The Guardian's Ireland correspondent Henry McDonald (@henrymcdonald) wrote a piece in the Belfast Telegraph (@beltel), 'Why are 'spokesmen' with no mandate like Winston Irvine and Jamie Bryson allowed on the BBC as if they were elected representatives?' Of the self-appointed mouthpieces he said:
"The first question that came to mind listening to this was: in what way was the "community" opinion Irvine proposed to represent gauged, tested, or analysed over this controversy?
Another query that struck home was: how do we know you represent all of public opinion in that district? There was also the absence of another question: how many votes did you receive from the electorate? Of course, as a party, Sinn Fein bends and twists both truth and history. From its leader, who denies that he was ever in the IRA (even though, by being at the top of that organisation, he managed to steer it out of the armed struggle cul-de-sac) down to its rank-and-file, Sinn Fein lives in a weird state of collective denial."Alex Kane also wrote a piece in the same paper by the title, 'Rise of self-appointed spokesmen like Willie Frazer and Jamie Bryson is a failure of democracy'. It said: "They have no mandate and no right to parity of coverage in the media, yet the shrill, dissenting voices of activists and dissidents have been allowed to set the political agenda. It's nothing short of a farce." Alex Kane spoke of the self-appointed types who continually spoke of "my people" and "my community". Alex Kane said:
"The beauty of this, of course, is that some of the self-appointed spokespersons don't even go through the pretence of having a mandate. Indeed, they describe the community they claim to represent as "left behind", "unrepresented", "unheard" or just "abandoned by the peace process". Who needs a mandate when you can trot out that line? Why bother to seek a mandate, in fact, when the media and the mainstream political parties seem happy enough to buy into your mantra and provide platforms for you?"He added:
"The Orange Order, for example, doesn't have an electoral mandate. It doesn't put up candidates to champion its position on flags, parades or culture. Yet in 2010, it was able to persuade the UUP not to support the justice deal being negotiated at Hillsborough. It also played an instrumental part in Peter Robinson's decision to withdraw support for the Maze project. And during the Haass process, the DUP chose senior Orangeman Mervyn Gibson – unelected and not even a party member – to be one of their negotiators."More:
"The reality, or so it seems to me, is that the mainstream political parties (the DUP and Sinn Fein in particular) seem keener to listen to the unelected and non-mandated than to listen to each other. In fairness, it also seems to me that the TUV and UUP are sometimes being steered by unelected spokespersons within some of the victims' groups. Yet in listening to the unelected rather than to each other, and in being prepared to take direction from them, they are making it extremely difficult for themselves to co-operate in what should be the everyday priorities of government."He finished:
"Their voice needs to be heard, but it mustn't be allowed to drown out either the mainstream or the mostly silent majority."
I ask: what about "my people" and "my community"? Why do loyalists think they have a monopoly on being "left behind", "unrepresented" and "unheard" or just "abandoned by the peace process". This is nonsense. They claim special rights, special privilege and protection. They claim a special suffering and demand special treatment. But no, there is no branch of ethics known as loyalist exceptionalism. As Paul Nolan explained in his Peace Monitoring Report, working class protestants do not have it any harder than any one else, and in fact many working class Catholics are hard off.
I say it's long past high time we said up with this we will not put. We will not put up with nonsensical babble. We will not put up with people who wail, scream, screech, scream and wallow in self-pity. This must be vanquished and repudiated.
Interview with @NI_CRC's Paul Nolan about 2nd annual NI Peace Monitoring Report #NIPMR http://t.co/jhBlasKxkB More at http://t.co/QvGLV8vcWa
— Alan in Belfast (@alaninbelfast) April 10, 2013
As John Major said, loyalism's fears are "phantom fears".