Politics and religion do mix

If there was still any real doubt, the Orange Order demonstrates yet again it is not solely a religious and cultural organisation but a political one.


  • Drumlin Rock

    Mark, the Orange always was and always will be political, as well as Religious, Cultural and a Social organisation. It is no longer “party political” since it cut the tie with the UUP, and personally I think the leadership would be best keeping out of the relationship between the parties, if you listen to the Grand Masters comments “It must be a party that is big enough and modern enough to allow people with conflicting opinions to work together for the common purpose of maintaining the union.”
    Reality tell us that its a lovely idea but it aint gonna happen anytime soon, however he does have a genuine point in saying that people are tired of the fighting and bickering between the parties, its not time for mergers or deals, but it is time to work together a bit more and fight a bit less.

  • padraig

    If Unionism has to take the lead from the likes of Robert Salters, it is in very,very,very big trouble.

  • Eire32

    Rival parties are always at it.

  • Cynic

    This is desperate stuff. The OO as a unionist organisation appeals for unionist political unity. So what? Bears shit in the woods.

  • Rory Carr

    Of course the Orange Order is a political institution in the sense that it strives for the best political outcome that will strengthen and further its core aims and objectives, but then so is the the Girl Guides Association. Or the Gaelic Athletic Association come to that.

  • Cynic


    Why do you need an OO bogeyman?

  • lee

    The Independents are unionist also but they do not see any need to interfere in party politics

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It must be so embarassing for ordinary decent secular moderate Unionists that their strategic political future should be so heavily influenced by an organisation that both encourages and is a magnet for religious intolerance, bigotry and sectarianism.

    The real benificaries will hopefully be the Alliance Party who are an ideal home for the same ordinary decent secular moderate Unionists and of course Nationalists who really cant beleive their luck that their main ideological and political opponents have their heads buried deeply in 17th century mythology.

  • Sammy, it seems that the Battle of the Diamond never ended, especially in parts of the north of County Armagh. I think the next ‘magnetic’ attraction could well be 2016.

    I don’t see ‘religious intolerance, bigotry and sectarianism’ departing from the Unionist and Nationalist familes any time soon and I don’t think that the hard men of either tribe will pay much heed to the pontifications of an Alliance Justice Minister.

  • Rory, I wonder if many young people are joining the likes of the OO and AOH. They seem to find the band culture more attractive and many of these bands appear to identify with lloyalist and republican paramilitary organisations. I think this has been a very disturbing trend.

  • Framer

    And the catholic church isn’t and has never been?

    Get real Mark.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Religion and Politics – the curse of this island!

  • Reader

    It was Sammy: The real benificaries will hopefully be the Alliance Party …
    Are you assuming that Saulters will get his single Unionist party? Or that the surge in Alliance support is already in the pipeline based on Saulters’ statement alone?

  • Reader

    Drat those italics…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    The Alliance is already benefiting by sidestepping the fascination with the constitutional/tribal issue and if Unionist unity (which really means unity of the DUP and UUP) comes about, then Alliance will increasingly be the natural home for ordinary decent secular Unionists.

    When the implications of the marching ‘solution’ given birth to by SF and the DUP beomes clear and if it does not deliver a few controversial marches to the OO the UUP will have an exclelent opportunity to outflank the DUP on the right as they tried unsucessfully to over the transfer of Police. And although the OO were consulted on the SF/DUP plan It will be interesting to hear OO views on Unionist unity and the DUP if they get feck alll out of it.

  • Bulmer

    Problem for the OO is that it hasn’t really got an enemy. The RC church is a mere shadow its awful former self and the need for unity is hardly needed when the likelihood of United Ireland is further away than NI winning the world cup.

    As for Unity how can one party claim to represent everyone from city boy to country woman in this day and age?

    Oh how the OO must dream of 1963 when everything and everybody knew their place and the Grand Master had real influence.

  • lamhdearg

    Im off to watch the bands today(loyalist)on monday i shall return to my work where i shall treat my catholic workmates just the same as my prod ones, Real people are moving on.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Alliance has jumped from 5% to 6%, yup def mopping up all the unionist votes, even in East Belfast their vote has only returned to what it was less than 20 years ago. Outside of greater Belfast they are lucky keep their deposits.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Fair Point. I suppose if Unionists want Orange Order politics they will continue to vote for the UUP and the DUP or some new Orange inspired grouping and when they have had their fill of religious-politics the Alliance Party is there for them.

  • dundonald voter

    the bottom line is that the orange order is becomming a irrelevance and these comments are their way of trying to become relevant. as one who has watched orange parades from a boy (must have had a sad childhood) their numbers are declining each passing year. if it wasnt for the loyalist bands the 12th parade would be over in 10 minutes. its an outdated organisation who really do live in smoke filled rooms and decide who can go to what wedding and what funeral!! its unbelievable. their idea of civil liberty is protestant civil liberty and religious liberty is protestant religious liberty (hence when the pope wanted to come to britain what do the religious libertines do? yes they say they dont want him here) saulters stay out of politics and try and get a cohesive sane orange order in place before you comment on anything else. or better still piss away off and leave the rst of us alone. the only thing the orange order can unite around is the demon drink. (is it true that drink has become a religion?) maybe thats what they mean by religious liberty!!

  • Eire32

    The catholic church don’t saunter down the Shankill waving provie flags though.

  • Eire32

    Apparently their not Brazil their Norn Iron, the Greatest wee 2/3 of a Province in the whole wile World hi!

    I see them winning it in the next two decades.

  • lover not a fighter

    Unionism needs a United Unionist party “annointed” by the Orange Order like it needs a hole in the head !

  • YelloSmurf

    Orange order political organisation. In other news: sun rises.

  • Granni Trixie

    Can anyone tell me – why do the OO not stick with a cultural and social role? What lies behind being proactive re a politcal role? What benefit?

    BTW, I think that some elements in the OO are tryiing to change but with utterances such as this its two steps back.

  • There’s always been a political dimension, Granni Trixie.

  • alan56

    Saulters is hardly on the cutting edge of political thought or analysis. (or have I missed something) so I suspect his utterances just make ‘unionist unity’ (whatever that means) much less likely. Keep up the good work Grand Master!

  • alan56

    Imagine McNarry praising the words of saulters. With support like that Mike Nesbitt didnt stand a chance!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed…religion and politics shouldnt mix.
    But what if say theres a white line protest by the usual suspects harassing GAA followers at Casement Park tomorrow.
    Can we expect a post on Politics and Sport not mixing……?

  • anne warren

    “It must be a party that is big enough and modern enough to allow people with conflicting opinions to work together for the common purpose of maintaining the union.”

    According to the Grand Master, the common denominator for “people with conflicting opinions” ( Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem? ) is holding on to a one-track siege mentality .
    Has anyone told him they’re not compatible?

  • joeCanuck

    I think the next ‘magnetic’ attraction could well be 2016.

    Yep, Nelson McCausland is already publicly fretting about it. See Bel Tel.

  • The crises in the DUP and SF are an expression of the dead-end that sectarian political organisation brings.

    Objective world-wide pressures are forcing the issue of class onto the agenda.

    The northern working class isn’t finding it’s needs articulated by the parties that champion the capitalist profit system and the divisive status quo.

  • argosjohn

    I was scrolling down, wondering when I would get to the red herring GAA. Well done, Rory Carr.
    The Orange Order is one of the world’s most disgusting outfits. Remember Drumcree Church. If the 26 counties was really independent, they would get stuck into this lot.

  • TheHorse

    Sinn Fein are just getting into their rhythm with the capitalist profit system and the DUP have already been suduced by it. So many few people doing so many jobs and the money and perks that go along with them. Sinn Fein should stop with the pretense of their socialist republic. Most of the electorate from working class areas have no interest in politics they only go to the polling booths because they are told to vote for certain parties to keep themuns out even when themuns have no chance of taking the seat.

  • Peter

    One that is hardly new – It has been going on for decades certainly since the fall of Unionist hegemony in the 60/70’s.

  • Alan N/Ards


    “if the 26 counties was really indepedant, they would get stuck into this lot”
    What exactly does getting stuck in mean?

    Peoople should really ignore Saulters and these brainless people who run the OO.

    I’m not sure that they are the only digusting outfit on the island of Ireland. There is another outfit, led by a man who wears a silly hat who are vieing for that position and to be honest they have probably surpassed the OO regarding being disgusting.

    I personally think that the GAA have tried to reach out to unionists although they have a long way to go before they will make unionists feel they are welcome. I read Mickey Harte’s book ( Precence is the only thing) and he writes in that the Tyrone team before the all Ireland final attended mass as a team. If you were a prod who played on this team would you be outside sitting on the bus alone. The team also had to learn the Soldiers Song so they could sing it at the final. I can’t see many unionists being happy about having to learn the Soldiers Song.

    The OO are not just religious organisation. They are also political and cultural. The GAA are not just a sporting organisation. They are also political and cultural. There is a comparison. Saying that I accept that the GAA is a highly organised unlike the OO and in the main their events do not lead unruly scenes on the streets.

  • Alan N/Ards

    That should read “the GAA is a highly organised outfit”

  • Rory Carr

    Thank you, Alan. In response to Argos John I would simply say that I had no intention of raising a red herring. I was merely making the point that most, if not all, organisations with any community involvement will also have of necessity a political agenda. That is to be expected and there is nothing whatsoever untoward about it, they do after all operate in a society where politics may very well have an affect upon their welfare.

    It becomes a wee bit thornier when that agenda becomes party political or when, as possibly in the case of the Orange Order, they attempt to impose a malign influence upon the body politic.

    A good example of the latter is the US association, the Ku Klux Klan which was strongly involved in the Democratic Party and conspired at the 1924 Democratic Convention to defeat the nomination of Al Smith to the presidential candidacy because of his religion (he was Catholic). The Klan also organised a vicious and dirty anti-Catholic campaign (in conjunction with many US Protestant churchmen) against Smith when he finally did run for President in 1929 so allowing the Republican candidate, Herbert Hoover to win in a landslide.

  • aquifer

    Any organisation can be political if its members wish. That would be them exercising their freedoms of political expression and association. e.g. The GAA have mixed sporting cultural and political dimensions,

    There is no right to conspiracy to murder other citizens that I know of. The prison authorities report that the convict Mr Hannaway has not in fact requested to be moved to his violent Irish Separatist brethren.

    This irish victimhood thing has worn so thin there are now a lot more holes in stories than there are heroes.

  • Eire32

    ha ha ha

  • Bulmer


    If only that was true. What is striking about the current world crisis is that the architects of our impoverishment are still on bonuses because they run the system, yet there is no groundswell to do anything about it.

    But the continuing drop in the number of people voting does suggest there’s an unmet need for new politics and not one dominated by the fossil remnants of the Seventies.

  • Bulmer

    The problem with being a brought up in a sectarian society is you become oblivious to the mote in your own eye. Prefix any pillar of of the Republic established by Dev to disgusting outfits and you have the other side of the fence’s view.

    As for threatening OO members with violence, surely have we not grown out of that mindless kneejerk thinking. A bit of understanding and not blind prejudice goes a long way.

  • joeCanuck

    The prison authorities report that the convict Mr Hannaway has not in fact requested to be moved

    Ok. So what is his grievance then? Anyone, anyone?

  • Bulmer

    The issue of class is objective, as based on the relations of production.

    That does not automatically mean that any section of the working class is now fully concious of the objective reality.

    But the reality is forcing itself onto the agenda; regardless of how aware the exploited are of this right now.Events will educate.

    But what party do the working clas have? The rulers have things just so – parties, the state, ideoligical justification; what do the poor have?

  • midulsterunionist

    Bobby Saulters isn’t exactly reknowned as being the greatest grandmaster ever… everyone knows he was just propped up and puppeteered by those around him, first it was the Rev Dickinson who pulled the strings but now it is Drew Nelson…Bobby was always just the weakling at the front that was set out to take the fall if things went wrong. Utterly unable to think for himself or at least show his own thoughts he is nothing but a spokeman who utters the PR approved ramblings of Drew Nelson…, Under Bobby’s leadership we have seen two of the largest splits in the history of the order firstly the “spirit of Drumcree” which wanted the order to be fairer and more democratic and then more recently”Orange Reformation” which wanted the order to be more Christian and less political/ cultural…

    The problem with these kinds of statements from Grand Lodge is that they are insincere and are nothing more than an attempt by Grand Lodge to get an increase in membership by riding a wave of public feeling… and more members means more money for grand lodge… it’s not about doing the right thing for Ulster instead it’s nothing more than a membership drive!

  • Rory Carr

    As you are well aware, Mervyn, the working class have no representation whatsoever – either in Parliament, the US Senate or Congress, the Dáil or the NI, Wales or Scotland Assemblies. The Labour parties in both Britain and Ireland long ago ceased to act on behalf of labour and could be relied upon by the working class only to mitigate the worst effects of capitalism’s intentions. Their real role was to keep the working class placated on behalf of the ruling class and, with the ascendancy of Blairism in Britain, all pretension as to their role was stripped away and the parliamentary Labour Party stood revealed as the bunch of grasping careerists that they have long been in reality.

    What remains for the working class is their labour power – to be exploited by capital – and the only strength they have, their collective muscle when conditions oblige them to unite and organise. The increasing propensity of capital for globalism and diversification coupled with the easy transfer of production to cheaper labour markets means that the effect of unity within a single national unit is severly weakened and this has led to demoralisation among workers and a growing confidence among employers in their ability to trample over long held rights and conditions within the workforce – the latest assault by BA chairman, Willie Walsh on cabin crew being a current example.

    What this has to do with the thread is beyond me -except perhaps that we might draw a parallel between the Orange Order and New Labour as organisations that claimed the support of the working classes while only ever representing the interests of their class enemies – the bosses.

  • midulsterunionist

    “we might draw a parallel between the Orange Order and New Labour as organisations that claimed the support of the working classes while only ever representing the interests of their class enemies – the bosses.”

    As an orangeman myself i have to say that there’s it’s harder to find a truer statement about the Order…

  • RepublicanStones

    For the season thats in it. Lots of bogeymen round the streets over the next months. You nearly asked the right question Cynic…nearly.

  • Rory

    I think this has everything to do with the Orange Order.
    As Orangeism plays a role in dividing the working class.
    I agree that the unity of the working class must be international. Any type of nationalism is in the end reactionary.
    The defeat of British imperialism is a question for the working class of the island, and of Britain.
    Castlereagh understood clearly the threat that the internationalised, faith blind, united Irish movement was to the Empire, to ‘Rome’ itself.
    The potential of the United Irish movement was not Protestant and Catholic coming together, in a Corrymeala moment; but the negation of those identities into something entirely new – internationalist, mass based, incipient proletarian – revolutionary.
    This is what is required now; hence the crises in all the old sectarian and reformist organisations.

  • Outsider

    I don’t think we have ever tried to hide the fact that there is a political aspect to our institution as we are very open in NI that we are very much in favour of maintaining the union with GB.

    I do however have issues at times with the way Mr. Salters articulates the views of the institution, however I do believe his heart is in the right place.