“Stupidity and sheer bloody-mindedness” motivation behind British Forces parade

In the developing furore around the approaching ‘Welcome Home’ parade for British forces in Belfast, it’s perhaps timely that Brian Feeney provides a reminder as to the motivation by those who proposed the parade in the first instance:
“Past experience shows it’s impossible to underestimate the stupidity and sheer bloody-mindedness of unionist councillors. Their real motivation in demanding such a parade is only made more obvious in every specious, dishonest and disingenuous interview you listen to.”
The columnist mentions that many British cities have steered clear of a similar parade in recognition of the divisiveness of the current conflicts involving British forces- cities which don’t have the legacy of our much deeper divisions. Feeney also alludes to the irony of the parade merely serving to strengthen the identification of the British forces with loyalism.

  • slug

    How negative.

  • fair_deal

    I see Feeney’s imagination has got as fevered as some slugger commentors.

    So gerry blames the brits and brian blames the Unionists, anyone else want to be added to the list?

    “Brian Feeney provides a reminder as to the motivation by those who proposed the parade in the first instance”

    No Feeny provides a reminder of what he imagines is the motivation. One day, one day nationalists (and commentators) may just realise that not everything is about them.

    “They knew that there would be protest demonstrations.”

    Did they? When was the last counter demo to a republican parade in the city centre? The nationalist community isn’t a fan of Orangeism either but it doesn’t have a city centre counter march to the Twelfth. Even the Andytown News editorial had grapsed that the counter-marches stuff had pretty much died a death in the city centre but all this has escaped Feeney.

    “meant making a political football out of the men and women marching.”

    For a football match you need two teams on the pitch. There is no obligation on the other team to suit up i.e. hold a counter march.

  • Suilven

    Of course, both Feeney (and you, Chris) ignore the fact that, subsequent to the rather flimsy alleged incidents of anti-forces sentiment cited in the article, well-received and peaceful homecoming parades have recently occurred in 2 of the 3 towns (Birmingham and Peterborough) in recent months. There have also been similar uncontroversial parades recently in London and Glasgow, which have large South Asian ethnic minorities. Even Rose Gentle found it in her heart to welcome the Royal Highland Fusiliers home from Helmand – she, at least, can separate opposition to a government policy from disrespect of those given no choice other then to implement it:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article5042653.ece

    Basically, most of these articles in the Northern nationalist press are just about Irish nationalism and republicanism getting its excuses in early before Sunday exposes the true depth of anti-British, anti-unionist and anti-Protestant hatred amongst its exponents.

  • Padraig Caughey

    If it is reasonable and logical to expect people to support a British Forces parade as a democratic right..and it is.

    It is equally reasonable and logical to expect people protest such a parade as a democratic right ..and it is.

    What I think is not reasonable or logical is for people to consider that only marching is a democratic right, whilst protesting is anaethema.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  • Dec

    The nationalist community isn’t a fan of Orangeism either but it doesn’t have a city centre counter march to the Twelfth.

    There were protests (not marches as people were prevented from leaving their are, and in some cases houses) on the Lower Ormeau when they objected to being taunted by Unionists about sectarian mass-murder (or was that that our fevered imagination).

    For a football match you need two teams on the pitch. There is no obligation on the other team to suit up i.e. hold a counter march.

    All rather rich when you consider Drumcree, Harryville, Holy Cross, Mary McAleese greeting school children, Cemetary Sunday at Carnmoney etc, etc…

  • jimmy

    Usually I see Brian Feeneys columns as fairly objective opinion, on this one he’s lost the plot and from a moderate Nationalist?
    First of all there’s parity of esteem so much harked on about by Nationalists especially Sinn Fien, They must except that the British identity in one form or another has been in Ireland for over 700 years, Fact. Anyone wishing to express that has the absolute right to do so.
    The only reasons that other British city’s stay clear off parades is due to the failure of mass immigration and the fear of offending Muslims or indeed the white Middle class liberal elite and also that Britain has lost its sense of Pride due to its multiculturalism, If Unionists want to relight that British pride in Belfast who are we to object?
    Certainly some elements of the British forces colluded with loyalists, that is also fact, but in any sectarian conflict in any part of the world the Governments always use ideologically aligned agents to do its work, that’s also fact.
    However I fall to accept that the Modern RIR is in the same league as the UDR. Many troops that would be marching on Sunday were mere boys when the Troubles ended; many are Dublin men, some are Catholics and from the south in general and some are ethnic Minorities. What’s the great offence? The issue of collusion is a different issue from the parade and for another time and place.
    The IRA-Irish Nationalism entered into an un-winnable war with a vastly superior foe, they got beat, the Brits won, any skulduggery the British forces engaged in was going to happen, it happened, it’s the game of war and they need to get over it.

    I will never see justice in my lifetime for those murdered by the state by its agents; similarly the family of Jean McConville and the Hundreds of Catholics, Police, Army and Protestant Civilians Killed by the IRA will never see justice either. However are we to ignore the amnesty for terrorist crimes pre GFA and the release of some of the most despicable people back onto the streets, that’s what Nationalism agreed to and it now demands to see accountability for the security forces so what’s the difference?
    The problem with this society is that it is so full of hypocracies and double standards.

    The parade is what it is, a homecoming for troops that fought for their country and an appreciation by he city to them, at least Feeney and the rest of the angry brigade can give them that.

  • cut the bull

    In yesterdays Irish News there was also a statement from the Rev Mervyn Gibson saying “Local communities are working closely with the police to try and find a way in unionists can walk down the Albert Bridge Rd past the Markets to the city centre to watch the parade”.

    Why do unionists feel the need to walk past two of the most open and volatile interfaces in the city to get to this parade?

    Unionists attending or protesting about parades around this interface have had a long term and disastrous effect on the politics of this state and the communities which live in the Short Strand,Markets and often what would be seen as unionist communities like the Albert Bridge Rd where there have been gun attacks, shops, buses and cars have been burned by Unionist/Loyalist rioters.

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/docs/boyd69.htm

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/sep/12/northernireland.angeliquechrisafis

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/sep/12/northernireland.northernireland

    Would it make more sense to walk down the Newtownards Rd, over the Queens Bridge Down Oxford St and up Chichester St where the parade is taking place.

  • William

    I wouldn’t give two much respect to anything written by Brian Feeney….he is one of the most sneering, arrogant columnists in any local paper. He couldn’t hack it as a Councillor and now seeks to demean current Councillors especially Unionist members. Why shouldn’t the RIR have a homecoming parade in the capital city of the country where many, possibly the majority of their soldiers hail from.
    Were I a Belfast DUP councillor, I’d be consulting my lawyer about his calling the DUP members of Belfast City Council ‘eejits’ . The only eejit I thought of as I read the scurrilious piece was the the failed politician who suffers from ‘small man’s syndrome’, namely Feeney. With his viewpoint, it is no wonder that he was able to write a book about Sinn Fein / IRA…..he is probably closer to their thinking now, than his erstwhile friends in the SDLP.

  • lorraine

    to be anti-british army is not tantamount to hatred or sectarianism. the british army murdered irish nationalists, colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of innocent catholics and legally protected some of the worst mass murderers of the conflict in ireland.

    i am a republican, i have no problem with a welcome home parade per se. this parade though demonstrates gross insensitivity to victims of british state sponsored murder.

    what next? paratroopers marching through derry? or the IRA marching up the shankill to commemorate thomas begley?

    we seemed to be getting to a position where contentious parades were being dealt with sensibly and now we are right back to square one.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    What part of “city centre” do you not understand?

    “There were protests (not marches as people were prevented from leaving their are, and in some cases houses) on the Lower Ormeau”

    There hasn’t been an OO parade past the Lower Ormeau for almost a decade.

    Also I do not dispute the right to hold a counter-protest plus as I said on another thread if the PC (and nationalism) is now bought into the idea of parade and protest then there shouldn’t be an issue with Drumcree etc.

  • William

    To ‘cut the bull’….mate, do you know East Belfast???….why shouldn’t the people of that part of Belfast come the direct route to the city centre, over the Albert Bridge…..

    As to your sources…using that lunatic Andrew Boyd’s version of events as regurgitated by the Cain website and the left-wing Guardian columns as unbiased is not inspiring. Neither Boyd nor the Guardian are icons of honest journalism.

  • William

    To Lorraine….yes, the Paratroopers will march through Londonderry….not through Derry mind you. I am one of a number of people currently organising a homecoming parade in our second city for the brave soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Hopefully there will be some on parade who were in HM forces, when we defeated the IRA and forced them into administering British rule in Northern Ireland.
    If you and your ilk wish to see what an undefeated Army looks like, may I suggest you are in Belfast city centre on Sunday, not protesting but rejoicing !!!

  • Jimmy
    many are Dublin men, some are Catholics and from the south in general and some are ethnic Minorities.

    Do these soldiers(or any of the soldiers for that matter) get any choice in whether they want to take part in this controversal parade or not.
    I am sure some of them think lets just have a party and leave this particular aggro to the politicians

  • cut the bull

    I happen to live in East Belfast on an interface and having seen first hand what went on during the protest riots in relation to the Whiterock parade and given the history of parades and protests in this area.

    I could give you a list of reasons why people who are supporters or participants in what has become a contentious parade should do their best to stay clear of the Albert Bridge Rd and Short Strand and take another route which would cause less hassle for people who live on the interface.

  • Dec

    What part of “city centre” do you not understand?

    I understand plenty because I’m actually from Belfast.

    There hasn’t been an OO parade past the Lower Ormeau for almost a decade.

    Yes, I believed I outlined why in response to your assertion that Nationalists don’t hold counter- demo’s. When the people off the Lower Ormeau did protest their area was cordoned off for 24 hours and they were hemmed into their streets hence not much opportunity for counter-demos.

    Also I do not dispute the right to hold a counter-protest plus as I said on another thread if the PC (and nationalism) is now bought into the idea of parade and protest then there shouldn’t be an issue with Drumcree etc.

    I wasn’t aware the Nationalist protests are being forced through Sandy Row? If they are, you might have a point.

  • Dub Exile

    I can only presume that Sinn Fein will also be demonstrating against those other Irish soldiers who will soon be returning from a UN Mission in a foreign country?

    When Oglaigh na hEireann parade through our streets on their return from Chad will the Shinners be consistent in their commitment to world peace and harmony at home?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    William displays adequately the real reason for this and proposed other parades, thanks very much. The six counties of Ireland are not like British cities, so any comparison is null and void. It is idiocy to have any unit of the British army marching in Belfast, complete idiocy. It merely serves the orgasmic wet dreams of Unionism, and puts off the reality staring them in the face. That one day, and one day very soon they will have to deal with their fellow countrymen as equals.

  • fair_deal

    “I understand plenty because I’m actually from Belfast”

    Then why did your comment not understand the reference to the city centre?

    “Yes, I believed I outlined why in response to your assertion that Nationalists don’t hold counter- demo’s”

    I never said nationalists don’t hold counter demos at all hence my use of “city centre”.

    “I wasn’t aware the Nationalist protests are being forced through Sandy Row?”

    If a principle is accepted then it means acceptance of the consequences.

  • Dec

    Then why did your comment not understand the reference to the city centre

    For the last time, Nationalists who objected to Sectarian parades past their homes did not get the option for a city-centre protest as they were penned in their streets for 48 hours. Maybe in your next post you can explain how East Bridge Street is in the city centre whilst the Lower Ormeau road is not.

    If a principle is accepted then it means acceptance of the consequences.

    Funny how only one community ever has to endure the consequences.

  • Terry

    Perhaps Tony Kenny a.k.a. Prionsa Eoghan can explain how, ‘…William displays adequately the real reason for this and proposed other parades,…’ I re-read William’s posts and don’t see any reason within what he wrote that would require the response,’…That one day, and one day very soon they will have to deal with their fellow countrymen as equals.’ I don’t see any inequality of Roman Catholics [no doubt Mr. Kenny’s ‘fellow countrymen’], rather do I see an Anti-British, anti-Protestant campaign to green this part of the United Kingdom. There must be equality in everything but can’t be; e.g. there can’t be equality between the Union Flag and the Tricolour…the Union Flag is the flag of the UK of which we are part. The Tricolour is but an inspiration of around 40% of the population of this part of the UK. Neither should public buildings be forced to remove photographs of the Queen as she is the Monarch.
    Republicans and their Nationist mirror images seek to create ‘dimmer switch Britishness’ and that will not be allowed to happen. We are glad that the terrorists of Sinn Fein / IRA have in the main stopped murdering people and blowing up buildings and they should be happy that the law-abiding people of all religions have agreed that they are allowed to help administer British rule in Northern Ireland. Had the DUP kept their electoral promises, then the Shinners would have for the next five or six years being in a process of deconamination, prior to being eligible and fit for Government.

  • Paul

    Here Here Terry….as a convert from Republicanism, I totally agree with you. These protesters on Sunday will have the usual chip on their shoulder.

    They need to wise up and get a life. I wonder why Grizzly Adams isn’t speaking up on this protest….is it because he is scared of upsetting the USA where he hopes to be going to in the next few weeks. Were he personally to show too much anti Army feelings, the Yanks might withdraw his visa, and he wouldn’t get to the $1,000 a plate dinner in a posh New York hotel.

  • ??

    the british army murdered irish nationalists, …………..

    why then isnt there a protest at the SF/IRA protest given they murdered more catholics than any other group during the troubles.

    This is simple bigotry, nothing more , nothing less

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Terry

    Look at William’s 11:16 AM, perhaps you missed it. Hence my reference to treating fellow countrymen as equals. Normal citizens in a normal society do not treat their fellow citizens as objects to flout triumphalism at. This seems to be the only thing that Unionism excells at.

    Now your childish attempt to intimidate me by putting my name up only shows you up perhaps for what you are. Like many others on here I do not seek to hide my name, genuises like you who think that airing what is already common knowledge you will get somewhere really only show themselves up.

    Now you were saying.

  • Big Maggie

    I wonder why Grizzly Adams isn’t speaking up on this protest

    Off topic, but I’ve often wondered why he’s called this. A grizzly despite its bulk is a loveable animal that harms no one unless attacked or when protecting its young.

    Wouldn’t Grisly Adams be more appropriate?

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    “Nationalists who objected to Sectarian parades past their homes did not get the option for a city-centre protest”

    Did they ask? In your particular example they did get to protest.

    “Funny how only one community ever has to endure the consequences. ”

    Where did I advocate them applying to solely one community?

  • fair_deal

    “Maybe in your next post you can explain how East Bridge Street is in the city centre whilst the Lower Ormeau road is not.”

    Because East Bridge street is in the Markets area not the Lower Ormeau area. BTW there is no such road as the “Lower Ormeau road”.

  • picador

    FD,

    You asked earlier ‘What part of city centre don’t you understand?’

    The Markets. Why does the British Army want to march past it? Why do loyalists want to march past the Short Strand and the Markets on their way to watch the British Army march past the Markets?

    Is the answer (in both cases) ‘because they are criminally stupid?’

  • fair_deal

    picador

    “The Markets. Why does the British Army want to march past it?”

    They were invited to come to the city.

    It isn’t. It is marching along Chichester street,through Crown court plaza and then Oxford Street (in a northerly direction). They are not parading on Cromac Street, East Bridge Street (or May Street for that matter) so they are not marching past the Markets.

    “Why do loyalists want to march past the Short Strand and the Markets on their way to watch the British Army march past the Markets?”

    They want to go to a city centre event and a pedestrian wanting to go to the city centre from the East of the city can’t you do so without passing one side of the short strand.

  • andrew

    ‘Why do loyalists want to march past the Short Strand and the Markets on their way to watch the British Army march past the Markets?’

    Will the PSNI stop the illegal parade from the Newtownards Road to the City Centre on Sunday or will loyalist paramilitary involvement in the march deter them from acting?

    They can hardly stop the eirigi crowd from marching into town while allowing loyalists to proceed.

  • Driftwood

    While supporting the armed forces parade, I would be embarrassed by ‘loyalists’ using the event as a political showcase. The irony of people opposed to the Irish Language having banners with FAUGH A BALLAGH on them, as were displayed by Linfield fans at the Cliftonville match on Sky, well, where to begin. The PSNI are in a very difficult situation, and if they have to call for military back up, to police a military parade…Well only in NI! SF could defuse this right away, and take some credit for doing so. If the DUP don’t make a reciprocal gesture later, they will look pretty mean spirited. Some may think them that anyway, but there you go. What could (and still hopefully will)have been an enjoyable day out for the troops families turned into Rangers v Celtic. Even if there is violence, I’nm not sure the rest of the world gives a shit any more than it does about the old firm.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Fair Deal

    I don’t actually believe Feeney is supporting the protest parade itself, rather pointing out that the motive behind the parade was primarily about getting one over on t’other side. Witness the irony of loyalists apparently mobilising to support the rally, the same loyalists who not long ago were trying to kill British soldiers because Orangemen couldn’t walk through the peace line in west Belfast.

    To me, the ‘Homecoming Parade’ is a bit like the ill-conceived paint the post boxes green campaign of some, a cloak for insecurity. And then there’s the politics of the four-week poppy wearers….

    You’d find it hard to convince nationalists otherwise (that’s if you were so inclined), given a number of reasons, not least that any one of a large number of overwhelmingly unionist towns could’ve been considered for this parade, instead of Belfast. That may be a harsh interpretation, but hardly surprising.

    Personally, I believe a much better response from republicans would’ve been to announce that an IRA commemorative march would be held in the city centre at an appropriate time/ date (perhaps next Easter) and demand mutual acceptance of that parade.

    And then we can get on to those opposing Council funding for St. Patrick’s Day parades due to children waving Irish tricolours, yet supporting Belfast Council funding for 11th Night bonfires in which the same flags get burnt and many more are flown….

  • fair_deal

    CD

    “the motive behind the parade was primarily about getting one over on t’other side”

    As I said one day one day nationalists and their commentators will realise that it isn’t always about them.

    “And then there’s the politics of the four-week poppy wearers….”

    Stop obsessing that everything is about ‘you’.

    “the same loyalists who not long ago were trying to kill British soldiers because Orangemen couldn’t walk through the peace line in west Belfast.”

    Read that reference in a Gerry Adams press statement, is this the new line for the week? It just communicates how much republicansim doesn’t understand the dynamics of the conflict and by extension Unionism and Loyalism.

    “You’d find it hard to convince nationalists otherwise (that’s if you were so inclined), given a number of reasons, not least that any one of a large number of overwhelmingly unionist towns could’ve been considered for this parade, instead of Belfast.”

    This would be the same nationalists who said a republican parade into Belfast city centre was a test of whether they were considered equal citizens in the city? IIRC the slogan was ‘Our city too’ However, now equality means a denial of access of the same access they once demanded for those they disagree with hmm?

    “I believe a much better response from republicans would’ve been to announce that an IRA commemorative march would be held in the city centre at an appropriate time/ date (perhaps next Easter) and demand mutual acceptance of that parade.”

    There have been republican parades into the city centre. In the past no doubt statements attacking the glorification of terrorists would have been issued and the event would have happened regardless. As the ATN editorial worked out there would be no guarantee of that with pressure for a loyalist counter demo.

    “mutual acceptance”

    I am unaware of anyone demanding republicanism change its views/opinions and say that the Army is wonderful.

    Plus a good chunk of the nationalist community don’t think the provies were a great bunch of lads and never did.

    SF have miscalculated. The Army is not the OO. There is a difference of opinion within Unionism about the OO and its parades. However, the Army is a different kettle of fish, it enjoys much more substantial support in all sections of Unionism (and beyond considering some on parade are neither from the Uk or a Unionist background).

    “And then we can get on to those opposing Council funding for St. Patrick’s Day parades”

    Funding was opposed for a single community event.

    “due to children waving Irish tricolours,”

    Plus free IRA prisoner flags distributed by Martin Meehan plus political speeches plus sectarian assaults on schoolkids plus radio broadcasts calling for nationalists to reclaim “their city centre”

    “yet supporting Belfast Council funding for 11th Night bonfires in which the same flags get burnt and many more are flown….”

    In Catriona’s time the West Belfast festival flew a tricolour 365 days a year from its offices (although it no longer does). It put the free IRA prisoners badge in its programmes and runs events in honour of IRA terrorists. All while receiving a range of funding from public (and private) bodies.

    Republicanism won and set the precedent so it is in little position to complain now. So the boat on those type of arguments pretty much saled 15 years ago all that has changed is Loyalist areas are getting the same.

  • fair_deal

    PS

    Should have read
    “Funding was opposed for a single community event when a cross-community one was possible.”