Three swallows making a mockery of Peter’s early Summer pledge

DUP MLA Jonathan Craig has condemned a Housing Association for requesting a tenant remove the Union Flag erected from outside her house after signing up to a shared housing charter. The Lagan Valley MLA has made the case on Talkback today in favour of effectively abandoning the fledgling shared housing charter provision which was initiated to try and encourage the growth of integrated housing.

Of course, Craig was at pains to point out that no one should be offended by National flags, though he did rule out his support for the flying of the Irish Tricolour, stating,

“It would be ok to fly that flag if we were in the Republic of Ireland but we’re not in the Republic of Ireland.”

Perhaps Jonathan believes a shared housing development should have its own red, white and blue kerbs and a council-sponsored 11th Night bonfire as well…..

Over in north Belfast, his fellow party member, William Humphrey MLA, has supported the flying of a UVF flag from outside a home on the grounds that the Parades Commission “has deemed that flag to be legal.” Humphrey was referring to the purple and orange UVF flag which has been purchased by the thousands this summer by loyalists and erected across Belfast in time for the orchestrated UVF riots in East Belfast last month.

Meanwhile, DUP MLA and Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, has made an embarrassing u-turn following his decision to try and compel the Housing Executive to extend its contract with the east Belfast-based Red Sky firm. The under fire Minister has come under fierce attack for introducing a sectarian dimension to the issue.

So much for that pitch for catholic votes, eh?

In reality, there never was a genuine attempt by the DUP to move past its narrow sectarian vision, and the actions and words of its representatives in recent days –even prior to today’s outbursts- provide further proof of the hollowness of Robinson’s utterances.

But even the primary target demographic for the liberal sounding rhetoric of the DUP leader and First Minister- the soft unionists who have flitted and flirted with and between Alliance, the Ulster Unionists and the Garden Centre- are likely to be further exasperated by the tribalist pronouncements and actions of the elected representatives of unionism’s electoral monolith (though such actions might go down a treat with the core support.)

In the absence of a unionist party emerging capable of divorcing itself from the petty sectarian instincts of the DUP and the almost moribund UUP, the Alliance Party is likely to continue to consolidate its base as a sanitised version of unionism in Belfast and its commuter belt, however much Alliance representatives and members loathe the label.

A case of the Yellow thanking the Orange for once again displaying some true colours?

  • Chris. Even without the antics of the three stooges you cited, Robinson’s silence on the Ian McCrea nonsense is enough to show how shallow he is. I think he might even have been pitching at UUP voters rather than nationalists votes. Otherwise, he must know it’s a hopeless caess expecting nats to believe anything he comes out with after the fortnight we’ve had.

  • granni trixie

    Chris: ‘loath the label’ is putting that much too stongly. We get frustrated at such neat labels because they inadequately represent how we self identify. They also fly in the face of the reality which is that we attract supporters from diverse backgrounds. For instance in my own constituency Alliance took votes from all sides – I saw them tumbling out of the boxes in Balmoral and at City Hall. But his is old ground as you know.

    I feel sad that in this day and age a scheme with so much promise is being scuppered by same old,same old, politics. Robinson ought to have known that people would judge his fine words about a shared future by the subsequent actions of DUP leaders.

  • Its a form of official “lets get alongerism”.
    Shared Housing Scheme…..good idea. who could possibly be against it?
    so flying flags is….out the window…..(no pun intended).
    Except for the fact that in faux “getalongerist” circles isnt A flag. Its the “National” flag and therefore exempt from restriction.
    And nobody from the nice “lets get alongerist” tendendency dare object.

    Thats the problem.
    We are all in favour of “letsgetalongerism”
    I get along with a lot of people.
    But “official” lets get alongerism invites too much concession from nationalists to accept British “norms”. And “faux” lets get alongerism demands it.

  • dwatch


  • Do any of the flags have planning permission to be there? I was rushing round taking down election posters in May, because two weeks after the count they need planning permission.

  • dwatch

    There are 18 fixed days each year on which the Union flag should be flown on command of Her Majesty on Government buildings, along with certain variable date days, these are all listed below. A Government building for this purpose is generally accepted to mean a building owned or used by the Crown and predominately occupied or used by Civil Servants or Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

    Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly the Union flag whenever they wish, subject to compliance with any local planning requirements.

    The Union flag should be flown during daylight hours between 8:00am and sunset.

    Union Flag flying days

    January :
    20 January :
    27 January :
    Birthday of The Countess of Wessex
    Holocaust Day
    February :
    6 February :
    19 February :
    Her Majesty’s Accession
    Birthday of The Duke of York
    March :
    2nd Monday in March :
    10 March :
    Commonwealth Day
    Birthday of The Earl of Wessex
    April :
    21 April :
    23 April :
    Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen
    St George’s Day
    May :
    9 May :
    Europe Day
    June :
    2 June :
    10 June :
    21 June :
    June as appointed :
    Coronation Day
    Birthday of The Duke of Edinburgh
    Birthday of Prince William
    Official Celebration of Her Majesty’s Birthday
    July :
    17 July :
    Birthday of The Duchess of Cornwall
    August :
    15 August :
    Birthday of The Princess Royal
    September :
    15 September :
    Birthday of Prince Harry
    October :
    21 October :
    Trafalgar Day
    November :
    11 November :
    2nd Sunday :
    14 November :
    20 November :
    Remembrance Day
    Remembrance Sunday
    Birthday of The Prince of Wales
    Her Majesty’s Wedding Day
    Other special days at Her Majesty’s command.

  • between the bridges

    CD of course as you know there only one uvf and only one reason to fly a uvf flag..

  • Not a good news day for either Robinson or McGuinness, Chris. I think they’d be safer sticking to their familiar narratives.

  • april showers


    How is this bad news for Macguinness?

  • frank82


    Haven’t you missed a day? I think 17 March should also be on your list. Based on the Flags 2000 Regulations the days are as follows:

    20th January Birthday of The Countess of Wessex
    6th February Her Majesty’s Accession
    19th February Birthday of The Duke of York
    A day in March to be notified Commonwealth Day
    by publication in the Belfast Gazette
    on or before 31st January annually
    10th March Birthday of The Earl of Wessex
    17th March St Patrick’s Day
    21st April Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen
    9th May Europe Day
    A day in June to be notified Official Celebration of Her Majesty’s
    by publication in the Belfast Gazette Birthday
    on or before 31st January annually
    2nd June Coronation Day
    10th June Birthday of The Duke of Edinburgh
    4th August Birthday of Her Majesty Queen
    Elizabeth The Queen Mother [removed in 2002]
    15th August Birthday of The Princess Royal
    21st August Birthday of The Princess Magaret [removed in 2002]
    12th November 2000 and, in subsequent Remembrance Day
    years, a Sunday in November to be
    notified by publication in the Belfast
    Gazette on or before 31st January
    14th November Birthday of The Prince of Wales
    20th November Her Majesty’s Wedding Day

  • dwatch

    frank, I put up the general UK list See the bottom:
    “Other special days at Her Majesty’s command.”
    For England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

  • jthree

    Yeah those lists are really interesting but what have they got to do with flying flags on shared housing projects?

  • Comrade Stalin

    between the bridges:

    CD of course as you know there only one uvf and only one reason to fly a uvf flag..

    I’m sure if someone hung out a flag saying IRA they’d get away with it by saying it’s a reference to the guys over here ?

  • lamhdearg

    the irish army look quite good in your link Comrade, the pic at the end with their commander and chief is a good one.

  • Angry Planner

    A little bird has told me to keep an eye on the Sunday World this weekend for another story about the DUP doing favours for developers…

  • USA

    Between the Bridges:
    The 36th Ulster Division were a part of a British army that fought at the Somme. The UVF did not fight at the Somme. Their flag has nothing to do with the Somme or any other WW1 battle.
    Why don’t you fly the flag of the 36th Ulster Division, after all they were there? Not the UVF.

  • USA

    Tell someone who cares.

  • lamhdearg

    the uvf helped set up (ulster) Northern Ireland. the somme has little to do with 12th july, it’s all a little bit mixed up, but there is them and us, and they are them, and we are us. there is no right and wrong.

  • ranger1640

    When it comes to reaching out to Protestants/Unionists/Loyalists, wee Marty has a new youth initiative.

  • To judgge from Ronbinson’s complaint to the Parades commision about their restrictions on an OO parade on which they ruled that no flags or music can be allowed while passing the ardoyne shops on 12th, he has clearly abandoned his ‘catholic Outreach campaign. No other conclusion for catholics to draw.

  • grandimarkey

    To be fair Ranger1640, he’s doing a bit more than Peter it seems…

  • Comrade Stalin

    the uvf helped set up (ulster) Northern Ireland.

    Clearly my point about the IRA and went over your head.

    he has clearly abandoned his ‘catholic Outreach campaign.

    No, I think unionists just get a bit funny around the 12th, as if there is something in the water. The tribal imperative becomes too difficult to resist. Once we hit the end of July, (relative) sanity will return. It does every year.

    I suspect that Robinson knows full well that this matter is a very simple choice for the Orange Order – they can either talk to residents, or face restrictive rulings from the Parades Commission, especially as he is fully aware that the DUP made a specific effort to try to sell an alternative to the Parades Commission which the OO rejected.

    I also think it’s a bit rich of him to talk about republican violence being appeased .. on one level it is true but it’s not as simple as that, especially not after his recent meeting with the UVF after their own little outburst. It’s not a question of appeasing violence, it is a matter of dealing with a public order problem, the same way as people across the western world engage with each other and compromise to deal with similar problems around rock concerts, sports events, firework shows and other similar events.

  • lamhdearg

    what makes you think it went over my head.i just made a joke about the queen as C&C. i accept your point on the flags.

  • lamhdearg

    Any chance of someone starting a thread with the word Ardoyne in the title, so that eejit in the beverly hills polo club t shirt, can come on and give us all a laugh. He must be chomping at the bit over the 12th day go aheads and bans.

  • lamhdearg

    busy jaywalking.

  • ayeYerMa

    Highly vocal Republicans like Chris and his Sinn Fein pals here are fooling no one (bar maybe a few naive low IQ do-gooders) with their unrepresentative “offense” at the symbol of the country in which they live – it’s nothing more than a lack of respect for democracy. Putting aside the issue of flags on streets, Sinn Fein’s recent antics such as trying to launch so called “equality assessments” in attempts to remove the flag of the country from where it is respectful and correct to ALWAYS be flown such as on City Hall (as is the case in democracies all over the world) are extremist minority attitudes that only egg-on the situation on the streets.

    This is backed up by further more in-depth analysis of NILT survey data which shows clearly, and overwhelmingly, that people have benign attitudes towards the United Kingdom status quo:

    Translating the above pie chart into symbols we then get this:

    Those being “offended” at the symbol of the country can be no more than an extremist minority of 0.5%, perhaps, being very very generous, up to 9%. Such a tiny minority cannot continually hold the community to ransom by continually stoking division and tension. Using this flawed and disingenuous agenda-driven Sinn Fein “equality” logic, the Union Jack should also be flying from Dublin city council. Peter Robinson earlier this summer said that he wanted to make Unionism more inclusive to Catholics – that is Catholics, not the tiny extremist Republican nutter minority element who will never be satisfied until the complete destruction of Northern Ireland.

    A good thread on this also at:

  • ayeYerMa
  • ayeYerMa
  • Rory Carr

    Thanks to DWatch for the link to the item in the Ulster Star on this story.

    In this piece DUP MLA Jonathan Craig argues that the decision to take legal action to prevent the tenany from flying the flag is “completely and utterly absurd”.

    “I have spoken to them and this seems to fly in the face of the freedom to express oneself …”

    As indeed it does.

    “Mr Craig described the policy as ‘oppressive’ “, as indeed it is.

    But then so also is the policy that aims to deter male exhibitionists from exposing their genitalia before passing schoolgirls in the public park. Like the Union Flag, there is nothing abhorrent or offensive about the male genitalia per se but it really boils down to where and when it might be appropriate for them to be put on display. In the case of one’s naughty bits the public park at schools’ out time is perhaps not the best moment and, in the case of the Union Flag, on an estate where tenancy is based upon (among other things) an agreement not to display such emblems, the best moment is never.

    The tenant on accepting her tenancy had agreed to this curtailment of her freedom to fly the flag, if she now insists upon flying it she is in breach of her tenancy agreement and in so doing is breaching the rights of other tenants on the estate to enjoy the conditions to which they agreed which included the peace of a joint communal voluntary acceptance of the ban on the flying of such emblems.

  • USA

    Wonderfully put Rory.
    Logical and lawful. How do some people (Craig) get elected as political representatives, when they are so obviously incapable?

  • Professor Yattle

    Hang on, these would be the same shared housing schemes with ‘no flag’ policies that SF objected to being built at all. “Artificial” and “social engineering” were phrases bandied about I believe.
    Hard to take this thread seriously when it’s been started by the former SF candidate and still-current party hack. Unless, that is, Chris Donnelly would like to confirm SF has now changed its policy on such housing projects?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Firstly, I’m not a member of Sinn Fein so am really not in a position to confirm anything on behalf of that party.

    Secondly, I don’t believe Sinn Fein were ever or are now opponents of shared housing schemes. Certainly, with regard to this one in Lisburn, the council discussions which took place at the time the scheme was floated indicated that unionist politicians were the ones with reservations.

  • Professor Yattle

    See 3rd paragraph from the end:

    This remains SF’s official position, as far as I know – and I appear to know more than you.

  • Rory Carr

    AyeYerMa insists that “highly vocal Republicans like Chris…” (and. I take it, also myself) in commenting on this matter are taking ‘unrepresentative “offense” at the symbol of the country in which they live – it’s nothing more than a lack of respect for democracy,’ which charge, apart from being simply wrong, misses the whole point of the problem that has been caused by this errant tenant.

    It is she who has given offense against the very tenancy agreement to which she signed up in order to take up residency on the estate. In supporting her breach of the agreement the MLA Jonathan Craig is setting a very poor example in encouraging tenants not to abide by their tenancy agreements when it conflicts with their frivolous and mischievous whim to annoy their neighbours at least once a year.

    The tenant in case is a naughty woman and Mr Craig is a very, very naughty man. He should be made to sit on the naughty step until he learns how to behave himself in an adult fashion.

  • ayeYerMa

    Rory Carr, I care little for this individual tenant case that you speak of, nor am aware of its details.

    My points are related to this “offence” taken at the flying of the UK flag in the UK in general in NI. Those claiming to be “offended” are clearly in a tiny but highly vocal extremist minority and the more they claim to be “offended”, the more any siege mentality will kick-in on the other side, and the more Union Flags appear on the streets (fair play I say).

  • ayeYerMa

    Rory, the topic of this thread is wide and open.

    I’ve already made comments about respectful use of flags elsewhere. I’ve already condemned paramilitary flags elsewhere.

    You’re still not addressing my point in that Sinn Fein try to take “offense” at the Union Flag on places like City Hall, the repeated “butcher’s apron” nonsense etc. It is in THIS situation where I say “fair enough” to plastering the place in Union Flags if do-gooders give way to such antics at the top. If the flag has no respect even where it should be then all rules break.