Poppy burning- haters charged; bonfire-burning haters to follow?

The PSNI have arrested and charged three youths with incitement to hatred after a photograph posted on a social networking site allegedly showed the individuals burning a poppy. The move is consistent with the pro-active PSNI approach to individuals who have used Facebook to post threatening messages to political figures in recent months.

But, given the nature of this latest offence, it will be fascinating to see if the PSNI take similar action and charge those who, year in year out, erect flags and political posters on 11th Night bonfires (and, to a lesser extent given their much smaller numbers, internment bonfires) to be burned in a similar display of hatred. After all, even suicide victims have been targeted in the past. 

One to watch……

  • Decimus

    And no doubt watched it will be.

  • Turgon

    It is very simple: Poppy burning and burning posters are both unacceptable and wrong.

    And of course Mr. Donnelly’s position on poppy burners is what exactly? After all Mr. Donnelly has previously been unable to condemn not burning poppies but blowing up those wearing them at Enniskillen war memorial.

  • Decimus

    Turgon,

    Thank you for that insight. Is their any crime which PIRA carried out which republicans feel they can condemn? Or are they terrified that condemning one will open the floodgates and force them to accept the illegitimacy of their ‘war’?

  • Lionel Hutz

    I heard this and had to dismiss it as bad reporting. There must surely be something more to this. Poppy burning and indeed burning flags is clueless idiotic and sectarian. But a crime?!?!??!

    The world has gone mad

  • Decimus
  • Into the west

    chris I hope they’ll charge those who burn the tricolour then.

    turgon that was a really good example of “whataboutery”
    were you thinking of the new folks on slugger
    and wanted to show-off about what a foul is
    knowing you’ll probably get away with it?

  • Ronan Ssmith

    Some years ago in Ballymena, a 15 year old Catholic was kicked to death by a Protestant mob. On the following 11 July, an effigy of the victim, along with a banner bearing his name, was burned on top of a bonfire erected by Protestants. To the best of my knowledge, the police have not arrested anybody for that bonfire hate crime. But, perhaps, they will.

  • Obelisk

    Burning the poppy is stupid and sectarian and shouldn’t be allowed, but if it’s criminal then so is burning the Irish flag atop the bonfires during the marching season.

    So by all means, take action against these individuals. But in a few months time please take action against those who destroy and desecrate symbols dear to me and mine.

  • Its all very curious.
    If for example…………every Sinn Féin and SDLP voter drew a poppy on a piece of A4 paper (no trade mark infringements, no payment to the “Royal” British Legion, no theft of someone elses poppy, no desecration of a Memorial) ………and then burned their own artwork…..and posted the pic on Facebook……….I dunno……….5,000……..10,000 ….20,000 art burned………….the people could be charged with incitement.
    If for example a poppy was drawn………and flames were drawn…….is that incitement.
    That seems a very unlikely thing for PSNI for waste their time on.
    The Law becomes a Ass when people routinely flout it and its unenforceable.

  • Rory Carr

    While there are circumstances in which the public burning of the poppy emblem could well be construed as an incitement to hatred I am not so sure that a conviction can be assured in this case unless the accused can be persuaded to plead guilty to the charge.

    A picture posted on Facebook of something or other happening is a matter of interpretation and any robust defence ought to make reasonable doubt paramount. This is not to say that there was not an intention to incite hatred in this incident – there may very well have been – but rather that difficult cases have a tendency to bring the law itself into disrepute and should a similar charge then be brought against an 11th night bonfire group then charges and counter cahrges of police partiality will likely bedevil attempts to make this prosecutorial tactic effective in its intent.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Just so I’m clear as to the rules, whataboutery is only discouraged in the comments section?

  • Decimus

    Could it be that these poppy burners may have accompanied their video with some inciteful language?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Turgon

    Personally, I don’t have any difficulty with the PSNI clamping down on casual sectarianism in this way and certainly would not support the burning of a symbol cherished by many of my protestant and unionist neighbours.

    I do, however, believe that the PSNI will be obliged to follow up this initiative with a similar clampdown on those expressing hatred publicly through the burning of National flags, political posters and other emblems.

    Regarding the Enniskillen bombing, that was a terrible act which led to the deaths of many innocent people and serious injuries to many more. I don’t agree at all with such a bombing in the same way that I would trust you disagree with the deaths of civilians at the hands of British forces in the numerous conflicts they have been involved in before and since that terrible incident.

  • Pete Baker

    “The move is consistent with the pro-active PSNI approach to individuals who have used Facebook to post threatening messages to political figures in recent months.”

    Hardly. From the information available no individual has been personally threatened.

    As for the whataboutery of the rest of the post, a more appropriate response would be to decry the abuse of process.

    Seriously. Is this what we’re to be reduced to as a society? Charges of incitement to hatred for publishing a photograph of someone burning a poppy? Or a flag?

    You have the right to be offended.

    …Article 10 (of the European Convention on Human Rights) protects expressive rights which offend, shock or disturb.

    You don’t have the right to firebomb a publisher for material you find offensive.

    Now, about that blasphemy law…

  • Pete Baker

    Chris

    “Personally, I don’t have any difficulty with the PSNI clamping down on casual sectarianism in this way…”

    Personally, I do.

    But I’m not in favour of an authoritarian state being allowed to utilise a ‘civic’ police service to stamp out dissent regardless of the European Convention on Human Rights.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I agree with Pete. If the peelers have to lift someone every time some spide acts the maggot on youtube they’ll be pretty busy.

    And since when was there an actual offence of “improper use of a social networking site”?

  • Mac

    I’ve heard rumours of Lawyers Direct launching a TV campaign for anyone with the surname Lundy to join a collective action in time for this years Siege of Derry festival.

  • Obelisk

    I think that this isn’t really a crime, just two young idiots with access to the internet and more time than sense.

    But whichever way this goes it has to be based on equal treatment of both sides and IF burning the poppy is to be criminalised then I would certainly expect the burning of the tricolour to be criminalised.

    Yes, I would expect PSNI landrovers to pull up at twelfth bonfires and arrest those responsible for setting it up and not taking care to remove the tricolour. As that’s clearly never going to happen, I predict these two fools will get let off.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Pete
    ‘Authoritarian’ is a tad excessive, Pete.

    Given the nature of our society, adopting a zero tolerance policy towards manifestations of sectarian and political intolerance which could be construed as incitement to hatred is not without reason, in spite of your hat tip to the satirical genius of Monty Python’s finest.

  • Decimus

    And since when was there an actual offence of “improper use of a social networking site”?

    I think we can thank the supporters of Glasgow Celtic for that one.

  • Decimus
  • babyface finlayson

    Chris
    It might be difficult to prove who is putting the flags on the bonfires, don’t you think?
    Unless they are stupid enough to film themselves doing it and put it on youtube.

  • Jimmy Sands

    From the article Decimus posted:

    “He [the judge] also told Birrell that there was “no place in our modern society” for the use of the internet to spread or support abuse or to target people.”

    On the contrary, it seems to me far and away the best place for it. Far better than doing it offline surely?

  • Pete Baker

    “Authoritarian’ is a tad excessive, Pete.”

    And what would you call disregarding the European Convention on Human Rights?

    Necessary?

    “adopting a zero tolerance policy towards manifestations of sectarian and political intolerance which could be construed as incitement to hatred is not without reason”

    You really want to go down that route?

  • damon

    Who in Northern Ireland is going to speak out against stupid police actions like this? Any of the political parties or individual MLAs?

    Isn’t there a DPP or something to oversee such a case and decide that prosecution is completely daft?

  • Harry Flashman

    I seem to recall a similar scenario last year in England where some kids were fined for burning a Koran in their back garden then posting itonline. It’s absolutely appalling to criminalize free expression in this way.

    If the individual in question has purchased the Poppy, Koran, Tricolour, Union Jack, Stars and Stripes or whatever and they choose to dispose of their property in whatever way they see fit that is their privilege.

    There are circumstances when it could be regarded as incitement, ie if you burn the Koran outside a mosque on a Friday lunchtime or the poppy next to a Remembrance Day ceremony then perhaps the police could have a look at the matter but the onus would very definitely have to be on the prosecution to prove an offence beyond reasonable doubt with the emphasis being on the right to free speech.

    Under no circumstances should disposing a piece of your own property and filming it be regarded as a criminal offence, no way.

    We are getting too far down the slippery slope folks, your rights are being eroded by the day and you are not standing up for yourself.

  • lamhdearg

    Chris, i agree, in that if someone, go’s on youtube, and burns a irish flag , in an attempt to cause offence, they should be treated the same as the poppy burners. Now explain to me how that would work vis a vis a irish flag on a bonfire, ? who to charge?, the bonfire lighters, the people who put the flag on the bonfire, it seems to me that the police have a case, when someone cause’s offence on the internet, harder for them to make a case in the bonfire scenario.
    Folks on trial, in relation to Ardoyne’s july 2010 sit down protest at the moment, would that not be better use of your skills.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I’ll be damned if I don’t agree completely with Pete, Jimmy and Harry.

    The comparison with tricolours on bonfires is inexact. A direct comparison would be with someone being arrested for posting online a video of a tricolour being burned, not the actual act of burning the flag itself.

    We’re through the looking glass here, where it’s not illegal to perform certain acts, but it may be illegal to document them.

  • The Raven

    Things that are easy:
    Charging some clods who put their name to an act of expression which some find offensive or contemptible

    Things that seem to be less easy:
    Ensuring that old people are protected in their homes
    Catching burglars, muggers and the like
    Putting on the odd patrol

    It’s all relative, I suppose.

    Also…fitzjames…why the inverted commas around “Royal”…?

  • tomthumbuk

    Deliberately insulting people on the basis of race or religion is, and should be an offence.
    It is an incitement to hatred that society can do without.
    Think of the treatment of Jews in 1930s Germany.
    I wonder if the people complaining about freedom of speech would be so vocal if it was the BNP burning an image of Mohammed?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Think of the treatment of Jews in 1930s Germany.

    Did they get a rough ride on Bebo?

  • Harry Flashman

    “I wonder if the people complaining about freedom of speech would be so vocal if it was the BNP burning an image of Mohammed?”

    See the first line of my post above.

    Free speech is to defend the speech you don’t like not the bits you approve of.

  • I agree with Harry

    Just to re-inforce his point, in Human Rights law, there is no such thing as a right not to be offended.

  • I agree too. There is no right not to be offended, nor should there be. If there was, we would all (mostly) have to have our lips zipped up. The proper response to a legal comment or action that offends you is to argue your point of view.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Interesting take from Donnelly on how the police should operate. Man walks into a polis station and complains about some fools burning a Poppy. The ever so nice PSNI operative says ‘Sir, go and find a Caflick to complain about a Irish Tricolour being torched and I’ll be able to investigate your claim’.

    Man remonstrates and refers to the Incitement to Hatred law on the statute books. Polisperson responds with ‘Sir, the PSNI must enforce the law equally. For instance sir, did you know sir that if we arrest a Caflick burglar we have to go right out and lift a Prod one tout suite?’.

    Man says ‘what about my Human Rights?’. Polisperson pushes the Big Red Panic Button…………

  • bigmoffatt

    The courts may impose a £50 fine. Personally……..I’d send them to spend a week with the boys in 2PARA or 42Commando Royal Marines. Lets see if they burn poppies after that.

  • Reader

    Chris is absolutely right to say that the same standards should be applied throughout. There may be legal differences between publically burning a tricolour and publishing a poppy burning online, but that is part of what makes this case a useful test.
    I am sure the police don’t want to spend their time chasing down this sort of stuff, they would like it off their radar, and it may be useful in that respect to have MOPEs running the defence for the test case.
    The control freaks up on the hill may have a completely different preferred outcome, of course.

  • Dr Spock

    Kids these days. I do so despair betimes. You don’t burn poppies. Simple.

    You burn cannabis. That’ll give you a fairly decent high. But poppies? You slice open the seed pods to get at the nectar. You refine that to make opium, which you can burn for an okay high. Refine it further and presto, you got heroin.

    Come to my surgery if you need more advice.

  • john

    The 2 teenagers are stupid but the PSNI response is ridiculous. A telling off and embarassig their parents should be enough. If the PSNI are going down this route then they are going to be very busy for example I can think of several of Moochins photos that could be forwarded as ”evidence” if this nonsense was to continue

  • bigmoffatt

    Do these idiots not realise that the poppy is not a sole British thing. Many countries use the symbol of the poppy to commemorate those who paid the ultimate price to gain and
    maintain the freedom of the world.
    That includes thousands of southern irish who fough throughout the world in two world wars and who are mostly forgotten in the Irish republic.
    Look at the memorial to the 16th Irish division in Guillemont in France. These were southerners who fought to liberate France. Yet all the tributes left at the memorial ( when I visited ) were from Northern organisations or people. Willie Redmond MP died at Messines in 1917. Do you think that these brave men would appreciate the insult to the dead.
    In my opinion, if Nazi Germany had won in 1939 -45, Irish neutrality would’ve meant nothing and the penalties for law breaking would’ve been more extreme in the german protectorate of Ireland. The sacrifice made by those who the poppy commerates ensured that Ireland exists today

  • Nordie Northsider

    Crazy stuff. Must have been a slow day in the Coleraine copshop – no mixed-race marriages to break up.

  • Pigeon Toes

    They should try the Michael Stone defence.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6193169.stm

    Or indeed as a test of health and safety, as to how flammable the pieces of paper are.

  • Dec

    Wow. I’m finding myself in utter agreement with people I normally wouldn’t wish to share an elevator with( and vice versa). Leaving aside the over whelming urge to engage in whataboutery the sceptic in me thinks the reason the PSNI are engaging in this brand of crime-busting is that a) it’s tailor-made for headline grabbing news-worthy and b) it’s emminently solvable. Something to bear in mind next time the cops take 3 hours to respond to reports of a break-in.

  • Cynic2

    Chris

    You cannot be right. Sure didn’t Gerry promise to ‘put manners on the police’ and we know he always delivers on his promsies

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Harry

    “Free speech is to defend the speech you don’t like not the bits you approve of”

    Absolutely spot on.

    SonofStrongBow

    Your “example” is facile. The point is clear – laws should be applied equally. I don’t agree with people burning poppies, flags or books – however, I don’t necessarily think that, in itself, it should be a cause for prosecution.

    However, Chris is right, if the PSNI are going to arrest people for burning poppies then the same rules should apply to those burning flags or any other symbols.

    In the days when Linfield/Cliftonville matches got reasonable crowds, the RUC used to charge into the Cliftonville fans and arrest anyone who burnt a Union Jack (and hit any other person who happened to be in their way). However, they would happily stand by and even laugh when Linfield (or Glentoran or Portadown) supporters burnt a Tricolour.

    As I said, I don’t approve of flag burning. However, its either a crime or it isn’t.

    All Chris is demanding is equal treatment and rightly so. As much as it may disappoint you, the days of “croppie lie down” are over.

    If the PSNI are going to charge people with burning/defacing symbols to presumably insult one side of the community then they must enforce this universally ot not at all. There will be no return to the the old “cross community LOL” RUC.

  • tomthumbuk

    MonkDeWallyDeHonk,
    So we can look forward to you supporting the Orangemen as they exercise their freedom of expression as they walk past the Ardoyne shops next Twelfth of July.
    Looks like we’re making progress!

  • slappymcgroundout

    This week’s sign of the coming apocalypse: Pete and I actually agree on something.

    For how short-sighted the clampdown is, well, if they want to burn a poppy, then let them. If they want to burn an Irish flag that says “Fuck Mickey Bo”, then let them. At least you’ll know where they stand. It’s a valuable thing, to know where people stand.

    Relatedly, this is why I dislike secret ballots as well. We should go back to ancient Athens. White stone. Black stone. You pick one up and drop it in. Everyone in the polis knows where everybody stands, and so everyone knows who needs to be convinced otherwise. Again, that’s a valuable thing.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    TomThumbUK

    Do you think that by next July the OO will have:

    1. Engaged with local residents
    2. Engaged with the British govt appointed parades commission
    3. Taken action against lodges/bands that annually commemorate “loyalist” terrorists (action to date -none).
    4. Taken action against lodges/bands who stop outside Catholic churches for periods of time, up the volume of their music and play the Sash (action to date – none).

    If they actually did anything more than demanding a non-existent “right” to parade on “the Queens Highway”, I’d be all in favour of a parade.

    As you proudly have UK in your moniker – do you also disagree with the restrictions on BNP, EDL, ANL marches in Britain or is it only the OO that should have carte blanche to march wherever and whenever they want?

    I’d ask if you would support an AOH parade going through a Unionist neighbourhood but I’d hazard a guess that I know the answer.

    I love the consistency of OO supporters – demanding their right to parade through Catholic/Nationalist neighbourhoods but really not too keen on having those uppity taigs in their neighbourhoods.

    You might find that’s why the OO have completely failed to live down the abysmal public image they rightly earned at Drumcree.

    In my earlier post, I mentioned the word “equal”. That’s where it tends to fall down for OO members and supporters – it’s not really in your vocabulary is it?

  • Alias

    It’s hard to see how you can end that post on an equality agenda when you have divided what is actually in the common ownership of all citizens of NI between to two social groups, thereby granting each group unequal rights in respect of the common.

  • Harry Flashman

    “If they want to burn an Irish flag that says “Fuck Mickey Bo”, then let them. At least you’ll know where they stand. It’s a valuable thing, to know where people stand.”

    US syndicated columnist Mark Steyn, not hitherto known for his wishy-washy liberalism, made precisely this point when US conservatives tried to make it illegal to ban the burning of the US flag. If American citizens wish to burn the American flag then they should be free so to do precisely that so that they may be judged by their fellow citizens rather than being bound to false patriotism by law.

    If you ban people from speaking their minds how are you to know who are the freaks, crackpots, bigots, fascists and nutjobs?

    I was involved in editing a newspaper a while back and raw copy came in which had the local mayor making some quite ludicrous and bigoted remarks, I checked with the reporter and he stood over what he wrote so I got the article ready for publication when the sub-editor told me we couldn’t possibly publish what he said.

    I asked why not and she said because the remarks were utterly offensive, I looked at her, pointed out that that was precisely why we should publish his words and I suggested that centre front page would be the appropriate location. She looked at me and I could see the penny dropping as she rushed to prepare the front page.

    Censorship is rarely a good thing.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Alias

    I’m a realist not an idealist. To not recognise that there are predominatly Catholic, Protestant, Black, Asian, Jewish etc neighbourhoods would be being stupid.

    I also said that I don’t believe that, in itself, flag/poppy/book burning should necessarily be an arrestable offence.

    However, to paraphrase the law (badly), if such behaviour is likely to incite a breach of the peace that’s different.

    Clearly i.e. a BNP/EDL march through a predominantly Asian or black neighbourhood would be likely to so do – hence they are usually rerouted.

    Frankly I wish that ALL people could be more tolerant but they are not.

    My point is simply that there are many OO supporters on here whinging about the 2% of parades that are restricted/rerouted but have no issue with AOH (of which a miniscule number go anywhere near Protestant neighbourhoods) parades being rerouted/restricted.

    Whether I agree with a law or not isn’t the issue. The fact is that ALL laws should be applied equally – which I believe is Chris’s point.

    Personally, I’d sooner that the PSNI hadn’t bothered in this case. However,if they choose to do so then (as a moderate Nationalist) I want to see action taken against Tricolour burners etc. A return of old RUC double standards will not be tolerated.

    It’s about equality! I’m not accusing you but I am saying that there are plenty of OO supporters (on here and elsewhere) who think that there should be restrictions on other parades (especially Nationalist ones) but that their parades should be able to go wherever and whenever they like.

    As I said – they have problems with the word equal.

  • Alias

    I haven’t made my mind up about whether or not individual acts that demean important symbols should be proscribed by law so I didn’t comment on that. But as it is controlled by law then, of course, the law should be applied equally – and that is particularly important in NI.

    I was making the point that if you say that one social group ‘owns’ an area because it is the predominant social group in that area then you award that group greater rights than other social groups, such as the right to control access to that area, etc, with the disenfranchised social group required to ask permission from the group that claims ownership. In reality, all citizens have equal rights to use common areas, and there is no right to force other groups to ask permission from those who wrongly claim exclusive ownership of common areas.

    I know it works the other way too, and a wrong turn can land you in the wrong area. My wife has a theory that she can tell a nationalist area from a unionist area by the amount of rude drivers that her Dublin-registered car encounters in a particular area but I think she just imagines it!

    These old tribal territorial disputes will never work themselves out completely but they could be lessoned by a few commonsense concessions whereby nationalists accept that unionists have the same rights to use streets as they have and the OO accepts that it has no right to make a bloody nuisance out of itself while exercising its equal right of access.

  • pauluk

    Still trying to figure out where to put the hyphen, eh Chris?

  • lamhdearg

    monk, visavis the linfield/ruc/flag reference, ballacks!.

  • dwatch

    The good news is, instead of burning poppies and posting the act on facebook two of our other young men are out in China proudly flying the flag for Northern Ireland.

    McIlroy back in contention in Shanghai

    Rory McIlroy back in contention at HSBC Champions, as Adam Scott ignores race row | Golf News | ESPN.co.uk http://www.espn.co.uk/golf/sport/story/119786.html

  • Decimus

    As much as it may disappoint you, the days of “croppie lie down” are over.

    Much to the relief of the Presbyterians.

  • Abu Mikhail74

    You can’t criminalise stupidity folks. These kids were idiots and should be ignored, same as the fools with their bonfires.

  • tomthumbuk

    MonkDeWallyDeHonk
    I’d just remind you the Orange order parade at the shops at Ardoyne is a legal parade.
    So all that waffle you indulge re: the parades commission, residents, etc in is irrelevant.

    If you followed your original line of arguement then the need to consult anyone infringes the basic right of free expression.

    Anyhow at least we have established that your principles change according to which people they refer to.

    See you at Ardoyne shops next Twelfth, maybe even on the bus from Ballymena on the way down!

  • unicorn

    A lot of people are being fooled by a false analogy. While I believe that people should not burn either poppies or tricolours the latter is far more legitimate. It is in defiance of a territorial claim and in a similar category to this burning of a PRC flag by people in Taiwan or any other region of disputed territory.

    You may say that the formal claim was abandoned but the reality still reflects the non acceptance of the Britishness of Northern Ireland by nationalists day in and day out. Burning the tricolour is an extreme counter statement, but it is nevertheless a reply to the likes of this and the constant repetition by nationalist politicians of the phrase “north of Ireland”, “the island” and so forth. The one is merely “returning the serve” from the other. Just as the actions of the PRC legitimise that flag burnt in Taiwan the constant “island of Ireland”-ery of many nationalist politicians and organisations lend legitimacy to 11th night tricolour burning as being legitimate political expression, in a way that would not apply to, for example, burning the flag of Poland or China on a Northern Ireland bonfire.

    The day that nationalists have a right to expect no tricolours being burnt out of a concern for people being offended is the day when, out of concern for not offending others, they stop doing things such as trying to get Dublin to represent L’Derry for world heritage status or keep on talking about the island as if it were one country in the way that they constantly do. You cannot separate one from the other. The two things are joined at the hip. The constant “island of Ireland”ing and so forth legitimises the tricolour burning by drawing it in as a part of what is a legitimate political discourse, albeit an extreme piece of speech in itself.

    The only proper analogy with burning a tricolour is burning a union flag. Burning a tricolour and burning a poppy are in fundamentally different categories and are not analogous.

  • unicorn

    @MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    EDL marches have not been rerouted as such but have rather on a few occasions been restricted to static demonstrations when the police believe they might not have enough manpower to cover the stretch of a route and want to contain everyone in one spot.

    This also has applied to their opposite numbers led by Anjem Choudary who were permitted to stand outside Westminster Cathedral with signs saying “Pope Go To Hell” and similar. The police investigated and no crime was found to have been committed on that particular occasion.

    This is good and a mark of the limits of a normal free society which can tolerate the expression of people with opposing views, and is what Northern Ireland should aspire to progress towards becoming. Of course Northern Ireland is not a normal society but rather a hyper territorial one. We should progress away from that to one where someone from the Shankill would feel OK meeting in a pub on the Falls and vice versa. In Great Britain hardly anywhere is as territorial, and public spaces are considered precisely that, public, with the possible exception of a very few places such as Oldham

    I think that even the most ardent republican could agree that an Orange Order parade is less offensive than either the EDL or Anjem Choudary’s latest outfit. When you combine all this with the geographical necessity of either walking on or being bussed through the Ardoyne roundabout, the fact that it is a daily shared space in terms of use for getting from A to B, the fact that just as many unionists live adjacent to it as nationalists, making it itself an interface rather than a nationalist area, the fact that it is itself commercial rather than residential, permitting the parade without music is more than reasonable. The fact that Protestants by convention feel they cannot use the shops there is something we as a society should be ashamed of and should seek to reverse. Using this fact of a lack of Protestant shoppers to proclaim the whole roundabout as nationalist territory rather than an interface is to compound the shamefulness even further and could even be viewed as intimidatory to the unionists who live at the roundabout.

    The average person outside Northern Ireland, at least a non-American, who is not as libertarian as I am, may have had some sympathy with the nationalist campaign against Orange parades in the past, and to some extent may initially react to Ardoyne in accordance with those built up prejudices, assuming it is like Drumcree, but when the actual circumstances are explained to them the majority would consider the nationalist protesters to be being unreasonable and for the whole anti-orange parade thing to have thereby now “jumped the shark” in my opinion. Nationalists should be careful not to be too narcissistic.