|Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest fool of all?|
Sadly, we have become all too familiar with the names of William Frazer and Jamie Bryson over recent months. While Frazer has been floating on the edges of obscure extremism for years, Bryson is a relatively new face who has at times, come close to making the step from ridiculous to vaguely sublime. As rising stars go, it is likely that Bryson has already reached his zenith and will either continue to be an annoying figurehead for the lawless minority, or slip back into obscurity once 'his people' realise he isn't capable of leading them to the promised land, which would appear to be somewhere in the mid 70s - backs to the future lads!
While I would not offer an excuse for Frazer's often bizarre actions, there are a number of documented tragic events that explain why he does what he does, and while MLAs are consistently unable to agree on the definition of what a victim is, all evidence clearly puts Mr Frazer in that category, regardless of political nit-picking.
Bryson is a more curious case. He sometimes displays outward signs of being quite intelligent but more often than not, this is well hidden behind a constant stream of half-baked proclamations and quotes from others which indicate a failure to understand fully, what these quotes actually mean.
Author of the frankly appalling Four Men Had a Dream and The First Shades of God (part one of the planned trilogy 50 Shades of God which was deliberately named after the best-selling 50 Shades of Grey, no doubt in a cynical attempt to ride the wave of publicity) the latter is a book which Bryson claimed "may offend" the church, however on attempting to read the book, I'd suggest it was probably more offensive to grammar pedants than it was to any church. To be honest, your money is better spent on a few issues of Commando comic.
|Commando - Ulster Scots style|
He was eight years old when the Good Friday Agreement was signed so probably remembers a little of the Troubles, albeit from the relative safety of Donaghadee. Even at that point, violence was already far less than that witnessed during the 80s. The question is, how has Bryson become so enamoured of loyalism and loyalist paramilitaries? Bryson's social media output shows an unhealthy obsession with returning to what most of us see as the bad old days. We often hear of the radicalisation of young Muslims and how this can be addressed, but can this also be said of young Protestants as they become embroiled in loyalism or similarly, young Catholics as they are tempted by dissident republican groups? It's something neither our politicians, nor anyone else, seem to mention much, if at all.
Willie Frazer recently appeared outside court dressed as a mystical cleric, or pirate, or something, with Jamie Bryson standing alongside him in drag. There was no real surprise with regards to Frazer, who is no stranger to making claims with only a slight connection to reality, but Bryson only made a fool of himself.
Young Jamie suffers from the same thoroughly misguided perception of what constitutes culture, being British, and human rights as many of his fellow loyalists. Somehow he has managed to crawl from a sea of mediocrity (I'm being generous there) to become an unofficial spokesman for a tiny, lawless minority.
Anyway, how has Bryson acquired this penchant for loyalism? Has he had his head filled with the so-called glories of the bad old days or is it a case that he sees the loyalist paramilitary as the local 'big man', an aspirational position? Undoubtedly there was kudos attached to paramilitary membership whether that be republican or loyalist. Is it this which Jamie craves?
|A fireside fit for loyalism|
Going back to his social media output, he bears a passing resemblance to fireside republicans who speak of their exploits during 'the war' which in reality meant something like giving The Brits a single finger salute from behind the net curtains and shouting at the TV. Although Bryson is prepared to face arrest for his actions, they amount to little more than nuisance value. Of more concern is is wish for a return to pre-GFA days or so it looks.
It's a pity that this is the focus of Bryson's attention and it's sadly all too easy to imagine him sitting in his living room getting all nostalgic over sepia photos of UVF members.
|The original 1820s UVF|