Manufacturing consent…

AFTER Ian Paisley’s belated-but-welcome stand against the loyalist sectarian campaign of violence against Catholics in his constituency, it should be noted that there have been quite a number of attacks on Orange halls recently too. However, this attack seemed particularly cowardly, and while I know most republicans who detest the Order will nonetheless condemn these attacks, perhaps it goes some way to explaining why the DUP gained the political concession of de-rating for Orange halls, as the insurance is often prohibitive. There is some stick attached to the carrot – the financial incentive is contingent upon the halls being open to all the community. An opportunity for bridge-building?

It could be – even in Paisley’s constituency.

Thinking out loud…

It’s entirely possible that Orange halls could be used for child day care, for example. For the hall it makes economic sense. I remember clearly (albeit some time ago) the success of the creche in Rasharkin, a largle Catholic village in Paisley country. The creche was in the Presbyterian church, and was well used by all, and probably helped – in some small way – to enhance community relations.

Of course, if others – such as the relatively small AOH – want to avail of the same financial breaks, they have to do the same. But I really think the ball is in the Orange Order’s court on this issue…

The whole thing feeds into the argument that the only thing that unites republicans and unionists is self-interest. See water charges and tax incentives for further details – SF and the DUP are virtually singing from the same hymn sheet.

Creating situations where both have a self-interest may be one – pathetically selfish – way to promote common cause between the political extremes here.

But it all else fails…!

  • aquifer

    Don’t knock self interest. Define what it is in detail, and you will likely have a basis for co-operation. Our red mist in the eyes zero sum politics rarely gets that far. It harks back to a past when possession of a field mattered, rather than a globally competitive high value added economy where co-operation between suppliers must be seamless and corruption or partisanship risks the whole enterprise. Post CAP reform the title of agricultural land is more a concern for bank lenders and sectarian gossips than for entrepreneurs.

  • Nestor Makhno

    Aquifer has a very strong point (but is it not a slightly different take on the consistent marxist line that the fervent nationalism of both hues has blinded the reality of the common cause of the working class? Although – that always seemed a bit patronising.)

    I think Northern Ireland is in a race against time – everywhere else in the west the idea of traditional neighbourhood community bonds are breaking down as individuals and families become atomised into homogenous bland consumers of the same (mostly bad) international TV, music, fashion, food, politics and sport.

    We’ve bucked the trend somewhat to date – we still cling on to our traditional church-going, music, parades, sectarianism and paramilitaries – but they’re all definitely on the slide! Belfast is becoming more like every other boring European city every day.

    I think this is the root cause of a growing sense of bewilderment here in Northern Ireland – particularly in the working class loyalist communities who are faced with the disintegration of their neighbourhoods and who are interpretating it as some sort of republican agenda.

    Is it not just globalisation putting them through the mill?

  • baldrick

    Nestor

    Good point on Globalisation and the tendency to blame change on “the ould enemy” rather than bigger forces so far beyond our control that even Don Quixote wouldn’t charge against them.

    Globalisation killed off the heavy engineering industry which supported so much of Protestant working class Belfast (used to work in it myself). but it’s easier and somehow more comforting to blame “themmuns” who have done slightly better over the same time (NB: not my personal viewpoint) than to recognise that all your hopes, aspirations and best efforts count don’t matter one damn in the face of cheap labour from China, India etc..

    Sad fact is that our much trumpeted recent successes in attracting low-end “added value” jobs such as call centres (and even to an extent some software development companies which are further up the food chain) will almost certainly follow heavy engineering to the East in the next 10 years.

    5 years ago at a software trade show I was acosted by a Sri Lankan businessman who had connections with that countries main Microsoft training provider. He said he could put 100 fully certified software engineers onto a project for me at 1 months notice and he even offered that resource on a no win/no fee basis – I didn’t like the product they delivered I could just walk away.

    Fact is Globalisation has only just begun to screw the NI economy and textiles & engineering are only a foretaste of what’s to come.

    But don’t worry, Invest NI will save us ………… (er, O Sh*t!)

  • John East Belfast

    My Branch of East Belfast UUP used to meet in an Orange Hall and we couldn’t always get it on teh nights we wanted because it was hired out that night to an Irish Dance Class.

  • Nestor Makhno

    baldrick: Sad fact is that our much trumpeted recent successes in attracting low-end “added value” jobs such as call centres (and even to an extent some software development companies which are further up the food chain) will almost certainly follow heavy engineering to the East in the next 10 years.

    I read recently that Palo Alto – in the heart of California’s silicon valley – has started losing such jobs in large numbers to India, Korea and China and that investors there won’t even consider a project unless there’s a partnership with one of these countries. (They can’t imagine a hi-tech project will make money without cheap skills and labour from the Far East.

    The Apple Ipod was more or less coded and engineered (and completely built) in the Far East. It was merely ‘designed’ and marketed in California by Apple (although the concept of ‘design’ is rather lose – I think Apple chose the colour).

    As it stands we will have a hell of a job catching up with silicon valley – but already the game has moved to a new level.

    Thank god for the Bru….

  • Gonzo

    Is loyalist anger misdirected? If the shipyard jobs went to South Korea, should we not have had a mob wearing Ranger T-shirts protesting in Seoul instead of east Belfast?