“Wake up”, indeed.

News that the Orange Order’s Grand Lodge has voted to reject the proposals contained in the draft legislation [pdf file] on contentious parades public assembly has prompted a rant about the “Orange State” from Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd – one member of the ‘working group’ responsible for the proposals. 

But, as we’ve noted on Slugger previously, they are far from being the only group opposed to the legislation.

As Eamonn McCann pointed out in the Belfast Telegraph recently

In a discussion on Hearts and Minds, John O’Dowd was explicit that the provision for 37 working days notice had been inserted at the urging of residents’ groups. This wouldn’t begin to justify the extension of the provision to public meetings: and anyway, it’s not true.

It emerged at a public meeting in the Bogside last week that the local residents’ group had had no input into the draft. This week, Garvaghy Road and Lower Ormeau residents groups issued a joint statement declaring that, “Far from solving the issue caused by contentious parades in Portadown, south Belfast and elsewhere…the Bill creates a whole new range of problems…Instead of specifically dealing with the minority of marches that are problematic, the new legislation proposes to treat all parades and outdoor gatherings as if they were the same…Those responsible for the bill should go back to the drawing-board to create a workable solution based on common sense and human rights.”

So much for politicians doing more to defuse tensions…

, , , , , , , ,

  • Neil

    Any news on why the OO rejected this, or are they suffering from DUPitis, whereby they come close to a major change taking place then piss their drawers at the possibility something might go wrong? Seems like quite a close vote, obviously they’re divided on this.

  • madra rua

    What is it that makes grown men dress up in 19th century bowler hats and march along country roads ? Why?
    It makes absolutley no sense.

  • billy

    Aye, let’s give the Shinners another boot.

    That a shower of KKK-style hate-mongers still want to impose their repellant views…oops, sorry, ‘culture’ on us every year is just beside the point, eh Pete?

    On the plus side, have you ever known such a quiet build up to the 12th? Drumcree’s been and gone with not even a whimper. Fitting – given that it was the dispute which finished the OO once and for all.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Back before the DUP were forcefed/coerced/agreed to the transfer of Police and Justice and before they managed to hurriedly slip out of their self-imposed triplelocks they sought to suggest that they had a clever plan regarding parades to bolster the ever elusive Unionist confidence in the face of the alleged climbdown on the police issue and ‘surrender’ to SF.

    How they ever sold that plan to their normally alert supporters is a bit of mystery as it included the rather strange idea of actually giving SF, the Orange Order’s bitterest enemeies, and actual say in devising a replacement for the Parades Commission.

    Jim Allister must surley be thinking of doing a Lazarus after he heard this and no doubt the UU will be sharpening it’s sectarian knives to cut a few lumps out of the DUP for letting down the UU closest allies the Orange Order.

    Spiffing stuff.

  • Song for the Republican Convention

    It is not in the interests of the Orange Order to agree to these proposals as they have already achieved their primary aim, the wind-up of the parades commission.
    Safe in the knowledge the parades commission is gone they can now fight from a position of strength to ensure the new replacement body has much less power to obstruct parades.
    Sinn Fein in their desire to get rid of the parades commission have yet again left the door open for the orange state to march on in and take over.

  • Any particularl culture does not have to make sense to everyone or anyone, any more than a particular religion/creed needs to accepted over another. The world would be all the poorer if that were the case. Does it make sense to dance without moving your arms, does it make sense to tie bells to your legs and slap sticks, does it make sense to wear a kilt (in that climate)? Culture is because it is, often in historical roots long forgotten, but no less relevant to those to whom that culture or cultural resonance means something.

  • The Parades Commission remains, and can be extended by the Secretary of State at the end of the current appointment period. For anything to replace the Parades Commission it requires a repeal of current Westminster legislation, which would be co-ordinated (?) with Stomont passing legislation on whatever they decide upon by way of replacement.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Song for the Republican Convention

    No replacement for the parades commission will mean the parades commission will remain in place otherwise we would be heading for summers of sirpatrickmayhem.

  • There are attacks on this legislation from all sides, and it is unlikely the DUP/SF will be able to square the circle on all the points coming their way. Sammy here has it about right. This was all part of a deal, but the DUP jumped before all the details were sorted, as the UUP did before them. Unionists never seem to learn.

  • Dolores Kelly [SDLP website]: “The Parading Bill is a shambles from start to finish. Sinn Fein and the DUP excluded everyone else from their Parades Working Group – except that they brought in Orange Order advisors. It was supposed to be dealing with a handful of contentious parades, but the bill explicitly covers all and every gathering of more than 50 people, except funerals. John O’Dowd is now claiming that the bill is only about parading and not about trade unions, church gatherings or other assemblies, but that’s not what it says on Page 6 of the bill’s Code of Conduct.

    “John O’Dowd also claimed that the requirement for 37 days notice of any kind of demonstration or protest was introduced at the request of residents groups, but he can’t produce a single group that said so and he has been flatly contradicted by leaders of the main groups. Sinn Fein is facing a massive backlash from civic groups ….

  • Spike Murray is an Orange advisor? Times have changed.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Perosnally I couldnt see how the replacment for the Parades commssion could be found given that SF and the SDLP cant agree on ‘easy’ things like selection in Education.

    I’m sure the DUP knew this and wanted something/anything to sweeten the pill of Police and Justice and now that they have distracted their supporters we can all go back to the Parades Commission which seems to do a very good job in very difficult circumstances and is recognised as doing so – except as usual by Unionists who are out of step with everyone on marching .

    No change there.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Yes the orange order are not the only group opposing the most recent proposals but they were the group that have argued for the abolishment of the parades commission. Then when they don’t get exactly what they want they have threw their toys out of the pram. How about this for a deal, if they want to change legislation run for government. I suppose they have their puppets in there already, it is just a pity they are so ineffective and can not operate without the consent of Marty. The orange state is over, they can just accept it.

  • Drumlin Rock

    “This week, Garvaghy Road and Lower Ormeau residents groups issued a joint statement declaring that, “Far from solving the issue caused by contentious parades in Portadown, south Belfast and elsewhere…the Bill creates a whole new range of problems…Instead of specifically dealing with the minority of marches that are problematic, the new legislation proposes to treat all parades and outdoor gatherings as if they were the same…”

    Ironically the majority of those Orangemen who voted against the legislation probably have similar views to this, the last thing they want is to see trouble spreading to other areas, or even worse non contentious parades getting banned because of technicalities.

  • Big Maggie

    “even worse non contentious parades getting banned because of technicalities.”

    Yes, like men carrying lethal weapons on a public thoroughfare i.e. “ceremonial” swords.

    Criminal Justice Act, 1988. Section 139(1).

    Offence: It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with him in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding 3 inches.

  • Neil

    According to the BBC the OO has a problem with the code of conduct, which can be accessed here on page 59:


    Pretty obvious and unimportant stuff, I wonder what their problem is with it? Possibly the idea that they should prevent their marchers and hangers on from consuming alcohol or drugs (snowball in hell’s chance of that) or perhaps it’s the not having an adverse impact on the immediate area after the parade has passed.

    Either way, having read the code of conduct, if this is the OO’s gripe then we know what the problem is – they wanted carte blanche to do whatever the fuck they wanted and are now upset at the idea they may have to consider the locals. There’s nothing in it that should cause a problem IMO for the OO.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Big Decisions such as the Parades issue which the DUP negotiated with SF-IRA.
    And now rejected by the Orange Order. Perhaps a twinge of regret that the DUP cant really deliver the Orange Order (with several DUP men in the rival Independent Order the official Orange Order possibly think that they dont owe the DUP anything)
    While the 70 odd LOL people in attendance last night were wearing their LOL bowler hats rather than any DUP, UUP or TUV rosette, it would be interesting to know how the vote broke down on party lines or more interestingly geographic lines.
    The actuall closeness of the vote 37 to 32 witha few abstentions is even worse news for the DUP and even better news for residents as it indicates a major split.
    The clever tactic of SF-IRA would be to say that this was the best offer.
    Ball firmly in DUP, Orange court.
    And as has been said Decisions are not their thing.
    No problem for Nationalists.
    Lesson for Unionists….Orange men can win the world cup but they will never be on the Garvaghy Road again. Now thats a result.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The DUP are surely going to have the father and mother of a severe arse kicking over this from the UUP – who will claim of course to having been kept out of the loop by the DUP and the allies SF when it was being given birth to.

    Was this the issue that some of the DUP were allegedly ging to resign over if it was not suitable – but Robbo managed to fudge it unitl the Police vote had gone through?

    Nothing on Jim Allister site yet but that may be because Jimbo cant contain his delight for long enough to actually write something.

  • slug

    The OO does not have a veto on our laws, does it?

  • TheHorse

    Spot on Neil. The Orange Order have now realised that those who organise marches, parades, gatherings etc are responsible for the conduct of those who attend and whats the point of marching where you’re not wanted if you cant antagonise the local population who dont want you.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    While the TUV, UUP & DUP as well as the Orange Order have a view……..the views of the Garden Centre unionists and my new friends in the Belmont Bowling Club are just as important. (I might even start playing again).
    And Im guessing that the folks in Belmont dont give a tinkers curse either.
    Orange Order belongs in the Past. And fewer and fewer people want to go there.

  • slug

    I think you are correct insofar as I cannot see many unionist people get very exercised at all about this – even those who do enjoy to watch the parades from time to time. It is somewhat boring.

  • On Facebook:

    SDLP Civil Rights March against the Public Assemblies Bill
    Date: Thursday, 08 July 2010
    Time: 14:00 – 15:00
    Location:Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont, Belfast. Assemble at the Main Gate at 2PM

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    the DUP cant move to legislate without the OO approval or the UUP will have their ass for faciltiating SF’s agenda of stopping Orange parades.

    Instead of having unionist unity we are now more likley to have unionist warfare.

  • slug

    I would rate it unlikely.

  • Wouldn’t be possible under the new legislation. Not without notice.

  • Drumlin Rock

    maggie catch a grip, have you ever handled one? they are about as dangerous as a kids plastic sword, ok maybe you could give someone serious bruises with it, and the average umbrella has a much sharper point, ban them too?

  • Cynic

    “any article which …….. is sharply pointed”

    Oh bugger….my railings are illegal.

  • Big Maggie


    I was joking about the swords :^)

    Simply pointing out the sort of “technicality” we have to contend with these days. You never know what sort of auld nonsense people will pull out of the hat to stop others enjoying themselves.

    Like blacking out the windows of a swimming pool….

  • Drumlin Rock

    I might put on my collaret and bowler and join the parade!

  • Drumlin Rock

    Maggie, quoting legislation sorta made it look serious, 🙂 anyways the main “technicalities” I was thinking of was timing and participants, ie. if your parade is 15 minutes late in ending is it a criminal offence? or if a band turn up you didn’t put on the form, do you just tell them to go home? the legislation seems like a bit too much overkill and the fact it covers ALL public outdoor meetings should be of concern to everyone, it places far far too much power in the in the OFDFM.

  • Given the OO representation on the parades group, how on earth could the draft legislation contain any surprises at this stage?

  • RepublicanStones

    I recall several months back on well before the election a Tory spokeman on Radio 4 (IIRC), saying that the Conservative Party envisaged some kind of Parades Type body replacing the current commission if it were to be dissolved. I don’t think anyone is seriously considering a scenario where there is an absence of such a body.

  • Song for the Republican Convention

    Sammy, RS,
    apologies, I should clarify, yes politicians will not disband the parades commission leaving a vacuum. Instead DUP/Sinn Fein will leave us a parades commission with no real authority because it has been so badly undermined by them both.

  • slug

    The usual OO chaos?

  • Colin Carberry

    Baker is one to be talking about ‘rants’–he of the near-daily bigoted rants against Sinn Fein and all things Irish…It’s that secret crush again ):

  • MonkdeWallydeHonk

    Yet another example of the OO demonstrating their complete ignorance of public relations. According to reports, there were 37 against – 32 for and 4 abstentions.

    Therefore, they are split down the middle. It also puts the DUP in a bad position.
    I have no idea how long (if ever?) it will take the OO “Leadership” to learn that simply demanding the (non-existent) “right” to march the “Queens Highway” whenever and wherever they want will continue to get them nowhere and show them up for the anachronism they are.

    They don’t seem to realise that the events of Drumcree 10 – 12 years ago, the Whiterock riots (and public condoning of this behaviour by a very senior OO member) completely exposed them.

    They have no support anywhere except within elements of the Unionist community in the North and their membership has declined considerably over the last 20 years.

    They have taken no action against their members who carry banners and/or engage bands commemorating “loyalist” terrorism.

    They continue to interfere in Unionist politics and make life difficult for the DUP and UUP (who have no-one but themselves to blame).

    I believe it was Einstein who defined insanity as constanty repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome.
    This appears to sum up the OO “leadership” over the last 12 years in a nutshell.

    The OO need to realise that there are a small number of contentious parades where they will either have to permanently reroute them or reach an acceptable accomodation with local residents.

    This is less than 5% of all OO parades so their pathetic cries of discrimination are simply laughable and transparently so.

    If they insist on demanding “rights” that don’t exist ( many gatherings in GB i.e BNP, ANL,EDL etc are restricted and rerouted to avoid disturbances ), then they will continue get nowhere (both literally and figuratively).

    Until the OO “wake up” and realise that their days of marching where they want when they want are long gone, they are simply p***ing in the wind.

    While the OO pursue their current “strategy”, the Parades Commission will stay in place, their already abysmal PR “image” will get even worse, their membership will continue to decline and they’ll be sitting on Drumcree Hill for the next hundred years.

    It seems to me that their “leadership” have remembered everything and learnt nothing from the last 10 years. If I were an OO member, I’d frankly be pretty depressed about it’s future.

  • Ulick

    Don’t believe everything you read here, it would be possible to have parades and protests at short notice.

  • Just clicked the link and read John O’Dowd’s “rant” about the Orange State. If that is classed as a rant then I’d hate to see him get vitriolic.
    The exact quote (extracted from the linked article) is: “The days of the Orange Order dictating policy are over. The days of the Orange State have gone.”
    This is hardly contentious? Outside of various fields this weekend, will there be anyone who will sign up to the pretence that the Order dictate anything anywhere anymore? The nature of the Orange Order as a politico-religious organisation, is grossly out of step with modern British society (have they failed to notice that pretty much everyone on their ‘mainland’ is completely baffled about why it even exists?). The idea that any group should try to qualify how it participates in civic engagement is so laughable and anachronistic. I’d have no problem with an OO that was genuinely a religious or ‘cultural’ organisation (whatever that would mean). But while the OO still wants everyone to engage in a public farce that it isn’t a political grouping, I for one refuse to take it seriously.
    The irony in the Order’s problem with the likes of the Parades Commission etc is that many of the peculiarities of NI’s creaky political structures were put in place so that political power (as such!) was seen to be in the hands of elected representatives, rather than self-appointed bowler-hat and sash wearing shadows.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    John O’Neill,

    this was cleary an attempt by Pete to change the story from the fact that the DUP are caught in a dreadful fix by the OO rejecting the very thing that was intended to soften the blow of the DUP being force fed the transfer of Police.
    See Jimbo comments below.

    If this is not settled in September by a re-vote by the OO (and the UUP will try to ensure it is not) then this is the sweetest kiss of life the TUV could have hoped for.


  • Mick Fealty

    Ulick, short as in less than 37 days? Perhaps, but only as a political gift of OFMdFM surely?

    I’m sure the European Court might have something to say about that.

  • Jean Meslier

    What use is an eye that can’t see Pete?.

    You need to understand the power of accumulation.

    Surely you know the parable of climbing Mount Improbable -used to rubbish the creationist irreducible complexity notion?
    Something as intricate as an eye sits atop Mount Improbable. On one side is a very high sheer drop, impossible to climb, but on the other side is a very long gentle slope to the summit.The illogical notion that such complexity could magically self -assemble is symbolized by leaping from the foot of the cliff to the top in one jump.
    Evolution, by contrast, goes around the back of the mountain and slowly edges up the now gentle slope to the summit.

    Nuf said?

  • joeCanuck

    Allister – “”Where now the ‘clever device’ which Peter Robinson boasted he had to abort policing and justice devolution if acceptable proposals on parading were not put in place? ”

    Therein lies a rub – ..acceptable..
    Acceptable to whom? Does the OO have a triple lock on the DUP and, if so, from where did this democratic mandate come from?
    Jim, the TUV experiment failed;it’s over.

  • I know Sammy – I was just making the point (since most people wouldn’t bother clicking the link and would respond to the original blog). I think the sole constituency that would be animated about this already did vote TUV – its just getting smaller since less and less people care if the Order get to walk wherever and whenever they want.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    John Oneill, Joe,

    Both mainstream Unionists parties are terrified of losing favour with the OO because they know that if one does the other can use this to their political advantage.

    Watch the so-called more-moderate UUP have a go at the DUP on this as their leadership candidate, Elliott did last night on the news, even leaving the TUV out of it.

    Parading has the potential to collapse the political process( something as far as we can make out the UUP are in favour of as their not-democratic-is-dydfunctional line indicates which they trot out from time to time) not because marching from A to B or back is so important but because not marching is seen a political gain for SF.

    The DUP could not get Police and Justice through, thus avoiding a collapse of Stormo without promising it’s hardliners something on parades and now they cant deliver.

    Their political enemies(UUP and TUV) will therefore make merry.

  • Neil

    Their political enemies(UUP and TUV) will therefore make merry.

    Well, maybe just the TUV. The UUP will probably choose to make a pact with a turnip, given their predeliction for machine gunning the feet off themselves.

  • But Sammy – maybe 15 years ago parading was a collapsible issue – if unionism wanted to collapse the Assembly over parades today it should expect to shave 5% off the overall unionist vote. Maybe more. In the absence of a coherent moderate (i.e. non-OO) unionist platform, it could lose considerably more than 5%. It would be the hollowest of victories.

  • Look at ‘Two hundred years in the Citadel’ to see why.
    It’s on http://orangecitadel.blogspot.com/