The doors to the 21st century are wide open.  They've been open for over a decade now and it seems loyalism is yet to step over the threshold.  There's no entrance fee, no guest list, all are welcome.  The only chipping happening in this brave new world is of the potato variety.

Loyalism has become so entranced with the falsehoods propagated by unionist politicians, fiction is mistaken for fact and worse, the loyalist definition of what it is to be British, has become something completely unrecognisable to those elsewhere in the UK who would consider themselves such.  While this is happening across Northern Ireland (or the North if you so prefer) it is specifically focused on parts of Belfast where loyalist communities are convinced everyone is out to get them.

Loyalism lurches along, pieces falling off as it goes, ever more delusional, ever more directionless and most importantly, ever more isolated.  This has to change.

One thing that has been missing up to this point, is a definition of what being British actually is.  It's probably easier to define what being British isn't.  It isn't flying a flag.  It isn't singing God Save the Queen.  It isn't marching.  It isn't a uniform.  It most definitely isn't having a riot and above all, it isn't something that can be chipped away.  Loyalists need reassurance that being British is something which cannot be taken from them, in the same way as those who live here and deem themselves to be Irish, cannot be denied their identity.

Then there's culture.  How is loyalist culture defined?  To those on the outside looking in, it's flegs, bonfires, marching and some more flegs and a bit of rioting.  What do loyalists consider as culture though?  Anytime we see a loyalist asked in the media, it's in relation to some emotive issue and we don't tend to hear a reasoned response.
Jamie Bryson - deluded
Culture and nationality are two different things.  The problem is that loyalists use the terms 'British' and 'culture' interchangeably, which adds to the overall confusion.
While so-called 'community workers' persist in telling us all that there is growing anger and frustration within loyalist communities, they seem to make no attempt to address this.  These 'community workers' explain rioting away with the same throw away words and seem happy that restrictions on a tiny percentage of marches, or the flying a single flag on designated days can be described as an erosion of Britishness.

Sam McCrory Protestant Coalition Chairman and 'Community Worker' with 'volunteer'
Loyalists have been sold a strange vision created by a hard-core of wannabe non-celebrities such as Jamie Bryson, Willie Frazer and the Protestant Coalition (in the case of the Protestant Coalition, borderline mad, given the type of material they post.  The Protestant Coalition facebook page shares more in common with the myriad of internet hate pages than with any "anti-politics, politics party").  None hold any mandate and all believe that their desires for a minority take precedent over the majority.

Willie Frazer. Down with everything.

Willie Frazer. Missing Marbles?
Loyalists need to realise that they cannot cling to the past and a society that was so unevenly balanced as to be unsustainable.  More moderate unionism, while perhaps not accepting the change wholesale, is moving in the right direction.  Most importantly, loyalists need to realise that nobody wants to prevent them from marching, having bonfires or whatever.  It just needs to be done in a way that accepts unionist dominance is gone and takes consideration of the fact that not everyone wants to celebrate loyalist culture.

Basil McCrea, NI21. The future's bright, the future's teal?