Where have all the moderates gone?

Well he’s back; Jamie Bryson made his first appearance on Nolan this morning since his restrictions on public speaking were lifted.

I listened to Jamie talk about the need for more protests (he did say they should be peaceful in fairness) and how he believed the last round of protests had actually achieved a lot. Last time I checked their number one goal of punishing the city council into submission hadn’t worked as the flag is still not up and according the latest polls Sinn Fein are still on course to be the largest nationalist party but that’s logic for you.

To me the flags protests only seemed to achieve simply more unemployment as businesses suffered and more young men with criminal records. But here’s my question how do the moderate middle challenge what is potentially a dangerous situation over the next few weeks? We had the two minute noise protests outside City Hall and the various calls from politicians for the protests to end, all of  which achieved next to nothing as the flags protestors ignored all of it. Looking back at our history, one problem that always seems to keep coming up is that the ‘middle’ in Northern Ireland is at times a bit too comfortable in allowing the more extreme views in our society to gain traction.

In his last speech as last speech as Prime Minister in April 1969, Terence O’Neill made exactly that point as he warned those who played their bridge and their golf that sinister forces were gathering to destabilise the province. History has shown he was completely right.

To me the moderate middle is making the same mistakes all over again as it allows others to occupy the airwaves. The only way to win this battle is for moderates to shout louder than those whose platform is to bring down the executive and disrupt the peace process. I’m no fan of the performance of the current assembly but even in my darkest moments of despair I do not think for a moment that collapsing the show is the way to achieve change.

If we are to face another Christmas of protests, then the only result will be declining trade and more people out of pocket. The ghost town that was the city centre last year proved how corrosive some of these actions can be. We have local government elections in just six months’ time, those who want the flag back up can use the opportunity provided at that election to rectify that decision if they so wish. I have no problem with those who disagree with the flags policy and who are content to use the political process to change it.

This year we really need the voices of moderation to make themselves heard. Noisy minorities and violence that happened last year cannot be allowed to continue for a second year running. If people continue to just turn a blind eye then as a society we are just begging to be taken back down a path that it took nearly three decades to emerge from. We need to show to those who want change in this place that there is a better way to achieve it than standing in a street. The only way that can happen is if the moderate middle gets up, stands up and actually does some of the shouting for a change.

, , ,

  • Mc Slaggart

    David I don’t think “Unionism” does moderate.

    The “moderate” UUP is full of Orange men which is an organisation I have never seen as in any way moderate.

    I would love to know who you think are the “moderate middle” are?

  • gendjinn

    Where have all the moderates gone?

    The garden center?

  • David McCann

    Mc Slaggart

    My definition would be (others will have theirs) People who are not motivated by politics. People who don’t believe that collapsing the assembly is a good idea. People who believe in the democratic process and want to use that process to achieve change.

  • The problem with people “not motivated by politics” is that they would be led by people who are motivated by Politics.
    I was not and am not a fan of Terence O’Neill.
    But the time for people stepping up to the plate has passed. The time for that was when we were in a Post-Conflict situation.
    We have moved into a Pre-Conflict situation.
    Its too late.

  • Mc Slaggart

    David McCann

    ” People who are not motivated by politics. ”

    I take it you mean party politics as when it comes to money everyone I know is interested in that “politics”

    “People who believe in the democratic process”

    Everyone supports the democratic process until it starts doing things they do not like.

    If you listen you will hear that “Belfast city” is not really Belfast and you must consider greater Belfast to get a “real” understanding of why people are so annoyed over the taking down of the national flag.

  • Mc Slaggart

    gendjinn

    “The garden center?”

    I have always had a soft spot for Pilot but even though he washed his hands the moderate roman still give the crowd the “son of God”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I listened to Jamie talk about the need for more protests (he did say they should be peaceful in fairness)

    It is not sufficient for Jamie or others to say that they only support peaceful protests, when the history of these specific protests is that they degenerate into disruption and rioting. This is just another example of loyalists speaking out of both sides of their mouths with this bizarre doublespeak. For example, Jamie opposes “terrorists” but refuses to condemn the UVF or UDA. Jamie claims that unionism has been united as a result of the flegs issue, when in fact it is more divided than ever – the fleggers are represented by several competing protest organizations, each competing and fighting with each other for attention, and none of which Jamie himself feels are worthy of his own membership.

    This protest is being organized not to highlight a cause, but to maximise disruption on one of the busiest shopping days of the Christmas calendar. It is therefore not a protest – it is extortion. The objective for these people is to cause disruption to other people and make them suffer until they get what they want. It is time, as you said David, for moderate politicians to call for this extortion to stop. The Parades Commission must rule against this parade and see that it is rerouted away from the city centre. The police must vigorously enforce the Parades Commission ruling. It is the only way to prevent all of this from ending in tears.

  • gendjinn

    Moderates are generally a waste of carbon. Embrace Meade “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

    Moderates are the arselickers of convention, the flatterers of the banal, the sycophants of cowardice. They are the traitors of change and reform. We are far better off without them.

    Give me the committed, the passionate the believers for between their oppositional views we shall grind out a better tomorrow.

  • DC

    Didn’t i say at the time the court service behaved neurotically in setting crazy bail conditions.

  • gendjinn

    Mc Slaggart,

    He really should have weleased Wodewick.

  • gendjinn

    DC,

    Didn’t i say at the time the court service behaved neurotically in setting crazy bail conditions.

    I don’t know. Did you?

  • Charles_Gould

    They have gone from Slugger, but there are plenty in real life.

  • BluesJazz

    fjh
    Captain Terence O’ Neill was not a politician in the present definition. He was of an era when post war politics was modeled on the anti totalitarian model. Himself a ‘good soldier’ in Normandy.
    The simple fact is that George Osborne has more power to affect people’s lifestyles in NI than the assembly or ‘executive’. Same with Michael Gove. Pretending otherwise (like John O’Dowd) just muddies the waters.
    The UK treasury (and Westminster) rule 90% + of our lives.
    Captain O’Neill would have been a good SoS.

  • Gopher

    What can moderates do if the legal system lets Jamie out? . All moderates are for is to be cash cows for the one party state up at Stormont, Speeding fines, parking tickets, passenger duty, business rates, legal fees, red tape, brown envelopes. I’m surprised we have any money left to spend in the garden centre. Sure if we tried and change it they just throw their toys from the pram.

  • cimota

    The moderates do what they have always done – they wonder why everyone can’t just get along.

    But the sinister forces are not keeping the moderates off the airwaves. When was the last time the BBC put a moderate on GMU or Nolan? They’re not remotely interested in people who have remotely sensible things to say – they want the frothing minions of extreme parties shouting over each other punctuated by fire and brimstone clerics masquerading as Thought for the Day.

    So, yeah, why are the moderates not on air? Because they’re not going to ensnare listeners to call in and rant.

  • Comrade Stalin

    DC,

    As soon as Bryson and Frazer had their bail conditions imposed the fleg protests and disruption died away quite significantly. The conditions have now been overturned but the circumstances have changed.

    If there is a serious re-escalation of protesting I don’t doubt that the two of them will be back behind bars if they are suspected of having anything to do with it.

  • Pete Baker

    Comrade

    “As soon as Bryson and Frazer had their bail conditions imposed the fleg protests and disruption died away quite significantly.”

    Not that the NI Justice Minister is overseeing a system of political policing…

    Given that, for example, the charges that were used to justify Bryson’s bail conditions have just been dropped.

    High-profile union flag protester Jamie Bryson is no longer banned from making public speeches, a judge has ruled.

    A prohibition on using social media and giving press interviews has also been lifted.

    The restrictions were removed following an earlier decision to withdraw incitement charges against him.

  • Bryson wants repartition and hasn’t the guts to admit it, and the bould willie Frazer wants the same, but has a few more brain cells than Jamie so willie knows to keep his counsel. The future of political unionism as opposed to the unionist electorate’s fortunes, is bleak and they know it, but can’t bring themselves to admit it so as not to give comfort to ‘themmuns’. The conflict of interest between political unionism and the electoreate they exploit, is they need the Orange card waved while their potential electorate are unmoved.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The moderates do what they have always done – they wonder why everyone can’t just get along.

    I do draw a line between being Moderate and being Neutrality. If you replace Moderate with Non-Extremist then I would wonder why people would not see that it does apply to most.

  • aquifer

    A lot of smart young moderates used to emigrate, so moderation may lack leadership.

    Also, as the Provos proved with the civil rights movement, paramilitarism pushes peaceful protest aside, so the involvement of the UVF has a chilling effect. The UVF are simply acting in their own best interest, distracting police from bearing down on their criminal gang.

    The subversion of democratic institutions is actually a matter for the security services if the Tories gave a damn, but show them a Union Flag and they begin to drool too.

    A mass counter protest would be hard to ignore though, and would get the UUP and DUP on the run.

    A small committed group could do some media stunts.

    Paramilitaries cannot abide humour.

    and it punctures pompous sectarian politicians

  • Mick Fealty

    I think we need to be clear what we mean when we talk about moderates in this context. On one level, I agree with McS. In an immoderate set of circumstances, whom can we say is a genuine ‘moderate’?

    Personally, I’d suggest it describes a political project which is sure enough of it’s own noble ends that it is willing (not just prepared) to moderate its means in order to serve a common good for Northern Ireland.

    IMHO we need people in government who hold extreme views, but who hold them lightly, as opposed to people who hold (endlessly changeable) views, fanatically…

    The general pessimism arises not simply from the fact that we have such a project in charge at the moment.

    Rather it is because without a clear sense of your own ‘extreme’ ends, legitimate political actions are impossible without giving the game away.

    That is that there is no extreme view being followed, just an endlessly protean form, which relies on the discomfort of others to legitimatise its own woolly and shiftless ends.

  • cimota

    @Mick

    I would be interested in further elaboration of what the community feels is a moderate. I am sure that some of our political leaders are moderates but feel pigeonholed into extremism because of the banners they follow. And I am sure that still others are certifiable.

    My own extremism would be in secular education and government. But I am willing to put my own view (that religion has been a destructive and destabilising force in the 20th and 21st Centuries) aside and understand that for many it is a source of inspiration and strength and not judge every Christian by the acts of Christians (or, indeed Islamists). So when the revolution comes and I’m put in charge, I won’t be banning religion.

    So, despite being ardent, angry, determined and vocal, I believe I am a moderate. Others may disagree.

    So who are the moderates that we’re talking about? Do you all believe you are moderates? Anyone want to tag themselves as an unreasonable extremist?

  • Barney

    Aquifer wrote
    as the Provos proved with the civil rights movement

    I assume you consider yourself a moderate?

  • Mick Fealty

    Good questions Cim…

    For clarity, I think unreasonableness is probably something not many would self ascribe, nor yet my own preference, fanaticism.

    But I would certainly like to hear from people where they feel they personally stand re moderation in the context of value driven politics.

  • aquifer

    Moderation also lies in choice of political method.

    i.e. Violence should be a last resort not a first.

    There are too many people around who when they look like losing an argument, or who are not getting their way, will pull out a pistol.

    Pistols are also quite useful in encouraging groupthink and suppressing dissent, and in a conservative divided and confessionally conformist society like ours, this can turn toxic.

  • BifterGreenthumb

    I don’t think all this talk of ‘moderates’ and ‘the middle ground’ is helpful.

    In the UK politics is very much on the left-right spectrum with labour (supposedly) on the left, lib dems in the centre and the torys on the right. (I’ll leave it to you to add the various far left and far parties to this spectrum.)

    People then try to use this scheme to understand NI politics as a spectrum running from dissident republicans, Sinn Fein, the SDLP on the Green end of the spectrum and UUP, DUP, TUV on the Orange end of the spectrum. The alliance party are then seen, and see themselves, as occupying the centre ground.

    But this doesn’t work. Sinn Fein, the DUP, dissident republicans and loyalist fleggers are all motivated by exactly the same tribal/nationalistic/right wing instincts. They are all on the nationalistic right of the traditional left-right spectrum. They are all tribalists and their politics is all based on sectarianism.

    The alliance party and the greens (maybe N121?) are all anti-sectarian parties. They are not, and should not consider themselves, as in between republicans on the one side and unionists on the other. As non-sectarian parties they are to the left of all the sectarian parties.

    Being anti-sectarian doesn’t have to mean that you have to be a “can’t we all just get along” type. I for one don’t want to get along with bigots whether they are green or orange. The anti or non-sectarian parties need to take a much more aggressive stance and stop seeing themselves as bridging the divide between two different sets of bigots. Instead of being wishy washy ‘moderates’ they need to be extremely anti-sectarian.

  • carl marks

    Is it a just a coincidence that Jamie is allowed to speak in public just as we enter pantomime season.
    Perhaps the judge thought it was unfair to stop Jamie from working.
    I’m delighted that he can now speak out, he give us more laughs than ”the Blame Game”.

  • Turgon

    To address the opening post. I do like the phrase it is a bit like “Where have all the flowers gone” – a great song – sorry I digress.

    However, where have all the moderates gone? They have not gone away. It is just that there were not that many of them or alternatively the question is utterly flawed. Relatively few people may have actively taken part in the flag protests and many, many people may object to the violence. However, I would suggest that up the Upper Newtownards Road (for example as the middle class “moderate” community closest to the epicentre of the flag protest) many will have been bitterly opposed to the reduction in the number of days the flag was flown. Quite a number may have been quietly supportive of the protests at least the peaceful ones.

    Turning to the whoile concept of “moderates” this tends to mean people who are either letsgetalongerists or else people from one side who will acquiesce with much of the other sides agenda. Hence, to David McCann (a nationalist I believe – not an insult but to illustrate the point) a moderate is a unionist who will accept many overtly nationalist positions.

    The problem for each community in Northern Ireland is that they would like the other community to elect “moderates” which means people who will acquiesce whilstthe first community holds to their own position. I might wish that all nationalists elected Eddie McGraddy types. They do not: that is just the way it is.

    Not that electing harderline people automatically makes people bigots. Remember those nice unioninst you meet day to day: most vote DUP – many voted for Jim Allister at the last European election. That does not make these people bigots: it makes them unionists. Clearly it is exactly the oppsite way round for nationalists. I may not like it but I accept that many nationalists now vote Sinn Fein despite being opposed to the crimes of the Troubles. I do not like it but that is just the way it is.

    Asking where all the moderates are misses the point: they are all there it is just they do not adopt the positions we have predefined from our side as “moderate” from the other side.

    To put it another way. For me as a unionist most unionists (myself included) are moderates. Sadly there are so few nationalist moderates. For a nationalist most nationalists are moderates sadly there are so few unionist moderates.

    So the moderates have not gone away: it is your definition which is flawed by its inherent self referentialism.

  • carl marks

    BifterGreenthumb

    Being anti-sectarian doesn’t have to mean that you have to be a “can’t we all just get along” type. I for one don’t want to get along with bigots whether they are green or orange. The anti or non-sectarian parties need to take a much more aggressive stance and stop seeing themselves as bridging the divide between two different sets of bigots. Instead of being wishy washy ‘moderates’ they need to be extremely anti-sectarian.

    well said that man!

  • babyface finlayson

    gendjinn
    “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world.”
    Who is to say the world would not have been better off without some of those changes.
    Moderates don’t start wars, extremists do.
    As Marlon Brando said:
    “Let me have men about me that are fat,
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
    He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.”

  • carl marks

    Turgon
    “, I would suggest that up the Upper Newtownards Road (for example as the middle class “moderate” community closest to the epicentre of the flag protest) many will have been bitterly opposed to the reduction in the number of days the flag was flown.”
    Could you explain how their counterparts in Lisburn and Craigavon (indeed all unionists) were not so upset or enraged in Lisburn and Craigavon?
    “Not that electing harderline people automatically makes people bigots. Remember those nice unioninst you meet day to day: most vote DUP – many voted for Jim Allister at the last European election. That does not make these people bigots: it makes them unionists
    No but turning a blind eye to Jim standing with loyalist terrorists at a illegal protest while condemning those unionists they disapprove of for doing the same thing makes them Bigots.
    Remind you of anyone Turgon

  • son of sam

    Maybe I have missed something but I am mystified as to why F J H has received a yellow card.

  • carl marks

    I find it really quite strange that anyone can take Jamie seriously, after all apart from the 50 shades of god nonsense he’s the guy who told young loyalists to refuse bail and go to Jail for the cause for the cause needed political prisoners, and then accepted bail himself at the first opportunity.
    Now that is the sort of leadership that I personally very happy for loyalists to have,

  • Barney

    Aquifer wrote
    Moderation also lies in choice of political method.

    And what happens when moderates are destroyed by violence?

    Part of the problem is that everyone thinks they are moderate

  • between the bridges

    Jamie has only to stamp his feet and legions will appear…it’s a wonder the lad hasn’t got a sponsorship deal…

  • Framer

    The moderates are no longer moderate and should perhaps examine themselves. They want flags banned, protesters rounded-up, internment re-introduced, judicial pre-internment, people jailed without trial, jailed for longer than murderers for throwing stones, parades banned.
    I could go on but they sound remarkably like Unionists in 1968.
    The Alliancistas are leading the charge. (Even NI21 has more
    balance and is an alternative for leafy people).
    Withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights has to be their next target.

  • babyface finlayson

    Framer
    “They want flags banned, protesters rounded-up, internment re-introduced, judicial pre-internment, people jailed without trial, jailed for longer than murderers for throwing stones, parades banned.”
    Are you serious? Who in the Alliance party said that?

  • cimota

    @Framer

    Ridiculous.

    @babyface

    Of course he’s not serious.

  • Any successful nation needs diversity. It is healthy when a diversity of views is acceptable and the system is open to receiving them. We have a certain kind of diversity of views, which is good. We are frustrated because that diversity is not reflected in the way that we make decisions and represent the common interest. We live in a permanent “forced unification” or tyranny of the majority, which ironically is not a majority of the people but of the politically engaged.

    I have a shivery creeping feeling come over me when I think of some people thinking up how I should behave, so I am against extremes. Saying that, I want people to be looking out for my back – therefore to stop individuals, groups, and corporations from fucking up my life indirectly.

    I want to be engaged in what is the best way to do this. The current system does not, cannot, will not deliver this opportunity so I disengage. Even when considering joining a party that represents some of the views I hold, becomes an inflexible “power at all costs” machine that compromises everything about the individual to become a microcosm of the political system itself – tyranny, whips, voting against your conscience. It’s juvenile and a massive reason why I don;t engage. I suspect others feel they can;t get much change from the system and act accordingly.

  • Son of Sam.
    It has bemused me and amused me in fairly equal measure.
    I have emailed “The Slugger Moderating Team” but have got no reply.
    In another forum (my Facebook) a Slugger moderator to his credit has informed me that it relates to my short comment on another thread (the one about the Retired Police Officers and Haass).
    Apparently my comment was deemed excessively dismissive and did not engage with the substance.
    As far as I am concerned my comment was not argumentative and pretty much what most mainstream nationalists would think and say.

  • IJP

    David

    one problem that always seems to keep coming up is that the ‘middle’ in Northern Ireland is at times a bit too comfortable in allowing the more extreme views in our society to gain traction.

    Great question.

    Let me answer it by posing a provocative question back to you and the rest:

    Could it be that it’s because the “middle” has views that are just as extreme?

  • JoeBryce

    Around 2043, Jamie will be the PUL deputy First Minister (his RCN counterpart hasn’t emerged yet) in the devolved (from Dublin) Stormont administration which will be part of a new Ireland outside the old Union but inside the Commonwealth and the EU. Let’s just hope he doesn’t do as much damage on his path to insight as his Ballymena role model did.

  • “The alliance party and the greens (maybe N121?) are all anti-sectarian parties. They are not, and should not consider themselves, as in between republicans on the one side and unionists on the other. As non-sectarian parties they are to the left of all the sectarian parties.”

    @Bitter Green,

    While clearly the non-sectarian parties are different from the other parties, I’m not sure that it makes much sense to put them to the left. What unites Alliance members is that they consider themselves as primarily neither nationalist nor unionist and they are interested in governance. Their support for the police and the army would possibly place them as being on the right elsewhere. Their South African counterpart, the Progressive Federal Party/Democratic Party had members ranging from Thatcherites (Helen Suzman) to social democrats.

    “Being anti-sectarian doesn’t have to mean that you have to be a “can’t we all just get along” type. I for one don’t want to get along with bigots whether they are green or orange. The anti or non-sectarian parties need to take a much more aggressive stance and stop seeing themselves as bridging the divide between two different sets of bigots. Instead of being wishy washy ‘moderates’ they need to be extremely anti-sectarian.”

    See Comrade Stalin’s post in another thread on the limitations placed upon the APNI by the sectarian voting habits of the other 90+% of the electorate. The main problem here is not with Alliance but with the drop-outs who refuse to vote on the grounds that elections are merely sectarian headcounts. They just don’t want to take the trouble of showing up on election day.

  • Turgon

    JoeBryce,
    You have been pedalling that sort of fantasy for some time but actually your comments illustrate a problem.

    You clearly are a “moderate” yet to ensure what you think would be an equitable settlement for everyone you propose riding roughshod over the democratic rights of a whole series of people on a whole series of issues – as well as being optomistic to the point of delusion on those same peoples’ reaction to having their rights so comprehensively violated.

    That is one of the problems people have noted above. Some moderates here are remarkably immoderate (illiberal and totalitarian actually) in how they propose ensuring moderation.

  • Mick Fealty

    FJP,

    Did you not get an email telling which post you got pinged for?

  • Mick…yes
    19 November 1.38pm
    The question is…why?? And who???.
    No reply from your Moderating “team”.

  • JoeBryce

    You have a legitimate veto, Turgon, the GFA recognises that and so certainly do I! I just question whether it is in your / our interest to use it in the same way for all time coming. The further The Armed Struggle (c) recedes into history, the more freedom people have to think and debate possible futures without fear. By analogy, I have a big decision myself coming up, yes or no to Scottish independence, and I am genuinely conflicted, I can see powerful arguments both ways, but whichever way I decide I have the huge privilege of being able to make that assessment free of fear. People in NI were denied that freedom for 30 years and that was utterly wrong and I assure you I would be utterly opposed to anyone imposing anything on anyone. But maybe once the fear recedes, the range of available choices will seem to increase. I think it will, you think it won’t, well there’s room for argument about that, but what I would say is that one thing that history teaches us is that it never pays to underestimate the potential for change.

  • carl marks

    Framer
    “They want flags banned, protesters rounded-up, internment re-introduced, judicial pre-internment, people jailed without trial, jailed for longer than murderers for throwing stones, parades banned.”
    A level of

    An ability to mope beyond what could be called healthy,
    Is this what passes for debate in camp twat or the local lodge?
    Is the rumour spreading that Alliance eats prod children, has David ford instructed the PSNI to prepare for the final solution. And those evil “getalongists” trying to find a way for people to sort this out imagine that!
    Of course both Alliance and those getalongists are to blame for everything, don’t anybody dare blame the drug dealers and pimps, don’t blame the “respectable politician’s” for standing beside terrorists at illegal meetings. Wee Jim and Nelson are immune from criticism (actually lets do what some posters on this site do and just ignore that) the main thing is that we blame it all on those trying to find a compromise.

  • carl marks

    Turgon
    “, I would suggest that up the Upper Newtownards Road (for example as the middle class “moderate” community closest to the epicentre of the flag protest) many will have been bitterly opposed to the reduction in the number of days the flag was flown.”
    Could you explain how their counterparts in Lisburn and Craigavon (indeed all unionists) were not so upset or enraged in Lisburn and Craigavon?

    Any chance of a answer!
    Should be simple, why is it wrong in Belfast and right in Lisburn?
    Why do i get the idea that you are avoiding this one.

  • My gut feeling is to go along with “Turgon” on this one.
    It does working class folks (Catholics and Protestants) an injustice to suggest that they are more bigoted than middle class folks (Catholics and Protestants).
    Most of us of a certain vintage have encountered some forms of bigotry.
    necessarily we concern ourselves with the bigotry that has affected us most….Themmuns. …and I can state some of the worst bigots I ever encountered were middle class (Catholic and Protestant).
    Some of the most open minded and decent people I have encountered are working class people.

    Bigotry knows no boundaries of Class.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Framer and Turgon have both suggested that moderates are actually more extreme than they let on.

    I’m not sure how either of them justify this. I call myself a moderate because I think the term means that I’m easygoing about certain things and have a live and let live approach to things. I recognize people’s rights and I’m prepared to accept a certain amount of inconvenience so that people can express theirs. For example I don’t mind the odd road closure, or the 12th for that matter.

    It is not authoritarian or immoderate to expect that systematic disruption being orchestrated by a small group of people masquerading as legitimate public protest should be dealt with firmly by the police. This is what would happen in any other country, indeed any other part of the UK. Police forces elsewhere routinely ban marches by the EDL and other organizations – I see no reason why we should not be doing the same here.

  • carl marks

    fitzjameshorse1745
    You are of course right bigotry knows no boundaries, but my question is,
    Why are unionists not as enraged over designated days in Lisburn as they are in Belfast?
    Not only is it a very reasonable question and the avoiding answering it suggests that the Belfast thing is contrived.
    DC in his naivety has given the only answer so far and that is: Nothing wrong with designated days the problem is that nationalists voted for it and not unionists.
    So as far as I can see with the available evidence is that it’s all nationalists fault for daring to exercise their democratic mandate.
    If of course I receive a different explanation that holds water I will accept it, but since I’m not getting any answer I will put it down to the inability of many unionists to tolerate the other sides right to have any say in how this place is run.

  • Comrade Stalin

    carl,

    Why are unionists not as enraged over designated days in Lisburn as they are in Belfast?

    Because they were looking for an excuse to go after Naomi Long and they hit on one. Preaching to the converted, I know.

    DC in his naivety has given the only answer so far and that is: Nothing wrong with designated days the problem is that nationalists voted for it and not unionists.

    Which is not really an answer to the real question which is – why did unionists choose to vote against it in Belfast ? Why did the PUP reverse their own policy of supporting designated days ? Why did the unionists in Lisburn <a href="http://belfastmediagroup.com/lisburn-backs-down-on-union-flag-promise/"quietly drop their proposal to reinstate 365 day flag flying there ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bugger. Can someone please fix my link please ?

  • carl marks

    Comrade Stalin
    Your right it is about the Westminster seat, and the reason I’m not getting an answer is that the only answer that holds water is yours.
    but if the only answer I’m getting is the one I quoted then it’s a funny old world when putting your hand up as a bigot is preferable than actually telling the truth.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “Because they were looking for an excuse to go after Naomi Long and they hit on one. Preaching to the converted, I know.”

    I agree, but i am coming round to the view that its only an ancillary benefit to a real emotion.

    I am coming to the view that Unionists see Belfast as a cultural touchstone. A modern day Byzantium :-). Fear is the key as Yeats described “Of what is past, or passing, or to come”

    Recently I was asked by Unionist friends to take visitors to Derry as I know the city well and they never visited……. yet I know they often go to Belfast shopping. (strange for someone living in Tyrone as Derry Primark is LegendDerry).

    The comparison of the two city’s is stark and in the middle of the Guild hall in Derry surrounded by English heads of state in marble it made me think of the famous opening from Dickens.

    “”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

  • carl marks

    It is worth noting the effect that this attempt to apply double standards has on the ability to debate, in the last week or so I have asked Turgon two questions,
    !/ (asked when his was expressing his righteous indignity at churchman “being in the UVF pockets” and stating his disgust at the UVF being giving the light of day by people) was could he explain why he would not condemn Jim Alistair for standing at twaddle with UVF terrorists,
    2/ the one asked today, what is different between Belfast and Lisburn.
    For a man with such strong opinions on moderates and “getalongists he was unable to answer my questions and withdrew from commenting on the threads thereby withdrawing from the debate
    A lession that if you practice double standards don’t be surprised if they come round and bite you in the Ass!

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart,

    I hear you, and yes I have heard people saying that Belfast was the “last straw” because it is the capital. But that’s not what the unionists who circulated the leaflet claimed.

    The unionists also lied about Lisburn and Craigavon, on several occasions on live TV they denied that they had implemented designated days there. They tried another lie, as linked above, by proposing that the flag policy be reviewed in Lisburn, and then quietly withdrawing the review a few weeks later.

    This is because the root of designated days is that it is the only way you can fly a union flag on a public building and remain within the law. The unionists have created a problem for themselves which they will discover if/when a motivated person makes a complaint about the 365 day flags flown on council sites owned by Newtownabbey Borough Council.

  • DC

    ‘This is because the root of designated days is that it is the only way you can fly a union flag on a public building and remain within the law.’

    There is no law or legally correct way as to how to fly the union flag from council, i’ve told you that countless times on here but still you say so.

  • carl marks

    DC (profile)

    21 November 2013 at 12:47 am

    ‘This is because the root of designated days is that it is the only way you can fly a union flag on a public building and remain within the law.’

    There is no law or legally correct way as to how to fly the union flag from council, i’ve told you that countless times on here but still you say so.

    sorry but there is,Stormount, Lisburn and Craigavon all changed to Designated days to avoid expensive lawsuits taken under equality legislation which would have forced them to do it any way.
    By the way now the Great Leader is allowed to speak do you think he will explain why he accepted bail after telling young loyalists to refuse bail and go to jail for their beliefs?
    Some heroes have feet of clay but wee Jamie is clay all the way up.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is no law or legally correct way as to how to fly the union flag from council, i’ve told you that countless times on here but still you say so.

    You are wrong. There isn’t a law; there is legal advice based on what has the best chance of not being prosecuted at an employment tribunal. That is, in effect, case law.

  • DC

    ‘There isn’t a law; there is legal advice based on what has the best chance of not being prosecuted at an employment tribunal. That is, in effect, case law.’

    The council is more than an employer and not directly relevant. re employment – so much for not being able to eat a flag! seems a bit perverse that the union flag offends but the money in the bank and pocket of employees will do rightly?

    the council received two sets of legal advice one from scoffield pretty much saying the risk was low and no correct legal way to fly the union flag, the other from a Eugene McKenna, saying risk not as low to a challenge. pretty much cancelling each other out.

    it was a political decision in the end.

  • DC

    Listen good policy, bad politics.

  • DC

    Comrade

    Why is it that this legal advice and consequences only seem to work in one direction – that is to reduce union flag appearance??

    Why is there no mechanism to get the union flag up to designated days in l/derry as there appears to be to get it down from 365 days in belfast – if that is what you believe to be a legally correct output?

    i mean people must look – after a hard headed study of the way things are working out here – and think the law’s an ass add into that a dollop of resentment.

    add into that the RUC going and all britishness removed form the PSNI.

    all britishness removed from civil service government departments.

    union flags coming down in belfast.

    the crown logo even removed from the courts service despite it still being up in other devolved regions:

    http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/pages/default.aspx

    http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/

    Some people if they knew all this is what would have to happen after signing up back in 1998 would think again.

    on that basis i think the progressives and moderates have won out and have been played out. it’s played out. Because there actually has been a lot of change in northern ireland in terms of change on the constitutional identity front despite no change to the constitutional position which is weird. so the moderates may have gone into a corner for a sulk wondering if they have been taken for a ride.

    Drawing conclusions from stormont flag flying law – that was as a result of direct rule and the british government and its political position of lifting its skirt and getting SF into government so that the IRA would not try and bomb london. it was done for political expediency than on points of principle let alone sound constitutional law. I reckon it is this political expediency position that Eugene McKenna has focused on i.e removal of britishness is sound as it = more inclusiveness, rather than the more sound advice of Scoffield, in my opinion. It is the kind of stuff that has come back to bite the PSNI and some in the courts service on the bum re bryson and frazer, the authorities convulsing if not displaying neurotic hysteria towards a legally sound british identity, of course in the end the authorities are eventually legally processed into a position of ‘calm down dear’.

    (Stormont flag flying law should not be de jure for councils, unless dissident terror escalates then more of this appeasement stuff might have to happen – perhaps legal tender changed to euro or something to keep things together in response to terror. because those were the motives behind the stormont law and if that’s the kind of stuff moderates are into for an easy life they can deal with the consequences when people say piss off and grow a set!)

  • Gendjinn[11.44]I believe WB Yeats had something to say about this which I firsat heard quoted at the beginning of a concert by the late Lou Reed [Take No Prisoners 1978]
    ‘The best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passion and intensity’

  • gendjinn

    danielsmoran,

    Gandhi.

  • babyface finlayson

    gendjinn
    Yeats.

  • Neil

    Why is it that this legal advice and consequences only seem to work in one direction – that is to reduce union flag appearance??

    Which tri colours would you like removed from which public building in NI? You see where I’m going yeah? It’s in one direction because only one side of the community has marked every building, street and bridge in Belfast like a dog pissing on lamp posts.

    add into that the RUC going and all britishness removed form the PSNI.

    all britishness removed from civil service government departments.

    union flags coming down in belfast.

    the crown logo even removed from the courts service despite it still being up in other devolved regions:

    If I may condense that a bit: all britishness removed from civil service government departments, there, that’s better. You see they’re all ‘civil service government departments’ really, and we pay for them and even work there, so we don’t need overt exclusive British or Irish symbolism.

    And if you have to ask why the RUC went the way it did then there’s no hope. They murdered us and assisted in the murder of us. They were 97% Protestant and they acted like it.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    “all britishness (sic) removed from civil service government departments.”

    DC – Can you clarify what you mean by that?

  • DC

    And if you have to ask why the RUC went the way it did then there’s no hope. They murdered us and assisted in the murder of us

    RUC reform was part of the GFA package which I backed but it was worded in a way that left the type of reform open – as I said had I known it would lead to all Britishness removed no British flags anywhere etc – had that been made explicitly clear then things might have been different. And Patten consulted but only before he didn’t allow the public to pick over the reforms made after consultation. Why couldn’t there have even been one union flag at HQ even on designated days? Was that really too much given the RUC was wound up in name and personnel encouraged to leave?

  • ..no British flags anywhere…

    I guess you somehow missed the designated days part, which, incidentally, even “Republicans” voted for.

  • DC

    I mean the PSNI, Joseph. The PSNI does not fly any union flag anywhere – ever.

  • OK, DC, sorry I misread.

  • Gendjinn…..The saying was attributed by Reed in the concert to Yeats, who preceded it by ‘I’m going to quote you a line from Yeats, I think it is, and now you work out where I am’ Reed studied Yeats at university.