Why Unionists Should Reject Stautory Led Bonfire Schemes: Jamie Bryson



Bonfire management schemes have been somewhat commonplace over the past number of years. Most Councils deploy some form of scheme whereby they attach conditions to the bonfire, and as a reward for adhering to such conditions, there is a financial incentive.


This, of course, was all well and good in the formative years of the peace process when everyone was happy enough with a nod and a wink, but times have changed. In recent years we have seen Councils go to great lengths to claim they do not fund bonfires, but instead fund associated community festivals.


Ards & North Down Borough Council take the ludicrous approach of saying ‘we do not fund bonfires, but for entry into our scheme you must manage a bonfire and adhere to certain conditions’. To further compel the ridiculousness of that particular policy, Ards & North Down Council award extra funding if you have a particular form of bonfire, and a lesser amount if you have a traditional bonfire. This all the while maintaining that they do not fund bonfires. The back-door bonfire funders!


This is all well and good until someone antagonistic towards bonfires makes a complaint to the PSNI in relation to some aspect of a bonfire. The PSNI’s first port of call is to see who has responsibility for the bonfire, therefore the same council that has designed the so called management scheme would be under a statutory obligation to hand over minutes of meetings, documents or a record of who received funding to manage the bonfire. This demonstrates the ridiculous nature of councils attempts to ride two horses.



As a strong advocate of bonfires I have long argued that Unionism should not engage in any statutory body led bonfire management schemes. I always believed that these schemes are, in reality, more about chipping away at bonfires and trying to blind the bonfire groups with financial incentives.


Hence why if one looks at the first bonfire management scheme and looks at some of the 2016 proposals, it isn’t hard to see the logical trajectory of these schemes.


The battle for bonfires will eventually be fought out in the courts. That is a sad reality, but one which we should prepare for.


The attempts to regulate and/or devise clever legislative mechanisms to control bonfires follows the same approach as the Government used when dealing with parading. A regulatory mechanism was designed which legally compelled adherence by groups wishing to parade. This effectively cut out the judicial system and instead handed parading decision making power to an unelected quango. One need only look at how that played out for the Unionist community to realise that no good can come from any statutory scheme that seeks to wed bonfire groups to adherence to statutory led conditions.


The objective is to incentivise groups into the system with the lure of financial reward, to strip away a little bit more of bonfires each year, and once they have groups fully embedded in a statutory scheme and/or legislative regulatory system, eventually the money will stop and any resistance at that stage from groups will lead to a policy of criminalisation.


The councils should provide funding for community fun days and children’s events to celebrate the 11/12th July, however such funding should not be tied to adherence to bonfire conditions- especially as councils seek to ride two horses in terms of effectively funding bonfires but then washing their hands of it in public by saying ‘oh no we just fund associated fun days’.


Unionists should not be duped into a process that is designed to tie bonfire groups into regulatory schemes, which will end with the eventual hand over for the decision making process for such schemes to an unelected quango. Take a lesson from the Parades Commission. Let’s not fall into another bear trap.


Arlene Foster Could Dictate Leadership of Dail: Dr. John Coulter

Political commentator and journalist, DR JOHN COULTER, maintains that the leadership tactics and strategies of new DUP boss and First Minister Arlene Foster could actually shape the composition of the next Dail coalition government in Dublin. He sets out the case for this in an extended version of his Ireland Eye column in Tribune magazine.


The leadership strategy of Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionists’ first woman leader since the party was founded in 1971, could ironically dictate the future composition of the next Dail in Dublin.

Ms Foster – originally a high-profile Assembly member with the rival Ulster Unionists before her defection to the then Ian Paisley-led DUP – will also take over the reins of First Minister in the Stormont Executive from Paisley’s successor, Peter Robinson.

In DUP terms, she is seen as a moderate and a part of the moderniser wing of the party established by Robinson. An Anglican by faith, she is a member of the Church of Ireland, now leading a party once dominated by the fundamentalist denomination – the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster – set up by Paisley himself in 1951.

The first real test of her leadership will come in May with the Stormont elections, where she will have to fend off electoral competition from a range of pro-Union rivals.

Her biggest challenge will be to ensure the DUP remains as the largest party in the Assembly, thereby guaranteeing that she remains, too, as First Minister.

In spite of fresh faces at the helm of the moderate Catholic SDLP, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’ Sinn Fein is odds-on to remain as the largest nationalist party. Indeed, depending on the extent of the republican rout of the SDLP, it could be Sinn Fein which emerges as the biggest party in Stormont.

This fact alone could have serious implications for the Dail. Former West Belfast Westminster MP Gerry Adams, and the Sinn Fein President, is now a TD (MP) in the Republic’s Parliament in Leinster House.

Campaigning strongly on an anti-austerity ticket, Adams aims to try and get Sinn Fein to clinch up to 40 seats in the Dail, thereby putting the party in a very commanding position to be a minority partner in the next Dublin coalition government, with Adams himself as Tanaiste (deputy Prime Minister).

But the decision on whether Adams ascends to this influential post depends not primarily on how many seats Sinn Fein can win, but on what other Dail parties would be willing to share power with the Provisional IRA’s political wing?

Enter the influence of Foster at this point. The DUP has developed in the past three decades from a movement which once campaigned on a ‘Smash Sinn Fein’ council ticket in 1985, to the party which signed the St Andrews Agreement in 2006 which heralded power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Fein at Stormont.

The main parties in the Republic are so far adopting a position of ‘no deals’ with Sinn Fein, preferring instead to see if a rainbow coalition of parties could be achieved to freeze out Sinn Fein.

Current Southern Prime Minister (or Taoiseach) Enda Kenny of Fine Gael is expected to retain the post and lead the largest party in a future coalition. As a Centre Right movement, Fine Gael would be ideologically opposed to any deal with Sinn Fein.

But a key question which Kenny must answer – if Foster’s DUP can share power with Sinn Fein at Stormont, why can’t Fine Gael form a coalition with Sinn Fein in Dublin?

Likewise, Foster should not underestimate the degree of ill-feeling against the DUP in the Unionist community in Northern Ireland because of power-sharing with Sinn Fein.

For the sake of party unity, Foster may have to sacrifice the DUP’s current politically cosy relationship with Sinn Fein – a move which could put further pressure on the Stormont Executive.

Although the DUP will be playing up the multi-million pound bonanza for Northern Ireland which came along with the last year’s Fresh Start Agreement, which saved the power-sharing institutions.

Foster must use her solicitor training to hold the three main factions within the DUP in check. She belongs to the modernising wing. Ranged against her behind closed doors are the remnants of the Christian fundamentalist wing which dominated the party for decades.

There is a third smaller, but no less vocal faction, which draws its support from the loyalist working class and views East Antrim Commons MP Sammy Wilson as its standardbearer.

Foster – like quite a few politicians who hold senior positions in the party – is just one of a number of former members of the rival Ulster Unionists.

If Foster fails to retain the First Minister’s post in May, her only way forward is to push for a merger of the DUP and UUP to form a single movement simply known as The Unionist Party.

Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter   @JohnAHCoulter


Points To Ponder In 2016: Dr. John Coulter



Political Commentator DR JOHN COULTER has been looking forward to 2016 and outlines some pointers which should be considered in what is certain to be a contentious year.


The 2016 Dail General Election outcome could see current Taoiseach Enda Kenny forced to bury the hatchet with Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and form a Fine Gael/SF coalition in Leinster House with Adams as Tanaiste.

And don’t say it’ll never happen. Just look at the Northern Ireland Assembly where the late Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists entered a power-sharing Executive at Stormont with Martin McGuinness’s Sinn Fein.

As for the North’s Stormont General Election, Sinn Fein could crown the Easter Rising centenary by becoming the Assembly’s largest party, thereby deposing new DUP First Minister Arlene Foster as McGuinness finally becomes the head buckaroo on Stormont Hill.

But in the Republic, the proposed rainbow coalition to stop Adams becoming Tanaiste may fall apart as Sinn Fein needs to break through the 40 TD mark in Leinster House.

If this happens, Fianna Fail, Irish Labour and the Greens will start a ‘political bitch fight’ as to who gets what posts and adopts what policies.

Kenny may finally throw up the head and do a deal with Adams just as Paisley did the deal with Adams at St Andrews a decade ago – a move which will spark a rebellion in Fianna Fail ranks, toppling current boss Micheal Martin who will probably be replaced by a more hardline republican within the party to combat the Sinn Fein bandwagon.

In exchange for Sinn Fein behaving itself as a party in both Leinster House and Stormont by implementing Looney Left policies, massive concessions will be given by Fine Gael and Westminster – the payback being that Sinn Fein MPs take their seats in the British House of Commons, thereby ending Sinn Fein’s historic policy of abstentionism.

In Great Britain, as the clamour grows for the UK to vote to leave the European Union, the British/Irish bodies could prepare for this by allowing the Dail to be an observer partner in the influential Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

This could force the Dail to vote to leave the eurozone and re-introduce the popular Irish punt. In May’s Northern Ireland elections, Sinn Fein finally puts the last electoral nail in the SDLP’s coffin as under new boy leader Colum Eastwood the SDLP is reduced to fringe status.

On the tourism front, the centenaries of the Easter Rising in April and the Battle of the Somme in July will bring huge financial benefits on both sides of the border.

Having lost the referendum vote on gay marriage in the Republic, the Catholic Church will try to bolster up its flagging influence by arranging for Pope Francis to visit Ireland.

But his trip North will do nothing to stop gay marriage being legalised there in spite of constant votes against it in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Arlene Foster will remain as DUP leader even if she loses the First Minister’s post to Sinn Fein in May’s Stormont poll. Her reaction must be to push for a merger between the DUP and its rival Ulster Unionists as the unionist family internal feuds continue to cause splits.

Unfortunately, it seems likely Ireland as an island will suffer a major terrorist attack from Islamic radicals – aided by dissident republicans – as a result of allegations that Shannon airport was used by the Americans as a pit stop for their planes on rendition flights.

Any terror attack on Ireland will spark a joint response from the British and Irish security forces which could mark the end of the dissident republican terror threat for at least a generation.

However, still on the religious front, there is still the danger that the courts north and south become bunged up with Christian fundamentalist clerics trying to get themselves jailed, fined or chastised for making hell fire sermons against Islam.

Such is the fallout from any terror attack on Ireland, that the Dail and Stormont could agree to the introduction of Israeli-style National Service where all able-bodied citizens are required to do at least two years in the army – either the British Army or the Irish Defence Forces.

Ironically, the election of a hardline Republican Party President in the United States could prompt Ireland to develop closer ties with President Vladimir Putin’s Russia to avoid Irish troops being sent to fight in the Middle East.

On the sporting front, the soccer teams from the North and South could pull off surprises at Euro 2016, and in GAA, an Ulster team stands a superb chance of lifting the ‘Sam’.

In horse racing, for those who fancy a flutter, 2016 seems destined to be a year where you put your money on Irish riders and trainers as Irish-owned horses could romp to victory in many of Britain’s leading racing festivals.

Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter  @JohnAHCoulter


Home-Not so Sweet Home:Po McGarrigle

Home Not So Sweet Home

My home is number sixteen, situated on Bush2

There are no fancy carpets or no panoramic view.

Just Lino there for flooring and an antique for a bed.

Sure you’re not in the fucking Hilton son, just some place to put your head.

The food wont fill you fully, it will fill a gap or two.

A choice of main or salad, a soup or roll or stew.

The service isn’t with a smile you get a moan or a grunt.

You gonna lay all fucking day you lazy Derry cunt.

Not the smile or welcome that you know from family, friend and kin.

You can like or you can lump it, it’s your crime that put you in.

So stop your fucking greeting and grow a set young Po.

Two years are up the Judge’s, another two to go.

Photos, cards and letters are sent to raise a smile.

They help to keep your spirits up they’re sent from miles and miles.

From sisters, bro’s in England, Scotland and closer too.

There never that far away their hearts are always true.

I’m sixty miles from my place, just a bus or train away.

Until the Governor tells me so, this is the place I’ll stay.

So, heads up son and stand with pride you’ll never walk alone.

Realise it’s just a place, it’s home but not so sweet home.

Po McGarrigle


Coulter’s Coveted Cock-Ups for 2015; Dr. John Coulter



Contentious Unionist journalist and Tribune magazine’s Ireland Columnist DR JOHN COULTER takes a highly irreverent and satirical look back at the political year with his now annual Coulter’s Coveted Cock-Up Cups for 2015.


Many of the Irish political parties plus the American Secret Service have swept the boards in this year’s Coulter’s Coveted Cock-Up Cups awarded by political journalism’s very own Mouth On The South, Dr John Coulter.

The Top Tit Trophy goes hands-down – or should that be hands-up? – to Fine Gael Taoiseach Enda Kenny for not pledging Irish Defence Forces troops as part of a future ground war against the Islamic State nutters in Syria.

Irish troops have served with distinction as part of United Nations operations, and I have every confidence that if they were sent to Syria, the Islamic State thugs would be diving for cover after they got a good shamrock covered boot up the arse.

The Political Prats Prize is won by Fianna Fail for not seizing the poll initiative and unveiling an electoral pact with the Shinners, thereby ensuring the Blueshirts don’t inflict another four years of cuts and job losses on the Irish nation.

And speaking of Sinn Fein, party president and Louth TD Gerry Adams collects the Best of British Bowl, kindly sponsored this year by the IRA’s Army Council, for continuing to help administer British rule across the Emerald Isle.

Gerry’s buddy, Marty McGuinness, is deputy First Minister and helps run Stormont’s Partitionist Parliament along with the Democratic Unionists in the North.

And there’s no doubt if the Brits vote to quit the European Union in 2017, a Sinn Fein partnership government will have to negotiate the South having to rejoin the Brit-run Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, otherwise the Republic will become an irrelevant pimple on the asshole of the EU.

As for the Greens, North and South, they collect the Looney Looper Award for continuing to hook-wink the Irish electorate with all the crap about global warming, species becoming extinct, and really having no policies which are of any relevance to the everyday life of folk on our blessed island.

As for the Irish Labour Party, it gets the Yellow-Belly Cup for lacking the balls to merge with the British Labour Party in the North and forming the first genuine all-island socialist force in Ireland for over a century.

Then again, the political cowardice of the Irish Labour movement isn’t surprising and the Left in Ireland is always splitting and fighting over something. Just when is Irish Labour going to show the same balls as the Shinners and fight elections on both sides of the border?

As for the Northern parties, the DUP collects the Lost In Space trophy for not electing Unionism’s Mr Big Gub, wee Jimmy Allister, the head buckaroo of the fringe and hardline Right-wing Traditional Unionist Voice party as the new DUP chief to succeed Robbo.

With the DUP facing a potential battering from the Northern Prod electorate for its continual pussy-footing with Shinners at Stormont, wee Jimmy could have given the DUP the muscle it lost when Big Ian left this scene of time to organise the angels in heaven.

Mind you, the Ulster Unionist faction with the DUP collects a new award this year, the Takeover Trophy (kindly donated by the British Intelligence community now that it has completed infiltrated the republican movement) for getting the most number of ex-UUP members into senior positions with the Rev Ian Paisley-formed Democratic Unionists and converting the DUP into the UUP Mark 2.

And speaking of being lost, Mikey Nesbitt’s Ulster Unionists also romp home with the What The Feck Do We Do Next Cup, for making the UUP politically unrecognisable to its own voters.

Instead of the UUP being the voice of traditional centre right Unionism, Mikey has summoned the spirit of the former Northern Premier Brian Faulkner and turned the UUP into a politically limp-wristed version of Faulkner’s now defunct Unionist Party of Northern Ireland … maybe Mikey is planning a shotgun marriage with Alliance?

Talking of Alliance, it needs to grow balls, tits and virtually every other vital political organ imaginable as its plans to combat the threat from Islamic State in Ireland are about as useful as a contraceptive in a maternity ward.

Alliance wins the Latte Lib Cup for being more focused on drinking trendy coffee than getting its finger out and saying something brave about the need to take on the Islamic terrorists threatening Ireland.

The Sticky Silverware goes to the Stoops, who under new boss Comrade Colum Eastwood look like they will drift so far to the Hard Left, they’ll fall off the political spectrum into the dustbin of history like the Irish Nationalist Party and Irish Independence Party before them.

And what of the prestigious Gobshite Cup – which goes to the social media folk who say the most amusing and daft things about me?

The clear winner is the American Secret Service for its inability to spot clear satire when I suggested Islamic State be tackled by dropping mustard gas on its bases. But then again I’m told, some Yanks don’t do irony, sarcasm or satire.

This year is nearly over, but already there’s an impressive group of assholes and twits queuing up for the 2016 awards. Happy Easter!


A Fresh Start?: Dr. John Coulter

In his latest Ireland Eye column in Tribune magazine, political commentator DR JOHN COULTER explores the long-term implications for Unionism and Republicanism in the so-called Fresh Start document as ‘hawks’ and ‘doves’ vie for political control of the various parties.


Smooth coronation, not bitter confrontation seems to be the ‘in motto’ now that yet another political sticky plaster known as Fresh Start is being applied to the cancer called social unrest in Ireland.

Labour’s former comrades in arms in Northern Ireland, the election-battered, moderate Catholic Social Democratic and Labour Party unveiled a surprise at its recent annual party conference when delegates voted to depose their current traditional nationalist boss, the aging South Belfast MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell with the much young Assembly member Colm Eastwood, who represents the party’s emerging socialist republican wing.

The latest initiative to save devolution was the Fresh Start agreement, hammered together after several months of nail-biting talks and large doses of brinkmanship. In reality, the sticky plaster label was simply to keep the existing Democratic Unionist/Sinn Fein Executive government in power until next May’s Stormont General Election.

So far as the SDLP is concerned, it doesn’t matter who leads the movement. It has been constantly battered since the original 1998 Good Friday Agreement by an increasingly slick Sinn Fein electoral bandwagon.

Within days of the SDLP leadership coup, the DUP unveiled that its leader and Stormont First Minister was shortly to retire and would not lead the party into the May 2016 poll.

Unlike the rival Ulster Unionists who constantly aired their dirty linen in public, the DUP wants peace between the modernisers and fundamentalists in the party. So the party has split the leadership in two – one to lead the Westminster party, the other to be First Minister at Stormont.

Former UUP politician Arlene Foster is to become First Minister, while devout Christian and North Belfast MP stays as the party’s Commons boss. And so peace reigns once again in the DUP!

This leaves all eyes firmly focussed on Sinn Fein’s ability to smoothly replace the party’s aging double act of Gerry Adams in the Dail and Martin McGuinness at Stormont. Both men have one last throw of the electoral dice to throw.

Next year marks the centenary of one of the most iconic events in the republican calendar – the 1916 Dublin Easter Rising, which laid the foundations for the modern IRA.

Sinn Fein’s electoral aim is to be in power in both jurisdictions of Ireland by the end of 2016. Campaigning on an anti-austerity ticket in the Republic could see Sinn Fein and Adams become a minority partner in a coalition government in the Dail, with the former West Belfast MP becoming Tanaiste (deputy prime minister).

Given the splits within unionism, Protestant voter apathy and Sinn Fein’s demolition of the SDLP at the ballot box, McGuinness is odds-on to become First Minister, and so it would be ‘job done, Sinn Fein rule in both parts of Ireland’.

The problem for Sinn Fein is what faction of the broad republican movement will replace the Adams/McGuinness cross-border partnership.

A recent police/MI5 report concluded what even the dogs in the streets across Ireland have known for decades – the Provisional IRA’s ruling Army Council is not only still intact, but also running Sinn Fein.

This has fuelled considerable speculation that the hawks are set to return to the leadership of the movement’s political wing. When Sinn Fein seriously entered the electoral arena after the 1981 republican hunger strikes which claimed the lives of 10 IRA and INLA prisoners in the now closed Maze jail, being a terrorist activist was a key condition to becoming a Sinn Fein politician.

A leading republican propagandist coined the iconic phrase of the ‘ballot paper in one hand, and the Armalite rifle in the other’ – a clear reference as to how the political campaign worked hand in glove with the IRA’s terror war.

However, since the Good Friday Agreement, a new maxim has emerged in the movement’s vocabulary – ‘a ballot paper in one hand and an honours degree in the other’.

Increasingly, a new brand of so-called young ‘draft dodgers’ has emerged within Sinn Fein and has been getting elected. This new generation of young Sinn Fein politician is university educated and did not serve an apprenticeship in the Provos – hence the jibe ‘draft dodgers’.

This does not mean that all the young Turks emerging in the republican movement are doves. Given that the Army Council still calls the shots in Sinn Fein, many feel the doves have had their day and it’s time for republican hardliners to flex their muscles in the party once again.

If more hawks start to hold key posts within Sinn Fein, it could stem any future defections to the dissident republican terror factions who feel Sinn Fein has compromised too much, not just in the Fresh Start deal, but in the running of Stormont itself.

An edited version of this column appeared in his Ireland Eye print edition of Tribune magazine on 18th December, 2015.


Sinn Fein: An Alternative Strategy: Dr. John Coulter

Sinn Fein: An Alternative Strategy


Dr John Coulter blog







By Dr John Coulter

author and journalist




Martin McGuinnessSinn Fein has always been an electorally pragmatic party, but with elections north and south of the border in 2016 as well as the centenary of the Easter Rising, could the surprise tactic for the party is to swing it to the Hard Right and rebrand it as the unassailable heroes of Patriotic Nationalism?

In the Northern Ireland Assembly, Sinn Fein is already in bed politically in the power-sharing Stormont Executive with what was once perceived to be one of the most hardline of the Right-wing loyalist movements, the Democratic Unionist Party.

Next May’s Assembly poll will more likely see the SF/DUP dominated Executive returned as Sinn Fein finally puts the new socialist-leaning SDLP under new boss Colum Eastwood to the electoral sword, and the DUP pulls yet another poll rabbit of its magic hat to fend off the challenge from a supposedly resurgent Ulster Unionist Party, which has still under leader Mike Nesbitt to make up its mind if it is a liberal Unionist movement, or a traditional centre Right Unionist Party.

mike nesbitt  In the Republic, Sinn Fein is well on course to becoming a minority coalition partner in the next Dail, probably with Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael, still known in some circles as ‘The Blueshirts’ because of the party’s past history in the 1930s with the fascist Blueshirt movement which stomped about Southern Ireland.

Some might say – why should Sinn Fein give up its hardline socialist principles simply to climb into bed politically with Fine Gael, when it did not need to perform an ideological U-turn to enter Stormont with the DUP?

The core problem is not for Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, but in the Republic, where memories of the bitter Irish Civil War of the 1920s still run deep in many republican families.

Again, spin doctors might be playing the red card in that 2016 will see the centenary of the Easter Rising, inspired by the openly Leftist Irish Citizens Army, and fanatical socialists, such as James Connolly, the Scottish communist who formed his own Irish Socialist Republican Party – not to be confused with the terror group the INLA’s political wing, the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

revolutionaryBut the failed Dublin Easter Rising came a year before the 1917 Leninist-inspired revolution in Russia. The Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizens Army were active at a time when the core foe was Right-wing imperialism, and particularly the British Empire.

The Rising was a shotgun marriage between the fundamentalist Catholicism of Patrick Pearse and Connolly’s militant socialism.

But the Ireland of 2016 which will commemorate the Rising’s centenary is a different political animal from the Ireland which witnessed the failed coup; a coup which saw some Dublin residents spit on the rebels as they were marched into captivity by the British. It was only the uncompromising decision of General ‘Bloody’ Maxwell who insisted on having the Rising leaders executed which turned them from political upstarts and nuisances into republican icons.

timing is everything   If Sinn Fein is now to capitalise on the Rising commemorations, it must use them to create a new brand of Right-wing Patriotic Nationalism. Many in Ireland still view the modern day Sinn Fein as a communist party under a new banner.

Likewise, while Sinn Fein’s propaganda spin machine has worked effectively in wiping the political landscape on one hand with the SDLP, and on the other, ensuring dissident republicanism does not become a significant electoral force in the same way as in the Unionist community, the No Camp parties – especially the DUP – eventually overtook David Trimble’s Yes Camp UUP.

own worst enemy Sinn Fein must convince the Southern electorate it has the political maturity – in spite of all Sinn Fein’s rantings against austerity – that it is a party fit for government in Leinster House. The only way Sinn Fein can achieve this is for Louth TD and Party President Gerry Adams to swing his party to the Hard Right to avoid an Ian Paisley senior-style coup within his own ranks.

What Irish republicanism now as an ideology needs is a new radical Right-wing party – not the Sinn Fein spinning out more left of centre rhetoric about saving the working class.

For years after the Irish Civil War, the Southern electorate rejected Sinn Féin because it is now regarded as the Communist Party under another name.

Sinn Féin needs to relaunch itself as an ultra Right-wing nationalist party under the banner – Ireland for the Irish and nobody else!

Sinn Fein activists aligning themselves with Left-wing policies might have been cool in 1916 in the days of Connolly and Larkin, but it has become a major millstone in the third millennium.

Irish Labour has become a joke; the Stickies (Workers Party) have faded into the dustbin of history, and the new kids on the dissident Left block, eirigi, should seriously seek professional help from Nutcases Anonymous!

Other leftist republican parties – such as the IRSP, Republican Sinn Fein and the 32 County Sovereignty Movement – will be nothing more than fringe organisations.

recognitionAdams has talked in the past about his admiration for radical Irish Presbyterianism. There’s the solution to your political migraines, Gerry. Turn Sinn Féin into an Irish National Party with the slogan – Be Proud to be a Patriot.

One of Ireland’s greatest Protestant nationalist patriots was the Lisburn journalist Ernest Blythe, who became a leading light in General Eoin O’Duffy’s Blueshirt movement.

To stop young republicans becoming eirigi fanatics, Adams should launch the Greenshirts – a radical Right-wing youth movement which instils disciplined Irish patriotic values, folklore and culture into its ranks.

The Greenshirts could help eliminate the nationalist scourges of joyriding and recreational rioting.

Gerry should announce that the ‘Shinners’ are amending their title to Sinn Féin, the Nationalist Patriots Party.

If you want a radical Right-wing Presbyterian to explain this much-needed new Irish Patriotism to the unfaithful, give me a shout at my Twitter account @JohnAHCoulter

seperated by common languageAs a life-long Rangers fanatic, even I’d be happy to swap my beloved Glasgow blue top to don the shamrock shirt of the Greenshirt movement. Right is might, Gerry!

Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter


Loyalism Isolated from Legislature and Current Talks Process: Jamie Bryson

Loyalism isolated from legislature & current talks process. 


Cultural expressions such as the flying of flags and parading have been involved in the Stormont House ’2′ negotiations. However, absent from these discussions are any representatives from the loyalist community. Some would argue- perhaps rightly- that talks designed to bring forward legislative change should be restricted to those with a large enough electoral mandate. This, however, then leads to further isolation of those who are unelected or have only Council representatives or a small number of Stormont MLA’s. A forced solution, handed down by big house Unionism, is simply not going to play out positively at grassroots level. If anything, such a forced solution- reached without loyalist input- will only create more defiance within PUL communities which already feel- quite rightly- isolated and outside of the political process. As a democrat- leaving aside the perversion of democracy guaranteed by the Belfast Agreement-  one must accept that legislative change is carried out by those who receive a large enough electoral mandate. It would be ludicrous to demand an equal seat at the table when the democratic wishes of the people do not reflect a large enough electoral mandate- however, the special circumstances of these talks and solutions being sought should dictate that those who will be expected to implement the potential solutions- in regards to legacy issues, the flying of flags and parading- have an input and role in shaping them. My understanding is this type of input will be sought- as a window dressing- by creating a commission to deal with flags and parading and that the role of this commission will be to consult all relevant stakeholders. Whilst this may, in principle, sound like the very kind of consultation that I have bemoaned has been lacking, in reality it is something quite different.

The proposed ‘commission’ will have no teeth, it will be little more than a talking road-show which will consult for a period of time before reporting back to the very same parties who are involved in the current talks. And then they will find another way to fudge finding an agreed way forward, before creating some other kind of commission, until at some stage legal challenges and the judiciary will end up shaping policy by handing down rulings that will force statutory bodies to regulate the flying of flags, parading and bonfires in a certain way. The politicians will then conveniently wash their hands of it all and blame the judiciary.The above highlights a number of points- firstly, Loyalism needs to strive towards attaining a large enough electoral support base to enable representatives of our community to play a meaningful role in shaping legislation. But secondly, Loyalism  needs to articulate an argument whereby those who currently hold electoral power are persuaded of the merits of creating some form of civic/community body- with limited power- that will have a clear input into the shaping of regulation, legislation and agreement on issues of community importance.
This is fundamentally different from a “commission” as is proposed in the current talks and that is likely to be announced shortly. What is needed is a form of civic forum, where those communities who are relevant stakeholders- but who are outside the legislative power base- can hold to account those who seek to find agreed solutions that those stakeholders will be expected to implement.
The above suggestion is unlikely to ever gain any traction. One only need look at OFMDFM’s track record in terms of accountability to realise that they don’t particularly like being held accountable. Our current Stormont administration tend to avoid difficult decisions and do one of two things- fudge difficult issues by creating a ‘commission’ to buy time or alternatively they hold out long enough and wait on the Courts or the justice system to enforce a solution. Neither of those two approaches have served- or will serve- our community well.
Since the devolution of policing and justice it is hard to escape the conclusion that the justice system has been skewed in favour of the Nationalist/Republican community. Therefore if the issues of cultural expression- that are of vital importance to the fabric of our community- are to be left to the judiciary to rule upon, then Loyalism is not going to come out of it well.
There are many challenges for Loyalism, the biggest of which is achieving a large enough electoral mandate to command a place at the table of power. That is democracy and we must accept that, that however does not mean that we cannot lobby and articulate the case for an input- via some form of civic accountability forum- into the issues that are going to directly effect our section of the community.
Democratic politics and community/civic activism is the new battlefield and Loyalism must educate, equip and empower ourselves to build a political force that can not only represent the views of our community, but that can shape legislation in the very heart of Government.

Jamie Bryson


Defend our democracy, our standards, and our health service; say no to TTIP: William Ennis

I propose that the Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland should on this day, enshrine in policy, its resolution to oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).


Proposer, William Ennis (East Belfast)

Seconded by Cllr Dr John Kyle (East Belfast)



Ladies and gentlemen, delegates, fellow Progressive Unionists, the resolution I have tabled today concerns TTIP.  This stands for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.  TTIP is a series of trade agreements currently being finalised between the European Union, and the United States government. An agreement which we are told is set to open up avenues of business between Europe and America.

So what is so wrong with that? You may ask.  After all, as a party, we are not anti business by any means.

The problem delegates is that whilst the proponents of TTIP claim it will generate trade and investment the reality is that many, including organisations such as war on want, the Global Development and Environment Institute and patients4nhs.org believe that it will degrade safety standards, lead to job losses, legitimise unaccountable kangaroo courts and infringe heavily upon democracy and the privacy of citizens.  It would bring the most naked and damaging violation of the Sovereignty of this United Kingdom seen in many years.

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Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin Mr. Robinson: Jamie Bryson

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin, Mr. Robinson


Peter Robinson had a soft landing on his return from his luxury holiday, courtesy of the Belfast Telegraph. Rather than opening himself up to an interview, where he could be asked difficult questions, the Belfast Telegraph- which is rapidly becoming the DUP’s version of An Phoblaht- he was presented with a free ride to write his own opinion piece. No questions asked, and unsurprisingly none answered.

The DUP leader devoted much of his “opinion piece” to attacking the Ulster Unionist Party, clearly feeling the pressure after Mike Nesbitt blind-sighted them, the DUP have filled the media with condemnation of the UUP for the past few days. The bluff and bluster from the DUP is a transparent attempt to muddy the waters and buy them time- time to think how they can somehow create enough ambiguity or find some mechanism that will allow them to cling to power along the IRA surrogates in Sinn Fein. How ironic is it that the same DUP that hounded David Trimble from office over disputes around IRA decommissioning, is now poised to take another Executive ministry, courtesy of an IRA murder.

The “opinion piece” does however prove one piece of advice, that you would normally hear from you grandparents- liars need to have a good memory. It is worth reprinting an extract from Peter Robinson’s piece where he describes, in his own words, what was agreed at Stormont House;

“The agreement covered welfare reform, the budget and corporation tax. It dealt with parades, flags and the past. In addition it set out changes in the way both the Assembly and the Executive operate including arrangements for forming an official opposition.”

In the midst of waxing lyrical about the Stormont House agreement, and lamenting the failure to implement it, Robinson has let the cat out of the bag. On the 17 February 2015 the BBC carried a story with the headline- attributed to a quote from Peter Robinson- saying “DUP did not negotiate parades during talks.” The First Minister is further quoted within the same story saying “There were no negotiations on parading, that’s why the Government had to put forward their own proposal.” The DUP also took a swipe at TUV leader Jim Allister, who had joined with the PUP, UKIP and independent Loyalists in questioning whether the DUP and UUP had been “double dealing” on the issue of parades. Robinson described this suggestion as “silly”.

It is remarkable to simply contrast the BBC interview with today’s opinion piece. It illuminates the sheer duplicity at the heart of the DUP approach to Government and it also shows the contempt with which the DUP hold ordinary grassroots Unionists and loyalists.

In a recent opinion piece I wrote for the Long Kesh Inside Out website, in relation to the IRA murder of Kevin McGuigan, I referred to a litany of examples of IRA activity that had previously been denied by Sinn Fein, added the McGuigan murder to the list and remarked “no one believed them then, and no one believes them now.” The very same words could be attributed to the DUP, who along with Sinn Fein prop up an Assembly based upon murder, lies and appeasement.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Peter Robinson has proved- by his own words- that the DUP are engaging in side deals and blatantly lying to their own electorate. They betrayed the grassroots loyalist community over North Belfast. Robinson asked the Secretary of State to announce some form of “inquiry” into parading to allow him leverage to enter the Stormont House talks. Little over twenty four hours after the talks concluded, the Secretary of State withdrew the parading proposal. Of course, the DUP knew this was going to happen, and all the bluff and bluster in the world couldn’t pull the wool over people’s eyes.

Suzanne Breen recalled in her Sunday Life column yesterday how the DUP stood outside the Waterfront Hall in 2000 and sang “What shall we do with the traitor Trimble, early in the morning. Burn, burn, burn the traitor…” What a remarkable turnaround less than two decades later.

Today’s memory lapse by the First Minister is uncharacteristic, usually the DUP leader is a master at covering his own tracks and cloaking his lies in enough spin to make his alternative version of how he came to lie, sound plausible. Today the old saying “a liar needs a good memory” epitomises Peter Robinson’s propaganda column in the Belfast Telegraph.

Perhaps the memory lapse by Robinson is indicative of the pressure he is feeling. David Trimble suffered from the same strains as his political career came to an end. There is, however, one difference between Peter Robinson and David Trimble. The DUP used every trick in the book to blacken David Trimble’s name and hound him from office. Peter Robinson has put the noose around his own neck.

As the NAMA storm comes hurtling at a rate of knots towards DUP Headquarters, with a deepening political crisis coming from the other direction, Peter Robinson is in danger of finding himself smack, bang in the middle of a perfect storm.

The UUP are doing to Robinson what he done to them. Internal opponents within his own party are rapidly boxing him in; they will-sooner rather than later- do to him what he done to Ian Paisley. To add to Robinson’s crisis, his business associates and ‘fixers’ are running for the hills and sticking the knives in each other’s back in a bid to wash their hands of NAMA and other dealings they have benefited from.

The House of Cards is about to come tumbling down in Biblical fashion and one can imagine that the founding father of the DUP, if he were still here, would have a few words for his former friend who betrayed him so mercilessly. The “Big man” would most likely lean back in his chair, chuckle and simply say “what one sows, so shall they reap. It’s biblical.”

Mene Mene tekel upharsian, Mr Robinson.

Jamie Bryson