top of page

Take a lesson from 1912, Unionism will never meekly surrender | Jamie Bryson

This is a government which has time and time again demonstrated they are not to be trusted on the Union. The Prime Minister, who boldly proclaimed his Unionist credentials and said “over my dead body” would there be a border in the Irish Sea, stood, very much alive, at the despatch box and stated that the border in the Irish Sea he had agreed did not interfere with the Acts of Union.

A few weeks later, the government went to the High Court arguing the Acts of Union had been subject to implied repeal. This became too emotive, so in the Court of Appeal they changed this to “subjugated”, before realising that too made their constitutional vandalism too obvious; when the matter reached the Supreme Court, they made a plea for “subject to” to be the term deployed.

The Secretary of State in January 2021, then Brandon Lewis, even pretended there was no border in the Irish Sea. He had to concede a short time later there was very much a border in the Irish Sea.

And just a few short months ago, the government appeared as an interested party in the challenge brought by a Sinn Fein activist with no standing (he was both granted anonymity and waved through despite his lack of standing by former SDLP election candidate turned High Court judge Adrian Colton) to the legitimate instruction by then DUP Minister Edwin Poots to halt Irish Sea border checks. It is of note that unelected civil servants, acting on instructions from Sinn Fein, defied the democratically elected Minister. But that is another story.

In this case, the government argued that the relevant regulations applicable to NI because of the Protocol should be read in parts where it refers to the “United Kingdom” as really only meaning “Great Britain”, with Northern Ireland instead treated as part of the European Union. They wanted the Court (and given the political leanings of much of the High Court in NI, I fear they may be obliged) to simply ‘interpret’ it in this constitutionally abominable way, presumably to save the government the embarrassment of having to bear the political cost of tearing Northern Ireland out of the Union.

It is in this context that unionists are told to trust this duplicitous Conservative and ‘Unionist’ government. But just look at the conduct of Messrs Heaton-Harris and Baker, the self-identified ‘hardmen’ of Brexit. It is well known the Northern Ireland Office is de-facto the Irish Government Office given the pathetic weakness and pro-nationalist bias that pervades its every tentacle, but the two hardmen at the helm of the NIO have taken things to a new level.

Both Baker and Heaton-Harris have spent the vast majority of their time in the NIO seeking to bully unionists into accepting the subjugation of the Union. They pandered to the Irish Government and treated nationalists like a special class of citizens. They are, to be frank, a disgrace to the unionist cause. As the saying goes, betrayal does not come from your enemies, only your friends. There were such high hopes for both, but those hopes have been shredded by their increasingly shameful conduct.

It isn’t hard to see why no unionist can, or should, trust this Conservative government on the Union. They have done more constitutional damage than the IRA ever did. They have subjugated Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom and turned unionists in Northern Ireland into second-class citizens.

In contrast, the increasingly popular Reform UK party has demonstrated a clear grasp of the constitutional damage being inflicted upon Northern Ireland by the Union-subjugating Protocol. It would be welcome to see that party taking further steps to amplify the message as to how the Protocol can never be tolerated and to offer support to unionists in Northern Ireland who are taking a principled stand to preserve our British way of life.

It is seemingly not understood by the government that unionists will not be bullied, bought, or cajoled back into power-sharing. If power-sharing, inherent within which is supposed to be the principle of consent, means that unionists must tolerate the subjugation of the Union, then power-sharing is untenable.

Accordingly, there can never again be power sharing until the Protocol is removed. Not amended, not watered down, not the Irish Sea border made invisible but rather Northern Ireland’s constitutional position restored. That means the Acts of Union ‘unsubjugated’ and given full effect, and that requires that there shall be no EU law applicable in Northern Ireland. We are told that is a purist position: you’re absolutely right it is. There is no compromise to be had on the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

The objective of the Protocol is purportedly the protection of the Belfast Agreement “in all its parts”, but in truth, it is in fact about weaponising the Belfast Agreement to advance nationalist objectives whilst subjugating unionists and forcing us into an economically united Ireland.

The Protocol has exposed the Belfast Agreement for the deception it is, and always was. That which has been seen can not be unseen.

In the absence of unionist support, Belfast Agreement cannot operate. There is no self-respecting unionist who could with any credibility suggest that unionism should consent to the restoration of power-sharing unless and until the Protocol is removed, and more than that the structural imbalance at the heart of the Belfast Agreement is corrected.

And so, Heaton-Harris, Baker, the Irish, the EU and even the US can threaten, bully, cajole or demonise as much as they want. Unionism is not for turning. Those who went before us fought in the bloody fields of World War 1, in World War 2 stood against the Nazis and sacrificed in many other conflicts both foreign and domestic. Our forefathers froze, bled and many died during those bloody wars.

Does this government really think that unionism is now going to meekly surrender our place in the Union?

They ought to take a lesson from 1912 and 1985.

3 comentarios


In relation to your article: Take a lesson from 1912, Unionism will never meekly surrender | Jamie Bryson

Full Address of Memorial:

Graveside Memorial on the 25th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Leading Loyalist – Brigadier William Stephen Wright, December 27th, 2022.

Loyal men and women of Ulster: I bid you a good afternoon, and welcome you, all of you, here to Seagoe Graveyard - all that is who have come together as one in order to pay personal tribute to a man now referred to by many as ‘Ulster’s Braveheart’ – our late and much-loved friend, Billy Wright. Give voice to your support, loyal friends.

They say that retrospect, that is, looking back with the passing of time,…

Me gusta


"The Protocol has exposed the Belfast Agreement for the deception it is, and always was. That which has been seen can not be unseen." J. Bryson.

The view you here give is exactly the view, position, and loudly proclaimed political analysis, myself and the late Billy Wright, and many other Ulster Protestants and Loyalists gave to the leadership of Unionist and Loyalist organisations back in 1995.

For wisely forming this political view, and faithfully sharing it openly with Loyalist paramilitary leaders: we were either gunned out of our homes; exiled to mainland GB; or ruthlessly pursued to the grave - by militant Pro-GFA Agreement fellow-loyalists and their allies in the Anglo/Irish Security Services. No one has ever been charged…

Me gusta

Stephen Stewart
Stephen Stewart
13 dic 2022

Speaking as an Ulster Unionist (and not an Ulster nationalist, which is what many unionists/loyalists, in actuality, really are), there was no threat to the Union in 1912... quite the opposite in fact. Irish Home Rule would have copper-fastened Ireland's place in the UK to this very day... but in stymying it, Unionists ensured the fracture of that union they supposedly hold dear.

If unionists today read the actual passed Government of Ireland Act 1914, trawled through the parliamentary debates that took place during the Home Rule Crisis of 1912-14, educated themselves about the people involved, and what a Home Rule Ireland would have been and what it would not have been, they'd see there was nothing to fear and…

Me gusta

Support Centre
for the Union

Help us make a difference


Thank you for supporting Centre for the Union!

bottom of page