PSNI wrong to take part in political Gay Pride event 

Pride week is a fantastic series of events held to promote the LGBT political campaign for legislative change and also to celebrate what Rainbow project spokesperson John O’Doherty describes as LGBT culture and identity. 

The LGBT community should be fully entitled to enjoy this week, they should receive fair and equitable funding and resources for their events and most importantly they should feel comfortable and safe in celebrating their culture/identity and promoting their political campaign.

What Pride week, and the broader LGBT movement, are not entitled to is to be treated differently than other political and/or cultural movements. The core argument underpinning the LGBT movement is that, they say, they are treated differently. Therefore having preferential treatment would surely be abhorrent to their movement?  

In this regard I fail to see why the PSNI would be taking part in what John O’Doherty on the Nolan show described as a “political event” and a “protest”. 

The PSNI are supposed to be neutral and are prohibited by their own code of ethics from participating in political activity. There is also a duty on the PSNI, under article 6.2 of their code of ethics, to treat all persons equally regardless of status. 

In this regard if the PSNI position is that they now take part in political events, then should an invite be extended to take part in a loyalist or republican parade, then the PSNI- in the interests of treating all persons/groups equally- would have to take up this invite. 

Would the liberal left be so supportive of the PSNI marching alongside a loyalist flute band with a banner saying “End the hatred of Orange culture- report all attacks on Orange Halls”? 

There appeared to be some social media dissension in relation to Mr O’Doherty’s position that “Pride is a political event”. Perhaps the organisers of Pride could clarify whether Mr O’Doherty is right or wrong in his assertion on this morning’s Nolan show that “Pride is a political event.” 

I also raised the matter of painted kerbstones on Union street. I do not have any issue with painting kerbstones to celebrate a cultural event, however I do have an issue when the liberals howl and wail if kerbstones are painted red, white and blue or green, white and gold yet take a different approach when it comes to the colours of the rainbow. 

Mr O’Doherty further informed the Nolan show that the shops in the vicinity of Union street took responsibility for this criminal damage. Is this an accurate statement made on behalf of the businesses? If it is, then it is arguably an admission of criminal damage, which is an offence. 

I raised this matter with the SDLP press officer, Martin McCauley, during a good natured and respectful twitter debate following the Nolan show. Mr McCauley initially advised that he found the painting of kerbstones “tacky”. 

When pressed on the issue of the painted kerbstones in Union street, the SDLP press officer began to bizarrely equivocate and appeared to suggest that painting kerbstones was only wrong if it was “marking territory”. 

It appeared to be his view that so long as the painting of kerbstones as supporting the LGBT community, then this was a relevant ‘context’ and somewhat different than painting the kerbstones in support of any other community. How this is squared with what the LGBT movement say is their demand to be treated equally under the law, is beyond me. 

I appreciate Mr McCauley was engaging via social media in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the SDLP, but I did ask for the party position on a number of occasions. Mr McCauley was ably assisted in this regard by the intervention of SDLP East Belfast election candidate, Seamus de Faoite. 

The former East Belfast candidate helpfully revealed that the party position was much the same as in relation to flags, and given you cannot eat a flag then it would prove difficult to eat a kerbstone. 

  

So it appears, according to Mr de Faoite at least, that the SDLP opposition to some painted kerbstones, presumably ones painted with the colours of a flag, is that you cannot eat them. Whether the LGBT painted kerbstones are eatable or not is yet to be established.

This morning’s debate has exposed how many of the most liberal in our society display tolerance only in so far as they agree with what they are tolerating. Dissenting views are not to be tolerated. It has further become clear that there is, at least among some quarters, a desire for the LGBT community not to be treated equally under the law, but rather to have special privileges. 

The PSNI need to urgently clarify why they are taking part in a political event and make clear whether they will take part in other political events/protests if the organisers extend an invite.

 It is also important to know whether the officers taking part in this political event, in uniform, are being paid from the public purse to do so. 
The full debate from this mornings Stephen Nolan show can be heard here: 

‘Peace Process’ is linguistically redundant 

This Op-Ed piece was originally carried in the Belfast Newsletter on 26 July 2017. 

  
There is rarely a week goes by when we do not hear Nationalist politicians reminding us how we must “protect the peace process”. Crucially, and this is a point regularly missed, there is no distinction in this phraseology between peace and ‘the process’. 

The two are cleverly joined together in order to drive the sub conscious political narrative that if you are for peace then you must be for the process. Conversely if you are against the process, then you must be against peace. And so the emotional blackmail at the heart of the Belfast Agreement takes root. 

Peace should not be dependent upon the Belfast Agreement designed ‘process’, but rather it should be a fundamental principle from all sides. Sinn Fein have for too long extracted concession after concession by simply tapping into the public sub consciousness and reminding everyone that we must ‘protect the peace process’. Why must we protect the Belfast Agreement process? What happens if the majority of people in Northern Ireland want real democracy in the form of voluntary coalition? Should they be denied that right in order to ‘protect the process’? 

And therein lies the trick. Every process, by its very definition, has a beginning and an end. The Belfast Agreement has its well documented beginning, but let us look at the end envisaged by the ‘process’. 

The Belfast Agreement allows for only one referendum, and that is on the question of Irish unity. And then a referendum every seven years until such times as the answer is the one that Nationalism wants. That is where the process ends. 

Is it any wonder that Sinn Fein decrees at every possible opportunity that we must ‘protect the peace process’? The process is not designed to allow Nationalism to play a full and meaningful role in a stable and settled Northern Ireland, but rather to provide a vehicle to gradually undermine the legitimacy of the State under the false pretence of ‘parity of esteem’ and ‘equality’. 

All of the above provides a context to the manipulated framework in which our political system operates. However, Unionism has a unique opportunity to right the wrongs of 1998, St Andrews and Hillsborough. 

Now is the time to use Unionism’s increased influence at Westminster to do what the DUP always promised they would do- bring down the Belfast Agreement. Put an end to the ‘process’. And why not? 

Sinn Fein will kick and scream and shout from the rooftops that it is an attack on the ‘process’. And yes, it would be, but why shouldn’t Unionism politically attack the process that has only one envisaged ending? 

If Sinn Fein are now democrats, if they are genuine supporters of peace, then they must be supporters of peace whether democracy goes for them or against them. How perverse a situation do we live in whereby democracy must be stood on its head- in the form of mandatory coalition- in order that we can have peace. Surely it is the complete antithesis of democracy when peace is kept by holding metaphorical gun to its head? 

The ‘peace process’ phraseology should be made linguistically redundant. It is an illusion. Peace and the process are two separate entities that have been uneasily welded together for the purpose of using a veto of fear to say that if the process doesn’t trundle on- and remember where it ends- then we can’t have peace. 

We must always have an absence of violence and Sinn Fein must not be further rewarded for stopping killing people. We have had over 20 years of concessions to Sinn Fein as a ‘reward’ for an end to their repugnant campaign of terrorism, let us now put an end to the pretence that the ‘process’ concession meter must be fed in order to keep the peace. 

It is time to call Sinn Fein out and for Unionism to go on the offensive politically. If Sinn Fein are now democrats, then they must be for peace no matter what. It can not be peace so long as they get what they want, because that would be a perversion of democracy and natural justice. That would be what we have had to stomach for over 20 years. Enough is enough. 

We all want peace, and that should be the bedrock of our society, but let us separate peace from the process. When that happens it will unlock the potential for Unionism to fight back politically, rather than being confined to the straightjacket of the ‘process’. 

Supremacist Sinn Fein should find funding to educate young Unionists on IRA atrocities 

  
Jim McVeigh’s article carried today on Belfast Live demonstrates just how far removed from reality that Sinn Fein has become. 

They really and truly believe it is their place to tell Unionists how to celebrate our culture, and further than that, tell Unionists how we should ‘learn’ our culture. Just who do they think they are? 

This attitude is another example of Sinn Fein’s increasingly supremacist narrative. They really believe that Unionism is the unreformed underclass of their ‘new Ireland’ society. This attitude is a glimpse into what a United Ireland would hold for Unionism. 

Jim McVeigh’s proposal is cloaked in a charm offensive- much the same strategy that was used to neutralise Unionists that fell for Sinn Fein’s ‘reconciliation’- but when you look beyond the honeyed words, Mr Mcveigh’s real objective is crystal clear. This is simply another method to allow Sinn Fein to target and eradicate expressions of Unionist culture. 

Jim Mcveigh- and all those who supported his defeated injunction- already failed miserably this summer in his targeting of Unionist cutltural expression. Belfast City Council’s injunction fell apart, and in recent days it has been confirmed that it was never even affixed- therefore it did not even take effect. 

Unionism will never take lectures from Sinn Fein on culture or anything else. This is the party that parades children dressed up in ‘military’ uniforms as part of IRA commemorations and lauds the murderous deeds of the IRA. Mr McVeigh himself is a convicted terrorist. 

Perhaps Jim McVeigh could organise funding for young Unionists to be taken on a tour around various spots where the IRA murdered and maimed innocent men, women and children. 

The first stop could be La Mon hotel, when rather than burning wood Sinn Fein’s IRA burned human beings. Then onto Enniskillen where Sinn Fein’s IRA planted a no warning bomb. Maybe to the site where Sinn Fein’s IRA gunned down young Mary Travers. Perhaps to the Shankill Road where Sinn Fein election canvasser Sean Kelly planted a bomb murdering innocent people, including defenceless children. You get the point. 

The issues around how to best develop and celebrate areas of Unionist cultural expression is a conversation for the Unionist community. Sinn Fein have no role in that and their suggestions- which are driven by their own anti-Unionist agenda- are not worth the paper they are written on. They are about as relevant as a Belfast City Council injunction. 

The cultural targeting of bonfires- from regulation to criminalisation 

This was originally written in 2015 as part of a strategy document to combat cultrual targetting of bonfires in the Ards & North Down area. 

Regulation and the Triple-Lock system leading to the eradication of traditional bonfires
 
  
The process around the statutory management of bonfires will eventually lead to attempts to impose a regulatory system, underpinned by legislation. This process will follow the same path of the method deployed by the Government to deal with parading. This approach- following the North Report- led to the formation of the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland, which was brought into effect by virtue of the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998. A copy of the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998 is attached within the appendixes in order to demonstrate the likely shape of legislation that could come into force in relation to bonfires.

Such a regulatory framework- as proposed by the DoE consultation on the management of bonfires titled Options To Develop The Better Management And Control Of Bonfires (attached in appendixes) – would create a triple-lock system and eventually lead to the criminalisation of bonfire builders and the eradication of bonfires as they are defined in a traditional sense.

Firstly groups would have to seek permission from the landowner- quite often this is a statutory body such as the Council or NIHE. It is entirely unrealistic to expect any statutory body would give permission for a bonfire on their land unless the stringent environmental, waste management and health and safety conditions had been met. It is virtually impossible for a traditional bonfire to meet such conditions without diluting the tradition beyond all recognition. This means that the first step within a regulatory process is already insurmountable.

Proceeding beyond this, the next stage would be to apply to local council for a bonfire permit/licence. Whether there is even a reasonable chance of this being approved depends heavily upon the make-up of the council. This, in itself, could provide an insurmountable obstacle for bonfire groups within Nationalist dominated Council areas. Even if a Unionist dominated Council was minded to issue a licence, there would still be the issue of ensuring full compliance with all environmental, waste management and health and safety legislation. Once again this brings the applicant back to the first hurdle faced.

Given that step one and two in the process could only be logically passed by diluting the bonfire until it is unrecognisable, this means that to pass these stages would require the eradication of traditional bonfires.

The final stage in the triple-lock system is criminalisation. For bonfires that want to maintain a traditional and well established bonfire they will be open to criminalisation and being brought before the courts due to a failure to apply for a permit. This follows the same process used by the Parades Commission to attack the parading tradition within Northern Ireland.

PSNI officer disciplined and another referred for prosecution in Jamie Bryson case 

Two PSNI officers, Detective Constable Owen Nevin and Detective Constable Lesley Stock, face serious disciplinary action and possibly prosecution following a Police Ombudsman report. 
  

Detective Constable Nevin took to the witness stand on my first bail hearing and lied to the court. He informed the judge, and repeated the assertion under cross examination, that I had been found “hiding in a locked attic”. 

The judge gave this primary reason for the refusal of bail. This assertion, of course, was a lie. A lie that resulted in the denial of my liberty. 

Many others also dined out on this PSNI spoof for many years. Thousands of trolling tweets have been devoted to taunting me about being in a “locked attic”. How foolish must the authors of such comments feel now. Duped by the PSNI’s carefully contrived spoof. 

The Police Ombudsman report in this regard does not go far enough. It has found- beyond all reasonable doubt- that Owen Nevin provided an inaccurate statement to the court. Told a tie. 

The feeble excuse put forward by Mr Nevin might pull the wool over the eyes of the Ombudsman in this regard, but he will never convince me it was an innocent mistake. 

Nor do I agree with the Police Ombudsman that because he was giving evidence about the statement of another officer that he could not be prosecuted for perjury. That is plainly incorrect. He was giving evidence under oath and the statement he was speaking in relation to said one thing, Owen Nevin said the opposite. 

 
 

Accordingly I will be pressing for Mr Nevin to face perjury charges. How could this officer even be trusted again to handle any case impartially? He is incompetent at best and corrupt at worst. 

Further to this outrageous and malicious spoof being outed, the Investigating Officer in the case- Lesley Stock- has been referred to the PPS for prosecution. 

Despite the case against Detective Constable Stock being reported in the media, they were unable to publish a picture of the officer. 

She is now subject to criminal proceedings. In this regard she is to be treated the same as every other alleged criminal and as such her image can be published. 

 
 

Detective Constable Stock, who was suspended from duty and had her home raided by the Ombudsman, was trolling me relentlessly on social media whilst supposedly progressing my case ‘without fear or favour’. She was plainly progressing my case maliciously as her hate-filled and bitter social media trolling showed. 

I knew this fake trolling social media account was an extremely bitter person and suspected it may be this officer, as it tallied with the anger and hatred towards me she was displaying in relation to the case. 

I instructed my solicitor to request a bail variation and inform only Detective Constable Stock. Therefore only my Solictor, Lesley Stock and I knew about this application. 

Low and behold within a couple of hours this account was trolling me and making reference to the application. Constable Stock outed herself at this point and then tried to cover her tracks by saying that the account was operated by a ‘friend’ of hers. Nonsense and the Ombudsman seen right through this malicious lie! 

As a result Constable Stock will most likely face a court of law. Whilst IO in my case she was relentlessly trolling me on social media. This demonstrates the political motivations of many of the key players involved in my case. 

We have had ACC Will Kerr’s evidence to the court in my case totally contradicted by an affidavit he provided to the Supreme Court in another relevant case. 

We have Detective Constable Nevin maliciously lying to the court in order to ensure that I was remanded in custody. 

And perhaps worst of all we have the Investigating officer in the case doubling up as an abusive, hate-filled social media troll. 

Does anyone still doubt what I said from day one- this is political policing!

Following developments on Twitter @JamieBrysonCPNI 

Response to Brian Wilson’s divisive letter in Co.Down Spectator 

Response to Brian Wilson’s anti-Unionist attack on Brunswick Road flags in the Co.Down Spectator:

  

It was with little surprise, but much bemusement, that I read former Alliance/Green/Independent politician Brian Wilson’s contribution on the letters page of the Co.Down Spectator, 6th July edition.

Mr Wilson appears incandescent that Union and Ulster flags, erected to celebrate the 12th July- which is to be held in Bangor- have been placed on the Brunswick Road.

He demands that the Brunswick Road- and only the Brunswick Road it appears- should be “flag-free”. Let us examine the logic of this absurd suggestion. Why should the Brunswick Road be by-passed by those decorating the town for the yearly cultural celebrations?

Does Mr Wilson seek to set the Brunswick Road as a place apart? Does he seek to create an enclave, or worse still is this an attempt to create an interface in an area where all of the community live happily side by side?

Mr Wilson also states the Union and Ulster flags are “provocative”. What is provocative about the flag of Northern Ireland and the Union flag? Who would be ‘provoked’ by the sight of such lawful expressions of National identity?

You see, the logic of Mr Wilson’s piece is that far from contributing to harmonious community relations, he is actually stirring the pot and seeking to mark out the Brunswick Road as ‘flag free’ terrority.

Of course we all know what this really means- Mr Wilson wants to subtly, using the flowery language so adored by the pan-Nationalist ‘progressive’ coalition, make clear that the Brunswick Road area is not Unionist. That it is different from the rest of the town.

Mr Wilson does not seek Abbey Street, the Clandeboye Road, Whitehill or Kilcooley to be ‘flag-free’. No- it is only the Brunswick Road that he seeks to be set apart from the rest of the town. 

It is only that community that Mr Wilson, by virtue of his stirring the pot of division, wishes to see partioned off from the rest of the Bangor area.

Mr Wilson’s contribution comes at a time when the local Unionist community are already keeping a watchful eye on the attempts by Sinn Fein- whose armed wing, the IRA- bombed Bangor, to stir the sectarian pot in a quiet seaside town.

Mr Wilson is either a fool or a knave. If he is the former then he should reflect carefully on his attempts to isolate an entire part of Bangor and create a sectarian divide and if he is the later, then one has no doubt his contribution is the opening salvo in a local campaign against Unionism by the Pan-Nationalist ‘progressive’ coalition of Sinn Fein, the SDLP, Green party and Alliance.
Jamie Bryson