Unionism’s leadership deficit on display on a summer’s eve in Belfast

So, let’s recap last night’s happenings in the centre of Belfast.

An anti-internment parade was organized along an entirely non-contentious route, winding its way from a nationalist part of north Belfast through the city centre and ending up in west Belfast.

In a remarkable development which further serves to discredit what remains of political Unionism’s entire parading argument, Unionist politicians call for the parade to be banned for utterly spurious reasons. Lest we forget, Royal Avenue is used by scores of loyalist parades annually, and protesting loyalists from the Shankill Road had to pass by the nationalist Carrick Hill area to get to their protest location (and a number of them stopped along the way to carry out a disgraceful sectarian attack on the Sunflower Bar, as well as ransacking the Hudson Bar in Gresham Street.)

Loyalist groups, including the Orange Order, organise protests which rapidly descend into violence against the PSNI, with sectarian chanting accompanying the bricks, stones and various other objects hurled at police officers.

The PSNI, caught off guard by the loyalist scheme, attempt to clear the parade route of those illegally blocking the road. They are met with violence by loyalists, resulting in numerous injuries to PSNI officers.

The PSNI, failing to clear the route of protestors, reroute the parade along Millfield.

Instead of mimicking the conduct of loyalists when faced with a similar dilemma, the parade organisers agree to follow the diverted route and complete their parade without it descending into violence.

DUP politicians- and other voices within loyalism- blame the Parades Commission and all else for the loyalist violence.

It is unfortunate that the PSNI failed to enforce the Parades Commission determination, and that will have given some succour to the dissident republican narrative, though the fact that PSNI officers did clearly attempt to so do, as well as succeed in agreeing a diverted route for the parade, should go some way to countering that interpretation. In terms of reputation, any objective analysis would conclude that the PSNI have had a good summer to date, enforcing parade rulings (up to now) and responding to violence consistently, paying a heavy toll in terms of violence suffered by its officers.

What is clear is that, again, the violent behaviour of loyalists exposes their rudderless existence, and the absence of leadership on offer from political unionism is becoming increasingly obvious with each passing violent debacle.

  • Kevsterino

    Joe, so it means the UVF is stronger in Belfast than in Derry and Castlederg?

  • PeterBrown

    Peter Brown … assured us that these people don’t have a sectarian bone in their body.

    SK please point out where I said that – I’ll show you where I said the opposite!

  • Kevsterino,

    I believe so and think they always were. The modern incarnation certainly started off from there with Gusty Spence and his band of merry murderers for whom “Any Taig will do”.

  • @MalcomX,

    Typical revisionist diatribe from a Shinner whenever his argument doesn’t go his way lol. Rather than acknowledge the huge turnout and peaceful Anti-Internment march. He chooses to use lies, innuendo and smear against participants of Friday nights march & rally?

    Maybe he wasn’t happy that his Party didn’t get the same turn-out in Castelderg yesterday? After all, the majority of deceased Volunteers’ families from the County don’t want S/F invoking the ghosts of yesterday to promote their own political agenda!

    Sadly he claims that I have a dubious past? Maybe he should analysis Castlederg’s main Speaker’s recent past. When he chose to ditch his long-term Wife who stood by him during his lengthy imprisonment. In favour of his young Secretary whom he later married? Or is it okay to level false allegations at me without a response?

  • babyface finlayson

    FDM
    “all of these unionist voters who are “horrified, petrified, mortified” by the fleg and ensuing violence will trip along to the election boxes like sheep and stick their X in the DUP/TUV/UUP box next time out regardless.”
    True enough.
    But at the last election the DUP got about 30% of the vote in a turnout of 54%, Around 16% of the voting population. Is it not fair to assume that some at least of those are voting from fear of a Sinn Fein controlled government rather than a positive endorsement of more extreme views such as those of ‘fleggers’? So a relatively small percentage of our population actually endorse this nonsense.
    I’m trying to be positive here in a very depressing situation. The large number of non voters here actually help restore my faith in human nature.

  • Dec

    ‘Maybe he should analysis Castlederg’s main Speaker’s recent past. When he chose to ditch his long-term Wife who stood by him during his lengthy imprisonment. In favour of his young Secretary whom he later married?’

    Great argument, Mary Whitehouse.

  • FDM

    babyface finlayson 12 August 2013 at 8:39 am

    “So a relatively small percentage of our population actually endorse this nonsense.”

    On that I have to disagree. If you put your X in the box you endorse their actions. You are providing them with a mandate to do more of the same. Think naughty child. Without correction, nay your ENDORSEMENT, they will do the same, indeed worse in the future. So the majority of the unionist population can’t dodge that bullet.

    A vote for the DUP/UUP/TUV/PUP is to basically turn a blind eye to: 1. murderous attempts on the lives of police officers 2. grevious and actual bodily harm to same 3. criminal damage 4. assaults on citizens going about their business 5. assault on our economy [general trade, tourism and people on the roads going to/from their place of work] 6. destruction of our collective image [damage to brand] and 7. making us all look like complete and utter drunken savages to the rest of the world.

    All this to stop Sinn Fein who are one of the few parties who have wholesale condemned the violence from the start of it. A similar mention should go to the SDLP, Alliance and Greens. Whilst I took the complete hand out of a not insignificant Alliance person on twitter last night for their complete hypocrisy over the wider parading issues, [East Belfast UVF good to go, Castlederg parade no way].

    Additionally I note the police federation issuing the “complete surprise” missive that they need exactly “1000 additional recruits into the service”, in the wake of the violence. Now that is a shock. I think they must have a officer holding a clicker that for every brick thrown they must have a new cop.

    Heres to Terry Spence and the police federation. For every 10 rioters you put in the clink you get one extra cop. Lets call it Pay As You Enforce [PAYE]. Pastor Baggott is simply encouraging the rioters with this namby-pamby approach to the cretins destroying society here. Fifty-six [56] cops injured and we get EIGHT [8] arrests. Anyone see the disproportionality in the figures there and wonder what the police are actually doing? Stick these scumbags in the slammer for a 2 stretch and let them stew.

    Given the inadequacy of the police response to use the forces they have at the minute effectively, how is it that they can turn around shame faced and ask for 1,000 more officers? Can the Police Federation actually show the calculation of how they arrived at one thousand officers. Seems a rather round number to me?

    “How many sweets do you want son for your Saturday night party?”

    “1,000 daddy”.

    “Here’s 10 son. We will do more work on your numeracy skills tomorrow”.

  • FDM

    By way of comparison to the London Riots.

    “As of 15 August around 3100 people had been arrested, of whom over 1100 had appeared in court”.

    “In total, 186 police officers were injured[10] as well as 3 Police Community Support Officers.[9] Five police dogs were also reported injured.”

    Ratio is Arrests/Injuries = 3100/189 = 16.4 arrrest to police injuries.

    Belfast August 9th 2012 Ratio is Arrests/Injuries = 8/56
    = 0.14 arrrest to police injuries.

    In terms of magnitude of the difference in policing is 16.4/0.14 = 114.8, or 115 times a quantitative difference.

    The police here have been 115 times less effective in policing the riot on Friday night.

    Explain that Matt Baggott. Explain that Policing Board. Explain that Terry Spence.

  • FDM

    *2013

  • babyface finlayson

    FDM
    “On that I have to disagree. If you put your X in the box you endorse their actions.”
    Yes but the point is that 16% of the population voted DUP. So 84% are not endorsing them.
    Also I don’t know about your measure of police effectiveness there. It assumes a direct correlation between police injuries and the number of people committing arrestable offences. Is it a standard measure?

  • FDM

    babyface finlayson 12 August 2013 at 11:25 am

    “Yes but the point is that 16% of the population voted DUP.”

    I did not isolate the DUP. I listed all parties who got the support of one quarter of the NI electoral population between them in the 2011 assembly election. Therefore 1 person in 4 in NI is mandating turning a blind eye to this sustained campaign of on-street violence and mayhem. Of votes cast thats 46% of those who bothered to vote. That is not small fry. Unionists need to look at themselves and look where they are putting their X. Do they support the law or not? Isn’t continuing to vote for these parties mandating anarchy?

    “It assumes a direct correlation between police injuries and the number of people committing arrestable offences. Is it a standard measure?”

    Arrests/convictions are a good indicator of positive action, actually doing something. Could you interpret the shy passive response of the PSNI to the mayhem as a lack of will to do any about it?

    To pardon the pun, do a large swathe of the PSNI [or the directing minds at least] still hold the same convictions as the rioters hence the contrast to the vigorous actions of the police in dealing with the rioters in London.

    I think given the measureable PSNI performance that it is a fair question to put to them.

  • DC

    Therefore 1 person in 4 in NI is mandating turning a blind eye to this sustained campaign of on-street violence and mayhem.

    There was me thinking it was to do with off-street policy positions and socio-economic and identity stances to take when in government or on the floor of the assembly.

  • FDM

    @DC 12 August 2013 at 12:10 pm

    “There was me thinking it was to do with off-street policy positions and socio-economic and IDENTITY STANCES to take when in government or on the floor of the assembly.”

    For once you actually hit pay dirt. “PUL right or wrong” seems to be the mantra of the hour from the DUP/UUP/TUV/PUP because of their unashamed IDENTITY politics. They are pumping these issues to the detriment of every other element of politics, including socio-economic issues. It is ironic however for someone form East Belfast to imply underfunding when I understand that East Belfast trumps every other region in the six counties in terms of inward social funding?

    The rule of law and expected minimum levels of behaviour are seemingly only possible when they are convenient to the wider PUL community.

    In terms of socio-economic issues, the damage to our economy, brand image can we really afford to pander to the violent elements who are intent on a scorched earth policy to destroy our collective future?

    I have told you before DC. You are the problem.

  • Greenflag

    @ Kevsterino .

    ‘I think government cannot rub out sectarianism. The best it can do is not feed it.’

    True !

    And implement whatever anti racism legislation is on the statute book and legislate where such laws are needed.

    I recall working on a project in the old rust belt region in the USA north east many moons ago and having to council a ‘racist ‘ supervisor who was also a very technically competent manager ( although disliked by his 100% white staff ). The problem was he would make ‘racist ‘ remarks to any African American who he came into contact with from other parts of the company . For such a capable chap he was inordinately ‘twisted ‘ in his mind set .

    I quick;y realised that it was beyond my terms of reference to persuade him to be non racist so I told him that the company would continue to employ his useful skills as long as he remained a racist outside of working hours and thus protect his company from being dragged into a law suit .

    In the end it was to no avail . A year later I heard he was fired but not for being a ‘racist ‘ but simply because his ‘white ‘ staff found his social ‘ignorance ‘ to be more than even they could take .

    These ‘pathetic ‘ loyalist ‘ assaults and protests and general ignorance are alas just an extension of what I described above re an individual . One has to hope that the next generation will be less prone to these kind of idiocies .

    If these protests were for something constructive like jobs or public investment one would be encouraged but instead it’s just never ending mindless stupidity for naught 🙁

  • Morpheus

    Greenflag

    You knew that this “inordinately twisted” guy made racist remarks in the workplace yet yu concluded that it was ‘outside your terms of reference’ to do anything about it? The words ‘gross negligence’ spring to mind for some reason – can’t think why. I could also quote “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” but I don’t think I’ll bother

  • pauluk

    Surely recent events have clearly illustrated that there is, in fact, a huge Republican leadership deficit.

    Will the SF Republican movement ever realise how counterproductive and damaging it is to its cause to continually dance on the graves of its victims?

  • Greenflag

    @ Morpheus ,

    Not that simple a situation . First it was’nt my company -I’d have dismissed the guy .The owner a son of the founder who had hired the guy years before had just inherited the company . It was a more involved situation than the brief description I gave above and I made recommendations which of course the owner could implement if he so chose .

    In any event the ‘guy ‘ was’nt evil . He was a member of his local Church which he attended and a second generation American of eastern european extraction . He was’nt ‘evil ‘ just socially inept and ignorant . He never physically attacked anybody -it was more ‘verbal abuse ‘ . I’m sure there are thousands involved in NI protests who do similar outside of their workplaces .

    I did what I could within the terms of the then business law as regards these matters . Negligence gross or otherwise was not a factor . Remember Americans cherish their ‘freedom of speech ‘ even if their government disapproves of it’s content .

    If HMG were to pass a law mandating that stupidity and ignorance were offences punishable by a prison sentence then the streets of Belfast and other cities would be less uproarious than they are at present ,

    Don’t worry -it’s not going to happen ;)!

  • Greenflag

    @paulyuk ,

    ‘Will the SF Republican movement ever realise how counterproductive and damaging it is etc ‘

    Hardly .I mean it’s not as if they have 3,500 marches a year like the OO /Black Preceptory etc etc is it ? Although given continuing unionist /loyalist general inability to accept the fact that half the NI population doesn’t share their enthusiasm for the ‘OO ‘ perhaps Republicans and Nationalists may wish to increase their ‘parade ‘ numbers to a figure more eh ‘equal ‘ if that is the word with their OO fellow countrymen ?

  • babyface finlayson

    FDM
    “Therefore 1 person in 4 in NI is mandating turning a blind eye to this sustained campaign of on-street violence and mayhem.”
    I can’t agree with your logic there. People obviously vote for a party for a range of reasons. Just as everyone who votes Sinn Fein may not like their policy on abortion, say, so many people may support Unionist parties without identifying with these so called protesters. It is possible you are right in saying there is widespread support in unionism for these attitudes, but a basic vote count doesn’t,in my view, prove it.
    On your other point about policing, again you may be right. Maybe the PSNI did poorly on Friday, but I don’t think the ratio of injured officers to arrests really proves they were so much worse than police in the London riots.

  • I was involved about 15 years ago in an attempt to change the culture in a firm I worked in. An expensive world renowned consultant came in; one of the things he wanted us to do was to make it clear to employees that only those that shared the “values” of the company would continue to be employed. It took quite a lot of discussion but I eventually convinced Management that we could not, nor should not, try to change worldviews of individuals. The most that we could demand was that employees demonstrated compliance and behaviours consistent with the company values. What they thought was none of our business.

  • DC

    @babyface

    that was the point i was trying to make albeit obliquely. people should vote for parties based on policy positions parties intend to implement via democracy, not because of street ‘politics’ or stances political parties take on street violence. ok so it doesn’t quite work like that here in ni, but your point about FDM’s logic is one i agree with and he knows -like carl marks – that he is just being silly.

    On your other point about policing, again you may be right. Maybe the PSNI did poorly on Friday

    The PSNI fired 26 baton rounds – is that not high, maybe OTT? was Friday evening a trigger happy evening for the PSNI or did the violence merit it? Who knows? How do you find this out?

  • ..The PSNI fired 26 baton rounds – is that not high, maybe OTT?

    56 police officers injured. – is that not high, maybe OTT?

  • DC

    What kind of injuries? grazed knee or broken neck?

    He a table i googled up going back to 2001/2002 as a comparator:

    Incident and date Number of baton rounds discharged
    Lurgan, 24 April 2001 1
    Garvaghy Road, Portadown, 26 May 2001 6
    Ardoyne, North Belfast, 20-21 June 2001 11
    Ardoyne, North Belfast, 9 January 2002 9

    Below some figures on baton rounds from 1998 onwards:

    Year By Police By Army TOTAL
    1998 1,236 63 1,299
    1999 111 1 112
    2000 22 4 26
    2001 89 7 96

  • DC

    In fact look for youselves as i got it off this report:

    http://www.policeombudsman.org/Publicationsuploads/10993%20for%20pdf.pdf

    For instance on the Garvaghy Road, Portadown, 26 May 2001, 57 police officers recorded as hurt – how many baton rounds fired?

    6!

  • Morpheus

    The decision to fire a baton round is made depending on the severity of the incident and the officers obviously felt that the situation deserved baton rounds – that’s what they are trained to do. No conspiracy here I’m afraid.

  • DC

    http://www.policeombudsman.org/modules/reports/reports.cfm/CatId/1/ID/1/action/detail

    The report above documents 46 baton rounds being fired around ardoyne / crumlin road area 12 july 2001, but that was extremely serious disorder.

    In total more than 100 officers were injured, some seriously, as protesters attacked police lines with bricks, bottles, petrol bombs, acid bombs, stones and planks of wood.

    one officer who was set alight. An officer had also earlier been injured when he was struck by a protester armed with an axe.

    At 8.51pm a masked person drove a car, which had been set alight, towards the police. An officer fired a baton round at the car, cracking the windscreen and forcing the person to abandon the vehicle. It subsequently stopped short of police.

    Rioting again intensified after 11pm, and police reported that 16 petrol bombs had been thrown in the Estoril Park and Ardoyne Road areas within a period of five minutes. A further 48 petrol bombs were thrown before midnight. A nearby petrol station was also broken into and set alight during this period.

    Although trouble continued, authority to deploy and use baton guns was withdrawn at 12.07am. Permission to use the water cannon was granted when nine petrol bombs were thrown in the Brompton Park/Alliance Avenue area between 1am and 1.26am.

  • DC

    http://www.policeombudsman.org/modules/reports/reports.cfm/CatId/1/ID/69/action/detail

    the PSNI – going by statistics – came in heavier in east belfast firing 60 baton rounds, automatic gun fire breaks out in between, eliciting 10 live rounds by PSNI.

    A major investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s office has concluded that police were fully justified in discharging 60 plastic baton rounds and 10 live rounds during serious disorder in east Belfast in June 2002.

    The baton rounds and shots were discharged during a three and a half hour period of intense rioting by Loyalists in the Lower Newtownards Road area between 11pm on June 3 and 2.30am on June 4, 2002.

    Shots were fired at police on five separate occasions and officers were also targeted with blast bombs, fireworks, petrol bombs, catapults and other missiles.

    A total of 19 police officers were injured – one was shot in the leg by a Loyalist gunman. Of the 60 plastic baton rounds fired, 45 were reported to have hit their intended targets.

    The ten gunshots discharged by a police officer were aimed at a gunman who had fired two bursts of automatic gunfire at police lines.

  • DC

    So looking back at east belfast in 2002 and comparing that to 2013 and last friday, i think unionist leadership is paying off because are things as bad as what they were in terms of gun fire and extremely serious disorder? No.

    Things are on the up!

  • PeterBrown

    Personally I would say that the number baton rounds fired should have been higher in the past not lower in the present – the police are clearly less reluctant than they used to be to fire them (and some on here are less critical than they used to be when they do) but anyone who has seen violent disorder at close quarters whether it be as ineffective as last weekend compared with some of the disorder in the past will wonder how the police (and army) used to deal with it. Every brick or bottle is a potentially deadly weapon and as for petrol bombs…

    Having said that I don’t think there is a direct comparison with the London riots where targeting the police was incidental to not the whole point of the riot and this might explain the arrest statistics, particularly bearing in mind that most of the convictions are probably for riot related theft rather than attacking the police?

  • DC,

    We hear you loud and clear:

    Protesters are good.

    The PSNI are bad.

    They should never have allowed those Taigs in, I guess.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Once again, brain dead urban loyalism shows the world how tolerant they are. The parade, however obnoxious, was legal and should have been allowed to pass unhindered. Working class loyalists are an embarrassment to any unionist with half a brain. How many times can you shoot yourself in the foot before your foot needs to be amputated. Political unionism needs to start speaking out against these thugs. No ifs, no buts. Violence is and always was wrong. We need to obey the law. Do we want to return to the madness of the 70’s,80’s and early 90’s.

    Rural unionist’s, like the people in Castlederg,deserve respect for the way they behaved during Sinn Fein’s equally obnoxious parade in that town. These rural unionist’s are the real heroes in many peoples eyes and not the brain dead disloyalist morons from inner city Belfast.

  • Well said, Alan. But there is more to it than “morons” in Belfast. They are being given cover for their destructive behaviour somewhat both by the silence of the FM and the never ending excuses by an Assembly driveller from North Belfast.The refusal by local politicians to condemn unequivocally the violence and to provide some leadership is, quite frankly, disgusting.
    Please don’t take this as support for the other side. The parade in Castlederg was offensive and uncalled for.

  • redstar2011

    Why Mister Joe is it offensive for Republicans to remember their dead but not the other protaganists- British, Loyalists?

  • redstar,

    I have no problem with any side remembering their dead. I just happen to think (from far away) that the Castlederg parade was deliberately designed to arouse the “unionists” there. (Normal politics for both sides in N.I.)
    I could be wrong. Incidentally, I’m from that general area (Strabane).

  • redstar2011

    Since its an annual event its unlikely to be arranged just to annoy unionists

    In a majority Nat town the locals have had to endure 19 loyalist marches this year already with their feelings not taken into account.

    It brings us right back to equality. Equality will have to apply to remembrance of the dead as well as respect for the living.

    If loyalists (North Belfast, Coleraine annual marches). and British Army are to be rightly given respect to remember their dead then so must Republicans

  • FDM

    Alan N/Ards 13 August 2013 at 8:28 am

    Rural unionist’s, like the people in Castlederg,deserve respect for the way they behaved during Sinn Fein’s equally obnoxious parade in that town. These rural unionist’s are the real heroes in many peoples eyes and not the brain dead disloyalist morons from inner city Belfast.

    ————————————

    I agree with your initial points but let me query you about Castlederg.

    There were unionists who were protesting at Castlederg. They held up various banners and pictures to highlight the issues that they wish to protest about.

    By the same logic it is therefore appropriate for every single British Armed forces public march/parade/assembly to be subject to a protest. People can line the route with the images of the dying and the dead that the armed forces killed in our name.
    Necessarily they would all be dignified and peaceful protests.

    Your statements actually logically come to this conclusion. Can you explain therefore, as by the implications in your comment, how this is the way forward for this region?

  • redstar,

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree. Many lives were lost, on all sides, and there should not be a problem in saying that it is ok for one side and not for the other.

  • redstar2011

    Yet you find Republicans remembering their dead offensive and uncalled for??????

  • No! What was offensive and, perhaps, designed to cause a reaction was the location. There are many towns in Tyrone where there would not be an adverse reaction, Strabane for one, for example, just 12 miles away.

  • Neil

    Castlederg seems to have been latched onto (supported by Sinn Fein is how I’ve seen it reported) as a demonstration of a Nationalist parade. I reckon the Shinners expected to compromise, be peaceful and that would have been enough for Haass. Small appeal to the grass roots from Gerry K., the ideal candidate for the job having served his time.

    They were further helped by the anti internment march (organised by a group of people in the large opposed to SF) and Loyalism’s response. So realistically all SF did was demonstrate the ability to compromise and have a peaceful parade. Any other hands they won at poker (as described on the other thread) were not as a result of their own actions or skills, rather Loyalism freaking out, turning their cards face up on the table and going all in.

    Was it a cynical political ploy? Maybe, but now’s the time for this conversation to happen, with the parades talks coming up. We wouldn’t want Unionists talking about the inalienable right to march the ‘Queen’s highway’ when we all know that they don’t actually believe that to be true. All depends who’s marching and where. Unionists can march everywhere, Nationalists should be kept away from shared spaces and don’t even dream of going into or near a Unionist area. Unionists have suddenly found the ability to couple the words ban and parade in a single sentence.

    I’m for Greenflag’s idea: ban all contentious marches. Note, that doesn’t include Action Cancer and the Boy’s Brigade before anyone asks, unless they start wearing sashes or waving starry plough flags.

  • redstar2011

    Does it include those commemorating British Army dead.

  • Neil

    Contentious as defined by the parades commission. It was about 12 parades last year, I think it’s in the 20s now and rising fast.

  • redstar2011

    Ah theres the rub

    Contentious……

    Thats why such a ban would never work. Never going to be an agreement on whats contentious.

    If a parade is deemed non contentious all its needs is opposition organised to it and by definition its now contentious

  • Alan N/Ards

    FDM
    Peaceful protest is legitimate. The Castlederg protest was peaceful. The parade was a coat trailing exercise not unlike the tour of the north in Belfast. It wasn’t so long ago that republicans in Belfast were protesting against the Royal Irish parading there. We all remember what happened when republicans protested about Rememerance day in Enniskillen 25 years ago. 12 dead Protestants was the result of that protest. The question I would like to as is.. Why did catholic nationalists try to bomb a catholic nationalist town 40 years ago?

  • FDM

    Alan N/Ards 13 August 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Skip the whataboutery kak and answer the question.

    By the same logic it is therefore appropriate for every single British Armed forces public march/parade/assembly to be subject to a protest. People can line the route with the images of the dying and the dead that the armed forces killed in our name.
    Necessarily they would all be dignified and peaceful protests.

    Your statements actually logically come to this conclusion.

    HERE IT IS SO YOU DON’T MISS IT [SEE BELOW]
    Can you explain therefore, as by the implications in your comment, how this is the way forward for this region?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Alan N/Ards
    “Why did catholic nationalists try to bomb a catholic nationalist town 40 years ago?”

    I would think most bombs went of in Nationalists towns. Strabane I think is the most bombed town in the North.

    As for Castlederg:

    “Entering the town this week, if you didn’t know it, you would think it was loyalist. The roads in from Strabane and Omagh are bedecked on both sides with Union flags.

    Those flags are explained in different ways by the people you talk to. The barmaid in a pub at the bottom of the Diamond said they were erected to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and will come down at the end of August.

    A young man said they were put up before the Tyrone Fleadh in June to annoy nationalists.

    They did go up early. Ulster Unionist councillor Derek Hussey told Strabane District Council at the time that he thought no one should take offence at the flag since it is the flag of the United Kingdom.

    He doesn’t recognise that some people genuinely feel uncomfortable with it.

    The result was that thousands of people travelled from all over Ireland to enjoy Irish culture in Castlederg and found the place looking like a loyalist estate.”
    Entering the town this week, if you didn’t know it, you would think it was loyalist. The roads in from Strabane and Omagh are bedecked on both sides with Union flags.

    Those flags are explained in different ways by the people you talk to. The barmaid in a pub at the bottom of the Diamond said they were erected to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and will come down at the end of August.

    A young man said they were put up before the Tyrone Fleadh in June to annoy nationalists.

    They did go up early. Ulster Unionist councillor Derek Hussey told Strabane District Council at the time that he thought no one should take offence at the flag since it is the flag of the United Kingdom.

    He doesn’t recognise that some people genuinely feel uncomfortable with it.

    The result was that thousands of people travelled from all over Ireland to enjoy Irish culture in Castlederg and found the place looking like a loyalist estate.
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/castlederg-is-a-twilight-zone-we-have-the-most-peaceful-and-the-most-violent-history-29482319.html

  • Barnshee

    “He doesn’t recognise that some people genuinely feel uncomfortable with it.”

    We are dealing with anger and hatred here comfort is an alien concept to those involved.

  • mac tire

    Alan N/Ards

    “The Castlederg protest was peaceful.”

    Yes it was, thankfully.

    But was this down to the Stewards and Police who stopped a number of protestors from breaking through the ranks as they attempted to get to the parade.

    I wonder what would have happened if they weren’t stopped.

  • Alan N/Ards

    FDM
    If people commemorate their dead in a way that does not add salt to their enemies open wounds then this would be a better place.

    Th RBL, who organise rememberance day parades, which remember people from all traditions, backgrounds and religions who served in the Armed Forces. In Londonderry veterans of the Republic’s Armed Forces participate. They carry the Tricolour, and rightly so, at this service. Irish government ministers have now started to attend the service in Belfast as well. When you make a friend of your enemy he/she is no longer your enemy.

  • FDM

    Alan N/Ards 14 August 2013 at 7:40 am

    says “disingenuous tangential crap AGAIN”.

    ————————————

    You are NOT getting away with it.

    By the same logic it is therefore appropriate for every single British Armed forces public march/parade/assembly to be subject to a protest. People can line the route with the images of the dying and the dead that the armed forces killed in our name.
    Necessarily they would all be dignified and peaceful protests.

    Your statements actually logically come to this conclusion.

    FOR THE THIRD TIME ANSWER THE QUESTION , HERE IT IS AGAIN.

    Can you explain therefore, as by the implications in your comment, how this is the way forward for this region?

  • Barnshee

    A vote for the DUP/UUP/TUV/PUP is to basically turn a “blind eye to: 1. murderous attempts on the lives of police officers 2. grevious and actual bodily harm to same 3. criminal damage 4. assaults on citizens going about their business 5. assault on our economy [general trade, tourism and people on the roads going to/from their place of work] 6. destruction of our collective image [damage to brand] and 7. making us all look like complete and utter drunken savages to the rest of the world.”

    Oh dear we had 40 years of that from Republicans -“making us all look like complete and utter drunken savages to the rest of the world.” ?and not a peep from theusual suspects

    Republian violence good -Protestant violence bad ?

    Well the protesters felt “that they had no alternative” if they were asked “was it worth it” they reply ” would I do it again the answer is yes”

    Remember claptrap is a double edged sword

  • FDM

    Barnshee 14 August 2013 at 11:08 am

    Oh dear we had 40 years of that from Republicans -”making us all look like complete and utter drunken savages to the rest of the world.”

    ———————————

    WHATABOUTERY.

    Just in case you missed the content of Barnshees post.

    1. Barnshee please evidence 40 years of DRUNKEN savages? Specifically the DRUNKEN bit and how it led to savage behaviour.

    If you are going to make a statement back it up.

    Those “Republians” are indeed terrible. They should go back to Republia I tell ya.

    Were we not told by patronising voices for 40 years that there were never any premise or defence for violence. 2. So you are justifying the IRA military campaign then? Just trying to be clear about what you are suggesting.

    Thats two questions on total. They are numbered in case you fall victim to “Alan N/Ards disease” leading to chronic disingenuousness, terminal tangential syndrome and nauseating extreme bouts of whataboutery.

    Strapped-in for those answers.

  • FDM

    *was

  • Barnshee

    “1. Barnshee please evidence 40 years of DRUNKEN savages? Specifically the DRUNKEN bit and how it led to savage behaviour.

    If you are going to make a statement back it up.”

    My apologies- I assumed that burning dog club members to death and blowing up nine year olds where the actions of savages “under the influence” I am grateful for your assurance that the savages they were in fact totally sober at the time,

    “Those “Republians” are indeed terrible. They should go back to Republia I tell ya.”

    Agree wholeheartedly aliens the lot of them.

    “Were we not told by patronising voices for 40 years that there were never any premise or defence for violence. 2. So you are justifying the IRA military campaign then? Just trying to be clear about what you are suggesting.”

    If the republican campaign was justified by the “it was the only answer” arguement –I am happy to accept that –provided that there is acceptance that a parallel campaign in reaction, “its the only answer” from a section of the community is also acceptable .

    Quite happy to accept that sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander?

  • FDM

    Barnshee 14 August 2013 at 12:18 pm

    “My apologies- I assumed that burning dog club members to death and blowing up nine year olds where the actions of savages “under the influence” I am grateful for your assurance that the savages they were in fact totally sober at the time”

    —————-

    Sorry Barnshee but that just won’t do it. I said specifically prove DRUNKEN, which then led to savagery. You had 40 years of conflict to choose from and still you haven’t produced any evidence.

    You haven’t done that so therefore all your whataboutery points are completely invalid. Shouldn’t have bothered really.

    On the second point glad to see the veil being dispensed with at last. Violence becomes condonable when it serves PUL aims. Not news to me. Just good to see you actually coming clean about it.

  • FDM

    Anyone seen Alan N/Ards?

    Has he fallen off one of his tangents?

  • Barnshee

    “Sorry Barnshee but that just won’t do it. I said specifically prove DRUNKEN, which then led to savagery. You had 40 years of conflict to choose from and still you haven’t produced any evidence”

    Again apologies— I am further grateful for your confirmation that that the savages were not in fact drunk (will that do ?)

    “Violence becomes condonable when it serves PUL aims. Not news to me. Just good to see you actually coming clean about it.”

    I suggest you re-read my posting

    If we promote the view that violence is “acceptable” in pursuit of societal change then we have the violence which results violence arising on the chin—-from people who believe “its the only way”

    Or is some violence “Good” and some violence “bad”?

  • Morpheus

    We should hold local votes at District Council level to see if the locals want parades or not – be they republican or loyalist in nature.

    Surely a democratic decision by the people would be acceptable now that even Reverend Gibson has a new found respect for democracy (I would love to have been a fly on the wall in THAT meeting with the SoS)

  • FDM

    Barnshee 14 August 2013 at 1:10 pm

    “If we promote the view that violence is “acceptable” in pursuit of societal change then we have the violence which results violence arising on the chin—-from people who believe “its the only way”

    Or is some violence “Good” and some violence “bad”?

    ————————————————–
    Violence, war [civil or otherwise] and insurgency are synonymous with the formation of states. To say otherwise is ridiculous. There are very few countries whose birth deviate from this rule.

    Violence to maintain a completely unsustainable societal position is self-defeating.

    Unionism can’t hold the supremacist position in a country that it does not have the numbers to maintain that supremacy. The violence is therefore futile.

    You did conflate political change with societal change, which I ran with. However they are not the same thing. The PUL community seem to be trying to hold on to a society which has already gone and which they do not have the people to pull back to.

    The political changes that resulted from the conflict are all around us. Time is one-directional and this change will continue unretarded by minor street violence in that same direction.

  • Alan N/Ards

    FDM
    I’m afraid some of us have to work. It’s alright for you young ones who get the summer off school.

    A dignified, respectful commemoration will not and should not bring people out to protest.
    An undignified,disrespectful commemoration will bring protesters out. Hopefully they will behave like the Castlederg protesters if they do protest. Does that answer your question? I have to get back to work so I can’t play this game with you.

  • FDM

    Alan N/Ards 14 August 2013 at 1:46 pm

    “I’m afraid some of us have to work. It’s alright for you young ones who get the summer off school.”

    I have already seen many summers. I work too. However I can think and type quickly.

    “Hopefully they will behave like the Castlederg protesters if they do protest.”

    The protestors attempted to get through police lines and had to be restrained. Therefore your point doesn’t hold.

    Not not there was much point to hold in the first instance.

    We had a multi-faceted conflict, with many combatant parties. They all did bad things.

    You hold views that can be supported by the bald facts of the conflict.

  • FDM

    *cannot

  • Barnshee

    “Violence, war [civil or otherwise] and insurgency are synonymous with the formation of states. To say otherwise is ridiculous. There are very few countries whose birth deviate from this rule.”

    Indeed – say— the prods in a UI decide to “form their own state” and begin an IRA style campaign– that would be OK?

  • tacapall

    Barnshee the prods already done that “formed their own state” and did they not also carry out an IRA style campaign in order to do that and keep it so. Nationalists are the majority in four of the six counties that make up this state so in that scenario unionists backs really will be to the wall, obviously you dont know, but the British government has already made an agreement with the Irish people and the USA being the guarantor of that agreement, that if a majority in those six counties wish to join in a united Ireland they would facilitate those wishes. What are you the minority going to do, herd yourselves into Antrim and Down and scream no surrender we are still British.

    If the Orange order, people like yourself and the unionist population or indeed bigot snake oil salesmen like Jim Allister have nothing to say nor see any wrong with a loyalist parade through Coleraine commemorating four UVF volunteers who died in a premature explosion 30 years ago trying to achieve exactly the same outcome as those republicans who died in similar circumstances, what is your problem with the Castlederg parade.

    http://www.colerainetimes.co.uk/news/local/uvf-parade-was-spine-chilling-1-1962639

  • ayeYerMa

    Alan N/Ards “the parade was legal”. Glorifying, showing support for, or gathering wearing the military uniform of a proscribed terrorist organisation are in statute as being illegal offenses. When a mockery is made of the law then you can’t expect anything but chaos.

    This reluctance (usually from detached English politicians holding the powers) to oppose terrorism has been IMO the most major driving factor in Northern Ireland’s problems over the last century.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This reluctance (usually from detached English politicians holding the powers) to oppose terrorism has been IMO the most major driving factor in Northern Ireland’s problems over the last century.

    Actually I agree. It started when the UVF combined with the British army to threaten violence and a mutiny if the democratically elected parliament attempted to exercise its authority on a matter over which they had a different opinion.

  • Barnshee

    “Actually I agree. It started when the UVF combined with the British army to threaten violence and a mutiny if the democratically elected parliament attempted to exercise its authority on a matter over which they had a different opinion”

    ER— no the democratically elected parliament decided to remove the prods from the UK. That is ( and remains) their right. At that point however their rights cease. You may expel me from your club but you cannot dictate which new “club” I join

  • Barnshee

    “What are you the minority going to do, herd yourselves into Antrim and Down and scream no surrender we are still British.”

    If this new minority began an armed insurrection against incorporation in the new nirvana would that be acceptable?

    PS the ” Freeman” parade like the Castlederg parade is wholly unacceptable

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    ‘If this new minority began an armed insurrection against incorporation in the new nirvana would that be acceptable?’

    No, it wouldn’t. Because we have a deal.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday_Agreement

    The deal is, those of us who dislike the status quo agree to live peaceably within it until a majority votes for change. In return, those of you who support the status quo agree to peaceably accept the change, if and when a majority votes for it.

    Of course we all expect that all sides will keep their part of the bargain.

    Of course, if the Protestant population of the northeast lived peaceably but was subjected to utter tyranny by the new state, then after fifty years or so, I suppose all bets would be off.

  • Barnshee

    “No, it wouldn’t. Because we have a deal.”

    I would remind you of the very strong no vote from the prods- I would o as far as to say that in a rerun oit would not pass

  • Billy Pilgrim

    There were no separate Taig and Prod referendums. The referendum we actually had, as opposed to the ones that exist in your imagination, passed by 71-29.

    You may not like it, and you may not support the details of the deal, but you do have to accept it. Otherwise you are incapable of dealing with the most basic democratic reality, and are therefore unfit for further debate, and indeed human society.

    That’s the deal, and 100% of us, Taig and Prod alike, are bound by it.

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: That’s the deal, and 100% of us, Taig and Prod alike, are bound by it.
    I voted for it, and would do so again, but half of my children weren’t even born back then, and the others were too young to vote. In what sense are they “bound by it”?
    At St. Andrew’s, the DUP showed that the GFA was up for negotiation, and SF may have their own go in due course, if the recent guesses of some Slugger fantasists pan out. I’m not looking forward to the notion of tribal champions rummaging around in the entrails of the GFA in the pretence of healing it, but I don’t have any objection in principle to the idea.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    ‘half of my children weren’t even born back then, and the others were too young to vote. In what sense are they “bound by it”?’

    In the same way as everyone in the United States is bound by the Constitution, despite the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, no-one who was around in 1787 is still around today.

    The GFA is the de facto constitution of NI. St Andrew’s etc are amendments. No doubt there will be further amendments in the future.

    But the sine qua non of the deal is the one I mentioned: one side agrees not to use violence or illegal methods to bring about change, and the other side agrees to accept change, should a majority ever vote for it.

    Anyone who can’t accept that is a menace and should be shunned, regardless of whether they were around in 1998.

  • odd_number

    Barnshee would have it that a prod vote somehow counts more. We have moved on, do keep up.

  • redstar2011

    Its pretty obvious now that no one is bound by it or any other deal agreed.

    If the FM can welch on a deal why should anyone else be bound by such agreements

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘If the FM can welch on a deal…’

    He can’t.

    ‘…why should anyone else be bound by such agreements…’

    71%. That’s why.

  • redstar2011

    Billy what do you mean he cant

    Have you been on the moon all day

    He welched on a deal agreed with his coalition partners.

    You explain to me why should anyone have any faith in this sham anymore

  • Billy Pilgrim

    This latest weak, silly little spasm by our First Minister does not mean the abolition of the GFA. Why do you think it does?

  • redstar2011

    Sadly it doesnt you are correct

    My point is what credibility has this farce at Stormont got any more?

    Lets be honest with dodgy financial dealings and corruption allegations any credibility has been floating at the top of the bowl for a while

    But now we have in black and white that any agreement between the 2 governing parties is worthless

  • Comrade Stalin

    Barnshee,

    ER— no the democratically elected parliament decided to remove the prods from the UK. That is ( and remains) their right. At that point however their rights cease. You may expel me from your club but you cannot dictate which new “club” I join

    Sure, but that line of reasoning also justifies the IRA (who view their involuntary participation in the UK in the same way). So either both the UVF and IRA were/are terrorists, or both are not.

    The chaps up there are trying to say that one group were a legal and legitimate grouping, and that the other group were not. You can’t have it both ways. You either uphold peaceful and democratic means or you do not.

  • Barnshee

    “Sure, but that line of reasoning also justifies the IRA (who view their involuntary participation in the UK in the same way). So either both the UVF and IRA were/are terrorists, or both are not.”

    You are close but not quite right Those in ” involuntary participation ” can take what they consider the appropriate steps to end their” participation. ” (or in the prod case exclusion– this includes accepting the consequences of their actions)

    If its wholly appropriate to use violence to prevent incorporation in another state (IRA-UK) then the mirror image violence (UVF-UI) must be regarded as “appropriate”.

    If you legitimise one you legitimise the other? —both are illegitimate murder gangs.

    “Peaceful and democratic means” ah that chimera aka the numbers game.

    The prods have in effect “voted” to disengage politically from the rest of Ireland. The last time this was tested the vote -from memory was 70% + in favour of continued disengagment how was these “peaceful and democratic means “respected?

  • Barnshee

    were these

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    ‘If its wholly appropriate to use violence to prevent incorporation in another state (IRA-UK) then the mirror image violence (UVF-UI) must be regarded as “appropriate”.

    PIRA was founded in 1970, half a century after the state of NI was set up.

    If after 50 years a unified Irish state has morphed into an instrument of tyranny directed against the Protestant population of the northeast, then that population may well have a moral argument for resistance. But obviously there’s no way we can project that far ahead.

    Your analogy breaks down because of the fact that the nationalists in the new NI post-1921 did not, in fact, launch a military campaign against the new state. On the contrary, they went into a deep state of shock, from which they did not emerge until the 1960s, with the Civil Rights movement.

    Also, there are no ‘Prod’ votes. There are only the combined votes of the citizens of Northern Ireland. All of us are free to argue for our constitutional preference but all of us are bound by the constitutional wishes of the majority. (And I say that as a member of the minority.) That will still be the case if and when the wishes of the majority should change.

    Your attempts to use the spectre of a rerun of 1912 with added Lenny Murphys are contemptible – indeed such dark mutterings are themselves a kind of violence.

  • Barnshee

    “If after 50 years a unified Irish state has morphed into an instrument of tyranny directed against the Protestant population of the northeast, ”

    We have already had nearly ninety years of an Irish state supporting (and arming) action against the “the Protestant population of the northeast, ” aided and abetted by their fellow “irish” men “trapped” in “the North”

    Check your PIRA statements and its claims as Óglaigh na hÉireann reaching back to 1916 and the separation from the UK

    Repeats

    If its wholly appropriate to use violence to prevent incorporation in another state (IRA-UK) then the mirror image violence (UVF-UI) must be regarded as “appropriate”.

    If you legitimise one you legitimise the other? —both are illegitimate murder gangs.

    PS We have already seen the effect of the Irish state on the prods in its care .

    We also note the effect of the IRA bombing campaign in Derry in their efforts to impose so much damage the Brits left.. The campaign which removed protestants shops and property mysteriously missed Roman catholic property. The AFM prod property then reappears in Roman catholic hands ( a department store springs to mind) and the prod disappears from the city side in Derry The experience in the ROI writ small

    Why might “1916” against incorporation into the UK be considered legitimate but a prod revolt against incorporation into a UI not?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I’m just going to ignore most of that, because life really is just too short.

    My question to you is: if a majority of the citizens of NI vote for reunification with the rest of Ireland, shouldn’t everyone – even ‘the Prods’ – give the new, reunified Ireland a chance?

  • Barnshee

    “I’m just going to ignore most of that, because life really is just too short.”

    convenient that

    “My question to you is: if a majority of the citizens of NI vote for reunification with the rest of Ireland, shouldn’t everyone – even ‘the Prods’ – give the new, reunified Ireland a chance?”

    I suggest you ask the prods in the event of the above (unlikely) event I suggest that they should give the new Ireland the same chance that N Ireland was given

  • tacapall

    What happens Barnshee if there is some deal that keeps some sort of link with Britain like either Ireland rejoining the commonwealth or the Union but without the unrealistic outdated trappings of the monarchy. The Irish people were never asked if they wanted to join the Union it was imposed just like the majority of the Irish people didn’t want partition, it was also imposed, both times the minority imposed their wishes on the majority. Is that your idea of democracy ?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘…they should give the new Ireland the same chance that N Ireland was given…’

    Fifty years to make a go of it, then. Seems fair.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Barnshee:

    If you legitimise one you legitimise the other? —both are illegitimate murder gangs.

    That’s my view, and is all I was trying to say.

    ‘…they should give the new Ireland the same chance that N Ireland was given…’

    Well, indeed. The IRA mounted a couple of pathetic campaigns between 1922 and the mid 1960s but they fizzled out due to a lack of support. It took 50 years of unionist administration to reinvigorate them.

  • Barnshee

    “By the same logic it is therefore appropriate for every single British Armed forces public march/parade/assembly to be subject to a protest. People can line the route with the images of the dying and the dead that the armed forces killed in our name”

    Certainly an idea— people can also line the route with the images of people murdered by the IRA and its associates

    Where would the longest line (by far) be.?

  • Neil

    That’s a no brainer Barnshee. The question is do you think the British army has killed tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions.

  • Barnshee

    “That’s a no brainer Barnshee. The question is do you think the British army has killed tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions.”

    I suggest a trial run in NI to start with and count the score here -(you can then move on else where )

  • Mc Slaggart

    Barnshee

    Nationalists will want to count the Famine, you can find mass graves along roads with the name “Tamlaght “

  • Barnshee

    Nationalists will want to count the Famine, you can find mass graves along roads with the name “Tamlaght “

    They will have to include the Irish middle class merchants,landowners (A D O`Connell camer from a family who featured big) and shippers who held on to and disposed of their property. Inconvenient facts