Park parades

It’s at least encouraging that they’re still talking and expect to keep talking beyond the weekend. Although the pressure is on, nobody ought to expect quick results. I assume that the shape of the talks is different from the old “ nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” formula adopted for the GFA and St Andrews. The issues are more focused on the points of deadlock. Surely it’s obvious the parties should leave parades aside for another day when J&P is up and running? When he last took a hard line on the record Peter Robinson said only five are really controversial. Surely confidence is built by Sinn Fein continuing to demonstrate their support for policing? Who can deny they’ve made a good start? If only it were as simple as that. If the Ashdown principle of confronting local democracy with parades decisions is adopted, unionists fear that green councils in the west will want to ban them until they’re reduced to innocuous Orangefests, while in the east, Sinn Fein proxies – or dissidents – will carry on stirring up opposition to them in the east. Under Ashdown rules, once a council takes a negative view, mediation is immediately at a disadvantage and faces an uphill and probably lengthy struggle to reverse it. The balance of advantage lies with a ban. Referring the dispute up, do we really believe that FMDFM could cope with a sectarian deadlock in the present atmosphere?

It seems obvious to me that the parties are not ready for Ashdown. The past ten years have been too much about firefighting case by case, with the initiative lying in the streets. For the time being, better to leave adjudication to a quango headed up by one of the great and good which can absorb brickbats without doing serious community damage. Look at the records of containment at Garvaghy Road and Ormeau Road. North Belfast and Whiterock remain running sores. This I presume is one of the reasons why Nigel Dodds is a pivotal figure. New province-wide protocols need to be agreed in advance to sort out the competing rights case by case. As everybody involved knows the issues intimately, engagement should start now. Only when protocols are agreed should the Parades Commission be finally scrapped. This will take time. Surely this would be better done when the Assembly has taken over responsibility for law and order, making it harder for all parties to duck out of their new responsibilities, taking account of advice from the police, the communities and the walkers. The big message should be, the more both sides agree to neogtiate with integrity, the more they’ll achieve. Unionists with the loyal orders and all nationalists together would then have a platform to stand on together to outface their respective dissidents and more opportunist troublemakers. On parades, we have not even begun the journey to reach that point. On this issue, we are not quite ready to govern ourselves directly. A year’s postponement of the final solution for parades governance seems the only way out.

  • The Ashdown review has enormous faultlines on which this post has only focused on the simples. http://www.thedissenter.co.uk/2008/10/parade-review-steps-toward-legal-minefield/

    Ormeau and Garvaghy remain running sores, it is simply not a republican sore and therefore below the radar.

  • joeCanuck

    Here is the choreography being worked out.
    The Parades Commission will be suspended shortly for approx 1 year with a sunset clause.
    SF will agree to a trial run of the interim Ashdown recommendations for this year’s marching season.
    A review of how it worked and if it was effective in reducing public disorder will be carried out in October. If it was successful, any tinkering needed will be done and a final agreed process will be issued by year’s end and the Parades Commission will be abolished. If it was not successful the suspension of the Parades Commission will be rescinded until a revised set of recommendations can be developed.
    In conjunction with this, a motion on implementation of devolution of P&J will be put to the Assembly by the end of this month. If it gets cross community support, FM/DFM will ask the SOS to have the necessary legislation passed at Westminster by the end of March at the latest..

    Don’t forget that you heard it first on Slugger and that you heard it from me.

  • Chris Donnelly

    If the Ashdown principle of confronting local democracy with parades decisions is adopted, unionists fear that green councils in the west will want to ban them until they’re reduced to innocuous Orangefests, while in the east, Sinn Fein proxies – or dissidents – will carry on stirring up opposition to them in the east.

    Brian
    For heaven sake Brian take off your Orange tinted glasses! Unionists ‘fear’ while nationalists ‘stir’?

    One would think it was nationalists seeking to march where they weren’t wanted. And let’s not forget the summer of violent attacks by loyalists in north Antrim the last time that actually was the case.

    Resolving parading isn’t about coming to grips with fear and outmaneouvring those ‘bad’ stirring nationalists. It’s about making t’other see the mote in their eye.

    If unionists want to march- for example- on the Crumlin Road, why not invite a reciprocal march from Legoniel to Ardoyne by republicans? Such a proposal would illustrate that unionists were genuine about wanting to have parading viewed as a right shared by both communities and that both host communities could tolerate such expressions.

    Finally, regarding attitudes of councils, the history of power-sharing across all nationalist controlled councils- not least those in the ‘east- and the contrast with the lack of power-sharing on unionist councils suggests the problems will be found in those less-benign unionist fiefdoms of Antrim, Down and Armagh (and let’s not forget Coleraine, for obvious reasons.)

  • Rory Carr

    Don’t worry, Joe, if your prognostications are not borne out you can be sure that no one will ever forget and you will be reminded of it every time you visit Slugger on whatever unrelated topic for the rest of your time here.

    If, on the other hand, your very precise forecast and timeline should hold up we shall all instantly forget that it was you who first muted it and claim instead that we each and all knew full well all along that that was exactly how the game would be played out.

    Except of course for Paul, whose response will inevitably be, “Speak for yourself, you Shinner. What about Gerry Adams, hey?”.

  • joeCanuck

    Hehehehe, Rory.
    BTW, Paul has stopped calling me a Shinner. I’m now a sinner. So sometimes he does get it right. On the other hand he doesn’t appear to be even poorly versed in spelling or punctuation, so who knows. Not attacking you, Paul, just a very apparent fact.

  • joeCanuck,

    just a point of clarification, can you reveal the origins of your prediction, a guess, wishful thinking, insider knowledge, telephone tapping, womens intutition, coded message in the Belfast Telegraph, grafitti, feeling it in your North American waters, the Mounties or other?

  • Stewart

    If unionists want to march- for example- on the Crumlin Road, why not invite a reciprocal march from Legoniel to Ardoyne by republicans? Such a proposal would illustrate that unionists were genuine about wanting to have parading viewed as a right shared by both communities and that both host communities could tolerate such expressions.

    Can the republican march be headed by an IRA band in the same way the Orange order, apprentice, blackmen use various uvf bands to lead their parades past Ardoyne.

  • joeCanuck

    MU,
    Oh just an insomniac’s best guess. We have a local salt mine and I’m sure I can rustle some up for you if needed.

  • Who was the bright spark who dreamt up the Joint First Minister/Deputy First Minister Office arrangement which is just like a shotgun marriage between a pregnant nympho bride and a drunkard impotent groom, is it not? A Union of equals, stars in their own fields, but oh so different and unsuited to the play in the marriage bed and life together.

    Can you imagine such an arrangement working anywhere where there is a divisive competitive party political system, where one side is always trying to destroy/terrorise the other side, [rather than all helping and feeding each other valuable insight]in order to to get their sticky hands on the Levers of Power and the Public Purse and Access to Special Intelligence Supply, which would presumably be Tasked with the Provision, nee Invention, of Viable and Acceptable Working Information which shows them/tells them how things are going to work, even should they not be Privy to how such Supplies of Information and Intelligence, for Power and Control, Work,….. for of course, they are only as temps/amateurs/newbies in a national control position, whilst those Significant Others into Political Logistics and ZerodDay Media Supply, and about whom they will be furnished with no information, by Virtue of the Particular Requirements of their Works being Strictly Need to Know, and therefore Alaways Unknown, would be Experienced Global Control Professionals and Delicate and MkUltraSensitive Subject Matter Experts.

    Can you imagine David Cameron and Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg sharing an Office and it running smoothly and effectively?

    Or John McCain and Barack Obama being joined at the hip and leading Uncle Sam better?

    I don’t think so, so the present compromised fudge is just a bitter crazy recipe for constant bickering and discontent and the invention of an idiot savant with an Unsatisfactory See …. Useless Vision?

  • Comrade Stalin

    MkUltraSensitive Subject Matter Experts

    Someone’s swallowed a big thick book about software engineering strategies from the 1980s, along with a healthy dose of something decidedly illegal for extra effect.

  • joeCanuck,

    I’m afraid the salt mines reference is lost on me? What do the salty portents say about who will take the FM job in 6 weeks time or so, Arelene, Nigel, Martin, Big Ian, Little Ian or unfilled?

  • danielmoran

    Brian Walker. I see that Mark Devenport is taking sides on the Debate as to whether Stormont should be crashed by shinners this week or not. in his blog he says that the fact that neither side is commenting to the media, and by implication, really serious negotiation is going on. Then, MD adds, ‘this is a hopeful sign.’
    Why is he taking for granted that everybody wants Stormont to carry on,so the DUP are spared an early election now?. The SF voters certainly don’t as they know the resulting assembly election in two months will likely see them get P&J from the UUP in the new pairing in OFMDFM

  • Comrade Stalin

    Daniel,

    It’s a case of better the devil you know. It’s very hard to say what way the cards would fall if there was an election now. About the only thing you can say for certain is that the DUP would suffer. But would people really come out to support the UUP/TUV ? In any case there’s nothing which says that the UUP would work to retain devolution.

    If SF thought that an election would work in their favour, they’d have forced one a long time ago.

  • joeCanuck

    MU,
    Sorry about that. There is an old saying that when you are told a story whose veracity you suspect, then you should take it with a pinch of salt.
    Don’t have any insight into the internal workings of the DUP but, as an outsider, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a major realignment across unionism if P&J devolution goes ahead shortly.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Sinn Féin have 1 more Assembly high water election left especially if they do not start producing results. They may not have that much more time even for that.

    If your electorate does not see the party producing some result they may look elsewhere and if they do not like these alternatives they may not vote.

  • slug

    I wonder if SF and DUP both would have an interest in reducing the number of MLAs per constituency from 6 to 5. There is quite a lot of consensus that tere are too many MLAs. At the same time this move would help the larger parties stop smaller rivals entering the Assembly.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Panic, I often dream about SF being toppled, but let’s face it, if they can survive the party leader apparently lying about his actions in relation to his alleged paedophile brother, there’s not much that they can’t survive. The SDLP are the only force that could conceivably take votes from Sinn Fein, and while I think they’re mostly good people and capable parliamentary performers in most of the ways that SF are not, they can’t cut the mustard when it comes to elections. SF and the DUP were moulded to fight for their votes, whereas the UUP and SDLP spent a couple of decades not having to do so.

    Joe, like you I have no insight into the thinking of unionists or the DUP, but bear in mind that there wasn’t really a major realignment within unionism whenever they decided to share power within SF. That was a far greater leap, both in tangible terms and symobolic terms. As I’ve said here before, power sharing was on the cards during the 2007 Assembly election which followed the St Andrews Agreement. Unionists who were implacably opposed to power sharing had a clear opportunity to reject it – and they chose not to take it. I concluded at this point that most unionists are happy enough with powersharing provided they perceive that they are getting something out of it without the whole thing being tipped in SF’s favour. That was a central theme of the DUP’s election campaign at the time.

    Regarding the P+J stuff we’re looking at now .. don’t forget that SF already sit on the police board, and the justice minister is not going to be Sinn Fein (or the DUP) for the foreseeable future, especially given that they and the DUP appear to have created a formal mechanism that ensures there can’t be a justice minister that they one of them doesn’t agree on. Really all they can do is use the committees and voting processes in the assembly to hinder the Minister, which is why Alliance is seeking specific agreement on mechanisms to ensure that, while the Minister must be accountable, he/she is free from petty party political interference in the course of doing his/her job.

    The role of the justice minister will be critical here, and if that minister can demonstrate a firm hand delivering reforms to our aging justice system, and the reforms which lead to an increased feeling of security and law and order which win the support of the people of NI, all this squabbling over P+J will seem like a distant memory.

    I’m quite confident that Alliance would be capable of pulling this off but nobody should be under any illusions, of course, that any of this will be easy.

  • danielmoran

    msg 13 comrade stalin. it’s true that UUP voters while preferable for nats, to the duppers, they are also apathetic so your point is well made. i’still think they’ll play ball in the next assembly as partners to shinners, without the deliberate baiting of shinners for its own sake.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Surely the supporters of pro-British values at Wootton Bassett have shown us the way.
    If a march/demo offends local sensibilities it should not go ahead.
    I dont see how supporters of pro-British values in Portadown or Ballynafeigh could possibly disagree.

    My own position is that ALL marches everywhere should be allowed……but no police should be there.

  • Comrade Stalin

    daniel:

    msg 13 comrade stalin. it’s true that UUP voters while preferable for nats, to the duppers, they are also apathetic so your point is well made.

    Why are the UUP preferable to nationalists ? I think they’re the same as the DUP on the bigotry front, the only difference is that DUP politicians are good constituency workers and are generally competent.

    i’still think they’ll play ball in the next assembly as partners to shinners,

    If the DUP go out of the picture, you’re back to the question of – who benefits the most from devolution and who has the most to lose if it falls ? As I argued earlier, Joint Authority is not favourable for SF.

    without the deliberate baiting of shinners for its own sake.

    The Shinners ask to be baited. They tell the world what their (often unreasonable) shopping list is and leave the door open for the DUP to knock them back. Sinn Fein are going to have to learn that progress is attained not by demanding adherence to a shopping list, but by working with agreement and in partnership.

  • danielmoran

    Comrade Stalin. 20

    In saying that the UUP would be preferable to nats than DUP. I was perhaps putting it too strongly, Only slightly better than DUP. Most nats, will celbrate on assembly results day at any ‘Portillo moments for the duppers, and their assembly margins are thin enough apart from two.
    The DUP are so determined to tell their voters how much they’re frustrating SF, that ,as Liam Clarke points out, it leaves them no friends when things get sticky as now. SF owes them nothing

  • Comrade Stalin

    Daniel,

    My question was “why”. Why are the UUP preferable ? This period of government has lasted longer with the DUP than the UUP who were subject to constant infighting.

    I think anyone with any sense will celebrate “Portillo moments” for the DUP or UUP, but that’s really got nothing to do with the business of powersharing, at least not directly. People’s sexual proclivities are none of my business at the end of the day, provided of course they are legal.

    I do agree, though, with your last point. The DUP have given SF no reason to help them out. That cuts both ways though, f.ex with academic selection; SF have stuck to their policy for no reason other than that it annoys the DUP.

  • tacapall

    Sinn Fein are going to have to learn that progress is attained not by demanding adherence to a shopping list, but by working with agreement and in partnership.
    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Jan 16, 2010 @ 03:49 PM

    What happens if, as Sinn Fein are now, you are in power with a Religious fundamentalist party like the DUP who have a cavalier attitude to your electorate, who are not only opposed to your religion but your political idelogly as well. It is the DUP who needs to learn to govern in partnership, it is the DUP that needs to give Nationalist, Catholics, Republicans equal legitamcy in terms of their culture, history, religion and parity in terms of victims, when it comes to dealing with the past.

  • Driftwood

    I think they’re the same as the DUP on the bigotry front

    So you think Terence O Neill or Faulkner were just as anti-catholic a bigot as Willie McCrea or as stupid and small minded as Iris Robinson?

    Do you at least accept that the UUP might be more secular in approach? The old Unionist party had very close links with the Conservatives than perhaps the new link. Even Molyneaux was in the Monday Club. And I remember Captain Orr and Rafton Pounder as excellent MP’s being as Tory as they come. A golden era.

    You’re blind to the facts.

  • [b]The Past is Gone … Move On, You’re Holding Up your Own Progress with Perverse and Corrupted Memories, which surely everyone wishes they did not have to remember.[/b]

    [quote]Someone’s swallowed a big thick book about software engineering strategies from the 1980s, along with a healthy dose of something decidedly illegal for extra effect. …. Posted by Comrade Stalin on Jan 16, 2010 @ 12:54 PM[/quote]

    Very droll, Comrade Stalin, however I would hazard an intelligent guess that you obviously have no idea how far you can get into Systems before anyone with Intelligence realises that they have been rendered followers rather than leaders in a novel and innovative Phorm of Astute Subversion and Sublime Revolution/Change. Although of course the Smarter Being will recognise IT as a Quantum Leap with Binary Tools Immaculately Manipulating Human Consciousness and Adjusting Perceptions and Introducing Virtual Reality Play into the Military Command and Control Arsenal and Civil Governance Mix.

    Third Party Doubt and Cynicism and Blind Ignorance and Sarcastic Arrogance, when even the Facts are so Transparently and Freely Shared, are all that anyone Needs to Ignore to Succeed and Forge Ahead to Secure an Unassailable Critical Lead and Overwhelming Tactical Advantage in the New IndyMedia and Instant Messaging Environment …. although to be honest, it is more of a MetaPhysical Mountain one would need to be able to Climb in Order to Compete and/or Engage, as anything else one might imagine would allow for such ….. well, Absolutely Fabulous Progress is IT Suitably Stated, methinks, and that is it definitely and deliberately underestimated.

    How hard is it to follow and believe words which paint a picture for Media to Produce and Present/BroadBandCast as an Edutainment Program for AI and a Global Civil CyberSpace Project to Better Inform and Govern the Masses, Comrade?

    Today you can Live Life completely different with all this Information and Communications Technology @ ITs Work, Rest and Play and the Secret is to get it Playing for you too, if you wouldn’t know how to Pilot the Programs. 🙂

  • danielmoran

    Comrade Stalin.msg 22 I suppose there is no reason why the UUP should be better than DUP, except that as they are now, they haven’t got the persistent mischief making by wee Jeffrey to put up with and Reg Empey is somewhat less clumsy than Trimble who was positively anti social. The affair that the Robinson family is dealing with, is,as you say, their business, but wasn’t it they who decided to waive their privacy rights because they calculated they could use it to offset what they knew were their real corrupt dealings which are the public’s business. So I’ve no sympathy for either of them. I still don’t believe Iris actually physically attempted suicide. I think that will be finessed later to ‘on the verge of’ suicide.

  • Brian Walker

    At the start of this thread, thedissenter links to an interesting analysis, making the point that Ashdown should have reviewed the history of parades management through Commission annual reports etc and then gone on to offer options rather than a formula in his interim report.

    My own analysis is indeed “simple” enough. I’m trying to cut a way through the thicket. I don’t claim expertise on the complexities of a topic that resembles Palmerston on the Schleswig-Holstein question: ” Only two people had the solution, the King of Prussia and myself. He is dead and I have forgotten it”.

    Legal matters are no doubt important but not decisive. There are no abolute rights, only contingent rights. I’m pretty sure the courts will recognise that unionists as the instigators of parades have special obligations. There are obligations not to provoke and not to be provoked. On sanctions, there is an imbalance. As with football clubs for violence off the pitch, loyal orders may be sanctioned as they are the organisers of parades. Who answers for nationalist objectors? So far, no institution does. That I take it, is one reason why Ashdown specified elected institutions to take responsibility and one reason why Sinn Fein is loath to do so. In the end, it’s surely the right approach, but all parties must agree. From the nationalist/republican point of view, this is a problem generated by unionists visited on them, so they need a unionist willingness to deal in return. And so Chris Donnelly, as you well know, this is why your reciprocal parade to Legoniel is a debating point not a real one. It’s unionists who are the instigators and who want to change parades governance. But integrity is needed from nationalists too, as Mark Durkan has acknowledged. You’re right, unionists will have to show willing to share power genuinely in a fashion that nationalists in the west have been done more willingly than unionists in the east. In that sense, that’s why parades governance is an acid test of powersharing overall. Surely btw it’s clear I’m not wearing “Orange-tinted spectacles.” I’m characterising a unionist viewpoint not adopting it.

    I’d be keen to know what tangible objections there are to my idea of postponment of the Ashdown principles while protocols are worked out between the parties, under the devolution of J&P.

  • The stupid thing is that the DUP are maintaining the fiction that abolishing the Parades Commission will have any appreciable effect on what parades are rerouted.

    The Parades Commission was created in the first place to take the pressure off the RUC who had been in the invidious situation where the Orange Order, who supported them by default, ceased supporting them as long as their parades were rerouted – or, in other words, the Orange Order were highly selective as to when they supported the forces of law and order.

    The Commission had the disadvantage that the PSNI had to enforce the decisions of others, and the accusations of bias are unfair – it simply reflects the number of contentious parades.

    Wiser men would realise that the right to parade down a public road needs to be balanced against the broader picture of the Queen’s peace. Parades diverted into friendlier areas will avoid opposition and save hundreds of thousands of pounds on police overtime, prosecuting rioters, and repairing criminal damage.

    It simply isn’t enough to say that the parades are perfectly legal, and rioters are not. That is to abrogate your responsibility for provocation – and perhaps the provokers (on both sides!) need to be prosecuted for behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace, if they can be identified.

    To wrap up, whoever ends up deciding whether to approve or divert parades is extremely likely to reach the same conclusions as the Parades Commission has over the last ten years.

    The Loyal Orders need to realise this; they have made massive gains over the last few years by talking to genuine residents, but ultimately they have to consider whether they are loyal to the Crown or just to their right to parade.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What happens if, as Sinn Fein are now, you are in power with a Religious fundamentalist party like the DUP who have a cavalier attitude to your electorate, who are not only opposed to your religion but your political idelogly as well.

    You learn how to trade with them. Dealing with people you disagree with is a big part of what politics is about really.

    It is the DUP who needs to learn to govern in partnership, it is the DUP that needs to give Nationalist, Catholics, Republicans equal legitamcy in terms of their culture, history, religion and parity in terms of victims, when it comes to dealing with the past.

    The DUP do not have the power to deny nationalists or republicans anything they do not have. What rights to nationalists have in, for example, the RoI that they do not enjoy in NI ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Driftwood,

    So you think Terence O Neill or Faulkner were just as anti-catholic a bigot as Willie McCrea or as stupid and small minded as Iris Robinson?

    Do you compare David Cameron with Harold Wilson when debating which party is fit to run the country ? Stop being so fucking stupid.

  • anne warren

    Could questionnaires solve parades disputes?

    Something along the lines of “An Orange/Republican parade is scheduled to pass along your street on DATE at TIME. Do you agree to its passage and the return parade at TIME?”

    If any resident/shopkeeper/worker along the street says NO the parade is re-scheduled to pass up and down streets that said YES.

    If streets that said YES so desire, parades can pass up and down as often as they want, even every day of the week and several times a day, if requested.
    Streets with no scheduled parades should have the opportunity to have a parade if they want with questions such as “No Orange/Republican parade is scheduled to pass along your street.Would you like one to do so? If so, please specify which time and date of the following”
    This approach would ensure several win/win outcomes:
    1)Marchers would always be sure of a warm welcome wherever they go
    2)There would be no riots or need for police presence.
    3)Property would not be destroyed.
    4)People would not be killed or injured.
    5)Millions of pounds would be saved, some of which could go to
    6) Generating permanent annual jobs a)preparing questionnaires b) printing questionnaires c) distributing and collecting questionnaires d) assisting the old and infirm to fill in questionnaires e) data analysis f) IT specialists for online access and results g) poster makers for posters at the end of every street ” . . . .Street says YES/NO to ….Parade h) annual repeat of questionnaires i) opportunity for academics to publish papers showing success/failure of questionnaires j) opportunities for psychologists to tinker with questionnaires to ensure success of scheme
    7) Finally, Direct Democracy, a cause close to the Conservative heart, would have an opportunity to come into play

  • tacapall

    The DUP do not have the power to deny nationalists or republicans anything they do not have.
    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Jan 16, 2010 @ 08:24 PM

    They do not it seems. Have the right to say no to Anti Catholic parades marching through areas where the residents dont want them to march.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Anne,

    I don’t think any of that will help.

    Fundamentally, the solution to the marching problem requires that :

    – Orangemen sometimes mustn’t march, even when they want to
    – nationalists sometimes must agree not to try to stop marches they don’t like

    Any solution will need to have elements of both of the above.

    tacapall:

    They do not it seems. Have the right to say no to Anti Catholic parades marching through areas where the residents dont want them to march.

    Should disagreeing with the Catholic church and shouting about it loudly be illegal ? I don’t think so.

    It is interesting, though, about how some senior unionist politicians forgot all about the sacred right to march the Queen’s Highway when they were commenting on the “Islam4UK” march across the water.

  • tacapall

    – Orangemen sometimes mustn’t march, even when they want to
    – nationalists sometimes must agree not to try to stop marches they don’t like

    Is that like a paradox, well look again,

    The DUP do not have the power to deny nationalists or republicans anything “they” as in “Unionists” do not have.
    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Jan 16, 2010 @ 08:24 PM

    They do not it seems. Have the right to say no to Anti Catholic parades marching through areas where the residents dont want them to march.

    If the people of the newtownards road did not want a republican parade marching down it, they would not be marching down it, same as “Islam4UK”

  • Stewart

    ‘It is interesting, though, about how some senior unionist politicians forgot all about the sacred right to march the Queen’s Highway when they were commenting on the “Islam4UK” march across the water.’

    Interesting indeed cs.

    Unionist politicians are vocal in their opposition when an ‘insensitive & offensive’ parade is planned for Wootton Bassett yet find it acceptable for the Apprentice boys to be led by a UVF band named after sectarian murderer Brian Robinson, to pass the spot where he murdered his victim.

  • Stephen Blacker

    I believe the DUP have put themselves into a very awkward corner with linking parades with P&J. Sinn Fein did help to organise concerned resident groups but those protests soon started to take on a life of their own.

    With an Eirigi rep now being in charge of one of the most contentious parade routes, Garvaghy Road, Sinn Fein would not have any influence there. Some parades have been protested against from over a hundred years ago, to square this circle might well be out of the reach of anyone.

    There is a really good arguement from the Orange to continue to walk their “traditional route” which they have taken for 100+ years on occasions. Unfortunately for them this arguement can fall down because over such a long period of time the demographic make-up of an area can and do change.

    A ban on parades will not work and walking all over a community wont work either. Talking between the two groups with an independent adjudicator might well be the only way to continue but it is certainly not a solution.

  • anne warren

    Comrade Stalin wrote:”The solution of the marching problem requires that
    Orangemen mustn’t march, even when they want to
    Nationalists must somehow agree not to try and stop marches they don’t want”

    With all due respect Comrade, the basic flaw in your argument is your first statement that organgemen mustn’t march, even when they want to. Although there is a precedent of the British government banning Orange marches for several years in the 19th century for security reasons, the trouble in Drumcree and elsewhere in the 20th and 21st centuries arose from thwarting the Orangemen’s desire to march.
    To avoid any further problems, Orangemen should be allowed to march as much as they like along streets where the residents welcome them. To use tacapall’s example, Orangemen can march up and down the Newtownards Road morning, noon and night, day in and day out as long as the locals agree. Nationalists/Republicans would have no reason or right to try and stop a march that residents have expressly consented to.
    By the same token, Republicans can march wherever residents agree and Orangemen have no reason or right to disrupt their marches.
    When residents expressly state they do not want a march to pass through their street, no march takes place and nobody has any reason or right to object to the residents’ decision.

  • tacapall

    When residents expressly state they do not want a march to pass through their street, no march takes place and nobody has any reason or right to object to the residents’ decision.
    Posted by anne warren on Jan 16, 2010 @ 10:18 PM

    You see “Thats Equality”

  • Driftwood

    Comrade Stalin
    Harold Wilson and David Cameron were/are Premiership. So were O’Neill and Faulkner, albeit mid-table.. We’re talking about our GM Vauxhall Conference politicians at Stormont.
    The DUP ‘brand’ probably lies solidly in the Reverend William McCrea- why has he not been made leader?- and Jeffrey Donaldson. Both men of true family values that the electorate love.
    I admit that the UUP have no-one of the standing of these DUP totemic icons, but is that a bad thing? Not elevating yourself as above the electorate.
    ps Always thought Wilson a great politician, The OU is only one of his legacies. Like Churchill and Thatcher, he could break through the guardians of mediocrity.

  • joeCanuck

    We might have some of the posted questions answered tomorrow. Then again, maybe not.

    Jeffrey Donaldson has ensured that he will not ever get the highest post because of his continuous disloyalty to a previous leader, calling Leadership review meeting after meeting.
    I believe he is seen as a blow-in who cannot be totally trusted.
    Some might point to Arlene Foster as a refutation of this but she certainly did/does not have the same baggage as Donaldson.

  • joeCanuck

    Who’s that at the back whispering “dirty movies”?

  • OscarTheGrouch

    I find it odd that everyone seems to think the P&J minister has to be an Alliance candidate. Could that be that they are recognised as the only party without an inherent religous component in their make up and therefore the only ones that could be trusted?

    I noticed that the SDLP and UUP have started attacking them recently.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if it turns out that non sectarian based parties started to gain ground?

    But then again – I suspect I’ll end up voting for someone else who’s the worst option of the candidates that might possibly win, as usual!

  • danielmoran

    Oscar the grouch. Alliance Party are unionist with a small ‘u’ and therefore safe. Unionistsa would NEVER contemplate doing business with them otherwise. DON’T YOU KNOW WE’RE IN A PROTESTANT COUNTRY IN NORN IRELAND FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE.

  • [quote]Surely the supporters of pro-British values at Wootton Bassett have shown us the way.
    If a march/demo offends local sensibilities it should not go ahead.
    I dont see how supporters of pro-British values in Portadown or Ballynafeigh could possibly disagree.

    My own position is that ALL marches everywhere should be allowed……but no police should be there. …… Posted by FitzjamesHorse on Jan 16, 2010 @ 03:29 PM [/quote]

    FitzjamesHorse,

    I thought the masterplan was to steer the less than stellar gifted away from paramilitarism ….. for it leads to nowhere that is good.

    Your own position, as stated above, is a recipe which guarantees chaos and anarchy and death and destruction. You may like to reconsider it in the light of that information.

    What is the purpose of parades and what are their collateral effects? Surely the answer to those two simple questions will advise all as to whether they are sensible in their present forms in a modern peaceful society …… although Maggie Thatcher did advise …. [quote][b]”They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.” [/b][/quote]

    There does appear to be a Distinct Lack of Viable Big Imagination on the Northern Ireland Political Scene and in its Politicians, and a Crippling Inability to Realise any Imagination which may be there, into a Plan of Campaign and Government Project which can be Presented by Assembly Members to the Public and Media as another New Step on a Modern Journey, [for there will always be more to take Us all Further and Deeper into the Future we Create by our Greater Shared Deeds], and which for Those Able and Enabled to Deliver those New Steps, is it So Simple to Do with their Command and Control of IT in Networks InterNetworking JOINT Applications and Special Applications of ProgramMING, Transparently, just as is being done here, now.

    Which all rather seems to suggest/point/lead to the conclusion that if such Necessary Specialised Expertise in Missing, but Immediately Readily Available, Bringing it in will both Solve and Provide the Intelligence Deficit, which would be a Double Whammy of Outrageous Good Fortune and Win Win for Any and All who would be Bold enough for to Care and Dare.

    The Crazy Beautiful Thing is that there is Surely Nothing to Lose, other than One’s Own Credibility as a Leader, by not doing it, for with Others Able and Enabled to do what is Required, would one’s Own Inability with IT be of No Hindrance whatsoever, although one can look forward to being able and enabled to easily quickly Learn how to Work the Controls which will Supply the Intellectual Property for Future Programs too.

    From cups half empty, to half full, to overflowing in a Slugger O’Toole post is not bad, is it, and just shows you what can be done with some [url=http://www.ur2die4.com/ddutchinitiative.htm]dDutch Initiative[/url]

  • Comrade Stalin

    daniel:

    Alliance Party are unionist with a small ‘u’ and therefore safe. Unionistsa would NEVER contemplate doing business with them otherwise.

    In that case, why are Alliance acceptable to Sinn Fein ?

    BTW Sir Reg’s letter that I referred to earlier was in response to an Alliance staffer describing himself in a previous letter as a republican.

  • danielmoran

    Comrade Stalin. I’m sure that SF are wary when dealing with alliance, but respect that party’s mandate. Didn’t they have a track record in Belfast Council of helping unionist mayors to get elected? and in Stormont they even designated as unionists themselves over something or other once.