And then, the marching season was back upon us…

The Parades Commission has given its determination on the latest application by the ‘Ligoniel Combine’ to stage a parade along the section of the route that the Commission has specifically ruled out since 12th July last year.

The reaction to this will, to some extent, colour the atmosphere as those summer parades that are usually contentious approach. Significantly, yesterday, First Minister Peter Robinson chose to avoid the debate on racism in the Assembly that his own comments sparked. Instead, he went with a delegation including the PUP and UPRG to meet the Parades Commission and try and pressurize it into overturning its determination on the 12th July return parade last year that the parade organisers have continually refused to accept.

Ever since, the Twaddell camp that was set up as part of the protest against the 2013 Parades Commission determination has been satirised continuously by @LADFLEG. The protests have seen parades of men and bands dressed in balaclavas, and, repeated playing of music and songs with overt sectarian content (see the Pride of Ardoyne and Orange Order’s rendition of the Famine Song below).

YouTube video

It is pertinent to note that the PUP, who Robinson and party colleague Nigel Dodds joined in the delegation yesterday, are aligned to the UVF. The PSNI said the UVF was behind the racist attacks in South and East Belfast barely a month ago.

The response to the Parades Commission determination from Nigel Dodds of the DUP is as absent of any sense of leadership and as divorced from realism as ever.

“The Parades Commission has shown why it is a failed approach yet again. The parade organisers have done everything to fulfil their responsibilities to exercise their right to freedom of assembly along this section of the Crumlin Road. It was clear that the only argument nationalism offered was the threat of violence and this commission has caved to it yet again.”

None of that ever bodes well for those who live in interface areas over the summer. As Einstein is often quoted as saying: To do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is the definition of insanity.

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