So how well do our political parties represent the views of the broader population? Not that well, it seems. The Parades Commission has at least passive backing from a large majority of Protestants, and flying the Union flag on designated days is fine with most Catholics:
The poll for BBC Newsline found that 39 per cent of Protestants want to keep the body, with just 24 per cent wanting it abolished and a large percentage – 37 per cent – saying that they had no opinion on the issue.
The IPSOS MORI poll of more than 1,000 people also found that there was considerable cross-community support for flying the Union Flag on designated days.
Among Protestants, 32 per cent supported the idea, while 34 per cent of Catholics backed designated days.
Opinion was much more divided on whether to fly the flag every day – 49 per cent of Protestants said yes but just four per cent of Catholics agreed.
And there was little support for not flying the Union Flag at all – 28 per cent of Catholics backed the idea and just two per cent of Protestants agreed.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty