A Bad Marching Season Is A Good One.

Last night on BBCs “The View” Chris Ryder and Brian Feeney warned that it would be a bad marching season. Of course there is the potential for widespread violence and even deaths. And I am aware I speak in relative safety…but the last sustained period of bad marching seasons turned out ok for nationalism. I speak of Drumcree …and the now established principle that the Orange Order will never get down the Garvaghy Road again. For all the huffing and puffing….the Orange Order lost that one big time.

Rev Mervyn Gibson had a twinkle in his eye and tongue firmly in cheek last night. The threat that the Orange Order will not sign documents requesting a legal parade…on the basis that their flag protesting friends make no such request and are unlikely to be held to account due to the softly softly approach of PSNI…fatally discredited???…seems likely to divide Orangeism.

Whatever it’s misgivings about the Parades Commission…and I suspect a nod and a wink from the NIO that it will be abolished is really what Gibson wants..the illegal parades would seriously divide the Orange Order. Already it is a minority culture but if used to shore up DUP and UUP it becomes increasingly marginalised and toxic. An that’s a GOOD thing.

The Good Friday Agreement ended the Conflict. But it sold the mantra that we are all right and all wrong. Nobody won or lost. Enter the Conflict Resolutionists…who tell us that we must accommodate the Orange Order….a nasty squalid sectarian organisation.

Oddly the Conflict Resolutionists…often English and American are good decent liberal minded nomen and women who would recthat at the notion of accommodating the English Defence League and the Ku Klux Klan.

Thats the thing. The Culture Wars in the USA have been won by the Civil Righand movement and lost by the right wing racists. Likewise…as last years Olympics showed British multiculturalism has won out over the British racism. Now….they haven’t gone away ya know. There will always be Racism. There will always be Sectarianism. But ..?THe lesson is that the Ku Klux Klan …for example…have been exiled to the margins off Civilisd Society. We should do the same with the Orange Order….then be nice to them.

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38 Responses to A Bad Marching Season Is A Good One.

  1. oakleaf says:

    The peelers are seriously discredited which could cause lots of problems for Sinn Fein come the summer which nationalists are dragged off the crumlin road.

    • Or at a four day long St Patricks festival. Frankly a lot of 1998 chickens are coming home to roost. The whole thing WILL collapse eventually. There are just too many contradictions.

      • oakleaf says:

        Belfast St Pats day is awful. Any signs of Irish culture they try to hide or ban. I used to go to Armagh which was very good.

        Plans for St Pats this year Mass, bite to eat and then off to the bar to watch the club football and hurling and some of the Rugby.

  2. St. Patrick’s Day is the one to watch. If that passes off without contention then the summer events may simply be up to the usual standards, as it were. However if we see trouble so early in the year and around an otherwise largely uncontested event then “real” trouble will probably lie down the road when more partisan celebrations/commemorations take place.

    • I’m not so sure.
      There is almost four months in between St Patricks Day and the Twelfth.
      It would certainly be enough time for police to baton charge and arrest large numbers of nationalists….and then people call for calm before the Orangemen hit the streets.
      Orangemen/unionists need a sense of what they would call balance. If nationalists are portrayed as bad boys in March it will…as they see it…wipe out the images of Flegs protestors.
      And allow the Christian men in bowler hats back on to the high ground in July.

  3. bangordub says:

    Paddy’s day is not an ocassion for coat trailing. It is a day to celebrate being Irish. That simple. There is not a single event on that day that I am aware of where the celebrations impinge on a community where it would not be welcome. That is the essence of what is the difference between the supremacist mentality of some with the comfort of belonging of others.
    Bain sult as Lá Fhéile Pádraig

    • You’re right that there is no parity between St Patricks Day and twelfth of July but they have been unfairly seen as different sides of the same coin for years.
      In part, Conflict Resolutions need BALANCE and if they don’t get Balance, they invent it.
      Thus GAA is equated with Orange kick the Pope bands.
      Thus the Irish language is equated with Ulster-Scots.
      thus regardless of the accuracy, St Patricks Day will be paired with the Twelfth.
      Will there be trouble…either provoked at interfaces or as a result of alcohol and/or bad policing?
      Too soon to say…but all shades of Unionism from Alliance thru to UUP and DUP are on a hook and they will look to nationalist rioting to get them off that hook.
      The sight ofPSNI baton charging or firing plastic bullets at nationalists would be welcomed by DUP, UUP, loyalists and Alliance.
      The narrative REQUIRES that nationalist heads get broken….and that’s what is likely to happen.

  4. factual says:

    Sinn Féin recognises the parading tradition and has done a lot of work in mediation betwen those on both sides of these discussions. I am pretty confident that the parading issue will not flare up more than in previous years, in only a very small percentage of parades. Its time to try and adopt a better way forward north of the border on these issues.

  5. Mick Fealty says:

    Agree with Sionnach. The safeguards are all blowing. On the top of Slieve League there’s no safety barriers because: 1, the cost would prohibitive; the assumption is no right minded is going to do anything but exercise extreme care up there.

    Have we got “right minded” protagonists? Maybe the thought of hitting the ground will bring good counsel to the fore? Mwhaaa, or something..

    • factual says:

      My sense just looking in from Dublin is that people are becoming more mature about these issues relating to parading. There is a legal framework and the various sides have all bought into the rule of law and policing. So I think that the scenes of olden times – those of Drumcree in parents time – are a thing of history because the GFA, policing, and the legislatove framework have all moved forward.

      • factual says:

        I met a student from the six counties at a party a few weeks ago in Dalkey. He was from a village midway between Banbridge and Portadown, though he had recently moved to university in Loughborough to study Engineering.

        I explicitly asked him how he expected the Parades Season to go north of the border.

        He said he that young people really were not interested in the parading disputes. Yes in his parents time Drumcree was an issue that could make the whole six counties feel tense — but not any longer for this generation.

        These things, he remarked, are now really very local and they don’t tend to cause other than very local tensions any more. There is an arms length legislative framework that ensures the heat has gone out of it other than for the small number of very local areas where a few on each side get hot under the collar for a few hours.

        He pointed out that the whole situation – parading legislation, policing, the powersharing assembly – was completely different now.

        He said that young people were more open minded than their parents and wanted people to focus on economic issues. He was of the view that older people were trapped in the old constitutional politics but younger people were more interested in economic and social politics.

    • I’m not totally sure what you’re saying.
      The point is that the Orange Order is a quasi fascist organisation…or more honestly that too many of its members are inclined that way.
      They shouldn’t be accommodated until they are no threat.

  6. factual says:

    St Patricks Day is cross community – both sides up there relate to his christian message and the christian heritage that he relates to.

  7. I cannot see how anyone can see any equivalence between the OO and the GAA. In my youth we would have kicked anything Orange except the oval ball, (that is a joke by the way) while we burned everything English except the coal. Surely it is more accurate to compare the OO to the AOH? In which case the Feast of the Assumption is the taig twalf?

    Or maybe not unless the OO want to make wee Billy a God or at least have some supernatural prowess.

    St Patricks day is not a sop to nationalists and nationalists should not be eternally grateful to our unionist betters for allowing us to indulge in paddywackery on this day. Am I the only one who resents the frankly cringeworthy displays of oirishness that pass for Irish cultural expression. Darby O’Gilll and the little people? Now I am a great man for the fun but really?

    Another little point while I am on a decent rant and the supine nature of nationalists – why do we accept the 12th as a holiday? Is this an orange state? We can rightly accuse the RUC/PSNI of facilitating the fleg protestors but yet allow the state to faciitate discrimination in favour of the OO? How supine can we get?

    • factual says:

      St Patrick is a day for both sides, it is about the christian belief and christian values that St P brought.

      • bangordub says:

        Factual, have you ever heard of foot in mouth disease?
        St Patrick and his feast day have many meanings to many people. For some it is a religious feast day that celebrates the coming of christianity to these shores, in whatever form. For others it is our national holiday. There are many interpretations between these positions. That is the joy of living in a Republic. It is up to each of us to take what we will from an occasion that is shared by all. Nobody is excluded, nobody has to join in and I’m F*****d if I’m going to be told what it should mean to me. Revisit republican (and I DO NOT mean sinn fein policy) basics, discuss and understand them, then you will be taken seriously, fair enough?

  8. Personally I regard the coming of Christianity to Ireland as a disaster. It had more to do with aping the manners and customs of our nearest and more powerful neighbors in the twilight Roman Empire than any genuine spiritual conversion (now that sounds familiar! Irish people looking overseas and believing that other people’s cultures are superior to their own!). It was also a useful mechanism for the aristocracy by which they could undermine the socio-legal influence of the druid classes. The irony being that the opportunistic Christian Church jumped into the temporary power vacuum left behind (another familiar aspect of Irish history. The British administration moves out of the south in 1922-23 and the Vatican moves in to replace it!).

    The reason I would focus on Lá Naomh Pádraig is precisely because militant Unionism has tended to let it pass without disruption, for a number of historic and cultural reasons. If we see “flag protesters” trying to disrupt events in and around the festival then what will happen when the big and avowedly political events of the year approach in the summer? Drumcree may be old news as far as the Orange Order and Unionists are concerned but they are creating new Drumcress in north Belfast and elsewhere.

  9. Sorry for not being around, moving and started work.

    Seamas, as is so often, is probably on the money. From where I am sitting, far, far away, it looks like this has gotten so out of hand it’s beyond parody. Undoubtedly lack of jobs and austerity is a factor, but in these communities where the fleg protesters come from this is something that is part of normal, everyday life, so I have to ask myself, what else is at play here?

    For what it’s worth, I think Nats are dealing with a community suffering from a kind of form of group psychologically inflicted loss of sorts, ie. if your political elites define in such narrow, cultural terms what is a loss for your community and a win for your opponents as opposed to talking about compromise, then it goes without saying that when you are defeated on certain probably inevitable matters, your community is going to feel aggrieved. It’s up there with telling a footie team ‘your putting the ball in the back of the net is not how we’ll judge success or victory, it’s throw ins’.

    Whilst I am not against the decision at BCC, let’s be honest here, it was a symbolic one, not a ‘real’ decision. It’s up there with being at school and a kid drops his plate in the canteen; everyone whoops and cheers but life goes on and the kid is embarrassed for about 10 seconds. Life goes on and that’s that. This whole nonsense that’s still ongoing is akin to the kid who fell with his plate acting up and wanting to burn the school down for his embarrassment; it beggars belief.

    I do think this summer will probably be awful, I hope it isn’t for all back home but if it is you’re more than welcome on my deck for a bbq with some kanga bangers (roo sausages) before I come home.

    • Welcome back FC.
      Youve been missed.
      Im surprised that no unionist has mentioned the phrase “confidence building measures”.
      This was a stock phrase they used in the 1990s when they suffered any kind of reversal and needed a big hug from the British Govt.
      Villiers may yet provide one.

      • Aw shucks, thanks FJH. Glad you enjoyed TX btw.

        ‘Confidence building measures’, there’s something I haven’t heard in a while. In this instance, with working class unionism, what ‘measures’ would they realistically want and be able to achieve without being seen as caving to facism? In a way, I think that if they were thrown a bone that they actually wanted this would be great for nationalsism in general as we know what unionism wants and its pretty regressive stuff, meaning its a win win situation for us. Watch this space

        As for Villiers going over the heads of the parties in the North or out of concert with the Southern govt., I really can’t see it; it has not been the case since 1998 and it would only make matters much worse, something she knows or her handlers know all too well.

  10. The kinda weird thing about unionists objecting to St Patrick’s day is that it is now an intrinsic part of urbane Britishness, vastly more than their mown saint’s.

    Yet again, the more British than the British unionists are so unbritish, save for the EDL types.

  11. Pingback: Do all Nationalists believe in “what’s bad for you is good for us…” « Slugger O'Toole

  12. factual says:

    i get the sense that the flag protest issue seems to have calmed down.

    theres an intersting item “Time to reach out southern hand to unionists” by andy polak who points out that duncan morrow has stated that the politicians north of the border have failed in drawing up a shared future and that all these issues – flags parading – need to be dealt with in a comprehensive csi strategy.

    Bottom line: problems over parading is a sign of a bad society up there, and thus bad for both sides. both sides will benefit from csi and both sides suffer from its absense.

    • I heard there were high profile arrests in respect of the Flags protest. Too soon to know the effect of the arrests. One scenario COULD be that PSNI cleared it with the REAL organisers to lift Jamie and Wullie…a.s the REAL organisers might feel that these guys are figureheads and eejits…who have served their purpose.
      The point about the Protests is that they can be turned off and on at will.
      But various shades of unionism….DUP, UUP, Orange Order, “community workers” AND the Alliance Party need to be taken off the hook thy got on.
      Are Jamie and Wullie just pawns in that.
      I’d say there is a very PUBLIC game going on here. But the PRIVATE game is the interesting one. Jamie and Wullie are distractions.
      Andy Pollak and Duncan Morrow are serial letsgetalongerists. The fact that they agree with each other is not a guarantee they are right.
      Increasingly I think Big Dunc will be the Alliance Euro candidate.

  13. hoboroad says:

    Jamie Bryson on the run from the PSNI.

  14. factual says:

    i suppose duncan morrow could use it to build profile to then run as an alliance mla

  15. It’s like so many people didn’t pay attention to Hansel and Grettle. Follow the wool back back to the start of the flegs debate and look to find Jamie and Willie. The originator of the main protests stepped aside, to the PUP, and let the muppets take centre stage.

    The truly astonishing thing is the indulgence given to Willie and Jamie by Nolan and the likes. This is thugs being thugs….shit kickers kicking shit…football hooligans at another game (think Goodies football hooligans kicking off at ballet). It’s no coincidence that these people are connected to the EDL and BNP, not forgetting Willie’s former friendship with the KKK.

    • Conflict Resolution has always placed letsgetalongerism and liberal unionism at the centre of political gravity.
      The BBC and UTV obsession with the Twelfth is long past it’s sell by date. They had the opportunity to pull the plug at the time of Drumcree and are now stuck with it.
      If the BBC decided to stop showing the Twelfth, it would be protested by the loyal orders, unionism and the like as an attack on their culture.
      The BBC therefore NEEDS moderate Orangeism to assert itself, to give a fig leaf of respectability to its coverage.
      Will the real Orange Order stand up?
      Is it nice, decent Christian men in County Tyrone? At times yes.
      But it is joined at the hip to the very worst kind of nastiness, exemplified in Belfast.
      Thats the dilemma for the Conflict Resolutionists, lets GetAlongerists and liberal unionists and the Norn Iron Tourist Board….and the BBC….the Nolan Show…..you could see the narrative changing in front of Nolans eyes.
      Loyalism was shooting itself in the foot.
      And I say without any apology that this is good for nationalists.
      It’s the job of nationalists to destroy Orangeism.
      And that SHOULD be the job of Liberals.

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