Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Inside a war of words; outside traffic disruption, flag burning, brick throwing and storming the City Hall

Mon 3 December 2012, 10:35pm

Democracy in action tonight. A decision made (democratically) in a Belfast City Council committee – not with everyone’s agreement but a decision following the procedures nonetheless – was brought to the full council for debate and ratification. While the exchanges could be described as a war of words, a democratic process was followed and a recorded vote taken.

The vote 29/21 passed Alliance’s proposal to fly the Union Flag on designated days only over Belfast City Hall (and not over other council buildings). [Update - After the vote, Councillor Lee Reynolds raised a proposal to fly the flag permanently at the Belfast Cenotaph at the side of the City Hall. This will be discussed by council next month. Pity this kind of (imaginative) offer hadn't been made before councillors of all parties lost control of the flags issue.]

Relations on Belfast City Council had improved greatly over the past few years. Tonight UUP Councillor David Browne said that because of the flag issue he’d do no more deals with Alliance, the SDLP or Sinn Fein.

Civil unrest in action tonight too. Outside the back of the City Hall, the Save Our Flag protest that – after last night’s blog post “Who needs bus lanes when a flag might block the Belfast traffic?” – had promised not to affect the traffic brought May Street to a standstill as protesters occupied the very bus lanes that motorists so love to hate as well as the two lanes for ordinary vehicles. By 6pm, the police were diverting traffic down Victoria Street and away from the back from the City Hall. Translink reported bus diversions and delays.

However, the predicted traffic disruption was not the height of the disturbance.

The scale of the rally grew, with estimates of 600 or more protesters. Chanting and singing. Not content to protest about the potential for one flag to be taken down, another was burnt – a tricolour. Journalists were heckled when entering the City Hall. Later on, two female police officers – officers of the very crown the protesters were there to uphold – were injured. Bricks, golf balls and fireworks were thrown. The City Hall gates were breached. DUP Councillor Guy Spence’s yellow car was damaged. Update – by Tuesday morning reports listed injuries as fifteen PSNI officers, two City Hall security staff and a press photographer.

Proceedings inside the chamber were suspended for a prolonged period. Police with riot shields came inside the City Hall before it was secured and business could restart.

There’s a police presence in East Belfast tonight, with reports of missiles being hurled at PSNI officers on the Albertbridge Road and an attempted bus hijacking.

No matter what people think about the merits or demerits of flying a flag over council buildings, I imagine that no councillor would say tonight’s protest and violence was good for Belfast. Yet some should have seen it coming. Flags enrage, and public protests are unpredictable and at times unstable.

There was surely a stark contrast between the family-friendly retail opportunities at the front of the City Hall and the thuggery around the back that disrupted the buses shoppers would take home. A sharp contrast between the democratic processes followed inside the council chamber and the lawbreaking by some on the street outside.

What price for a flag? The BBC’s News homepage  has a story “Trouble erupts after Belfast flag vote” on its front page, under news of the royal pregnancy, Starbucks tax plans, a feared chemical strike in Syria and Israeli defiance over building three thousand more settler homes.

Surely the DUP and UUP leadership should have been able to predict the risk of tonight’s events occurring and stepped in early to ensure an unmanageable protest would not transpire? Where was the civic leadership and cool-headedness in the run up to tonight’s vote? Where was the ability – on all sides – to discuss flags in an anti-sectarian atmosphere? And will there be party discipline and a dampening of tensions in the aftermath? An unfortunate tweet from a Belfast DUP councillor (and senior Orangeman) goading republican dissidents feels more about keeping conflict going that seeking peaceful resolution.

John Lowry from the Workers Party commented this evening:

The pitiful sight of thousands of people protesting outside Belfast City Hall about flags is matched only by a chamber full of councillors debating it inside.

The real questions that must be asked about this tribal debacle are the ones that Sinn Fein and DUP voters in particular must ask of themselves. While jobs are being lost, prices rising, homes being re-possessed, child poverty increasing and thousands of people across the city facing a daily ‘eat or heat’ dilemma, Councillors in Belfast are using flags and emblems as a smokescreen for their failure to even address these issues.

Sinn Fein and DUP supporters must now ask themselves “Do I really want to vote for a party that is happy to ignore social and economic realities to secure their own tribal positions?”

Belfast, Christmas 2012 – not yet a season of peace and goodwill.

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Comments (78)

  1. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    Alan,
    On the alleged ‘goading’ of Republican dissidents, what are we supposed to be doing, sparing their feelings?!

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  2. I watched the debate live. It was somehow pathetic to watch unionist councillors who used to strut around the City Hall thinking that they would be masters of that little universe forever pitifully grovelling and demanding respect. And to hear one of them after the other proclaiming their desire for change and how they were all for equality beggared belief.

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  3. Tweedybird (profile) says:

    Disgraceful scenes tonight, one party is as bad as the other, SF knows what buttons to press with Unionists, and the predicable Unionists act accordingly. It’s like stepping back in the seventies again. All this “shared future” talk is a whitewash to what’s really happening and its ugly.

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  4. aquifer (profile) says:

    Every DUP conference goer given their own miniature Union Jack for their mantlepiece, so they did not have to worry about the vote.

    And this is nothing at all about winkling Niomi Long out of her surprise East Belfast seat.

    What were those Mitchell principles about opposing the use of violence within politics again? Or did the DUP dodge those just as well as they did the GFA negotiations.

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  5. DC (profile) says:

    I think all things considered that the violence which happened wasn’t that bad in NI terms, the potential was there for it to be much worse based on the decision being taken.

    Put it like this, it won’t be a decision which comes round every week. That should be it dealt with now pretty much for good, the flag is removed but for 15 or so days.

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  6. Mainland Ulsterman – Having stirred up trouble and anger in unionists/loyalists, it might be time for unionist politicians to sort out their own house before trying to irritate others

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  7. sdelaneys (profile) says:

    For the first time in a long time i agree completely with John Lowry.

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  8. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    Just watched one of the UTV videos and there’s a drunken loyalist mob singing “No pope of Rome” in the background. The ability of the DUP to be as short-sighted as they are, never fails to astound me.

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  9. The season of goodwill is always a joyous thing. When do the “Nollaig Shona ” protests start?

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  10. DC (profile) says:

    The real questions that must be asked about this tribal debacle are the ones that Sinn Fein and DUP voters in particular must ask of themselves. While jobs are being lost, prices rising, homes being re-possessed, child poverty increasing and thousands of people across the city facing a daily ‘eat or heat’ dilemma, Councillors in Belfast are using flags and emblems as a smokescreen for their failure to even address these issues.

    Well I know if I were some snobby upper middle class elite working in HM Treasury and being called on to do Northern Ireland a favour by devolving more taxation powers to stimulate the economy I would hardly be falling over myself for the region after hearing it took the Union flag down. Why bother with a region that seems not to care about the UK itself, or gets into violence one way or the other when things don’t go its way.

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  11. raftonpounder (profile) says:

    DUP could see this decision coming and have managed to parlay it into a huge attack on Alliance in the east of the city.
    They will take the heat on this for a few days and then Naomi Long will be personally to blame for the removal of the flag when Westminster elections roll round again.

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  12. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    On the criticism of tribalism, I agree but perhaps come to a different conclusion: if flags should not be treated as an important issue, why bother to change council policy in this way?

    But really it’s all a bit of a mess and could have been avoided if Belfast City Council boundaries had been allowed to actually reflect the real boundaries of Belfast. Ironic that both sides have been complicit in this latter day gerrymander, which has led to the absurdity of today’s vote by a minority of the city’s representatives to limit the flying of the national flag in the centre of the regional capital.

    I’m all for reducing flag-waving in general, but this move on a major issue of symbolism, without cross-community consensus, is not a great advert for ‘post-nationalist’ Irish nationalism. It seems rather vindictive and small-minded, especially in the light of nationalist representatives’ professed commitment to accepting the British identity of their fellow citizens (who happen to be a majority of the population of the city of Belfast, only part of which the Council runs.) The City Hall is not just a building for the council, it’s a focal point and icon for the whole city – and that is why the City Council should have thought twice before introducing this change.

    That said, the idea of flying the flag less isn’t a problem for me personally. I’d have hoped some other compromise might have been arrived at.

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  13. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Also, interesting that out of 11k responses to the consultation much less than 100 objected to the fleg flying..

    Not the first time we’ve seen attempts at direct consultation casually cast aside for blatant political reasoning.

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  14. The City Hall is not just a building for the council, it’s a focal point and icon for the whole city

    And that’s what it should be. Mind you, 40 years ago when I lived and worked in the city, indeed for the Council, many “Catholics” were actually afraid to go inside it. Times have changed and long may it continue.

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  15. Bangordub (profile) says:

    Unionist outreach and a shared future in action, Loyalist style, on the streets of Belfast tonight.
    It may be 2012 but for some, it is still 1690, let alone 1922. The Unionist politicians have been stoking this up for days. Perhaps Nelson McCausland may have some words for us tonight?
    The Short Strand is under attack tonight. Again.
    Loyalism, when it suffers what it perceives as a setback. always, I repeat, always responds with violence or the threat of violence. I cannot think of an exception.
    The sad thing is that the DUP cannot escape responsibility for this one. Jim Allistair has also commented, interestingly for me on Belfast Demographics also.
    http://tuv.org.uk/press-releases/view/1701/tearing-down-national-flag-a-shame-and-disgrace

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  16. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Also, interesting that out of 11k responses to the consultation much less than 100 objected to the fleg flying..

    There are a whole bunch of reasons why that might be the case Mick.

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  17. SK (profile) says:

    “The City Hall is not just a building for the council, it’s a focal point and icon for the whole city”

    ____

    That’s right, MU. Not just the Protestant half of it.

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  18. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    “But really it’s all a bit of a mess and could have been avoided if Belfast City Council boundaries had been allowed to actually reflect the real boundaries of Belfast.”

    Northern Unionist default reaction to not getting their way – redraw the boundaries!

    “a minority of the city’s representatives

    That’s odd, I thought 29 was greater than 21?

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  19. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Tweedybird spot on at 10.52 and good post MU at 11.30.

    Further to MU’s post, how will Dublin look at all this tonight. ‘Frig me if this is what happens at City Hall, imagine what it would be like in a UI, er no thanks’.

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  20. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    Mick,

    nationalists don’t leaflet followers over flags, nor do they try to get as many write ins as possible.

    Nationalists don’t set up a dozen facebook and twitter accounts over flags nor do they organise rallies to oppose democratic decisions.

    You shouldn’t judge nationalists by unionist standards.

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  21. SK (profile) says:

    Every cloud, eh Red Lion.

    If a little bit of consideration for the identity of their nationalist neighbours constitutes “pressing unionists buttons” then I despair for that community.

    What tonight demonstrates is that unionists are only democrats when democracy is convenient.

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  22. Bangordub (profile) says:

    LOL H the B
    The Northern state was founded on an electoral manipulation, it was maintained and governed on the basis of an electoral manipulation, it eventually imploded because of thet electoral manipulation. Unionist Politicians are still talking about electoral manipulation (See my link to JA above).
    And some commentators have been having a go at me on my blog because I observe and take an interest in how that electoral manipulation is backfiring somewhat. That amy not suit certain narratives but it is nevertheless central to what is going on in BCC and elsewhere in my opinion

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  23. Bangordub (profile) says:

    Apologies, typos, “That” and “May”

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  24. DC (profile) says:

    Anyway is the beer tent OK at city hall?

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  25. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    On the City Hall as the centre of a wider Greater Belfast conurbation, see this Wikipedia entry on the Belfast Metropolitan Area: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Belfast#2001_Census.

    The wider metropolitan area is less than 35 per cent Catholic (and we have to assume a similar percentage nationalist) and the messing with the union flag in the centre of the modern, sprawling and still predominantly Protestant city has to be looked at in that light. To say it’s provocative sounds like I’m justifying a nasty reaction to it – I’m not. But the City Council must realise that this move looks like sectarian point scoring. Rarely a good idea.

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  26. Zig70 (profile) says:

    The snobby upper middle class elite working in HM Treasury won’t want to give his money to the Irish to be squandered but I doubt he’ll give a toss about the flag or not on city hall in Belfast. I’m impressed with the passion that is aroused over a symbol. How is that achieved, especially when many of those aroused have little to gain from the political class? How could you get people that excited about the local economy or jobs?

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  27. Framer (profile) says:

    All states are manipulated into being to the advantage of the stronger party, Bangordub.
    Get used to it or learn a little history.
    Just like the new council boundaries are being manipulated by the DUP to create a DUP fiefdom in Castlereagh/Lisburn at the expense of Belfast becoming a nationalist city.
    Even the News Letter editorial today condemned that piece of manipulation – without naming names.

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  28. Bangordub (profile) says:

    Mainland Ulsterman,
    Those figures are 11 years out of date. There is a week to date for the new figures

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  29. Bangordub (profile) says:

    Framer,
    Would you care to illustrate that with an example other than Lisburn? I can assure you I have some historical knowledge, we could start with Derry if you like? ;-)

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  30. simtrib (profile) says:

    If Naomi represented the people who voted for her she’ll suffer no harm. If not then she will.

    Naomi should support the position of Alliance on BCC or oppose it and the votes should flow accordingly.

    That’s democracy.

    If she supports it and retains her seat then fair play to her. If that’s her view then let her proclaim it from the rooftoops.

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  31. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    The Dubliners posting on here certainly have a cheek coming to post here while Unionists respect your sovereignity there in Dublin. Yet when ours is not respected in return by Republicans we are goaded for not accepting that disrespect.

    Really, all you are doing is justifying tricolour burning.

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  32. Dixie Elliott (profile) says:

    A sign of movement on the flag issue perhaps?

    http://blog.victorianplumbing.co.uk/Images/union-jack.jpg

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  33. Bangordub (profile) says:

    ayeYerMa,
    Good man, keep going there…..
    I can add nothing to your comment

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  34. SK (profile) says:

    On the City Hall as the centre of a wider Greater Belfast conurbation, see this Wikipedia entry on the Belfast Metropolitan Area:

    __________

    Another unionist whinging about arbitrarily placed borders without a hint of irony.

    Unionists are waking up to the fact that “shared space” is more than just some empty PR term designed to keep the fenians on side, and they don’t like it one bit.

    Tough shit.

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  35. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    How has the sovereignty of the UK been affected by either any of the comments here or the fact that the national flag will fly on city hall a certain days of the year, much as the RCJ and other state buildings?

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  36. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    *at

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  37. Billy Pilgrim (profile) says:

    Mainland Ulsterman

    ‘On the alleged ‘goading’ of Republican dissidents, what are we supposed to be doing, sparing their feelings?!’

    Why mention them at all? Of what relevance are they to events at Belfast City Hall this evening?

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  38. Eire32 (profile) says:

    “Also, interesting that out of 11k responses to the consultation much less than 100 objected to the fleg flying..

    Not the first time we’ve seen attempts at direct consultation casually cast aside for blatant political reasoning.”

    Mick who did this consultation and where?

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  39. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    Joe, point taken about the City Hall being a forbidding place for Catholics in the past. But I’m not sure setting one’s sights on the national flag is the way to improve things. I don’t expect nationalist Catholics to like the flag particularly but democracy requires that they accept its legitimacy in Northern Ireland. Better advice would be to get used to living with the flag because it’s there legitimately, it is not intended to offend anyone and it’s not going away either.

    With the acceptance of the legitimacy of Northern Ireland as an entity and as part of the UK, by both SF and the SDLP, in 1998, you might expect they would follow the logic through. Frankly it should not really be acceptable any more to be “offended” by the union flag – those attitudes are *supposed* to be in the past. It seems that within nationalism, the left arm doesn’t know what the right arm signed up to in 1998.

    One wonders, what IS is the real position of nationalism towards UK symbols and is there any logic to it? Do nationalist leaders really think it is legitimate to seek to impose a reduction the use of UK symbols in Northern Ireland in the face of the public’s wishes on this? If done at all, surely this is one to be done very tentatively only by cross-community consensus. I think the council has acted like a bull in a china shop here.

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  40. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    Billy, re dissidents, it was in the article we’re all commenting on. Alan was accusing Tom Haire of baiting them by pointing out they would also be hacked off. I just thought you can’t start going down the road of trying to avoid offending dissident Republicans – that way madness lies.

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  41. bangordub [11.38] We can predict McCauslands respose is that if only the croppis had laid down on the fifth of october 1968, none of this would ever have happened, so it’s themmuns fault. I think we’ve now somed out the rage about next tuesday’s census result among the loyalist[to themselves alone], which is that if only Tyrone were ceded to the free state in 1921 along with the other three Ulster counties, they would now be sitting pretty on a decent gerrymander instead of waiting to find next Tuesday the majority was near enough gone..

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  42. Billy Pilgrim (profile) says:

    But why did Tom Haire feel the need to mention them? What was the relevance, in relation to this evening’s events?

    And why did you feel the need to defend Tom Haire? No-one has suggested that dissidents shouldn’t be ‘offended,’ nor anything like that.

    Haire’s tweet was desperate, a classic example of the mutually-reinforcing relationship between violent republicanism and political unionism for well over a century. That was the tweet of a man who misses the ‘Ra, and the certainties they provided.

    And you know it.

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  43. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    SK,
    The unintentional joke is on you I think, with your sign off of “tough sh**” in a message supposedly extolling the virtues of “shared space”.

    I also agree with the idea of shared space and making symbols as inclusive as possible. It’s just that nationalists are wasting everyone’s time as well as causing unnecessary tension by making the UK flag some kind of enemy. It’s because of the indivisibility of sovereignty, as a legal concept. NI isn’t “a bit” in the UK, any more than someone can be “a bit” pregnant. It is in the UK. This doesn’t mean nationalist rights are lost, it just means on flags, the favoured flags of the two sides cannot have parity – NI can only be part of one country legally and that has consequences for the flag. If it voted to leave the UK and join the Republic, the same would apply to the tricolour.

    Parity of esteem for the two cultures cannot translate directly into parity of flags, because flags have legal and constitutional meanings as well as cultural meaning. It seems counter-intuitive perhaps, but there you have it – and it really is a brick wall. In setting their sights on the union flag, I feel nationalist politicians are raising false expectations among their electorate of what can be achieved on flags in the absence of a democratic change of sovereignty. So I think it’s both dangerous and a waste of time, as well as needlessly riling Protestants.

    I know this sounds dyed in the wool unionist, but some readers here at least will realise I’m not one usually to bang the traditionalist drum. I just think people tend to think parity of esteem can be translated into equal status for all things Irish, regardless of the border vote. But sovereignty precludes some of that, so really it is better just to leave flags and focus on something else – trying to get restrict the use of the union jack while this place is part of the UK will get us nowhere.

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  44. There is now, at last democracy in Belfast, which will extend to the whole of the colony soon.Then, sanity will reign.

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  45. Brian Walker (profile) says:

    The Union Jack has some way to go before it is decontaminated. Many people also have long memories of ruthless unionist supremacy in the City Hall

    .Obviously tonight won’t help but a little perspective would go a long way. In their own interests, it would be desirable if unionists behaved as if the Union Jack is what it is, as Mick points out, the national flag of the UK and not a party flag. The more they scream and shout against the vote, the more they reinforce the view that a party symbol is what the flag always was – and always will be.

    What next? Unionists to go into to a Big Sulk and refuse even the designated days? Does it make sense for them to big this up as the end of unionism in Belfast and for nationalists to agree with knobs on? The big risk was taken by Alliance. I hope they are rewarded in time.

    Everybody who is reachable on the issue has a duty not to let mania infect them even in Slugger. It’s easy to see how this could become a wider mini crisis over say, unionists’ disgraceful refusals to rotate mayoralties.

    But unless the parties insist, the ruckus need not the end of civilisation as we know it. Call it some of the inevitable growing pains of a new Northern Ireland.

    Diplomacy might suggest that after a while the winners might increase the number of days designated for named government ( but not council) buildings from – I make it – 17 including the birthday of the Countess of Wessex ( maybe an additional one now for Kate and then there’s the third in line future monarch ). Very few of the actual days are relevant to anybody- the designations were just a formula adopted from English practice to get all the parties out of a jam in 2000 and Peter Mandelson took the heat.

    When everyone has calmed down it would be magnanimous if a motion to add at least one extra day was accepted – for a day everyone could respect such as 1st July, the Somme anniversary. Or devise an end of Troubles commemoration in which the flag would play a modest role. Magnanimity remember does not insist on reciprocal conditions and it would be a good peace process thing to do.

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  46. Getting one’s knickers in a twist over a flag, on either side, is just plain stupid when there are “real” things to worry about. Bah, humbug.

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  47. As Gerry Kelly said on UTV, unionists don’t respect democracy while claiming to respect it. It’s the UWC all over again. If it doesn’t suit them, they disregard it. I have to tell unionists, the majority is gone. Deal with it

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  48. Politico68 (profile) says:

    I just saw the most recent school census report. only 38% of primary school kids are Protestant?? Where the heck are all the Protestants gone?!?

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  49. Haifish (profile) says:

    Last night we saw the desperation of the Pieds Noir; and those in Metropolitan France will have seen it too- and as De Gaulle uttered “I have heard you”, they “hear” the lack of future of the colonistes.
    I see a queue for the boats at Algiers harbour soon.

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  50. Neil (profile) says:

    MU,

    your link refers to ‘the Belfst Metropilitan area’ which includes Hollywood, Bangor etc. I wonder what the demographics are for Belfast City Council? I think you know already.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belfast#Demography

    The 2001 census records roughly 81,650 people from Catholic backgrounds and 79,650 people from Protestant backgrounds of working age living in Belfast

    Hang what flags you like in Bangor. Accept you’re now the minority in Belfast.

    Mick, the council’s EQIA found that 35% of people wanted the flag down and 42% of people wanted the status quo. A slightly different result to the DUP questionnaire which you quoted.

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  51. boondock (profile) says:

    Just catching up on last night. A few classics from Mainland Ulsterman. The belfast city council boundaries have remained fairly similar since 1973 when there was 32 unionist councillors, 11 nationalist, 8 alliance and 2 labour. Of course those boundaries were fine but now they are obviously gerrymandered. The boundaries are about to get shifted but it wont change the make up of the city much as nationalist wards from LCC will cancel out unionist wards from Castlreagh. I expect mainland wants all future votes to include the metropolitan area in fact why not ditch all of West Belfast and about half of North and South Belfast just to make sure. By the way all this fuss and guess what the Union flag will still be there allbeit on fewer days. A neutral flag like the civic flag should be flown from city hall something that would make more sense for a shared future but it seems a shared future is one where nationalists must accept all things British

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  52. [...] Inside a war of words; outside traffic disruption, flag burning, brick throwing and storming the Cit… (sluggerotoole.com) [...]

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  53. Jack2 (profile) says:

    Billy Pilgrim:
    “Haire’s tweet was desperate, a classic example of the mutually-reinforcing relationship between violent republicanism and political unionism for well over a century.”

    Love that line “mutually reinforcing relationship” – great summary.

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  54. ProPatria (profile) says:

    @boondock – “A neutral flag like the civic flag should be flown from city hall something that would make more sense for a shared future but it seems a shared future is one where nationalists must accept all things British”

    So your saying that in other cities around the world we must avoid flying the national flag in case we offend those who disagree with it? No-one is saying nationalists must accept all things British but rather they should respect the country that they live in whether they want to be part of that country or not. No doubt in a united Ireland you’d expect unionists to respect the Irish tricolour as their national flag? This is as black and white a case of anti-British racism as anything.

    And democractic vote? If Sinn Fein and the SDLP who have claimed about abiding by democracy, really believe that, then they should of proposed a referendum for the people of Belfast to decide themselves – yet that might get more unionists out to vote than the last council elections did and those numbers wouldn’t add up nicely for SI or the SDLP.

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  55. toaster (profile) says:

    Hahahahaha Unionists haven’t got it into their heads that they lost this one

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  56. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    It appears that Peter Robinson’s restatement of the reality, that Northern Ireland’s position within the UK remains secure and that that position is supported by members of the Catholic community, has really annoyed Slugger’s coterie of nationalist posters.

    Perhaps it’s the public acknowledgement, and by a unionist no less, that some who should be good little nationalists by virtue of their community background are in fact, understandably, content to remain UK citizens.

    Such blatant honesty has lead to a near hysterical response as the usual suspects fall over themselves to read between Robinson’s lines in pathetic attempts to conjure Northern Ireland’s doom.

    No doubt we’ll all be treated to a similar, and more prolonged, riff to the same tune when the census figures are produced. Already the “colony’s” end due to the demographic bomb has been heavily trailed. Pity the voting public don’t agree.

    And so we come to flags and Belfast. I’ve been overseas for a while so come late to the story.

    Personally I don’t mind where and when the Union Flag is flown (although I baulk at lamp posts). It does not make one iota of difference to the constitutional position of NI and makes the deplorable violence outside Belfast City Hall all the more unjustifiable.

    It seems that nationalists are much simpler folks and out-of-sight-out-of-mind is very much where they’re at. Perhaps it’s a requirement to underpin the old ‘North’/Northern Ireland conundrum.

    So now that there is a spare flag post at City Hall can I suggest a standard that encapsulates the nationalist position? What about a wavy blue line against a sandy background?

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  57. Politico68,Not only that, but the opinionpoll published the other day by the Tele[it could still be true even so], shows that two thirds of the DUP electorate are 60 and over, and on the other side most of SF vote is among the under 40s so that is a portent for a dismal future for unionism.

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  58. carl marks (profile) says:

    Mick could you please tell us more about this public consultation exercise?

    Nobody I know seems to have been consulted,

    Who commissioned it, (paid for it, set the questions etc,)?

    Who carried it out?

    How was the data collected, via websites, which ones, was it a postal drop if so which areas, etc

    Could we perhaps see one of the questionnaires?

    Not much to ask if you’re going to quote it as a relevant fact is to show how it was arrived it!

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  59. foyle observer (profile) says:

    I’m glad it’s down. Couldn’t be more divisive. Democracy rues the day. Like it or lump it, Unionists / Loyalists.

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  60. carl marks (profile) says:

    So we got all the old unionist response’s when democracy doesn’t go the way it wants.

    Righteous indignation, Violence, Blame it on the taigs,” parity of esteem” means doing it our way,
    The whole thing can be sorted out by a bit of gerrymandering,
    At last nobody has suggested letting Gibraltarians have seats on BCC.

    Time to grow up boys, you lost this one. Say thanks to Alliance that you got the designated days without them you would have none at all,
    The sooner you get your head around the fact that the old days are gone the happier you will be.

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  61. socaire (profile) says:

    How did the Worker’s Party vote last night? (snigger)

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  62. Greenflag (profile) says:

    ‘Say thanks to Alliance that you got the designated days without them you would have none at all,’

    Indeed .The AP deserve a few points on their voting numbers both in firsts and preferences for their common sense on this issue .

    25 years ago there might well have been 25,000 or 50,000 Loyalists /Unionists on the streets .Now it’s just 600 to a 1,000 – Progress as always comes dropping slow and even slower for the slowest learners :(

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  63. Neil (profile) says:

    It amuses me that Unionists are getting so hacked off at Alliance for two reasons. That they are pawns, working class people being whipped into a frenzy so Peter can get his seat back. Peter the common man. Jesus. Second the fact that somehow the having of an opinion not commensurate of that of Unionism is in some way inherently wrong. And now one Alliance Councillor cannot return home because she is under threat. The temerity of it all, her with her opinions ‘n’ all.

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  64. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    “25 years ago there might well have been 25,000 or 50,000 Loyalists /Unionists on the streets ”

    25 years ago Republicans would have been burning the Union Flag*, now they’re voting in favour of it flying…

    * and the occassional Protestant.

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  65. carl marks (profile) says:

    Toastedpuffin (profile)
    4 December 2012 at 8:17 pm

    “25 years ago there might well have been 25,000 or 50,000 Loyalists /Unionists on the streets ”

    25 years ago Republicans would have been burning the Union Flag*, now they’re voting in favour of it flying…

    * and the occassional Protestant.

    And Unionists are still burning tricolours. Republicans have moved on, you could try to keeping up,
    By the way it would help your demand for respect for your flag if perhaps you could stop burning other peoples at every opportunity

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  66. anne warren (profile) says:

    Will the Loyalists manage to keep up with this change in “Old-fashioned rules’?

    The new legislation will end the principle of male primogeniture, meaning male heirs will no longer take precedence over women in line to the throne.

    It will also end the ban on anyone in the line of succession marrying a Roman Catholic.

    The succession bill will require amendments to some of Britain’s key constitutional documents, including the Bill of Rights and Coronation Oath Act of 1688, the 1701 Act of Settlement and the 1706 Act of Union with Scotland.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20600543

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  67. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    “Republicans have moved on”

    To supporting the flying of the Union Flag.

    And shooting the occasional Protestant.

    Crazy, mixed-up kids.

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  68. Sp12 (profile) says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VTvFC7QNc0Q

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  69. carl marks (profile) says:

    Toastedpuffin (profile)
    5 December 2012 at 9:12 pm

    ““Republicans have moved on”

    To supporting the flying of the Union Flag.

    And shooting the occasional Protestant.

    Crazy, mixed-up kids.”

    Here we have another classic unionist tactic,

    Ignore loyalist rioting, ignore death threats to elected representatives, ignore entire history of loyalist violence.( they never shot or burnt anybody after all). Blame the republicans.

    Even managed to avoid the burning other people’s flags while demanding respect for your own, point.

    Why am i not surprised!

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  70. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    Ah, the classic unionist tactic of pointing out facts. What a dreadful lot we hun bastards are!

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  71. DC (profile) says:

    If I were the Alliance I wouldn’t be backing Lee Reynold’s proposal just not worth the hassle of opening up the debate again, not now after what has happened.

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  72. carl marks (profile) says:

    Ah the facts, seen precious few of those from you, but maybe I’m missing something what does any of what you said have to do with the mob of assholes who attacked the city hall injured police officers , staff and property.
    The trouble in east Belfast, or the death threat to the lady councillor. By the way I get that even a apologist for loyalist excess such as yourself must realise that you don’t have a answer for the burning of the tricolour that doesn’t sound like the most bigoted nonsense so ill understand if you avoid that one, but could (a vain hope i know) you answer my other questions.

    If you dont thats all the trollfood your getting from me

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  73. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Can BCC get a vote in on a big “Belfast says Yes” banner across the city hall. Alliance are probably annoyed enough to back it and it would make most Belfast citizens smirk over xmas. Might bring more shoppers to Belfast to see it.

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  74. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    cm:

    Pffffffffttttt! I’ve no idea what that hysterical outburst was for, but you go girl!

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  75. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Do these bozos realize they are defaming their cause with this mob rule bs? And their flag as well?

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  76. carl marks (profile) says:

    Zig70

    I remember the Belfast says no banner. Boy times have changed, once royal avenue could be filled with the outraged now even a couple of weeks organising and bringing Muppets over from Scotland and 600 is all they can manage,
    Clear evidence of decline there.

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  77. Nevin (profile) says:

    Kevsterino, I doubt if any mobs give the finer points of life much thought. Patterns of conflict here tend to be repetitive.

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  78. carl marks (profile) says:

    Kevsterino (profile)
    5 December 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Do these bozos realize they are defaming their cause with this mob rule bs? And their flag as well?
    Obviously not, read toastedpuffins latest posts i believe that will answer your question.

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