Peace Rally??

I suppose if you are going to have a mass Rally for Peace outside Belfast City Hall, then nine days before Christmas….and peoples shopping progress already delayed by ten days of loyalist “protest”…..is the wrong time to actually have it.

Yet it was a bit of a disaster. If you are going to have a “mass” protest ……you need a lot of people. Up to one thousand people attended. Other estimates say “hundreds”. I wasnt there ….but lets say “800” which means that about 1% of the people there…. are on my Facebook or Twitter account……which indicates that it appealed to the “politically aware” rather than the Public as a whole.

Did we actually need a Peace Rally? I dont think we did. Lets be frank…..there was little or no inter-community violence over the ten days since the “Flegs” vote was passed at Belfast City Hall. Rather it was loyalist rioting and the power to stop it all was in the hands of the PSNI….and they chose mostly to not use that power. Incrementally they suggested higher degrees of loyalist paramilitary organisation…….and at the time of the attempted murder of a PSNI officer, they publicly and possibly privately put out the word that “enough is enough”………and since midweek there has been a scaling down of the protests.

Or ……to put it another way….those who “turned on” the Violence had already turned it off before today.

Yet some people are saying that the “image” is important. That somehow we need to send out the right “image” to folks in USA and Britain…..that the rioting they witnessed on their TV News was not the real Norn Iron. Well frankly what we saw on our TV screens was more real than MTV Award Shows, Titanic Exhibitions, stupid lapel badges with meaningless “Our Time, Our Place” slagans and G8 summits.

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12 Responses to Peace Rally??

  1. With unionist marches towards places like the Short Strand and St James’, it’s clear that unionists not only wanted inter communal violence needed it, from the community workers that are exposed as the violent thugs who manipulate the young to the very top of unionism, which is exposed as the same old bigoted animal it was 4 decades ago.

    On e thing that the peace demo showed was that there is no need for protest to impinge on the rest of society, including commerce.

    I had an engagement with a DUP councillor on Twitter, yesterday evening. It was during the Castle Court bomb alert and he immediately blamed dissident republicans. He was unable to produce anything to back this up and so too were the DUP with allegations of death threats against Poots and Donaldson.

    See, there should not have to be any need for the peace demo if journos were doing there jobs, challenging the the lies and promoting the evident truths, such as how few unionists are actually protesting and the irony of a party called the Democratic Unionist Party not accepting democracy.

    Kills me to say it but Stephen Nolan has represented the frustration over the jumbled non message that unionists are putting out there, such as with Robin Swann’s complete nonsense http://audioboo.fm/boos/1113700-uup-s-robin-swann-tries-to-clarify-party-s-position-on-flag-protests although Nolan does seem to have a curiously cosy relationship with oul Winkie.

    It took it’s time for nationalists to catch on but it is obvious that, left to it’s own devices, unionism will eat itself. It’s a beastly animal, not of our time and is exposed as something no decent person would have truck with, akin to their old bed fellows, the afrikaans.

    • FJH says:

      I think that unionists would certainly have liked to have provoked the nationalist community into confrontation. And it didnt work out that way for them.

  2. BTW, anyone know why these people are being allowed to do this? http://www.facebook.com/SaveOurUnionFlag?fref=ts

  3. ardmajell55 says:

    Our time… our place? Did Question Time have anything to debate this place in the last fortnight? I didn’t see any. So much for british as Finchley.
    I wouldn’t put it past Foster to have made that pointless slogan OTOP up.

  4. Charlie says:

    While marginally off topic, it fits in with one of your broader points about their being a media narrative of a certain design for the new Norn Iron, but also the painful lack of challenge of many oft-spouted unionist mantras of “Army of catholic unionists, nationalism in crisis, unionists giving everything, working class loyalists left behind etc..

    I wanted to give an example from my youth which shows, to some degree that this conditioning has been going on for years and fits in with another current topic of loyalist intimidation when they don’t get their way.

    It was mid-May 1998, I was sat in French class now in my second year of big school. The Good Friday Agreement was already delivered and the referendum campaign in full swing. Our French teacher, one of the easiest there was to get off topic to avoid having to learn any French was giving us his 2 cents about the agreement.

    One fella puts his hand up and says “But sir, I heard that the agreement needs more than 70% if its to win. Is that not the case?” Having heard the same thing from Doddsy, meaning the “unionist majority” I nodded in agreement.

    Our French teacher, possibly the funniest teacher ever, gave an uncharacteristic snarl to the kid who asked the question and any of the rest of us considering such nonsense. “It needs 50.1% to win, and not a vote more.” he anounced gruffly.

    That was (oddly) exactly half of my life ago. Fast forward another 13.5 years, its good to take another stock check and assess how things have progressed.

    Well not as many people die nowadays, so that’s a good start.

    Is there political deadlock? More or less. But managed in more viewer friendly way.

    Are we all being corralled into being de Facto unionists? Certainly.
    in 1998, it was the NIO’s agenda which got preferential treatment, and the acceptance of NI until a majority wished otherwise was the version. Now we have BT front cover’s announcing that we are all alliance. News to me.

    In 1998, Drumcree was stopped and not allowed down Garvaghy Rd since. Today, that sore stills persists but has been usurped by Ardoyne and Carrick Hill.

    A few years after that the indefensible being defended was Holy Cross. This year it’s a reaction to a council vote.

    Much has changed, but in most ways they’ve stayed the same. The only thing to have stayed just as predictable as the Pavlovian response of loyalists has been the hyper-partisanship of the local media and the relucatance to scrutinise any fact, claim or suggestion beyond the instantly googleable….

  5. FJH says:

    Certainly with Protestantism heading towards being a minority, there is a very active campaign to build up the “Middle Ground” as largely “staus quo/unionists” Some challenges there in terms of designation…….but it looks like when I coined the phrase “letsgetalongerist” on Slugger O’Toole amost three years ago……I might just have called it right.

  6. Was “our time, our place” related, at all, to the delusion that the covenant was an international story?

  7. FJH;

    Lets have a look at some of the guests recently, the Dowsons and the Griffins. Is that where loyalism is, where unionism is or both.

    Is this where they sit on the pantheon of British politics, where I always thought they where?

    • FJH says:

      To a very real extent Norn Irons 1960s unionists (Orr, Cunningham etc) would have been to the right of the Tory Party. Only Robin Chichester-Clark, who was a Junior Minister I think…could have been regarded as mainstream. One of the scary things in the past twenty years is the rise of the DUP a party more at ease with BNP connexions that would be acceptable in England.

  8. kensei says:

    I always equate peace rallies with that bit in Father Ted “Speed 3” where they suggest another mass…

    • FJH says:

      I see that some at yesterdays rally had a “Down With This Sorta Thing” and “Careful Now” signs……which indicates that it was all a bit of craic rather than a serious peace rally.

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