Lecture argues you can not be pro-Belfast Agreement and pro-Union

In a substantive lecture delivered on the Shankill Road on 16 August 2021, Jamie Bryson argued that you can not be pro-Belfast Agreement and pro-Union, because the Agreement is designed to end the Union.

Lecture argues you can not be pro-Belfast Agreement and pro-Union

You can download the full text of the lecture delivered to the S.A.S.H group on the Shankill Road on 16 August 2021 Lecture on the ‘peace process’ 16 August 2021 PDF

Below are some extracts from the lecture:

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On the phrase ‘peace process

“The phrase ‘peace process’ has become part of the linguistic textbook of Northern Ireland post-1998. It has developed almost the status of a holy writ; a sacred cornerstone of all that is good and righteous; that which all those who are to gain societal acceptance must dedicate to.

“It is incredible this status has been afforded to a political agreement between fallible human beings (notwithstanding that the hand of history itself reached down and touched Tony Blair and the Belfast Agreement quickly became the ‘Good Friday’ Agreement, and thus bestowing it with biblical connotations.

On the ‘spirit of the Belfast Agreement 

“I have never managed to summon up the spirit of the Agreement to allow me to consult with it. Therefore, when I hear people talking about the ‘spirit’ of the Belfast Agreement I- in my view correctly (I think)- view this is a shorthand way of saying ‘resolving every constructive ambiguity in favour of nationalism’. That is certainly the clear evidence as to what it means when viewed in the context of the last two decades.

“That ‘spirit’ has infected much more than our political institutions. It has spread to academia, media, civic society, policing, culture and our justice system. In all these key arms of society, nationalism now dominates and this is the case primarily thanks to the infectious ‘spirit’ of the Agreement which has fuelled a process that at its core necessitates that nationalism must be legitimised and amplified, whilst unionism must be de-legitimised and dehumanised.”

On the media

“The media is inherently imbalanced in favour of nationalism; this is unsurprising given media is for the most part dominated by nationalists. This dominance is not even subtle or covert; most nationalists in the media will quite happily declare their allegiance, with many journalists quite openly doubling up as nationalist commentators. By comparison, there is shockingly few overt unionists within the media. It is trite to point out that in regards new journalists (as in those who have come into the profession within the last decade) they will mostly come from a generation who have (i) been infected with the coercive chorus of the ‘peace process’ narrative and therefore will suffer from a de-facto form of Stockholm syndrome arising from two decades of relentless- both overt and subtle- propaganda; and (ii) given the world of social media is dominated by nationalism, if seeking the warm glow of Likes and RTs (which-although not the subject of this lecture- stems from a delusion that fleeting validation on Twitter etc is real) then attacking unionism and self-identifying as a nationalist is a good career start.

“That of course also sits alongside those at the lower level of the media chain. I should say there is a clear distinction between such persons, who belong more in the orbit of social media trolling, and credible journalists who work diligently and with professionalism, of which there are many in Northern Ireland (including many who self-declare as nationalists).

“However, the focus of my commentary in this instance is those who seek to make a career out of the dehumanistion of PUL communities, including incessantly seeking to stir up intra-community tension with hoax and often maliciously contrived claims, alongside the dissemination of wholly false material, which such persons desperately seek to provide with the appearance of credibility, albeit this usually ends up unsuccessful as outside the often financially generated amplification deceptions (paying for twitter engagement) in the orbit of social media, most people have retained their sense of smell for the distinct aroma of flatulence.”

On the Judiciary 

“However, when it comes to the judiciary- which formed part of the criminal justice reforms flowing from the Belfast Agreement (for example, QCs no longer are required to swear an oath of the Queen and the Royal emblems have been largely eradicated from Court buildings [1]), there is not even the appearance of cross community balance, with most judicial positions held by those from the catholic-nationalist community.

There is no positive discrimination (as an aside I find this phrase a non-sequitur because it is ‘positive’ only for the benefactors, and negative for those who lose out despite often being deserving on merits) to remedy this. If the extraordinary imbalance was in the opposite direction, then the process- with reference to the ‘spirit’ of the Belfast Agreement- would necessitate urgent corrective action.”

[1] In the matter of an Application by Seamus Treacy and Barry Macdonald for Judicial Review (2000) NIQB 2075

On the legal profession

“The legal profession is heavily dominated by nationalist activists- many extremely skilled- who have weaponised the law to advance political goals, often cloaked in rights-based language. This sits alongside a well-resourced and formidable nationalist legacy activist movement which is dedicated and relentless in rewriting the past with the narrative that the State were bad, and republicans were only responding to the actions of the State; it follows with that narrative that nationalists are absolved of their actions, because sure who wouldn’t take similar actions faced with such an oppressive State?”

On the PSNI

“The same biased trajectory has infected policing since the moment the PSNI was conceived in the womb of political appeasement. By accepting it was necessary to cast aside the RUC to placate nationalists, there was an implied acceptance that nationalism’s criticisms of the RUC were well founded and deserved to prevail. This was a grave betrayal of the those who served bravely in the RUC, and the ultimate destruction of the force was not based upon the merits of evidence showing that such a course of action was in fact required, rather it was rooted squarely in the overriding objective of creating a police service that nationalism would provide the seal of approval to. After twenty years of the PSNI I doubt there are many in the broad Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist (‘PUL’) community who would feel the organisation has been anything other than a two-tiered system which has clung diligently to its founding objective of winning nationalist support. In everything it has done since, this fundamental requirement has acted as an overriding objective.”

On the nationalist ‘takeover’ of the key organs of society 

“The same themes I have developed in relation to the media, the legal profession, the justice system and policing can equally be applied to academia, the civil service and almost every statutory body in Northern Ireland. The spirit of the Agreement has infected them all. It has done so with such success that it has almost reduced elections to the point of merely being symbolic. If, as nationalism has realised, you control all the organs of the State and society- media, policing, legal profession and judiciary- then even political power, which usually has merely a temporal term of office of five years, is ultimately powerless to arrest the trajectory which has already been set in motion by infecting the organs of society.”

On the Belfast Agreement ‘process’

“The Belfast Agreement breathed into life a process, the fundamental guiding star of which was providing a mandatory pathway to incrementally weakening Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom. Essentially when distilled and properly analysed, the position underpinning the Belfast Agreement is that in exchange for nationalism ceasing murdering our community and for Northern Ireland to be symbolically permitted to remain in the Union for the time being, unionism must willingly and with good grace participate in a process which will incrementally dismantle the Union and eventually lead to the formation of a United Ireland.”

On the solution

“The process has infected every aspect of society. To try and untangle it thread by thread would in fact only tighten it. Think of it as a knot. The only way to resolve the issue, is to cut the knot down the middle, at which point all its component parts will unravel.

“Unionism, as it stands, still retains the power to cut the knot down the middle. If unionism withdraws from the institutions of the Agreement, the Agreement falls. And, by virtue of its own fundamental requirements, for it to survive it requires cross community support. No unionism, no Agreement.

“Cut the knot.”

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