaks volumes about how this boy is irrelevant.

    He is a typical Northern Irish lout. I have not once seen this thug in a suit. He just looks like your average, malnourished chav, picked right off the street.

    His delusion of grandeur has to be the funniest thing we’ve seen in the North since Edwin Poots.

    He speaks for a small section of the North’s population i.e. right wing, loyalist extremists. They have tried in the past to become a force but have failed miserably. Clearly he has some strange romantic notion of what it means to be a loyalist thug.

    Poor David Ervine, God rest his soul, must be doing acrobatics in his grave.

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  62. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    @McS,

    “In English the word agreement refers to the product of different parties agreeing upon something.”

    2 parties agreed with the proposal.

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  63. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    McSlaggart

    I had read that bit from Ford in your link and honestly did not think it was Alliance giving their reason for rejecting Haas deal.

    Because Alliance did not reject the deal. I told you that already.

    2 parties agreed with the proposal.

    What proposal exactly did the SDLP/SF agree to on marching and flags ? There’s nothing in the Haass document of note. (and that is not Haass’ fault).

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  64. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    foyle observer:

    He speaks for a small section of the North’s population i.e. right wing, loyalist extremists.

    There is in fact no evidence that Bryson speaks for anyone. Unionists – pretty much all of them – endorsed powersharing with Sinn Féin, twice.

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  65. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    “Because Alliance did not reject the deal.”

    I take it Naomi has had her pen out and signed right up?

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  66. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    @CS

    “Differences over the regulation of parades or flags should not be allowed to stand in the way. Shame on any party that allows their own electoral interests to stand in the way of addressing the needs of victims, in the way of truth and justice, and in the way of community reconciliation.”

    David ford

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  67. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I’d expect anyone possessed of any wit to understand that failing to give something a ringing endorsement is not the same as rejecting it ?

    Can’t you answer my question about exactly what it is the SDLP and SF have endorsed on parades and flags ?

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  68. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    “I’d expect anyone possessed of any wit to understand that failing to give something a ringing endorsement ”

    I think that is the very words a Priest tells a jilted Bride at the alter.

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  69. Am Ghobsmacht (profile) says:

    Barney

    “Well I’m not sure what liberal unionism is but i’m sure as hell no elected unionist supports gay marriage in public.”

    Come on now, you know that’s not 100% true, there is a miserly handful but you can’t say NONE.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/apr/29/northern-ireland-gay-marriage-bill-fails (2nd last paragraph)

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ni21s-task-is-to-live-up-to-expectations-29328068.html

    http://iwiki.co/ni21-(history)-793f3_1.html (last bullet point)

    ————

    As for hid nibs

    “Now if the British government had allowed the UDR, RUC and the British army to take on the IRA as they wanted to…there would never have been a need for the likes of the UVF”

    Well quite.

    And how exactly did they plan to take them on?

    Bearing in mind this is a fellow who scrutinises the law every day on his blog, so I’d be intrigued to see what his perfect legal solution would have been,

    To many Protestants (myself included once upon a time) it would have been a case of something similar to the Nemesis Files book…

    David McC

    Was he prepared to accept ANY part of the Haass proposals or did he dismiss the whole bally lot on ‘principle’?

    As mentioned before, does he view everything as zero-sum?

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  70. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    @CS

    ” a red light on flags as there was no agreement, just a commitment to more talking. We could not accept process to hide a lack of progress. Richard Haass has even admitted that there is no agreement on flags.”

    Naomi

    “Differences over the regulation of parades or flags should not be allowed to stand in the way. Shame on any party that allows their own electoral interests to stand in the way of addressing the needs of victims, in the way of truth and justice, and in the way of community reconciliation.”

    David ford

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  71. Quiggers (profile) says:

    The most disappointing aspect of the interview was that Bryson was not pinned down and asked to explain why he continues to negate the terrorist activities of loyalist paramilitaries by continuing to refer to them as ‘patriots’ and ‘defenders.’

    Although the interviewer did attempt to invite Bryson to explain how Loughinisland could be attributed to the work of ‘patriots,’ the interviewer allowed this little worm to slip off the hook without anything resembling a fight.

    Bryson’s (quite ludicrous) claim that loyalists were merely ‘defending’ themselves could have been knocked out of the park with one or two well directed questions. Instead, once again, little Jamie gets to peddle out his outlandish notion that loyalists were the knights in shining armour for the people of Northern Ireland – their hand forced by police and army inaction.

    The notion that loyalists were defending themselves is one of the most fanciful narratives I have ever heard regarding the troubles/conflict. A cursory glance at the statistics from the University of Ulster shows that loyalist victims were categorised as following: Civilian: 76%, republican paramilitaries 4%, loyalist paramilitaries 9%.

    The conclusion of these statistics is quite telling – and puts paid to little Jamie’s romantic notion that loyalists were Ulster patriots.

    1. According to Jamie’s definition of a patriot (defending themselves against republicans), only 4% of loyalist operations actually qualified as such – meaning that the vast, vast majority of loyalist operations (directed at the Catholic populace) did not qualify as the actions of people defending themselves (but actually the actions of terrorists).

    2. If Jamie is saying that loyalists were merely extending the work of the security forces, then by logical inference he is also stating that the work of the security forces was therefore engaging in sectarian murder (which, in general, was what loyalists were predominantly engaged in).

    3. The stats also show that loyalists killed more loyalist paramilitaries (twice as many) than they did republican paramilitaries. One could suggest that their inclination to drug-dealing and criminality (eliminating rival loyalists) was superior to their inclination to take on their supposed enemy.

    In short, Jamie was permitted to make claims that essentially elevated the Shankill Butchers from the sectarian psychopaths that they were to folk heroes doing their bit for Ulster.

    Jamie supports terrorists. He not only condones sectarian murder (the main staple of the loyalist killing machine) but attributes these murders to ‘patriots’ – men out defending themselves against the republican terrorists.

    Yet, nobody has pinned this little creep down and asked him flat-out, with all the statistics to hand, how murdering hundreds of innocent people (mostly Catholics) constituted ‘defending’ themselves.

    Perhaps, David, in your next interview, you could ask Jamie to make clear his views on the killing of innocent Catholics and how the majority of loyalist killings constituted ‘defending’ themselves.

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  72. Tyler Durden (profile) says:

    Quiggers
    I completely agree with your analysis. Unfortunately they way the media is setup, including many of these sites, do not like pointing out the obvious as it conflicts with their narrative (often a romantic one that bears no context with reality).

    What unionism needs is a Matrix style Red pill moment to delve into their wonderland to extract reality from fantasy. All they are good at is whataboutery and false-equivalence where none exist. Typical reactions today still attacking Sinn Fein for things the IRA did many years ago, hence Nigel Doods ‘wallowing in murder’ comments, as if it were yesterday despite Sinn Fein progressing 100% with the democratic process. Pretty hilarious coming from a party who continues to stand shoulder to shoulder on public platforms with loyalist paramilitaries and members of the Orange Order. A supposedly religious organisation that celebrates constantly about the murder and slaughter of Catholics from 1690 to date. You really couldn’t make this stuff up!

    In effect the DUP are pretty much stating that the IRA actions and militant response were valid as they would never have treated republicans or nationalists with equality nor engaged in a democratic process with them.

    In reality Jamie Bryson is a dream ticket if your a Republican, his chav manner and attitudes and delusions could be picked apart by a child with sever learning difficulties. How on earth this little creep was let off the hook is beyond me. He must be brought before the media and humiliated by asking basic questions to expose his narrative for what it is, pure unadulterated fascism. Allowing his mental analysis of loyalism to go on unchecked will just create more idiots who are prepared to burn books rather than read them.

    Lets all call them what they are…… Facists!

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  73. latcheeco (profile) says:

    Quiggers,
    Incidently, what was the other 11% catagorised as?

    Loyalism amounted to little more than a system of reprisal executions against a civilian population by state agents. Guess who that puts the British Government in a bracket with?

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  74. Quiggers (profile) says:

    Latcheeco,

    According to the Sutton database (reproduced on wikipedia), the victims of the UVF are attributed as follows:

    Civilian: 84%
    Civilian political activist: 2%
    Republican paramilitary: 4%
    Loyalist paramilitary: 9%
    Security Forces: 1%

    Some of the databases that record these statistics (The Lost Lives, Sutton, CAIN) fluctuate by several percentage figures but they all tell the same story: massive civilian casualties inflicted on the Catholic populace and relatively few republican paramilitary killings (twice as many loyalists paramilitaries were killed).

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  75. I’m not sure I can take anyone seriously who thinks the UVF were not terrorists and that the Alliance party are a moderate wing of the Shinners.

    That’s his opinion, and that is mine!

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  76. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Although the interviewer did attempt to invite Bryson to explain how Loughinisland could be attributed to the work of ‘patriots,’ the interviewer allowed this little worm to slip off the hook without anything resembling a fight.”

    The little worm would simply invite the inerviewer to explain how Enniskillen La Mon Kingsmill (and on and on ) could be attributed to teh “work of patriots” and point out that sauce appled equally to goose and gander

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  77. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “massive civilian casualties inflicted on the Catholic populace and relatively few republican paramilitary killings”

    @Quiggers,

    Don’t forget the occasional Protestant civilian killed mistaken as a Catholic or for the sin of hanging out with Catholics.

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