Thames & Avon Murray Club arriving at Stormont.
Ulster Day 2012 – Ulster Covenant Centenary Parade.
Thames & Avon Murray Club (Apprentice Boys of Derry) parading along Prince of Wales Avenue at Stormont, Belfast.
The parade commemorated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant.
The Thames & Avon Murray Club bannerette at the statue of Sir. Edward Carson, Stormont.
Thames & Avon Murray Club, Apprentice Boys of Derry at Stormont – Ulster Day 2012.
Thames & Avon Murray Club (Apprentice Boys of Derry) bannerette outside Stormont – Ulster Day 2012.
Is the increasing erraticism of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission a deliberate ploy to ‘put itself out of business?’
The Northern Ireland Parades Commission is a failed entity. A ‘quango on the rocks’ is a dangerous beast; its swan-song to the refrain of the Beach Boys Sloop John B.
In yesterday’s Belfast Newsletter (25th August 2012), an Open Letter to the Parades Commission signed by a wide spectrum of the unionist constituency lambasted the Commission and its seemingly asymmetric approach to parading issues.
The July 12th determination in North Belfast (with respect to the return parade along the Crumlin Road) made sense to the criminally insane or those in the belief that the Orange Order had perfected modes of beyond-light-speed travel at CERN (discovery of the Boyne particle!). “Return before you arrive” is an interesting existentialist frame, leading me to suspect that the Parades Commission outsourced decision making to Schrodinger’s Cat.
Last week in Rasharkin, the ‘scrofulous quango’ set ‘participation quotas’ for a perfectly legitimate and peaceful traditional parade. Twenty five bands was an acceptable number, forty was not. Vapid fallacious logic accompanied the notification (the Cat was having a bad day perhaps).
Inexplicable determination number 3 placed restrictions on the Royal Black Institution parade in Belfast (25/08/12). Young Conway Volunteers were banned from passing St. Patrick’s RC church on Donegal Street. This was attributed to alleged playing of sectarian music outside same on July 12th.
World Service broadcasts playing “The Protestant Boys”, is more likely to be “God Bless the Prince of Wales.” In school we sang Haydn’s “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken, Zion city of our God” to the same tune as Deutschlandlied. Is it inconceivable that the tune is just a tune, and the context is derived in the ear of the listener (recall the cameraman was a well-known Sinn Fein activist)?
The highest standards of decorum should be adhered to in any parade, and every reasonable step taken to avoid offense and promote cross-community relations. The Parade Commission’s insufferable arrogance over Rasharkin, the Crumlin Road and Donegal Street, its imposition of arbitrary ‘participation quotas’ (one in the eye for the right of free assembly) and its interpretation of ‘musical intent’ is however ‘beyond the pale’.
Recent ‘republican showpieces’ featured women and children dressed in paramilitary garb. This smacks of the worst excesses of Hamas or Islamic Jihad. The Commission seems less animated about such nationalist displays.
The Commission’s ‘credibility self-immolation’ has made it entirely unacceptable to unionists.
A conspiracy theorist might ruminate over seen and unseen motivations. Is the Commission being manoeuvred by its political masters to commit ‘professional suicide’ to expedite ‘replacement agreements?’
The answer could be found in Hanlon’s Razor:
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
Whatever the cause, “Glorious things of thee are not spoken” is an understatement from the unionist camp.
Co. Antrim Grand Black Chapter enjoys fine weather, music and fellowship in Larne.
I enjoyed a magnificent day in Larne on Saturday August 25th. I joined the Ballymena Royal Black Chapter (Hillstown RBP) at the Co. Antrim Grand Black Chapter demonstration.
Approximately 77 bands, led Brethren from Larne, Ballymena, Antrim, Ballyclare, Lisburn and Ballymoney through Larne town centre, to the picturesque assembly field beside the North Antrim coast.
It was a very family oriented day, and Larne District were perfect hosts.
I also had the opportunity to catch-up with UUP MLA for North Antrim Robin Swann.
There was a great deal of musical diversity and I particularly enjoyed the pipes and drums and (as you can see in the short clip below) the superb Magheramorne Silver Band.
A religious service was held, before parading the return route.
Queen Anne gifted Blenheim Palace to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough following his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Sir Winston Churchill, a minister in Asquith’s Liberal government was born at the palace in 1874. The magnificent estate a short distance from Oxford, incorporating 2,000 acres of parkland and landscaped gardens played host to a great conservative and unionist rally on July 27th 1912.
The rally was a response to Prime Minister Asquith’s third Home Rule Bill introduced on April 11th 1912. Rudyard Kipling published the poem “Ulster 1912” in the Morning Post two days before. Asquith’s decision to visit Dublin in July and to publicly ridicule unionist resistance to the bill galvanised support.
Thousands attended including peers, political luminaries and anti-Home-Rule campaigners.
Andrew Bonar Law, having recently acceded to the leadership of the Conservative Party, gave unyielding support to the unionist cause. His address concluded: “I can imagine no length of resistance to which Ulster can go in which I would not be prepared to support them, and in which, in my belief, they would not be supported by the overwhelming majority of the British people.”
Law’s sentiments (regarded by some as seditious) were echoed by The Duke of Norfolk, a prominent Roman Catholic philanthropist and Conservative who said that: “he could imagine no lengths to which he or his party would go to resist Home Rule”.
F.E. Smith (later Lord Birkenhead) a staunch opponent of Irish nationalism joined the rally. Within a decade, having fostered warm relations with Michael Collins and Arthur Smith, he drafted much of the 1921 Anglo Irish treaty, to the vexation of Edward Carson. Birkenhead’s great personal and political friend Sir Winston Churchill was excoriated by former colleagues as the ‘Blenheim rat’ following his defection from the Conservatives. Ultimately, Carson may have felt this to be a more appropriate soubriquet for Smith.
The Blenheim rally was an important antecedent to Ulster Day, the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant. Rudyard Kipling would again immortalise in his poem “The Covenant” (1914).
Pro-union feeling across England was palpable. On the 4th of April 1914 between 100,000 and 200,000 attended a rally in Hyde Park in London to demonstrate support for the unionist cause.
Further rallies were held in Kent the following month (May 18th 1914) at which Kipling was one of the main speakers. He criticised Asquith’s government and praised the British Army officers at the Curragh who would resign their commissions rather than fight against Northern unionists.
In the hundred years since the Blenheim rally, Conservative support for Ulster unionism has been inconstant, and rarely again reached the levels of Bonar Law’s tenure. Home Rule for Ireland has been replaced by a crisis over Home Rule for Scotland.
In February, Prime Minister David Cameron visited Scotland to promote the case for the preservation of the 1707 Acts of Union. He unashamedly declared himself a unionist, a conservative and a unionist. Unionism re-entered the narrative of mainland Conservatism, a unionism undergoing notable political renaissance. The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats (whose forefathers were architects of Irish Home Rule) are unionist. Unionism is no longer an abbreviation for ‘Ulster unionism’. It is a re-adoption of mainstream political and social ideology, evident at Blenheim in 1912, and at Hyde Park in 1914.
Cameron is not Andrew Bonar Law, Alistair Darling and Better Together do not compare to Carson and the Ulster Unionist Council.
It is however irrefutable that a re-examination of unionism within national politics is underway. This owes much to the events a century ago at Blenheim, to the conviction of Carson and to the unswerving support from Bonar Law’s Conservatives.
Follow Steve Nimmons on Twitter @stevenimmons
On July Twelfth just before 4pm, a token Orange Order parade made its return journey past Ardoyne shops.
Hours later in disturbances in Brompton Park and adjoining streets, rioters attacked police officers with bricks, petrol bombs and burning cars.
A gunman emerged and fired 17 shots. PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott explained that:
Rioters gave cover for more sinister elements who tried to murder police.
Six plastic bullets (AEPs: Attenuating Energy Projectiles) were fired over a period of approximately 90 minutes by PSNI officers attempting to control the disorder. Their primary response was water canon.
The Police Ombudsman’s Office (which investigates all weapon discharges) issued the following information appeal on July 20th.
The Police Ombudsman’s Office has appealed for information about the discharge of AEP rounds by police during disorder in north Belfast on 12 July.
Six rounds were discharged during disturbances in the Ardoyne area of the city.
The Police Ombudsman’s Office investigates all discharges of police firearms in Northern Ireland.
A spokesman said: “The rounds were discharged in the Brompton Park area between 7.30pm and 9.10pm on 12 July. We would be keen to hear from anyone who saw them being fired and can tell us anything about what was happening at the time.
“We would be particularly keen to speak to anyone who has video footage of the rounds being discharged.”
The calumny of ‘political policing’ is being propagandised by ‘the usual suspects’. Corroborating video evidence will be essential to separate fact from false claim.
That this House notes with sadness that 21 July 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the Bloody Friday bombings in Belfast; further notes that the events of the day were some of the most horrific acts of terrorism ever carried out by the IRA, which set off 22 bombs in the city centre in an 80 minute period, killing nine people and injuring 130 others including 77 women and children; and recognises that many of the victims and their families still bear the mental and physical scars to this day, that we should never forget to honour the memory of those killed and that justice demands that those in the Republican movement and Sinn Fein leadership with information should even now come forward to provide truth and closure for the victims.
Date tabled: 17.07.2012
Nelson McCausland writing yesterday about Bloody Friday noted:
Sinn Fein and the republican movement are attempting to rewrite history. Their strategy is to pick out certain episodes in the Troubles, such as Bloody Sunday, focus attention on them, and hope that other episodes, where the Provisional IRA were the perpetrators, will gradually fade from the public memory and be quietly forgotten.
Stage-managed mass murder cannot be airbrushed from the scrofulous history of republican terrorism. Universal parliamentary support for this motion is a moral imperative. Please write to your Member of Parliament and impress on them its importance.
Polish flags were burned on 11th night bonfires in isolated incidents in Belfast.
Maciek Bator of the Polish Association said:
The Polish flag is a symbol of freedom, independence and peace for the 30,000 Polish people living in Northern Ireland and around 80 million across the globe
By burning the Polish flag and other symbols, some members of the local communities were able to express their strong political views and promote anti-Polish sentiments
First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson has strongly condemned the flag burnings.
The Polish community is the largest ethnic minority community in Northern Ireland, and is harmoniously integrated into society.
Sadly, isolated incidents of bigotry highlight residual cultural immaturity. Over the Twelfth, remembrance services were held in memory of the sacrifice of Ulstermen and women who fell in defence of democracy and freedom.
Britain entered World War II when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Poles fought with great distinction throughout the war, not least at Monte Cassino. Of those awarded medals of Righteous among the Nations (by the State of Israel to non-Jews who saved Jews from extermination during the Holocaust) Polish citizens number the greatest.
Polish pilots fought in the Battle of Britain, and the Polish 303 Fighter Squadron claimed the highest number of kills of any Allied squadron.
Poland suffered Nazi invasion, the genocide at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor as well as decades of soviet repression. The Polish flag should proudly fly side-by-side our national symbols. To burn it on a Belfast bonfire is an affront to civility and the memory of Polish war heroes.
Mithridatism, tolerance or immunity to a poison acquired by taking gradually larger doses of it. Today, McKeever’s resistance building concoction, courtesy of the Belfast Telegraph.
Nuala McKeever’s potpourri of impalpable rigmarole reminds me of Kennedy’s ‘enemy of truth’:
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic – John F. Kennedy
Just because you’re not throwing stones at someone doesn’t mean you respect them. When your raison d’etre is opposition to another’s view point, then respect is really impossible.
This is untrue and illogical.
- The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend – Abraham Lincoln
- In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher – Dalai Lama
She segues into a swipe at the Orange Order:
Respect demands the ability actually to grasp that another’s point of view is just as valid to them as yours is to you.
Not to spout that as a platitude, but really to get it, at a gut level and live accordingly.
If this were the case here, then the Orange Order would stop marching in places where they aren’t wanted and the nationalist/republicans would say "C’mon ahead lads, we’re away to the beach to have a good time, walk away til yer noses bleed!"
It won’t happen. For the Orange Order and their followers, the whole basis of their existence is triumphalism. We whopped yiz!!! Take that! Slap it up yiz!!!
Well Nuala, what about the Orange Institution’s presence in America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Togo, Ghana etc.? Do you write off religious and charitable activities as triumphalist? What about the circa 97% of parades which are not contentious – are they triumphalist? If they are, they seem to have rather missed the point!
On Facebook someone posted video he’d taken with his phone of an Orange band. They stopped outside St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Belfast and rather than marching on, proceeded to march in a circle, banging the drums and playing flutes, cheered on by the crowd.
Nuala, you know full well the head of the parade had stopped at the Cenotaph and the band in question had nowhere to move to. Their position outside St. Patrick’s was entirely circumstantial.
When some of the heavies realised they were being filmed, they attacked the guy with the phone. Respect eh?
I have only seen footage on television, but I think a reasonable commentary was that the person in question (who happened to be a well-known Sinn Fein activist) was ‘confronted’ rather than attacked. If there was a physical assault then the appropriate action is to take the matter before the courts.
Maybe we need fantasy. Maybe we prefer to have something to dream about.
Let’s dream about factual reporting, unbiased journalism and the words of JFK:
the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic
Imagine if we all got what we say we wanted. Imagine if we had nothing to complain about and no one to blame.
That would have been an interesting vision to explore in your article. For reasons best known to you, you decided to set-aside the ideal.