By Jamie Bryson
There is an ongoing political campaign- covertly assisted by activists embedded in the BBC establishment and other media outlets- to censor and deplatform all ‘unhelpful’ unionist/loyalist voices.
It is worth noting that this political campaign comes entirely from nationalism and Alliance, not from unionism. Even unionist opponents of some unionist/loyalist views, such as Doug Beattie has- to his credit- been very clear that such views should not be censored or shut down.
The campaign is presently focused on me and Jim Allister, although Jim is a bit harder to target as he is a party leader, so even the BBC establishment struggle to acquiesce to the demand everyone pretend he doesn’t exist.
And whilst I am presently the target, it isn’t actually about me. The real issue here is that Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance- who are aided and abetted by sections of the media establishment (most notably the BBC)- cannot comprehend that a large section of unionist and loyalist viewpoints have changed, and are hostile to any further aiding of nationalism’s all-Ireland agenda.
The hardline, anti-Agreement ‘revolution’ is, as nationalists tell it, an impediment to the ‘process’, and thus an impediment to their political objectives. And so they lash out at the most visible targets, demanding that me, Jim Allister and literally any other loyalist voice that appears on the media, be deplatformed.
As they do not understand and cannot comprehend why unionism almost in its entirety (DUP, TUV, PUP, Orange Institutions, grassroots unionism/loyalism) has shifted to an anti-Agreement position, their reaction is to lash out as those who have been singing that tune for years, because like the liberal elite establishment in relation to Brexit, they refuse to believe that large swathes of people think differently than they do.
And so just as Brexit must have been racism, or Russia or stupid people influenced by Farage, it must be Jim Allister, or me, or other loyalist voices on the media who caused this hardening of unionist viewpoints. And it is the fault of the Nolan show, because if they hadn’t broadcast such views, no one in unionism and loyalism would ever have adopted them.
Put simply; the ‘peace process’ requires that unionists and loyalists be fed a certain public discourse diet, lest they rebel against the trajectory of the ‘process’.
It follows that such is the collective nationalist hysteria- and so unable are they to accept or comprehend the change in unionist/loyalist views- that they have (with absolute seriousness on mainstream media platforms) accused me- in the last week alone- of running the DUP, the PUP, the Orange Order and even the Nolan Show.
They have collectively lost their minds.
Let us think about the underlying premise for a minute.
Firstly, are we really living in a society whereby a (predominately nationalist) liberal elite feel that certain- entirely lawful and legitimate- ideas and views must be suppressed, because if people heard them on the Nolan show, they might agree and adopt them. That unionists and loyalists are so stupid and naïve, that certain views must be kept from them, lest they adopt them. And, if-as it seems- that is the case, who exactly decides which ideas and views are unacceptable?
Secondly, the premise is that our community (unionism and loyalism) are stupid people, incapable of thinking for themselves. And so everyone who now with agrees the views put forward by the likes of me and Jim Allister for years must have been put under our spell. It is demeaning and dehumanising and seeks to treat unionists and loyalists as an underclass, people to be seen and not heard in our society.
This campaign to silence any and all unionist and loyalist voices is being waged by three large political parties- Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance. None of whom are able to actually justify why, rather it is just that I, or Jim Allister or other loyalist voices are ‘in the media too much’.
Of course, this falls flat, because we aren’t in the media any more than any other contributors, and when it comes to myself, I am on the Nolan show far less than republican contributors such as Chris Donnelly, Amanda Ferguson, Phil Kelly and Patricia MacBride- all of whom who are political activists in their own ways.
Do Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance want those contributors banned? Of course not, because they say the ‘right’ things.
Do they want Brian Feeney or Susan McKay- both of whom regularly spew dehumanising bile about unionist/loyalist communities- deplatformed? Of course not.
Then because at a protest someone carried a banner with the Clyde Valley on it, or I use a perfectly lawful historical reference to 1912 in seeking to demonstrate the strength of feeling in our communities, that demands deplatforming.
It is worth noting that prior to Alliance and the SDLP launching their censorship campaign- with Stephen Farry especially exercised about the speech including a 1912 reference- the BBC establishment actually uncritically broadcast the speech on BBC the View.
Only following a politically motivated campaign does the BBC establishment change their view of it, and of course that demonstrates one crucial issue: the BBC establishment are influenced in their editorial decision making by nationalism and the Alliance party.
If we are to follow that logic, then every member of Sinn Fein who commemorates or glorifies the IRA should be banned from the media.
It is deeply concerning nevertheless that this politically driven censorship campaign against unionism/loyalism is being firstly supported both overtly and covertly by some in the supposed independent press.
The Irish News are effectively now campaigners on this issue, with an entirely skewed story on this issue at least once a week it seems.
In today’s paper they had a story in which they presented obsessive online troll Tim McKane as a “communications expert”. Absurd. In addition, the sneering snobbery of McKane shines through his every word. Jim Allister is only popular because the Nolan Show allowed people to hear his views, and it follows that unionists/loyalists are so stupid and gullible that we fell for the Allister spell.
But of course, smart intelligent people like McKane can be trusted with hearing such ideas, because they aren’t gullible and stupid like unionists/loyalists. Such arrogance!
They then went onto present Colin Harvey- a self-identified nationalist activist- in purely neutral terms as ‘Human Rights expert Professor’.
Why am I labelled a loyalist, as is Moore Holmes in the article, but Colin Harvey- and I repeat that he is a self-identified nationalist activist- is provided a neutral label? What is the difference?
Why, for example, is the same standard not applied to Moore Holmes as to Colin Harvey and thus Moore simply described as a ‘schoolteacher’?
All of this is before we even get to the hypocrisy of those behind this censorship campaign.
I need not say much about Sinn Fein. They are the political wing of a terrorist organisation who openly glorifies and refuses to repudiate IRA terrorism. No one can be in any doubt of their position.
But let’s look at some of the others sneering from their High Horse leading the charge in this censorship campaign.
We will begin by reminding ourselves of the threats issued by the SDLP’s Claire Hanna over Brexit:
“If 60% of people do not want a border on the island, and you say ‘tough shit, we are putting you inside a hard border,’ you cannot expect people to just choke that down and get on with their lives…You cannot imagine that people would take that without civil disobedience at a very minimum.”
Let’s move on now to Stephen Farry, he who is offended by a Linfield top because of its colour. He had this to say in justifying nationalist ‘civil disobedience’:
Stephen Farry, deputy leader of the Alliance Party, said civil disobedience would be the result of “emotional and psychological impact of checks, which is not grasped by the UK government and in how alternative arrangement people are looking at this.”
Farry said the UK government’s approach to avoiding a hard border didn’t focus enough on the issue of identity, and failed to realised that any change to the status quo — even if away from the border — would create discontent.
Now let us remind ourselves of the words of nationalist activist Colin Harvey- who the BBC establishment treat as a Biblical figure:
“If anybody attempts to put barriers on this island again they are coming down. Any obstacles on this island will be removed.
“We as a society are used to people putting up mountains for us to climb and we will continue to climb them. There will be no hard border on the island of Ireland.”
I need not dilate much on the Irish Government. They threatened IRA bombs for political leverage.
It is clear therefore that the concerns over oratory and language used in political discourse is entirely hypocritical. It is just another tool to try and censor and demonise unionist and loyalist voices.
Sadly, this politically driven campaign- headed by Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance- has already seized control of the BBC establishment who are entirely in the thrall of such political activism. And so, the deplatforming of unionist/loyalist voices is part of the DNA of the BBC NI establishment.
It is only the Nolan Show which stands as the last bastion of genuine independent press freedom in the BBC, and that is why that show is now the target of the intense campaign.
In recent days it has been suggested to me by some that I should ‘pretend’ to be more moderate, or change my oratory in order that the political censorship campaign, or the covert activists in the like of the BBC establishment, will find it harder to attack me.
I will not do so for three reasons.
Firstly, if I do that, then I allow my views- and that of those in my community who share them- to be subject to a verification process controlled by our political opponents.
Secondly, I will not change my views in order to appease people who not only want to completely censor and destroy me, but whose real agenda is to censor and destroy all unionist and loyalist voices. If I bow to them, then they will simply move on to targeting the next unionist/loyalist whose ideas or views they find ‘unhelpful’.
Thirdly, there is a principle at stake, and it is that of fairness and equal treatment for those of a unionist/loyalist background. The BBC establishment, and civic society, can not apply one standard to nationalists/republicans and another to unionists/loyalists.
Put simply; I won’t be changing my views or ideas, or anti Agreement political message. And even if I did (which I won’t), that wouldn’t change the fact that many thousands of unionists/loyalists think just like me, and do so because they are smart, independent, law abiding citizens more than capable of forming their own political views.
The DUP, TUV, PUP, Loyal Orders and grassroots unionism/loyalism are all united. Everyone in the previously aforementioned political groups thinks that Enough is Enough. What are they going to do, deplatform us all?
I have always advocated purely peaceful and lawful protest- no one can point credibly to anything otherwise. In addition, I have devoted significant time to urging people to use the law as a political weapon, rather than engaging in violence. I stand over this: peaceful activism using the law, media and making our case in all the opinion forming institutions is the way to effect real change.
Nationalism, Alliance and those- such as hyper woke liberals in the BBC establishment- will have to learn to accept the fact that the times they are a changing.
The weak, roll over unionism they desire and demand is finished. And the BBC can deplatform all unionist/loyalist voices if they want, do they really think they can kill the ideas?