DUP MLA Jonathan Craig has condemned a Housing Association for requesting a tenant remove the Union Flag erected from outside her house after signing up to a shared housing charter. The Lagan Valley MLA has made the case on Talkback today in favour of effectively abandoning the fledgling shared housing charter provision which was initiated to try and encourage the growth of integrated housing.
Of course, Craig was at pains to point out that no one should be offended by National flags, though he did rule out his support for the flying of the Irish Tricolour, stating,
“It would be ok to fly that flag if we were in the Republic of Ireland but we’re not in the Republic of Ireland.”
Perhaps Jonathan believes a shared housing development should have its own red, white and blue kerbs and a council-sponsored 11th Night bonfire as well…..
Over in north Belfast, his fellow party member, William Humphrey MLA, has supported the flying of a UVF flag from outside a home on the grounds that the Parades Commission “has deemed that flag to be legal.” Humphrey was referring to the purple and orange UVF flag which has been purchased by the thousands this summer by loyalists and erected across Belfast in time for the orchestrated UVF riots in East Belfast last month.
Meanwhile, DUP MLA and Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, has made an embarrassing u-turn following his decision to try and compel the Housing Executive to extend its contract with the east Belfast-based Red Sky firm. The under fire Minister has come under fierce attack for introducing a sectarian dimension to the issue.
So much for that pitch for catholic votes, eh?
In reality, there never was a genuine attempt by the DUP to move past its narrow sectarian vision, and the actions and words of its representatives in recent days –even prior to today’s outbursts- provide further proof of the hollowness of Robinson’s utterances.
But even the primary target demographic for the liberal sounding rhetoric of the DUP leader and First Minister- the soft unionists who have flitted and flirted with and between Alliance, the Ulster Unionists and the Garden Centre- are likely to be further exasperated by the tribalist pronouncements and actions of the elected representatives of unionism’s electoral monolith (though such actions might go down a treat with the core support.)
In the absence of a unionist party emerging capable of divorcing itself from the petty sectarian instincts of the DUP and the almost moribund UUP, the Alliance Party is likely to continue to consolidate its base as a sanitised version of unionism in Belfast and its commuter belt, however much Alliance representatives and members loathe the label.
A case of the Yellow thanking the Orange for once again displaying some true colours?