What’s eating Ardoyne: Slugger’s first public Google+ discussion

As luck would have it, Slugger was down for a few hours yesterday, just as we were recording our first Google Plus Hangout on Air over lunch time… A second blow was not getting Chris Donnelly in to the discussion (tech hitches meant he couldn’t get in on time), so as a result there’s an important Republican perspective missing from this discussion…

One of the technical hitches that occurred during the recording is that because one of the silent participants joined us from a noisey cafe in Turkey, we get to see a great deal of John Pollock and virtually nothing of the others… That’s something to try to improve upon before Friday Slugger’s first Digital Lunch

Lee makes a point that in fact Barney Rowan dismisses in his analysis of the Ardoyne stand off, ie that the public highway should be a shared rather than neutral space. Barney suggests:

maybe the challenge is to try to turn this space into a neutral area. That would mean no parades, no protests and, therefore, no huge security operations.

For the Orange Order, the challenge would be to think differently than the right to walk and traditional routes, in the same way that the DUP and Sinn Fein had to change their words.

And it would not be a climb-down, but a victory for leadership – and something that would pull the rug out from under the feet of the dissidents.

That’s not quite the view Lee shares in the Hangout or in the unionist community in general… There are plenty of questions still to go around here… Like where is the political way out of this impasse?

And for those in the Orange who understandably ask why they are blamed for riots they did not have not started for a number of years, their leadership might look again at the incident outside St Patricks fortuitously filmed by a Sinn Fein activists; and the utter breach of the values so publicly espoused by the Orange itself.

Rowan makes the less controversial point (and one that the hangout segues into towards the end) that most of north Belfast was quiet and simply did not get involved in either protest or parades. Whatever the shrill micro politics of Ardoyne, the rest of Belfast is quietly moving on…

In quite a number of interesting ways…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty