Let ‘Billy’ go marching home…

Interesting piece from Jason Walsh over at Comment is Free, which argues that “it won’t be enough for Peter Hain to issue a diktat: the permission must come from within the nationalist community itself”. He’s clearly no great fan of the Orange himself, but he enumerates several reasons why Nationalists should move directly to solve the problem and avoid the re-constitution of the ‘becalmed’ Parades Commission:- it’s undemocratic.

– it upholds an important principle of both British and Irish legal tradition: freedom of assembly.

– “being “allowed” to march is the last thing the Orange Order actually wants”.

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  • Pete Baker


    ‘anitfrank’ gave a reasonable assesment of Jason Walsh’s piece in the comments there.

    “The good point in this article was buried in a welter of grandstanding about the unGuardianness of Orangemen”

  • Glen

    Rubbish, the marching season is in no terminal decline. In fact a lot of parades are better organised than ever before. Bands are a lot more professional in their appearance and the crowds are still coming out.

    Jason should go to Scarva on the 13th before writing another anti unionist and Protestant culture rant.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Tell you what, Mick, why don’t you pen one of your Guardian pieces in a similar vein calling on the immigrant communities in England to “allow” the BNP to march, rally, meet, or whatever they do, in their areas?

    You won’t, though, will you? And we all know why you won’t, so please try to be a little bit consistent here too.

  • Stephen,

    I don’t get what you mean? If I had seen such a piece I would almost certainly have linked it!!

    Are you saying I should not have linked it? And if not, why not?

  • foreign correspondent

    Comment is Free is my new net-addiction. It has to be said they make considerable space for themes of Irish interest. Apart from this and Mick´s piece they have another blog in praise of the GAA. Maybe they´re trying to compete with Slugger?
    But sure, never mind the Orange marches. The most fascinating blog on Comment is Free at the moment is the one about Jeremy Clarkson. Almost four hundred posts and most are calling for his head. I´ve never liked the guy, but I never realized just how many people hate his guts…

  • Stephen Copeland


    Don’t be coy. You usually preface pieces you like or agree with with tags like ‘interesting’ or ‘thought-provoking’, or some-such other positive hint.

    Maybe I’m wrong – maybe you don’t agree with Jason Walsh’s point of view. But you present it as an ‘interesting piece’, not as an idea as ridiculous as “allowing” the BNP to parade through Southall. You are, it seems, seeking to have different standards applied to our own sectarian bigots than to those that normaal Guardian readers would apply to racist bigots.

  • Mick Fealty


    I would be a pretty stressed out individual if I agreed with every piece I find interesting enough to blog on Slugger. 😉

    In this case I found it interesting because although allowing Orangemen to right to walk is not a unique proposition, it is very rare to see it arise from that quarter.

  • Harry

    I don’t think nationalists are against the idea of walking per se. If the people taking part in these parades talked to the residents, showed respect when walking through and turned it into something inclusive – acted normally in other words – I think nationalists would be willing to allow them. Perhaps this is the difference between the catholic and protestant mindset. Catholics who can go to confession to get absolution any day of the week are more willing to forgive and forget and move on. Protestants however are less forgiving and more severe. The difference too between a belief in being saved by faith, which can occur at any moment, and a belief in being saved by works over the course of a virtuous life. Which is it, catholics believe in faith and protestants believe in works or vice versa? I can never remember…

  • McGrath

    Interesting “reverse psychology” piece.

    So if no one opposed the OO demonstrating (parading), then is not really a demonstration anymore and there is no satisfaction in it for them?

    I wonder if the nationalist community could keep their hands in their pockets and their mouths closed for a couple of years, what would the outcome be?

  • [i]”Which is it, catholics believe in faith and protestants believe in works or vice versa? I can never remember”[/i]

    The Catholic teaching is that both works and faith are needed for salvation to the point that good works alone are sufficient if the person was never taught the need for faith.

    The Protestant belief is that faith and works are needed faith absolutely and works as an expression of that faith. There is some differences of emphasis among the Protestant Churches.

  • Harry

    No wonder they’re confused. So catholics can have a life of bad works, get absolution and get on the golden escalator with a last minute leap of faith while protestants are tied to a game of averages, is that it?

  • handsfree

    Surely if the orange order broke its links with loyalist paramilitarism, people might be more likely to turn the other way.