I am glad I am giving up Blogging next week. Blogging has given up on me already. Satire is dead.
I am not sure if I heard the News correctly earlier in the week. A former member of the Orange Order (Adrian) who used to protest about Gay people is now a transgendered woman called Adrienne? Have I got this right?
He now wants to rejoin the Orange Order…Womens Section? Am I still right?
Being a fully paid up member of the “liberal elite”, I have never had much time for the Orange Order. I tend to empathise with residents who find their parades offensive.
But on the other hand, I feel I should have a certain sympathy with Adrienne.
The problem with being a “liberal” is that I am used to living with Angst. I have always believed that we can live long enough to cure all Fears….eg as a retired man, I dont fear Unemployment.
But I think I have finally out-lived Angst. I just dont care enough anymore. Plenty of young SDLP people to do Angst for me.
I can certainly understand my colleagues getting irritated that PSNI are not enthusiastically enforcing the laws on drinking in the street during Orange parades.
Indeed I can understand “family” residents in the Belfast Holylands getting annoyed when thousands of Queens University students are partying in their streets for St Patricks Day …St Patricks Week….and indeed every night of the year.
It is one of those odd things about Policing that if a passing police patrol sees you urinating against the wall of a Catholic Church on a night in February or a British war memorial on a night in December…they will quite rightly arrest you. If on the other hand several thousand people decide to do this in broad daylight, not everyone will be arrested.
Thats how Crowd Control works….the easy option. Walk down the street alone drinking a can of Budweiser, you will be told to stop. Party with thousands in University Avenue on 17th March or walk with thousands thru Shaftsbury Square with several boxes of Harp and….well, the chances are that no body will arrest you.
The normal rules are suspended. So it is hypocritical for people, including SDLP voices to point up that the PSNI are not going to tolerate excessive anti-social behaviour during the Pride (formerly Gay Pride) celebrations in Belfast this weekend. Much as I like to see young people with their rainbow flags and painted faces….there is an undercurrent of anti-social behaviour. Last year I saw two Rainbow Warriors smoke a substance which was not Benson & Hedges.
Of course the key is ….is the behaviour legal and does iit cause offence. In this and in all respects, LGBT should be treated fairly…indeed thats what they and all reasonable people want.
Supporters of Orange Order and indeed militant Republicanism claim that their behaviour does not cause offence. The only people who can judge are people who are or not offended. Likewise the LGBT people will say they dont cause offence. But the best judges might be casual passers-by in Belfast City Centre.
Obviously we should tolerate these expessions of (as they all claim) “Culture”. More obviously we should not encourage illegal or anti-social behaviour….and be adult enough to realise PSNI will (in part) be pragmatic in respect of enforcement.
For a person like myself who finds that painting kerb-stones red, white and blue….or green, white and orange is tacky and offensive, I am not in any way uplifted to see kerb stones painted in rainbow colours. That is crass and a disgrace. Likewise I am not convinced that street murals celebrating good stuff like Marriage Equality is somehow more acceptable than murals about Hunger Strikers and King Billy.
This behaviour merely divides the City further. There is no single drumbeat that represents Belfast.
Yet maybe Adrienne….the transgendered Orange supporter is the unlikely representative of Belfast. Is it actually possible to support Orange culture and Rainbow Culture. After all Orange and Green are in the Rainbow.
Adrienne is getting a good press in the Blogosphere
Maybe if all Orange-men became transgendered, they would be more acceptable marching past Ardoyne.
It must be worth a try.