Jamie Bryson and the threat of Orange terrorism by Donal Lavery

“You claim to be a majority, well you know that’s a lie. You really are a minority on this sweet Emerald Isle.” – Lyrics of a song by the great John Lennon

Recently, at a packed meeting in Portadown where a DUP MLA was present, alongside the arch-Loyalist and provocateur Jamie Bryson, who made serious remarks (which I hope the PSNI made note of) about and against the peace settlement in Ireland. The DUP MLA present did not agree with these sentiments and stated her belief in the rule of law, I must highlight. 

The remarks made by Bryson denounced the Withdrawal Agreement signed by a British Government at the time dependent on Unionist votes to stay afloat. Not only did they ridicule to the hilt this ‘economic reunification of Ireland’ by the British Prime Minister himself, but they stirred up tension and referenced the Ulster Covenant that officiated the arming of right wing militias in Ireland by Carson and Craig. Bryson, true to form, made an ambiguous ‘rallying cry’ to fellow Loyalists that, in my view, was a potential call to arms. Again, I hope the Police are aware of this. 

Let me examine that in more detail on a hypothetical basis that Mr Bryson was actually referring to, potentially, Loyalists taking up arms. We must ask as to who will they use these arms against? And why? And where will they obtain them?

Mr Bryson knows full well that he dare not resist the very government which would be required to provide them and which guarantees his own Britishness. Think about it –

Loyalists attempting to attack or resist forces and a government empowered by the Crown to which he claims allegiance to. It is a threat so hollow as to be insulting to the intelligence of all those at the meeting and anyone who would fall for this folly of jingoistic bile. Without the consent of the British government, his Britishness would not be worth tuppence. 

The Unionist people have discovered once again that British Governments, both Conservative and Labour, are all too willing to betray them out of expediency. After each treachery by the same Crown administrations, the Loyalists dig in their heels and acclaim to the world their Britishness and loyalty beyond reasonable doubt. 

However, the one thing they ought to consider is the courteous and respectful invitation that has always been extended to them, to become full members of not just a genuine green, white and orange nation, but to occupy seats in government and Parliament of same. Indeed, Mr Desmond Boal and Mr Sean MacBride once had secret meetings (at the behest of Ian Paisley and the IRA, to negotiate the potentiality of same – men who in my assessment were far greater Loyalists and thinkers than Mr Bryson’s crew). To end this periphery on the floor of a British Parliament that ignores them and to join once and for all an Irish government which respects them – as Pearse advocated. That invitation is there.. 

In my considered opinion, as a voice in the wilderness, Unionist people need to engage fully and constructively with their Nationalist neighbours and accept that Brexit has changed everything. There needs to be cross party consultations and debates held in public, with the population as the ultimate judge and jury, to determine the facilitation of an eventual border poll. 

I say to Mr Bryson this – We have never had a genuine irish nation, made up of its component parts – the green, the white and the orange. But the time is fast approaching and everyone needs to decide whether they will be on the right side of history or protest in obscurity against it. The choice is yours – continued betrayal by Britain or a Nation once again as brothers and sisters? 

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