Has Empey picked the wrong 'fight'?

Fionnuala O’Connor in today’s Irish Times reckoned Slugger would go for Brian Feeney’s analysis on parades this week. Well, not wanting to disappoint, we have now. But it’s his criticism of Reg Empey’s choice of parades as a first public issue on which to fight and asks whether it can yield any votes for the UUP. In an echo of the troubles of the SDLP, he argues that this will do little to draw the disaffected middle class voters (who have simply stopped voting) back to the party.

PS Fionnuala ends her reference to debate on Slugger with a mention of “a gentle soul urges them to ‘play the ball, not the man'”. As some of commenters here already know, this particular ‘gentle soul’ has no intention of letting Slugger ‘go gentle into that good night’ that often descends when individuals forgo that basic rule of civil discourse.

  • fair_deal

    The garden centre prod is an urban myth.

  • slug9987

    Feeneys comments I believe to be wrong. There is very little enthusiasm for a new powerhsaring executive even among North Down types. The attitude is very much as follows: since the SDLP make it clear they wont share power without SF lets see if the IRA do indeed now go away and put away criminality. This takes not just a statement, complete decommissioning, but also a couple of years to see if the crimes have stopped. SF better back the police.

    The stupid bit of Feeneys column is that he appears to think the drop in the UUP vote was because the UUP was insufficiently compromising with SF. In fact the reverse is closer to the truth.

  • Dualta

    Empey’s tactic is just like the SDLP’s ‘Stop the two Ians’ one of a previous election.

    These two parties are of the middle ground and need to stand firmly on it, not to slide into the ethnic entrepreneurship of Sinn Fein and the DUP.

    Feeney is right on this matter. The SDLP and the UUP have both tried to play the DUP/Sinn Fein game and they’ve lost. They need to offer those of us who want to see sustainable peace here an alternative to sectarian rabble-rousing. Without that alternative, I, or anyone like me, will not participate in what is morally repugnant to us.

  • Jacko

    Feeney would be easier to take seriously if one could rememnber a single occassion on which he had something remotely positive to say about unionists or even Prods.

    Too much vitriol from Brian, too often.

  • TAFKABO

    If posts are being removed, isn’t it common courtesy to say so, and give the reason for deleting themy?

  • Waitnsee

    Feeney is spot on and it is a bit sad to see the DUP squad dismissing it out of hand. The voting figures he quotes are undeniable – prods aren’t switching to the DUP, they’re just switching off the UUP and have been since 1998, just like Feeney says.

  • Macswiney

    If the garden centre prod is a myth then how come the voting figures for North Down are the lowest in the North? It clearly annoys many ‘grass-roots’ unionists that there is a bulk of opinion that want nothing to do with the overt sectarianism of parades etc…

  • slug

    Waitnsee

    Just repeating again from a non-DUP person.

    The stupid bit of Feeneys column is that he appears to think the drop in the UUP vote was because the UUP was insufficiently compromising with SF. In fact the reverse is closer to the truth.

  • slug

    North Down has seen probably the biggest increase in vote share for the unionist parties of any constituency in recent times.

  • Waitnsee

    Well of course Feeney’s own massive blind spot precludes any mention of the role Sinn Fein has played in making power-sharing unworkable. Still – remove the mote etc.

  • Jo

    There was an unquantifiable section of unionist voters who were quite turned off by DT’s behaviour in 1998, post Agreement. The scale is, of course, debatable. We are debating it!

    Those voters thought he was different from his predecessors – he had, after all signed up to a deal which underwrote the constitutional position of the state and somehow got Gerry Adams to agree – it turned out he wasn’t that different after all. Those eager to supplant him and who had LOST the referendum (the 29%) worked to do so – with elements of his own extraordinarily disloyal party.

  • reality check

    jacko-your not exactly neutral are you?accept reality!

  • fair_deal

    Waitnsee

    I am afraid for anyone who does any analysis of election results they are perfectly deniable.

    Non-voters and ‘rare’ voters most certainly exist however, to treat them as one monolithic block is plain wrong.

    First you are mixing up two things, usual voters and the ‘rare’ voters who turned out for the Referendum.

    In terms of usual voters the DUP has most certainly see people switch, look at the physical vote size of the DUP it has grown significantly. The UUPO vote dropped 70,000 and the mahority of those went to the DUP about 30,000 sat at home for the first time (Why? NO one knows). So some prods have switched (despite your claim to the contrary). A high estimation of the effectiveness of the DUP among prods/Unionists is also shown in the Northern ireland Life and Times Survey.

    The garden centre prod term applies to the 100,000-150,000 ‘rare’ voters who turned out for the referendum.

    The term is to describe a perceived section of the middle class from a protestant background who do not vote but made the effort in 1998 and have never done so since and because of their protestant background and usual sectarian stereotyping they were perceived as unionists (with a small u).

    They have become some sort of electoral holy grail but they are also the most misuinderstood section of voters. In 2005, here is what is wrong with the claim that there are 100-150,000 waiting in the wings to boost the UUP.

    The following is flawed in thei analysis:
    1. Not all of them were middle class. In the referendum the turnout was up EVERYWHERE, working class and middle class areas. To say this was simply a middle class phenomenon is wrong.
    2. Not all of them were protestant. In East Ulster there has been consistent underpolling by nationalism of its religious base. In areas that are 90% Protestant, even if there is a nationalist candidate there is little chance of success and little point in voting. The referendum on the Belfast Agreement was different. To say this was simply a protestant phenomenon is wrong.
    4. In the Unionist community, turnout is consistently lower and registration lower in working class areas and has been for some time. However, the media can’t see beyond its own middle class prejudices to spot this. To say poor turnout is a middle class phenomenon is wrong.
    5. NO one, repeat NO one, in Unionism has conducted any research among Unionist non-voters, why these ‘rare’ voters came out in 1998 and have never re-appeared since. So no one knows why they aren’t voting or what would encourage them to vote. Instead they are dragged into anyone’s argument as some supposed clincher. Do this and we will get these votes. Any general research of non-voters in democracies shows their opinions are not significantly different from voters so the claim that they are all liberals is questionable.
    6. The one question that completely scuppers this claim because no satisfactory answer has ever been given that is why don’t these ‘liberal’ voters vote for the Alliance party?
    7. This is 2005, seven years have gone by and much has changed. It is a VERY dodgy assumption that these ‘rare’ voters have exactly the same opinions of politics and the agreement as they had seven years ago. All polls indicate a significant shift in Unionist opinion about the Agreement, have these people been entirely immune to these shifts in opinion?
    8. Is it a safe assumption they have any meaningful feelings for the Union at all? They were not being asked to vote for the Union in they referendum they were being asked to vote for PEACE.
    9. Examine the massive campaign that had to be delivered to motivate these people to vote. No political party can come even close to it.
    10. The UUP spent seven years fixating on this perceived ‘garden centre prod’. They hired professional advertising agencies to target them (that’s what the simply british nonsense was all about), they set up REUNION to directly engage with them and massively increased their election spending to reach them. The result a loss in percentage, physical vote and seats.

    The 10 reasons why the garden centre prod is an electoral myth. The obsession with and assumptions about them hurts Unionism. Unionism needs to forget it and get back to basic principles of not assuming it knows about its voters and non-voters but doing the ground work and decent research to find out.

    PS Also in the last election nationalism seems to be developing issues with turnout too, is it not possible NI is catching up with the rest of the UK and the western world with growing sections detached from political life?

    MacSwiney

    “If the garden centre prod is a myth then how come the voting figures for North Down are the lowest in the North? It clearly annoys many ‘grass-roots’ unionists that there is a bulk of opinion that want nothing to do with the overt sectarianism of parades etc…”

    1. There are 17 other constituencies in Northern Ireland. Difficult as some and the media especially seem to forget their is a world beyond North Down, Greater Belfast even.
    2. If it is Unionism’s illiberalism/sectarianism etc that puts off voters, turnout shouldn’t be an issue in North Down as the sitting MP is the most liberal MP Unionism has!
    3. Yes those droves of liberal Unionists in North Down who are devoid of sectarianism. Funny how they live in some of the most Protestant parts of Northern Ireland?

  • Jacko

    “jacko-your not exactly neutral are you?accept reality!”

    And you are?
    Neither does it make me wrong – give an example if I am.

  • Macswiney

    Fair deal your comments make no sense at all! You cite the case of Sylvia Hermon being liberal. My whole point was that 50% of that constituency didnt bother voting for EITHER of the Unionist parties! Both the UUP and DUP still get frequently embroiled in both overt and covert sectarianism via the parades issue. Reg Empey has already made his first clarion callon the parades issue. How depressingly sad is that. I have a novel suggestion about Orange parades. Why dont the Order just parade through their own areas? Problem solved in one minute. I live in The Short Strand and will have to endure the usual salvo of abuse as the mini-twelfth passes my home tonight. Most Unionists have never experienced that because it is a one-way problem.

  • watchmaker

    Interesting to see the unionist Newton Emerson making a similar point to Brian Feeney.

    Solving parade disputes is hardly brain surgery

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Newton’s a bit harsh for my liking. That’s a lot of elitism right there.

    Although the strategy of trying to rebuild the UUP vote by rushing to the Orange is utterly flawed. Nothing suggests that a shift on parades will draw people back(besides the fact that Trimble raised the parading issue god knows how many times I wrote plenty of appears on the issue and suggested legislative reform and never got anywhere, or made a blind bit of difference to hateful comments I would receive regularly from my former Orange brethren(although I left the OO because I became an atheist not because of the Agreement). I suspect the overwhelming majority of the orange is going to remain DUP for a long while so don’t waste your breath Reg. Besides which the Orange is lucky if it has 50,000 active members so that’s about 5% of the unionist population so basically Reg is pandering to at best 20% of the 5%, or around 1% of the unionist population around 10,000 people. Yep that’s gonna create a groundswell of UUP support. The UUP has taken anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 Alliance votes in the last 7 years so what he might get with one hand he will surely lose from the other.

  • fair_deal

    Macswiney

    You pointed to the low turnout in North Down as evidence of a pool of liberal/garden centre prods who were put off Unionism by thigs like parade issues. I simply made the point that the local UUP MP is the most liberal Unionist MP who has little or no interest in such issues. If they are so liberal and they are given the clear opportunity to endorse a liberal Unionist why have they not done so?

    Why dont the Order just parade through their own areas?

    The Albertbridge and Newtownards Roads along which the Orange parade are not in Shirt Strand so it is their ‘own’ area.

    DSD

    The statement on parades is not immediately about votes, its about making life a bit more difficult for the DUP.

    Your statistical reasoning is quite possibly the most self-serving and flawed I have read in a long time.

    1. The influence of the OO extends beyond its paid up membership. There is a much higher number of people whose membership has lapsed for various reasons who still identify with the organisation (I can think of three family members to which that applies). A high proportion are married with families so that increases they potential voter pool the OO impacts on. The attendance of 100,000’s of people at parades would also indicate a continuing sympathy/support for orangeism among the broader Unionist community.
    2. Its only anecdotal but I think voting among orange members would be above the average.
    3. Your use of total population figures is flawed. Your percentage should be based on the adult poplulation as they have at least the possibility of being a voter (not much point in the UUP having 100% support among two year olds)
    3. As for the 15-30,000 Alliance voters, it is pitiful little compensation for what was lost elsewhere. Also, a significant proportion of these Alliance votes are ‘borrowed’ for Westminster elections but remain loyal at Assembly and Council elelctions. Also the Alliance Party seems to have consolidated at its pretty good at its present level.
    4. The DUP has around 30% of the vote the Alliance Party has around 5%. There certainly seems more statistical reasoning for looking at the tens of thousands who have switched to the DUP than trying to squeeze the last few votes from the Alliance.

    “I left the OO because I became an atheist” – I must ask why did you join in the first place?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “I must ask why did you join in the first place?”

    At the time I joined I was a practising Presbyterian and saw the OO as a way of being part of wider community of the protestant faith. Once I lost my own faith that rational was removed and I did not feel that I could remain a member of the OO. I view the OO as fundamentally a religious organisation and not a political, or even solely cultural one and if I don’t share the religious belief then I didn’t feel I should remain a member. Its my own personal assessment of my relationship with the OO.

    The numbers were a bit of guesstimation but I still think the influence of the OO in political unionism is vastly overplayed.

    On the Alliance votes point. 1998 Assembly elections = 52,636 votes, Assembly 2003 = 25373 a loss of 27,264 votes. At Westminster 2005 it actually climbed back up a little to 28,291 but still substantially down from 1998.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    “The UUP spent seven years fixating on this perceived ‘garden centre prod’. They hired professional advertising agencies to target them (that’s what the simply british nonsense was all about), they set up REUNION to directly engage with them and massively increased their election spending to reach them. The result a loss in percentage, physical vote and seats. The obsession with and assumptions about them hurts Unionism. Unionism needs to forget it and get back to basic principles of not assuming it knows about its voters and non-voters but doing the ground work and decent research to find out.”

    Not really. A lot of talk about it yes but we were never allowed to go after them properly or do the right kind of research. REUNION was closed down by DT after pressure from senior UUP OO members in the UUP who didn’t like it. RU got over 3000 new people involved by the way and then they were left hanging because the vested interests in the UUP didn’t want to actually embrace these people properly out of a fear of where the party might go. I agree with you about the research(although you say you want the research done but didnt like the hiring of agencies?) and would love to see work done to find out what has happened. I don’t deny that many thousands of people have switched to the DUP but the question for the UUP is why? It might be all sorts of reasons and it would be good to try to find out instead of just guess or to constantly react to anecdotal evidence courtesy of Billy at the lodge meeting.

    Its my own belief that the UUP never did engage fully with the mythical prod in the garden center and lost a chance to invigorate a new voting base. It might be the case that it just doesn’t exist but my personal belief is that it does and could be invigorated with the right work and reform. In fighting an election you can fight over the declining cake or you can try to do what Bush and Rove did and make a new market. It would be nice if the UUP would at least give it a proper try and see what happens. During the reign of DT the UUP never did embrace these people properly and never reformed properly. The strategy of going after the PGC has never really been tried. I don’t know that it would work but I would damn sure like to try and who knows the worst that might happen is few more people overall vote unionist so where is the loss?

  • aquifer

    So good to see Orange Unionism running on Empy

  • fair_deal

    DSD

    Thanks for clearing up the OO stuff.

    On hiring agencies, I have no problem with it (althought I have never personally rated the particularly advertising company that they used). However, these agencies were simply told to work off a set of assumptions but no one had tested them. The Simply British was a specifically designed campaign aimed at the GCP and it failed miserably.

    Ray Houghton did do a series of focus groups and there was some private polling prior to the Assebly 2003 election. However, the party leadership would only listen to the bits of information they liked – an ivory tower attitude.

    For example, the focus groups of UUP voters in key constituencies came back with the strong message that they didn’t like Trimble (Reg wasn’t particularly liked either). This was ignored and he was used as the centre-piece of the campaign – contrast that with the DUP who went with the team approach to get over negatives about Paisley. A broad consensus in the focus groups was they would stay with the party if it stayed with its then policy. However, the failed October deal hurt this – it came across as more of the same from Trimble.

    The private polling showed 1 in 4 UUP voters was unhappy with the party and the ledership. The party leadership’s reaction was to go yippee 75% are happy we have little to worry about. Instead of noticing the DUP had a big pool of potential floating voters among existing UUP voters.

    On the ivory tower attitude, for me it was summed up by a conversation between an adviser and a constituency worker prior to the 2001 general election. The person mentioned how he worked in North Belfast. The adviser then said “We’ll run Cecil again there and he’ll see off Dodds challenge”. The worker giggled and said “Dodds was going to win the seat handsomely”. The adviser demanded to know who was telling him this rubbish, it was still a safe seat etc, no one he’d talked to thought Cecil could lose etc. The result a victory for Dodds by over 2 to 1.

  • fair_deal

    DSD

    Thanks for clearing up the OO stuff.

    On hiring agencies, I have no problem with it (althought I have never personally rated the particularly advertising company that they used). However, these agencies were simply told to work off a set of assumptions but no one had tested them. The Simply British was a specifically designed campaign aimed at the GCP and it failed miserably.

    Ray Houghton did do a series of focus groups and there was some private polling prior to the Assebly 2003 election. However, the party leadership would only listen to the bits of information they liked – an ivory tower attitude.

    For example, the focus groups of UUP voters in key constituencies came back with the strong message that they didn’t like Trimble (Reg wasn’t particularly liked either). This was ignored and he was used as the centre-piece of the campaign – contrast that with the DUP who went with the team approach to get over negatives about Paisley. A broad consensus in the focus groups was they would stay with the party if it stayed with its then policy. However, the failed October deal hurt this – it came across as more of the same from Trimble.

    The private polling showed 1 in 4 UUP voters was unhappy with the party and the ledership. The party leadership’s reaction was to go yippee 75% are happy we have little to worry about. Instead of noticing the DUP had a big pool of potential floating voters among existing UUP voters.

    On the ivory tower attitude, for me it was summed up by a conversation between an adviser and a constituency worker prior to the 2001 general election. The person mentioned how he worked in North Belfast. The adviser then said “We’ll run Cecil again there and he’ll see off Dodds challenge”. The worker giggled and said “Dodds was going to win the seat handsomely”. The adviser demanded to know who was telling him this rubbish, it was still a safe seat etc, no one he’d talked to thought Cecil could lose etc. The result a victory for Dodds by over 2 to 1.

  • fair_deal

    DSD

    Thanks for clearing up the OO stuff.

    On hiring agencies, I have no problem with it (althought I have never personally rated the particularly advertising company that they used). However, these agencies were simply told to work off a set of assumptions but no one had tested them. The Simply British was a specifically designed campaign aimed at the GCP and it failed miserably.

    Ray Houghton did do a series of focus groups and there was some private polling prior to the Assebly 2003 election. However, the party leadership would only listen to the bits of information they liked – an ivory tower attitude.

    For example, the focus groups of UUP voters in key constituencies came back with the strong message that they didn’t like Trimble (Reg wasn’t particularly liked either). This was ignored and he was used as the centre-piece of the campaign – contrast that with the DUP who went with the team approach to get over negatives about Paisley. A broad consensus in the focus groups was they would stay with the party if it stayed with its then policy. However, the failed October deal hurt this – it came across as more of the same from Trimble.

    The private polling showed 1 in 4 UUP voters was unhappy with the party and the ledership. The party leadership’s reaction was to go yippee 75% are happy we have little to worry about. Instead of noticing the DUP had a big pool of potential floating voters among existing UUP voters.

    On the ivory tower attitude, for me it was summed up by a conversation between an adviser and a constituency worker prior to the 2001 general election. The person mentioned how he worked in North Belfast. The adviser then said “We’ll run Cecil again there and he’ll see off Dodds challenge”. The worker giggled and said “Dodds was going to win the seat handsomely”. The adviser demanded to know who was telling him this rubbish, it was still a safe seat etc, no one he’d talked to thought Cecil could lose etc. The result a victory for Dodds by over 2 to 1.

  • fair_deal

    DSD

    Thanks for clearing up the OO stuff.

    On hiring agencies, I have no problem with it (althought I have never personally rated the particularly advertising company that they used). However, these agencies were simply told to work off a set of assumptions but no one had tested them. The Simply British was a specifically designed campaign aimed at the GCP and it failed miserably.

    Ray Houghton did do a series of focus groups and there was some private polling prior to the Assebly 2003 election. However, the party leadership would only listen to the bits of information they liked – an ivory tower attitude.

    For example, the focus groups of UUP voters in key constituencies came back with the strong message that they didn’t like Trimble (Reg wasn’t particularly liked either). This was ignored and he was used as the centre-piece of the campaign – contrast that with the DUP who went with the team approach to get over negatives about Paisley. A broad consensus in the focus groups was they would stay with the party if it stayed with its then policy. However, the failed October deal hurt this – it came across as more of the same from Trimble.

    The private polling showed 1 in 4 UUP voters was unhappy with the party and the ledership. The party leadership’s reaction was to go yippee 75% are happy we have little to worry about. Instead of noticing the DUP had a big pool of potential floating voters among existing UUP voters.

    On the ivory tower attitude, for me it was summed up by a conversation between an adviser and a constituency worker prior to the 2001 general election. The person mentioned how he worked in North Belfast. The adviser then said “We’ll run Cecil again there and he’ll see off Dodds challenge”. The worker giggled and said “Dodds was going to win the seat handsomely”. The adviser demanded to know who was telling him this rubbish, it was still a safe seat etc, no one he’d talked to thought Cecil could lose etc. The result a victory for Dodds by over 2 to 1.

  • Roger

    I am Pleasantly surprised to see Sir Reg Empey focus on this hugely important issue for the unionist and protestant community. When one visits 12th of July celebrations throughout NI it is clear to see the huge support they have with the unionist population. It was DT mistake to shun orangeism that resulted in his downfall and Sir Reg is wise in not making the same mistake. So to Sir Reg all I can say is continue.

  • Jo

    “When one visits 12th of July celebrations throughout NI it is clear to see the huge support they have with the unionist population.”

    ….er, that portion which isn’t in France, Florida, Marbella, etc etc. You clearly dont understand how small a proportion of the population is at all interested in parading.

  • Eddo

    DSD (et al)

    As a non-unionist non-nationalist obervser I’m curious as to the OO; how can it be primatily religious if it comprrises, as I understand it, members of several religious demoniantions – Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans etc – theologically these people have a lot dividing them and yet they seem able to subsume these things in the OO – how does this work or do they ‘unite’ only to the extent that they fear and are intent on expressing, their shared anti-catholicism ?

    Thanks

  • Roger

    Eddo

    Do you unite to express your anti protestantism.

  • Eddo

    Roger

    I am not anti-Protestant, no – I am trying to understand the purpose of the OO and in particular the claim by some that it is primarily religious. Do you have anything valid to contribute please ?

  • fair_deal

    Eddo

    They unite in their belief in the Reformation.

  • Roger

    Eddo

    You had nothing valid to contribute except hatrid for an entire culture, there are around 150,000 orangemen in the island of Ireland and you have sterotyped every one.

  • Eddo

    Roger

    Balls. The OO is a supremacist organization which holds that catholics are lesser human beings (in this life and the alleged next)and as such warrants nothing but contempt by humanists everywhere.

    fair_deal

    Thanks – but why ? Theologically they are often miles apart, is the lowest common denominator of anti-catholicism that strong and if so why ?

  • James

    Eddo. if you dont like the order or the protestant people you should stop pretending you do and then preceed to attack them.

  • Eddo

    James

    Firstly, there is no equivalence between ‘the protestant people’ and orangeism, I myself being a case in pont, ie a former protestant and current opponent of the societal evil of orangeism, so let’s get that out of the way. Anything valid to add James ?

  • bertie

    “The OO is a supremacist organization which holds that catholics are lesser human beings”

    I’m not not in the loyal orders myself, but as I understand it the OO is anti Roman Catholicism not anti Roman Catholics.

  • Eddo

    Bertie

    What nonense, check out the OO’s “Candidate’s Proposal Form” for example. It requires the applicant for membership to attest not only that he (the text is explicit that women can’t join) is a Protestant, but also that both parents were Protestants, and that if he is married his wife is a Protestant, and that he has “never been in any way connected with the Church of Rome”. Like, never in any way (!) An “Inspection Committee . . . having made careful enquiry”, must confirm these claims, lest someone contaminated by Catholicism manages to infiltrate the ranks.

    If their objection is with the Church of Rome why do they make such a big deal about making loud obnoxious two fingered gestures to actual living breathing catholics in NI as opposed to, say, having a dignified protest in Rome itself ?

  • bertie

    Eddo

    Because, being opposed to Roman Catholicism. it does not want them to be members. Not wanting RCs to be members is not the same as holding “that catholics are lesser human beings”.

    I presume that the Tories do not want socialists to join their party, that does not mean that they consider socialists to be “lesser human beings” just in error.

    As a Protestant I would not expect any RC organisation that founded to promote the counter reformation because it considered that the Reformation was a corruption of the true faith(I respect their right to beleive this), to want me as a member . If its candidacy requirements were exactly as you state for the OO with Protestant substituted for Roman Catholic, I would not assume it thought me as a lesser being, just one not likely to advance their aims.

  • Eddo

    Berie

    Oh but it does assume that catholics are lesser human beings, after all they are, in your world view, damned to eternal damnation and as such must be opposed, strenuously as it happens, and for that matter scrupulously avoid countenancing (by your presence or otherwise) any act of ceremony of Popish worship.

    Orangeism has always asserted that Irish Catholics are agents of that church’s mission to conquer the world and to that extent eliminate Protestantism, a preposterous position for thise of us with an education but prevalent nonethtless. As such, the OO and its fellow travelers old that it is not just cathilicism but cathiolics themselves who should be opposed and suspected and resisted at a every turn – socially, politically, militarily, economically. Orange supremacism was right at the very heart of Unionist Party rule in NI for several decades, from the village orange hall to the highest echelons of the NI state and the mindset which informed it has never waned since. Whilst the IRA campaign has given succour to that paranoid world view it has never been seriously challanged from within mainstream unionism. Not only that, there are very few if any examples of mainstream Protestant church leaders disowning the bellowing bigots of the OO.

    You can fool some of the people some of the time Beertie but on this one you’re fooling no-one I’m afraid.

  • bertie

    Eddo

    ” but it does assume that catholics are lesser human beings, after all they are, in your world view, damned to eternal damnation”

    sorry to disapoint you but that is not my world view, if you get that from me saying I am a Protestant, then that says more about you than it does about me.
    (I neither think Roman Catholics [being anglican I am a catholic] are lesser being nor that they are damned to eternal damnation”. There are RCs who would assume by dint of me being a Protestant that I am due eternal damnation (and some members of Protestant sects who would not consider me sufficiently orthadox and fundamentalist) but again I do not assume that that means they consider me a lessor being.

    It would appear that people are quite capable of fooling themselves with little effort on my part.

  • Eddo

    Bertie

    Please accept my apologies, I had thought you said earlier that you WERE a mamber of the OO, I do beg your pardon. Well as a commonsense atheist of course I think the idea of eternal anything’s childish nonsense but there you have it.

  • bertie

    Eddo

    Thanks for the apology – accepted

  • Roger

    Eddo

    To my knowledge there are female members within the OO as I know a few.

    Secondly catholics that convert to protestants are allowed into the OO so that theory that no member must have a link with Rome is incorrect.

    I know of grand masters whom have married catholics albeit ones whom have converted to protestanism.

    At a speech within the field at Fermanagh when the County Grand Master was talking about money that the OO had raised at an event he said that when distributing it he couldn’t care less if it goes to an orange, green or other charity provided that people in need received the money.

    Anti Catholicism – Yes
    Anti Catholic – No