Loyalism: What it means to me.
Ulster loyalism is a political ideology found primarily among working class Ulster Protestants in Northern Ireland. Many Ulster Protestants are descendants of colonists from Britain. Like Ulster Unionists (of which loyalists are a subset), loyalists are attached to the British Monarchy, support the preservation of Northern Ireland, and oppose a united Ireland. Ulster loyalism has been described as a kind of ethnic nationalism and a variation of British nationalism.
The above is a description of loyalism-the Wikipedia version. Is it an accurate description? Does it cover all aspects of loyalism? Are there different strands of loyalism? Can loyalism be defined today in the same was as, say at the beginning of the most recent conflict? Who coined the phrase loyalism? What about the notion that the term is a derogatory one? Is there credence in that? Is there a discernible difference between loyalism and unionism? Is there a new form of loyalism now– post flag protest?
Longkeshinsideout has invited a number of “prominent loyalists” to comment-to tell us their reading of the term-what it means to them personally to be—or to be labeled a loyalist. Over the next number of weeks those essays will be produced here and hopefully can be the starting point of a debate. In the wake of the GFA there has been a massive fracture within Republicanism here and has led to many different brands, supposedly with the same ideological denominator. The same can be said for loyalism and this has been apparent for many decades. Perhaps our contributors can offer an explanation.