This post has been written by regular contributor Brian John Spencer

Let’s get this very straight. There is no absolute and unabridged right to protest. People like Simon Hamilton who say there is an "absolute right", are very wrong. Yes the land is planted thick with laws which protect our liberty. However, protections also exist that limit liberty, in the event and only in the event, that a person's use of freedom infringes the liberty of other persons.

In a Northern Ireland rapidly advancing in civilization, the whole history of the flags protests has been one of anti-civilisation; of gratuitous and promiscuous violence and vandalism. Of the anti-civilisationists acting to deprive and limit the rights of those who wish to live in civilization with liberty, peace, safety and prosperity. Protest and march after march, loyalists have shown themselves pathologically incapable of marching peaceably or in a manner that is open, decent or even remotely family-friendly.

As Visit Belfast found out from some very unfortunate tourists, it's been the consummate jungle and booze filled circus. (And let's come back to that matter in a later day, that the 12th has degenerated into a festival of piss (preface here).)

And on this matter the precedent has been set: loyalist protesters exercise their liberty at the expense of society's liberty. This cannot stand. We cannot tolerate this. Their violent experiment has been tried and they will continue it upon us at the expense of our liberty. 

On these grounds, I can present the argument that these marches should be heavily restricted in way that is in accordance with the law, and in a way that is neither an indiscriminate or disproportionate restriction on a person’s right to protest. 

Here's the European law:
Article 11 – Freedom of assembly and association 
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. 
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State. 
By virtue of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights you possess the liberty to protest by holding meetings and demonstrations with other people.

By virtue of Article 11 you possess the responsibility to act peacefully and without violence or threat of violence.

On the balance of rights and responsibilities, the right to protest may be restricted provided such interference has a proper legal basis, is necessary in a democratic society and pursues one of the following recognized and legitimate aims:
– National security
– Public safety
– The prevention of disorder or crime
– The protection of health or morals
– The protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Any interference in the Article 11 right must not only be justifiable, but necessary. 

Here's domestic law:

There are a number of legislative provisions which allow the restriction or prosecution of public protest. Provisions such as offences under the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, the Protection from Harassment (Northern Ireland)Order 1997, the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Anti-social Behaviour Act2003

In the event of breaching the terms of any parade set by the Parades Commission, this is a crime under the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.

In the event that a person incites another person to disobey a Parades Commission ruling, that person can be charged with inciting a breach of a ruling as a specific offence under the Public Order Act.

The argument:

Now, I submit myself to my honest and honorable readers: Do loyalists march peacefully, without violence or threat of violence? Do they compromise our national security? Do they compromise public safety? Do they promote disorder and crime? Do they pervert the freedoms of others? Do they unleash fear and uncertainty writ large across the whole of Belfast?

I take leave to submit that Loyalists have consistently violated every single one of these elementary duties they owe towards their fellow citizen. Newton Emerson agreed. He said in the Sunday Times here that "Flag protesters have rode roughshod over all these concerns and it is irresponsible to indulge any notion of their “right” to do so."

By that fact, the simple case should be made that this coming march should be heavily restricted if not banned.

By the Loyalist precedent for violence, I suggest that there is an imminent likelihood that Saturday's peace and prosperity will be breached. On the balance of liberties, I submit that Loyalist protesters will hold sway over the city and hold much of civic society hostage by their delinquency.

Because of our indulgence of them, Loyalism has constructed a hideous mentality of Loyalist exceptionalism. That they can act with impunity and that they’re immune from the laws we must subscribe to. Call them out and you get more rioting. Call them out and you get accused of police brutality. This is a hideous distortion.

They have also constructed some disgusting grievance culture. That they have it hard in a way unlike any one else. Catholics and nationalists have it hard. Moderate loyalists and unionists have it hard. These are challenging times for us all. You would think that beyond the walls of loyalism lies a utopia. This is babyish babble.

Now ladies and gentlemen, what are we to do? I suggest we take a stand and offer a modicum of civic opposition. Loyalism wields arbitrary power over a civil majority in Northern Ireland. They make grand, abstract claims. No power can exist unchecked. Grand claims cannot go out unopposed.

They can have their protest this week. But I suggest something changes. Friends, I beseech you. They will repeat their foul experiment upon us. As long as we let them. Stop appeasing this horrendous nonsense. It's time to stand up and oppose these squalid little bigots who masquerade themselves as civil rights protesters and call them out for what they are: uncivil shites. Use the law as it exists. Lodge complaints. Campaign against this shower of loyalist incontinence.
Irish News November 26th 2013
Back in August a group known as Loyal Peaceful Protesters submitted an application to the Parades Commission for a parade on September 21st 2013 from Belfast City Hall to Woodvale, setting off at 2.00 p.m.

September 21st 2013 Application
The Parades Commission permitted the parade but stipulated that it should leave Belfast City Hall no later than 12.30 p.m. and be clear of Royal Avenue by 1.00 p.m.

Parades Commission determination on September 21st 2013 parade
In the event the organisers decided to ignore the Parades Commission determination and actually left the City Hall at approx 1.30 p.m. and made it's way down North Street shortly before 2.00 p.m. 

UTV News report on September 21st 2013 Parade

In the lead up to the parade rumours began circulating on Facebook that a deal had been done with the PSNI to facilitate the original parade time that had been applied for.

We did not believe these rumours and the PSNI were very visible on the day itself in telling those involved that the parade was 'unlawful'.

September 21st 2013 PSNI Warnings

We published a blog to this effect on September 23rd 2013.


We contacted the PSNI regarding the allegations of  'secret deals' and received this reply:

PSNI reply to LAD query on late start time of September 21st 2013 parade

So while the late start time was indeed unlawful, the PSNI had informed the organisers they would not attempt to prevent a later start time, intent on minimising the likelihood of "harm, injury and disorder."

Which is fair enough.

This weekend the same organisers have applied for another "civil rights" parade in Belfast City Centre on Saturday November 30th - one of the busiest pre-Christmas shopping days and incredibly important for local traders.

November 30th 2013 application

Yet again the Parades Commission have placed certain restrictions on the parade, stating that it must leave Belfast City Hall by 12 noon and be clear of Royal Avenue by 12.30 p.m.

Parades Commission determination on November 30th 2013 parade
However, once again it seems that the organisers are sticking by their original plans and encouraging people to attend as originally planned. 

Ignoring the Parades Commission
In addition to Facebook posts, flyers have also been distributed in parts of Belfast today - again emphasising the original start time.

All of this begs a few important questions:
  1. If the PSNI can overturn Parades Commission decisions for 'operational' reasons - what exactly is the function of the Parades Commission?
  2. Has another deal been struck to facilitate a later start time this coming Saturday November 30th?
  3. What the fuck is going on?
Happy Christmas Belfast 


Looks like Wee Jamie is plugging the unlawful start time as well.

Wee Jamie Bryson plugging unlawful start time on his Facebook page



This is a guest post from a new contributor Ed Simpson

Ed contacted us to request that we post his response to another guest post that previously appeared on our blog entitled 'An Anus Horeebliss'.

Whilst we don't necessarily agree with all of the content of this article, we are happy to feature an alternative point of view.

This is the opening paragraph from a post by a contributor to the Loyalists Against Democracy blog:

“December 3rd 2013 signals the first anniversary of the restrictions placed on the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall, a decision so incredibly benign that the overblown reaction to it could only spring from a place as barking mad as Northern Ireland.”

You can read the rest of the post here and it’s worth a read but, I generally think it’s misguided and ignorant. I could go through it line by line but I think I’ll concentrate on this first paragraph because it is, like much of the content LAD produce (though they didn’t produce this), a good example of the attitude that pervades their work.

They refer to the decision to restrict the flying of the Union Flag to designated days as ‘so incredibly benign.’ To whom is it benign? All the evidence suggests that it was far from benign.

It wasn’t benign to the Loyalist community. Not in the least. As much as people like to apportion blame to the DUP and the UUP for stirring up trouble (and they certainly must take some of the blame), it’s incredibly arrogant to suggest that Loyalists were a) ignorant of the planned vote and b) needed the DUP & the UUP to tell them how much to be upset about it.

It wasn’t benign to the Nationalist/Republican community. Sinn Fein – who LAD quite sincerely claim were defeated on the night – were rumoured to have had a celebration party after the vote. An Phoblacht recorded the flag coming down – keen to capture the significant moment. SF Council Leader at the time, Jim McVeigh said:

“Perhaps more than any other, this symbolises the process of change taking place across the city of Belfast and within the City Hall. Sinn Fein has become the biggest party across Belfast and we have used that strength to push ahead with the equality agenda. This decision is a milestone. This is part of our strategy to make City Hall a City Hall for everyone and every tradition, not least the republican and nationalist tradition.”

Republicans and Nationalists speaking after the flag was taken down talked of how important it was that the city was a shared space for all and that an inequality had been addressed.

That’s not the markings of a benign decision, is it? In fact, is it really even benign to LAD when it seems to be their key reason for marking out the pro-choice, pro-equal marriage PUP as a regressive party? Yes, they are right to point out the change in tune from the PUP over their position on the flag and hold them to account for it. They may well decide that it casts doubts on the PUP claim as a progressive party. But if that’s the case, it’s not really a benign issue is it?

Regardless of whether it was actually benign or not, the attitude that others should see it as benign is what is unsettling. This and other such attitudes – telling Jamie Bryson to get a job – are what I refer to as a ‘middle class attitude.’ An attitude of ‘those beneath me are the problem and the way they stop being a problem is to be like me.’

Why call it a middle class attitude? Because it is most often presented by people who are sitting in a position of relative privilege. The phrase ‘Get a Job’ is almost only ever said by those who are lucky enough to actually have a job. Those desperate for work would never suggest getting a job as an easy solution to a problem. In this climate, it’s not the class you were born into that is relevant, but your circumstances. Having a job and qualifications are pretty much all you need to be in that position of privilege.

That’s not to say LAD are middle class – I have no idea who they are so couldn’t possibly label them as such – but their attitudes certainly are.

I understand that it’s not easy these days to assign class to people and in many ways that’s a good thing, but we’re kidding ourselves if we pretend class groups don’t exist and there’s undeniably a class group that thinks itself superior to Loyalism and the majority of Loyalists. It’s plain to see in the mocking of poor grammar and spelling. In the mocking of the clothes people wear. In the mocking of the accents people talk with. That class group doesn’t need to be made up of people in similar socio-economic circumstances; they just need to display the same attitudes.

To be absolutely clear: there is nothing wrong with being middle class, working class or even upper class, it’s the attitudes I take exception to.

My issue is that I think those attitudes are detrimental to society. We won’t get anywhere by alienating people. We need to make people feel equal within society, people need to know that what’s important to them is for them to decide and for us to respect, with the obvious caveat that it shouldn’t be detrimental for others. There’s no doubt that the approach by some factors in Loyalism aren’t meeting that criteria and it’s right that they’re criticised, but that criticism needs to be measured and it needs to offer solutions beyond telling them to ‘wise up’.

LAD will say, and have said, that that is not their responsibility and so be it. But they shouldn’t condemn others for trying. They have said on occasions that some of the behaviour and actions of some who claim to represent Loyalism would have David Irvine spinning in his grave. They might well do, but I’d wager he’d have a bigger problem with the way LAD conduct themselves.

I didn’t want this to be an attack piece on LAD – I’m not immune to their humour, and it’s right that the likes of Jamie Bryson and Willie Frazer are held up as the backward and dangerous idiots that they are, but for all the good LAD can do on that particular score, it is undone by the way they apply that same approach to anyone who disagrees with their view on things.

We like to try and pretend our problems are unique in Northern Ireland but that’s self-indulgent nonsense. Our problems are rooted in class warfare, as are most countries, and they’re best addressed by attacking the systems that perpetuate them – the fallacy of Grammar school social mobility, being one – not the people who suffer under it.

For the record, I pretty much agree with LAD on the fact that the flag not being flown every day doesn’t represent an attack on the civil rights of Loyalists. I don’t support the reasons for the ‘civil rights’ camp at Twaddell, though I do support their right to protest. The flag protests are not the cause of our problems, they are a symptom and we will never get anywhere by attacking the symptoms, while ignoring the underlying causes.

I’m glad LAD exists. Satire and parody are important, provided the right targets are engaged. Too often though, I feel that LAD have the wrong targets in their sights (though they’re bang on the money with Poots) and while the PUP may be an easy target, I don’t see anyone else trying to bring Loyalists along the right path.



This post was originally published here and used with kind permission

December 3rd 2013 signals the first anniversary of the restrictions placed on the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall, a decision so incredibly benign that the overblown reaction to it could only spring from a place as barking mad as Northern Ireland.

Anti-Alliance leaflets distributed by UUP/DUP - the spark that lit the flame?

It was all the fault of the Alliance Party - apparently
In the time since that day, it is hard to imagine ‘Ulster’ loyalism damaging itself any more than it already has. Over the course of 12 months, a community already bereft of leadership and direction has been reduced to the role of noisy toddler; red-faced, incomprehensibly angry and completely unrepentant. A tantrum of epic proportions, played out all year, has served to leave loyalists, once again, on the outside looking in. Winter in that caravan will be cold. Very cold.

Unable to articulate an argument about why the ‘fleg’ restrictions were so heinous, loyalists simply ignored all the obvious points in their column. That Sinn Féin had been defeated in its mission to remove this symbol of British influence on the island was irrelevant apparently. So too was the fact that Belfast was now on a par with cities as solidly British as Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. Even Buckingham Palace manages to survive without the flag rippling from its roof every day, a fact conveniently ignored by those throwing their toys from the pram.

No, instead rank and file loyalists went off half-cocked, as they often do. Fuelled by misinformation and manipulated by nefarious elements within their own communities, they placed faith not in reason, nor mastery of the facts, but in gut instinct and predictable levels of fevered paranoia. 

In the eyes of many, these new flag provisions represented a further step forward, not to Irish unification - something most loyalists never tire of dismissing - but towards the shared future most of us truly desire.

It is a future which those hurling rocks at the police certainly do not wish to be part of.

Castlereagh Road, Belfast
It didn’t matter that Sinn Féin’s true goal had been thwarted. They still scored political points from the subsequent loyalist meltdown, brought on by the horrifying suspicion that the taigs had got one over on them. To see any restriction on this totem of dominance in the country’s largest city was simply too much to bear.

By July, loyalism’s perpetual cycle of protesting and not surrendering was slowing, as it always does. In refusing the Orange Order (along with its paramilitary bands and swaggering followers) permission to return to Ligoniel via the Crumlin Road and the lower Ardoyne, the Parades Commission gave Loyalism 2013 a new self-pitying drum to beat.

The resulting mob violence (‘peaceful protesting’ if one wishes to be euphemistic) and predictably petulant reaction to a situation which was, at its very core, a compromise, couldn’t have have dealt more of a blow to the loyalist cause. Loyalism frequently gives off about the republican advantage in the image war and while Sinn Féin does possess skill in this regard, it is aided in no small part by its opponents being so monumentally bad at the game.

July 12th, Belfast "peaceful" protest
The farce of the Twaddell ‘civil rights’ camp is too silly to fully address but needless to say it has failed to strike a chord with anyone beyond the usual narrow collection of sympathisers. As to the cornucopia of wider, mostly imagined, loyalist political grievances the silence from the broader unionist community has been deafening. Support from those across the Irish sea - government, monarch, the man in the street - has been just as conspicuous by its absence.

Twaddell "Civil Rights" Camp
On a more human level, yet another generation of disaffected working-class Protestant youths now exists. Unemployable thanks to criminal records earned in the heat of yet another nothing-else-to-do ‘peaceful protest’, they believe more than ever that the whole system is rigged against them and in favour of the other side. It is these people who will swell the ranks of the paramilitaries orchestrating the disorder.

A cynic might suggest that this was the point all along…

Unionism does possess reasonable voices but as a whole they have been outflanked and suffocated by the ravenous extremism of those who have gained prominence since December 2012. In this vacuum, a veritable circus now holds court, if not sway. Willie Frazer has always been a pathetic figure more than anything else, a cartoon character never fully in step with the joke. He has, nevertheless, gained a second wind during the period in question, though the none of us, Willie included, have any idea of his endgame.

Wee Willie Frazer - he's not well you know
Fellow traveller Jamie Bryson - Ulster’s very own Walter Mitty - possesses far more sinister motivations, summed up best by Brian Spencer. Given Bryson’s almost comical regard for the UVF (a designated terrorist group in the UK) one shudders to think of his ideal alternative to the institutions he wishes, naively, to do away with. Those in the relative mainstream of local politics continue to cede ground to Northern Ireland’s idiot fringe and Spencer’s assertion that feeding the fanatics is far from conducive to progress is a sound one.

Jamie Bryson - The 'saviour' of Ulster?
For all the noise emanating from the Bryson end of the loyalist maw, it remains to be seen just how influential, or wide-reaching, this kind of rhetoric really is. While the established sectarianism of our electoral process is maddening on the one hand, it also equates to a shrunken voting base for each side of the toxic divide. The unionist electorate has rejected the various iterations of far-right loyalism before, tacking closer to the middle than anything else. To most in the unionist-Protestant community self-promoting whingers like Frazer, Bryson et al are an embarrassment, plain and simple, and people to whom they will be ever unresponsive.

In all honesty, it is not the wider unionist community with which loyalism need be concerned. A fissure has always existed between the two sections of the broadly Protestant populace and there is little common ground to excite either. As is clear to anyone willing to see it, moderate, middle-class unionism continues to prosper as much as it can in the current economic climate. If anything, it is the corrosive, flailing influence of madcap extremism that unionism must be wary of going forward. That said, when has this ever not been the case?

Bad puns aside, it is up to the loyalist community to arrest their slide into irrelevance if they are not at that point already. There may well come a time when they no longer count and when nobody else cares.

While usurping her law and order, and the democratic processes she has always promoted, grassroots loyalists remain blindly devoted to the Queen - or at least some sepia-tinged version of her. It is perhaps apt then to describe the past year as an ‘annus horribilis' for loyalism. Discounting the chaos that engulfed Northern Ireland for 30 years, it is difficult to see how things could have been worse.

(Originally published here and used with kind permission)
In the 12 months since the democratic decision to limit the flying of the Union Flag to designated days, much has happened on the streets and it has been well publicised. However, underneath the ocean of 'civil rights' and 'respect our culture' bullshit, runs an entirely more sinister current. One which is being whipped up by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

On the 3rd May 2007 the UVF made a statement saying that they had become a 'non-military, civilianised' organisation. Although they had officially been on a ceasefire since 1994, this date can be interpreted as the date when all criminal activity should have concluded. Following two years of discussions about the decommissioning of weapons the UVF put a substantial amount of its guns and explosives beyond use in June 2009. All good?

The 'peace' never materialised 
Well, no. Not even a year had passed when Bobby Moffett, a member of the Red Hand Commando, was shot dead on the Shankill Road (30th May 2010) in broad daylight for everyone in the area to see. It is believed the UVF carried out the killing. Which would beg the question, what ceasefire? Fast forward to the 20th June 2011 and a riot involving 500 people took place in the Short Strand. The PSNI laid the blame firmly at the door of the UVF who orchestrated a night of violence which saw homes attacked and where UVF guns had been used to try to kill police officers. So, it appears the UVF have form when it comes to organising full scale riots and attempting to kill police officers.

On the 7th January 2013, Chief Constable of the PSNI, Matt Baggott said that
Senior members of the UVF in east Belfast as individuals have been increasingly orchestrating some of this violence”. The violence he speaks of is the violence that erupted after the democratic decision to reduce the number of days the Union flag was to fly over Belfast City Hall.

Peaceful Protesters 
To this date (18th November 2013) Matt Baggott insists the the UVF ceasefire remains intact but in the last week we have seen two gun attacks one of a 21 year old man in Portrush and one of a 15 year old boy in Coleraine, the two were shot in both legs. These two attacks have been blamed on loyalists paramilitaries, widely believed to be the UVF. Today, however the Police Federation of Northern Ireland (the organisation which represents PSNI officers) released a statement saying that the UVF is no longer on ceasefire after these recent attacks. Did Matt Baggott not get the memo?

Meanwhile at Twaddell Avenue on the 16th November 2013, during a peaceful protest by the Orange Order, local DUP MP Nigel Dodds could be seen sharing the stage with an alleged commander within the UVF. You may be forgiven for thinking this was an honest mistake given the high possibility for a cretin of this nature to be at such an event. However, it is not the first time this has happened and Nigel Dodds MP has not been the only senior politician to share the stage with this alleged UVF commander for Nelson McCausland MLA has also done the same thing.

Alleged UVF Commander

One must question what the PSNI's definition of a "ceasefire" is. Perhaps those who determine such things are content that as long as the UVF are no longer doing "spray jobs" on Catholic pubs, then all is well. But all is not well. The UVF appear to be violently tightening their grip on organised crime, while the attacks on Short Strand show that old habits die hard.  When a police force continues to stretch the definition of ceasefire, and when senior MLAs and, even more shockingly, MPs can share a stage with an alleged UVF commander, it suggests deep problems in our country's leadership. Not only do such instances happen but they also pass by as if it is the norm.

Yes it happened... More than once

Why are the PSNI not willing to say the UVF are no longer on a ceasefire? Is it the easy option? Would it be too much hard work to revoke the Good Friday Agreement licenses of UVF members? Are they worried about another violent reaction from the "PUL" community? 

Why do our politicians seem intent on putting themselves in situations where it divides and alienates people? Is it simply about votes? Are the DUP so desperate now for votes that they're willing to court the extreme right wing, just to cling on to power for a few more years?

Christmas in Belfast 2012 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Roads were blocked, businesses destroyed, lives ruined and  family life disrupted due to the 'peaceful protests' resulting from the democratic decision to fly the Union Flag on Belfast City Hall on designated days only; a policy in keeping with UK government recommendations and followed by all other major cities in the UK.

The wording of the proposal was:

Flying of the Union Flag at the Belfast City Hall
That the decision of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee of 23rdNovember under the heading “Flying of the Union Flag at the Belfast City Hall” be amended to provide that this Council should adopt the practice of flying the Union Flag on designated days, as applied at Parliament Buildings. This reflects the agreed sovereignty of Northern Ireland confirmed in the Good Friday Agreement and accepted by all its signatories.  By doing it regularly and with dignity, we recognise that we live in a society and City made up of people who are British, Irish and both.  The designated days’ solution does justice to these principles; the agreement by all on British sovereignty; the fact of a shared society; and the need for respect and avoiding all triumphalism and the arrangements currently operating at Stormont.It also reflects the preferred determination of the Equality Commission.
(emphasis: LAD)

The vote was democratically carried by a majority of 29 to 21.

It would appear that some cunts can't read.

Meet Ian McCrory

McCrory is a leader of a shadowy group called Ulster Protestant Voice (UPV) who called loyalists unto the streets to protest last December. A family member Sam is the chairman of the Protestant Coalition.

This week he put online his justification for protests:

"Why loyalists decided to protest

In December 3rd 2012 a vote was taken at a council meeting in a capital city this vote was in reference to the flag policy which has stood unbroken for over 100 years.

The policy was challenged four years previous by Sinn Fein but failed because they wouldn't accept an alliance proposal to support designated days, Sinn Fein and republicanism wanted the flag removed permanently. 

Fast forward four years and the matter was again raised, republican councillors cited equality and shared space as reasons for its proposed removal despite the fact the equality commission only found 7 registered complaints in the previous 10 years in regards to city halls symbols which included the union flag. This time around Sinn Fein backed by the SDLP once again tried to have the union flag removed permanently but quickly realised that without the support of the alliance party their proposal was again doomed to fail.

So nationalist councillors took the decision to accept the amendment by the party with the swinging vote (Alliance) which opted for designated flag days. This proposal was brought before the equality commission who decided to ignore the signed petitions of over 40,000 Belfast citizens and it was decided the matter would be put before council for voting. 

December 3rd 2012 seen thousands of Protestants gather at Belfast's city hall in protest at the impending vote to remove the union flag from the capital city of Northern Ireland Belfast's city hall. As thousands gathered speeches were read and messages relayed from inside the council chamber as to what was going on. The mood was defiant yet completely peaceful even after the vote had been taken, up until a Sinn Fein councillor uttered the words "This must be seen as a victory for republicanism and it's just another step in our ultimate aims of removing all symbols relating to Britishness from this chamber and this city".

(This is total and utter bollocks: here is the video from the entire Council meeting. We have watched the entire meeting and at no point is the line "This must be seen as a victory for republicanism and it's just another step in our ultimate aims of removing all symbols relating to Britishness from this chamber and this city" used.)

"After that the protest quickly turned violent and sparked street protests that spanned the length of our country and further afield. 

Since 1906 the union flag has flown from Belfast city hall, through all the bombing shooting and trauma of the troubles, that little symbol of Britishness reminded people that despite the bloodshed the pain the horrors of war, our nationality remained unbroken and untouched by terrorists fingers. The protests soon made world news with media outlets focussing on the trouble that accompanied a small number of street protests, none mentioned that these scenes of trouble flared at interfaces with nationalist who celebrated, goaded and taunted people that they "had won" 

None focused on the overzealous way the security forces treated the peaceful protests often disregarding their own rules to conduct a "political operation at all costs" Men Women and kids beaten, photographed and later arrested for attending protests that had never seen any public disorder. People kept on remand in jail for crimes including "waving a flag provocatively" and "obstructively sitting". It is the view held by many that the police service acted with a blank canvass to do what they could to quell the protests. 

Violence cannot be justified nor condoned but the right of peaceful protest and lawful assembly is the basic fabric of a democratic society, yet in Northern Ireland 2012/13 this right was denied. With the threat of injury or arrest numbers dropped protests ceased to be a countrywide occurrence yet pockets remain defiant. The protests transformed from road blocks to white line to cultural marches in an attempt to counteract the robust way the police treated the protests. 

Despite the fact protests, be they white line or cultural marches, were totally peaceful the police remained determined to demonise, demoralise and criminalise anyone who partook in open objection to the removal of the national flag. Working alongside the police operation to dispel the protests were the mainstream media who printed story after story detailing the few violent events on a near daily occurrence they printed or published images of innocent protesters wanted by police, the term "flegger" soon emerged to humiliate protesters. They run stories of business's who lost trade who had to close or lay off staff as a result of protests, city center traders soon called for rate relief from council because get were adversely affected. Despite the fact only one instance of public order was recorded in or around the city center connected to protests (the night of December 3rd). Business's who were situated far from any protest point were calling for council rate relief again blaming protesters and again media used this as a means to demonise protesters. 

Despite all of this the protest has continued albeit on a smaller scale every week at Belfast city hall, politicians, police and media outlets all claim we are wasting our time and that protests will not get our flag back up, The protesters know this they know that the only way to overturn that decision is by a re-vote by council and for that, unionists need to regain the majority in Belfast city council. That is why these protests have remained a weekly occurrence for now on approaching a year. The protesters have engaged in a campaign to raise awareness around the voting apathy within our communities we've actively sought to convince unionists to register to vote and to use that vote This has proved somewhat successful given the fact that the electoral commission released figures showing a rise in registration returns from the unionist community against the fall in nationalists communities.

The protest at city hall remain's as a reminder to people what can happen when you waste your vote. And through actively encouraging people to vote we believe we can achieve a satisfactory end to the protests which will see the flag be reinstated to our capital city hall. In December 2012 republicans proposed removal as part of their political objective, the alliance party amended it as part of their objective to create a better more inclusive society, in short both have brought about the total opposite. Community Relations in Belfast in 2013 are at depleted levels not seen since the peace process began. Cross community activities have suffered. Sectarian attacks have increased. Interface peace walls are being added to. The process be it republicans political aims or the alliance party's equality aims have failed and failed miserably for all the citizens of Belfast".

Tonight we asked a member of the PUP why they are supporting the protest.

So since the PUP don't know what they are supporting, lets see what one of the organisers has to say:

Perhaps we should refer back to a comment McCrory himself posted on Facebook back in February for the real reason for the protest:

This year Ian and his cohorts in Loyalist Peaceful Protesters (LPP) are at it again

Ian - fuck away off. 

Belfast doesn't want your protests.




This post has been written by regular contributor Brian John Spencer

The creed-crazed fanatic has made Northern Ireland a byword for backwardness. Mad-men and the violent crowd have been long-nurtured, indulged and never checked in their ways of hate. And that is where Jamie Bryson has been very, very wrong - it is he, and the barking-mad like him, who have been "appeased."

Northern Ireland is simultaneously exceptionally progressive and incredibly regressive. The real scandal is that regressive fanatics have for so long got away with their summer temper tantrums and their sectarian babbling, at the cost of ruining the economy and stability of the country for everyone else.

Where in England, Scotland and Wales, authorities have managed to isolate and contain the sweatiest fanatics, our politicians have acted as aiders, abettors, enablers and apologists for barbaric vandals. And this is the comparison that's never made: that Jamie Bryson, loyalist "civil rights" protesters and their surreptitious republican counterparts practice the same strain of marooned, racist politics as the BNP, White Pride the EDL, the Golden shower in Greece and every other xenophobic populist party in Europe.

The Bryson babble that masks for political philosophy is a cheap plagiarism of 1980s Paisley. A clean lift from BNP and EDL press releases. The Bryson babble is a re-run of Enoch Powell and his 'Rivers of Blood' nonsense as he divines a day where "the [republican] man will have the whip over the [loyalist] man." The Bryson babble is the same hysterical wing-nuttery of the 1970's - "taking our jobs", "taking our women" and "eroding our culture" - National Front vomit that caused race riots in England.

Bryson and his type are making tremendous claims. This is the recrudescence of something very sinister, very hostile and very nasty. This needs challenged don't you think? We can look at his two most dangerous and sinister articles.

The first on the QUB blog (here) by the title, 'The way I see it...... [sic]'. In this instance Bryson outlines his opposition to the current power-sharing settlement under the Good Friday Agreement.

Bryson employs the most hyper-inflated, conspiracist and alarmist language to paint a picture of the rise of republicanism to the demise of unionism and loyalism. Using words like "culture war" and offering the solution as "unarmed resistance", loyalistspeak for despicable thuggery.

Bryson is living in an age of amnesia. He has resurrected, reheated and regurgitated the hideous mob-inciting political gruel that not long ago was handed out by the most destructive British-Irish politician in living memory and his minions. Now Bryson is purveying the politics of clinical intransigence that destroyed power-sharing in the 1970s and oversaw three decades of death. The politics that ran this country into beggary, bankruptcy and misery.

Sinn Fein is not in government by some dreadful accident. They were put there by the public. The elementary rule of the democratic model is compromise and of being governed by those you don't like. The all-party Stormont coalition is not perfect but it gives us the platform to drive home real change. Its downfall would be all of our downfall.

It's OK to be against Sinn Fein. By all means take take them on and challenge their views through good process and reasoned argument. Present an alternative vision to the electorate and let them decide. But don't call for the dissolution of the agreement which was endorsed by the people of Northern Ireland. Unfortunately this isn't possible. You can't have a sensible debate when Bryson and his type cannot even accept the good faith of their opponents.

The irony is that Bryson is the vice-versa of the republican freaks who oppose the Good Friday Agreement and who hate Sinn Fein for their "appeasement" and for being "administrators of the "occupying British state". The babble on both sides is breathtaking.

This is the recrudescence of something very sinister. This needs challenged don't you think?

On the second back-of-the-envelope-stuff article (here), Bryson sets out his vision for loyalism: the rebirth of a religiously Protestant British nationalism. In these days of enlightenment it stands as hideous degeneration of a terrific order.

With a little retrospective awareness you would think that people would understand that the fusion of religion with politics and nationalism is the perfect recipe for death. The perfect recipe for stripping minorities of their civil rights. The perfect recipe for taking Northern Ireland to hell in a handcart.

The whole world is opening and Bryson wants to slam the door. Bryson is a hardline Christianist with a single world view, and he cannot rest until his fundamental Christianist view of the world is adopted by society. We know by now that when you run society out of a holy book society grinds to a halt. His type have done us an tremendous harm by this type of demagogy. Incubating more mad-men and encouraging them not to give an inch of what they have because they have a god-given, messianic license and warrant to do so.

We know by now that we cannot give any religion a privileged position in society. We know by now that we need to protect and defend religious freedom, but as a private matter of faith, not a matter of public policy. I have every compassion for loyalism. Loyalists need help. But we cannot allow a fanatical bombastic preacher of hate, division and nonsense to lead loyalism astray.

Bryson and his type are making wild claims. This is the recrudescence of something very sinister. This needs challenged don't you think?

To conclude. On both points, opposition to power-sharing and religiously-inspired-nationalist-politics, the experiment has been tried before. Are you going to let them repeat it on you? It's quite clear that Jamie Bryson and similar loyalists and republicans suffer from a very horrible disease, a type of paranoia known better as sectarianism. It's impossible to mentally and morally well if you suffer from this disorder.

These men are is just the latest in the long line of religious frauds and rip-off artists who share a great tradition of intolerance. Now they're trying to build a career as sponsors and purveyors of bigotry, hysteria, suspicion, superstition and flat out non-sense. They should be shouting from the side of the street, calling the end of the earth and selling pencils from a cup, not standing in front of TV cameras and making headline news.

The whole charade is fraudulent and it has to stop right now. It has to be repudiated. It has to be vanquished. It has to be put to an end with good argument and good sense. We are witnessing loyalism's descent into madness at the hand of religious-political nut-cases. You cannot afford to be a spectator of stupidity. You have to stand up and speak up. You cannot afford to be ignorant or indifferent when there's a clash between fundamentalism and civil society.

The ravings are incompatible with modern Northern Ireland. The ideas must be heard but they must not be left unopposed. They must be challenged and countered with better ideas. Like the Quilliam Foundation on mainland Britain, we need to listen to the young people (including Bryson) who hold radical, reactionary views and debate with them calmly, show them that the current arrangement is actually an incredible achievement and that they can participate in this new society and that they can protect their culture but in a open, shared and inclusive way.

These radical views cannot go unchallenged. On this line we will take a stand and fight.

***** UPDATE ******

Thanks to everyone who got in touch, we've had an overwhelming response. We're not looking for any extra contributors, but if you think you can make something REALLY special for the video and do it REALLY quickly then send a PM to our Facebook page.



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We Are The People Now


Wee Jamie Bryson has thrown his hat in the ring for the 2014 European elections - so the failed hunger striker tells Alex Kane.

All at the LAD bunker wish him every success, we really do.  If he does get elected, he may learn how the real world works and also how insignificant Are Wee Country is in the grand scheme of Europe.  Unfortunately, it probably won't bestow upon him some grown up views.

It would seem Bryson thinks the European parliament is a bit like a council chamber and that he can bring about wholesale change for the Pravince of Ulster's Pradisdent Unionist Loyalist People (PULP), that well known ethnic minority which is denied access to basic human rights such as free health care, free speech, free education and clean drinking water. The list goes on and on but the most basic of those human rights, the right to march anywhere and anytime, is being denied Mr Bryson and the PULP, just as it is being to denied millions across the world.  LAD has discovered the UN itself is looking into the matter (meanwhile, North Korea publicly executes 80 people for allegedly watching TV).

Jamie's BFF (that's the kids speak these days) Wullie Frazer will be assisting in Bryson's Euro campaign while standing for election himself in Newtownards.  Frazer and Bryson will be drawing on considerable collective experience in seeking a mandate which has failed to bring anything close to success thus far. Residents of Newtownards will be thrilled to learn that Markethill man Frazer, wants to represent them.

Bryson-Frazer Campaign Bus
LAD wonders if Bryson will be funding his own £5000 deposit for the election?  We're not sure what the going rate is for a PULP mouthpiece these days or the type of funding an independent candidate can accumulate.  Given that previous turnouts in Euro elections in Are Wee Country fall between five and six hundred thousand, if that is repeated in 2014 Bryson will need to poll over 13,000 votes to avoid losing his deposit.  Are Bryson's academic friends helping out as part of some bizarre experiment in validity?  One website offering advice to would be independent EU candidates, states that the cost of running a campaign are huge, spending limits ranging from £270,000 - £360,000.

Maybe with Are Glorious Loyal Pravince operating outwith the boundaries of rational politics, this figure can be ignored.  One thing that can't be though, is that an independent candidate has never been directly elected to the European parliament from the UK.  So it may be more worthwhile sticking a tenner on an accumulator picked by Willie Frazer's nasal hair.

All at LAD, as do many others across Are Pravince, look forward to seeing Jamie's manifesto.  It will undoubtedly cover the Common Agricultural Policy fairly comprehensively, given how pivotal farming is to the local economy. Other highlights we'd expect to see must surely be Horizon 2020, UK government opt out of EU justice and home affairs decisions, and PEACE funding.  Won't it?

LAD are also interested to know which of the seven political groupings within the European parliament Mr Bryson plans on affiliating with, or would he do the righteous thing and become a (Non-Inscrit) NI, literally?

Who exactly does Bryson expect to vote  for him?

No doubt he can draw support from his friends in "legal circles" having acted as 'legal adviser' to disgraced former BNP fund raiser and ousted Protestant Coalition chief  Jim (Dodgy) Dowson back in July.

Bryson's legal speciality is of course in dealing with civil rights abuses and surely he can count on support from Northern Ireland's Jewish community thanks to his in depth knowledge of 1930's Nazi persecution.

Perhaps Bryson is hoping for support from members and former members of the UVF having claimed on Twitter that the outlawed organisation were not terrorists.

 As Alex Kane rightly commented "Try telling that to their victims and the families of their victims."

So what is Bryson's raison d'être; He doesn't seriously expect to get elected so is this just another  shameless self-publicity stunt? 

What do you think?

Jamie Bryson flanked by members of the Protestant Coalition (l-r: Sam (So It Is) McCrory, baldy bloke1, baldy bloke 2, Wee Willie Frazer, Bill (Umbrellas) Hill, Bryson and Jim (Dodgy) Dowson (retired)


A little bit of history was made on Monday when Máirtín Ó Muilleoir became the first Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast to attend an Armistice Day commemoration.

Ó Muilleoir stood alongside the DUP Deputy Mayor, Christopher Stalford, during the two-minute silence for the war dead at Belfast City Hall and described his decision to attend as "difficult for Belfast’s republicans ... because of the experiences we have had with the British army over the last three decades, and more, to accept that a mayor who comes from a Sinn Fein tradition would be at the cenotaph."
However Ó Muilleoir said he was fulfilling a pledge he made on taking office to be a mayor "for all the people of Belfast".
"Part of that means reaching out to unionism and today really was about peacemaking towards unionism,"
"I think it's the most difficult decision I have made in 30 years in politics and community activism. It is a challenge and I think that it had to be done. I think building the peace and building a better Belfast demands that we have to move ourselves into places where we are uncomfortable, which challenge us and which move us into new positions of peacemaking." 
The Deputy Lord Mayor welcomed Ó Muilleoir's attendance and Ulster Unionist Leader Mike Nesbitt commented: 
 "I consider these gestures important at a time when a generosity of spirit will be required from all political leaders, if we are to succeed in our current efforts to reach agreement on the difficult issues under consideration in the Haass talks process."
On the same day an exhibition covering the period from 1912-1914 'Home Rule Crisis... the unionist response', opened in Dublin. It brings together the largest collection of UVF memorabilia ever gathered together in one place. The Ulster Volunteer Force was formed to resist plans to make Ireland self-governing, but many members went on to fight in the First World War. It was officially opened by the Irish Minister for Arts and Heritage Jimmy Deenihan. A priest read prayers before people in UVF costumes laid wreaths at the War Graves Commission memorial to those from the Republic who died fighting for the allies in the two world wars.
Jonny Harvey, who this time last year was chairman of Ulster Protestant Voice (one of the main organisers of last year's flag protests) and now a member of the PUP tweeted:

Sadly on a day of progress, some in the 'Unionist Family' could not find it in themselves to suppress petty begrudgery, led as ever by everyone's favourite shit stirrer, unelectable wannabe European M.P. Wee Jamie Bryson (a former colleague of Harvey in the UPV)
 Bryson's lack of equanimity was echoed elsewhere on Twitter:

Perhaps 'The Purple Standard' is unaware that Máirtín Ó Muilleoir's great-grandfather was a British Army soldier who died in 1916 while training troops at the Somme and his funeral was one of the last British military funerals to take place on the Falls Road in 1916.
As one might expect views on Facebook were even more scathing:

Written attacks on social media are a reminder of events in August when the Lord Mayor was attacked by loyalist 'peaceful' protesters on a visit to open a park in Woodvale, near the now infamous Twaddell 'civil rights camp' and dogging site.

These people speak for a tiny minority of Unionists (the fictitious "PUL" community) as evidenced by their pitiful electoral showing in the past. The protests at City Hall and Twaddell are dying a slow lingering death and only the threat of further 'peaceful' protests, and the potential for further street violence as we approach the anniversary of the democratic decision to fly the Union Flag at Belfast City Hall on designated days only, can give these trouble makers any sort of voice.

Whilst recent statements by Nesbitt et al in calling for the cancellation of the loyalist protest on November 30th are to be welcomed, isn't it time the entire mainstream 'Unionist Family' spoke out as one against the likes of Bryson, Frazer and their apologists in the so-called Protestant Coalition?
The leaders of Unionism must now show genuine leadership and condemn the sort of rampant sectarian bigotry displayed by Bryson & Co. and tell them "enough is enough," or perhaps more appropriately say...