Does Loyalism Have An Image Problem?

Following my article about the Sandy Row bonfire last week, a fair amount has happened. It was burned down (it wasn’t me), it has been moved (by a few feet), it is going to be bigger in size (the base layer seems at least 30% larger than before), and the level of anti-social behaviour in the area has escalated to new levels.

The response I received across social media was generally one of, to me, common sense… along the lines of “crime is bad,” which it is, of course. There were a sizeable amount of people who seemed to think that I was mistaken with my observations of crime.

I and many other residents of the building I live in and the apartment building adjacent to it have witnessed and logged multiple crimes since then, the amount of youths on the bonfire site seems to have grown and is stable at between 2 dozen and 3 dozen at most hours of the day. And with that, comes crime.

I’m not going to go into the events that have happened since then, for they are too numerous to mention.

The comments section of Slugger can be a dangerous place to hang out, but I saw a diamond in the rough from An Ghobsmacht in reply to the many, many, MANY comments that seemed to suggest either A: I had no right to complain and/or B: There was nothing for me to complain about in the first place –

Could someone write a methodology or a list of instructions for how some one could criticise aspects of loyalist culture in a manner that would not automatically trigger the defences?

Seriously:

Every time someone (no matter what their background e.g. unionist, republican, ex-Crown forces, legitimist royalist etc) highlights things that are generally considered bad there is seldom a conversation that follows this line.

“I don’t like the risk of fire damage to my building” – “What about the IRA?”

“I think having banners calling for the deaths of everyone of a certain religion is a bit uncool” – “Why are you sectarian?”

“I’m all for Orange marches and don’t want to see them banned but could we tone it down a bit” – “What about the GAA?”

How can we discuss topics by their own merits?

We have this habit of attaching a false reference point to a topic. Rather than analysing a topic for what it’s worth we hijack the term ‘context’ in the hope of finding a parallel that would let the object of criticism off the hook.

If my house is a midden then I should view it from the point of view of a dirty house with poor housekeeping.

I should not think to myself “Well, Wayne and Waynetta slob, people whom I have no time or respect for and whom I rarely interact with have a WORSE standard of housekeeping, therefore my house is no longer a pig sty…”

If it’s boggin, it’s bogging – end of.

So, without further ado, here’s my two cents on the matter (in general, not specifically this bonfire):

————————-
No need for tyres or noxious materials.
No need to endanger lives or property.
No need to have flags, religious icons or banners calling for religious based genocide on the bonfire.
No need for underage drinking.
———————————–

If you agree with these four points, then feel free to say so.

If you disagree with any of these four points then please explain why.

These four points do not qualify me as a ‘hater’ of loyalist and/or Orange culture.

They are not a call for a smothering and final annihilation of loyalist or Orange culture

They do not reveal an inner urge for a united Ireland and a driving into the sea the Protestant people.

They do not make me blind to what the IRA did for decades.

They do not betray a hatred of working class people.

They do not qualify me as a nationalist or a republican.

They are not filled with ‘bile’.

They are to my mind four reasonable points which should be judged on their own merits not whataboutery or ‘context’ (better known as a strawman defence).

I have seen this kind of behaviour constantly since my initial article, many vocal loyalists seem to see my criticism of loyalists who commit crime, as an attack on loyalists in general, as if they are unable to distinguish between loyalist criminals and loyalist law abiding citizens. Another common theme has been our dear friend whataboutery. That how dare I criticize criminal behaviour at a loyalist bonfire site (which is next to my home) when I don’t criticize incident R,S,T,U,V,W,X,Y or Z.

I do am not generalizing in any way that loyalism is a culture of crime, but there is a prominent (at the moment) subgroup of loyalist culture which is criminal, as with all cultures (before anyone starts at the whataboutery again). Loyalism at large though does have an image problem it’s a PR nightmare. When running journalists have running commentaries of the cost of the Twaddell avenue protest highlight the amount of money it is costing the taxpayer; when orange order bands deliberately seek to offend with inflammatory songs (or beach boys tunes… hmmm). When pictures of bonfires with “Anna Lo ate my dog” and “We’re not racists, we just hate n****rs” written on irish flags are burned in effigy. What PR firm would take on this account?

When THIS is scrawled over a building at the entrance road to Northern Ireland’s busiest bus station, a station that handles significant amount of Dublin-Belfast routes including tourists who have perhaps flown into Dublin and then travelled north…. THIS is what they see.

Bus Depot

I am loathe to call myself unionist, for I am pro-union, but there is too much of a link between unionism and loyalism, and I would never call myself a loyalist, not just because of this attitude, because I know it is in no way the case for EVERY person who defines themselves as such. But when someone speaks out against those who DO act in ways that bring the word “loyalism” into disrepute through acts of wanton criminality, by not seeing the potential for good in that, and seeing it only as an attack on a culture – by disregarding any acknowledgement that perhaps, JUST perhaps, there might be kids who are loyalist and are sexually harassing women, damaging property, attacking people’s homes, those who are not part of the problem, are not part of the solution either, and there’s a very good phrase about that…

If loyalism want’s to achieve something in Northern Ireland, if it wants to be taken seriously moving into this new century (that we started 15 years ago but sure it’s better late than never), as I have said many many times before, it needs to get its own house in order.

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the whataboutery I’ve encountered in the last couple of days:

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If you cannot have someone criticize a loyalist who commits a crime unless that person also criticizes a nationalist for committing a crime, then all is lost, abandon ship and let the last remaining sink with the nation. If it really has come to that, I despair. That’s the kind of attitude that would take the BBC quote of Derry/Londonderry to a PSNI quote of “Loyalist/Nationalist,” and worryingly, I don’t find it impossible to imagine a scenario where someone put a private member’s bill into Stormont stating that arrests must be representational of community. It really isn’t unfathomable.

The attitude of many, and these images are only a small amount of this kind of response I received, that these kids are just being kids, that this is acceptable behaviour at a bonfire, that sure it only happens for a couple of weeks of the year… That I should move house if I don’t want to have a home that is surrounded by kids committing crimes…

When this is a significantly large vocal response from the loyalist community… they are beyond a PR agency, they’d need a miracle.

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  • Catcher in the Rye

    ***sigh***……..Sorry old boy but it simply IS NOT whataboutery to object to the fact that certain commentators like to pretend that bigotry, sectarianism, underage drinking and general thuggishness is either an integral part, or exclusive to, Protestantism and/or unionism.

    Actually, yes it is whataboutery. Nobody is claiming that the above issues are integral, or exclusive to, Unionism. Whataboutery is often found alongside his twin brother Strawman.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Aye right but whatabout Johnny Adair ?

    [annoying isn’t it ?]

  • Catcher in the Rye

    You would not catch me anywhere near St Patrick’s Day celebrations. I want nothing to do with them. I know there is intimidation and thuggery associated with it, and I’d support a clampdown.

    The trouble is that no clampdown is possible because, principally due to recalcitrant unionist politicians, we can’t get any political consensus on how big events like this should be conducted and policed. Unionists won’t support public order legislation that comes down on people behaving badly on St Patrick’s Day because they know the same legislation could be used against people on the Twelfth.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    If I was recovering from cancer I wouldn’t be out yelling at people with megaphones and holding a bed push at Twaddell.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    At least half of that entire contribution appears to be completely imaginary.

    There’s a pretty straightforward way for loyalists to sort this problem out – distance themselves from it. Instead they’re making excuses for it and doing everything except take some responsibility for their actions. Poor show.

  • Carl Mark

    Obviously a well planned exercise carried out by a elite team, willy is lucky to have survived.
    Now apart from a feeble attempt at whataboutry what does that have to do with a illegal dirty bonfire manned by troublesome youths?

  • Carl Mark

    so no actual names of those who claimed the sectarianism was a purely unionist thing, as I thought just mopery.
    songs (from any side) that are offensive or abusive towards any section of the community should be banned.
    do you think that the lodges who hire bands that play sectarian songs should face fines?
    but what does this have to do with the bonfire?

  • Carl Mark

    Hard to avoid it if it comes to your door.
    Really Thomas if your objective is to prove Kris and AG right then Job done!
    Would it be possible for you to answer a question without bringing themuns into it?
    Do you think the bonfire at sandy row is acceptable, how do you feel about the pollution, the mess and associated criminality.

  • Kev Hughes

    Kris/BB,

    A very nice piece indeed, may I say.

    I am a nationalist (for those of a blinkered disposition, please feel free to a) look away now, b) ignore what I say owing to my background or c) post bile below) living abroad and feel for this situation in more ways than one.

    I see the plight you face as a tenant, going about your business and for what should be the nicest time of year, weather-wise, you’re facing something of a seige, together with all the crap that comes from running the gauntlet of abuse from others.

    I also see this as such a massive waste of potential of the young. It’s just so nihilist, right? I’m from a working class estate in Craigavon; my mum was a single parent and raised my sister, brother and I so that we could go to uni, and I see this type of behaviour amongso many young men and women who appear to have given up on life and who, when really required, lack real curiosity.

    Celebrate your day; I’m not enamoured with what I see as nostalgia for a time gone by as opposed to remembering a battle won, but the fact that you’re trying to go out of your way to say what you hate as opposed to what you love is pretty sad to be fair. They have nothing but my pity, likewise, I wish you BB the very best over the coming weeks.

  • Carl Mark

    Please explain how SKs type of thinking led to slavery.
    James that has to be the stupidest piece of mopery I have ever come across.
    but maybe I am being unfair so as I said please explain!

  • Carl Mark

    and this has what to do with the bonfire?
    Honestly the whataboutry klaxon is going to burn out if you boys keep this up!

  • Carl Mark

    which is two old men fighting in a garden!
    ROFLMAO

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Yes Thomas, it can indeed be a cracking day out.

    Now, in your opinion would the banter level be affected in anyway IF the more unruly 11th night bonfires reverted to a more traditional template (e.g. smaller scale, less alcohol, less ‘sash bash’) or if bands respected chapels a bit more or if paramilitary paraphernalia was to be removed from some of the bands and the stalls?

    IF it wouldn’t affect the ability of the day to be a cracking day out then would you be for or against the above suggestions?

    And before you go there perhaps the GAA games would be unaffected by dropping their nationalistic tendencies or tricolours and such like, but, the topic is about a certain element (i.e. NOT ALL) of loyalist and unionist culture not the GAA.

    So, are you for, against or indifferent to the above suggestions for the parades?

  • Carl Mark

    James we are talking about the 12th of July in NI, are you seriously claiming that there has not been trouble on the 12th!

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Bred.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Yes.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Can anyone predict how they would deal with cancer?
    Maybe the best advice is to get on with your life, and do the best you can.
    As for being attacked by Republican thugs, well I think it is just about as low as it gets.

  • Carl Mark

    James did you actually read the article?

  • Carl Mark

    still don’t want to deal with the issue of the post Thomas,
    But how is this for low, OAP afraid to complain about bonfires or the mess surrounding them.
    is that low enough for you?

  • Thomas Girvan

    Well I have not witnessed any trouble.
    Obviously there was trouble at Drumcree, Ormeau and the latest is Ardoyne.
    I think Gerry Adams has admitted that this was a strategy devised by Sinn Fein
    You should ask him, but then again, could you believe him?

  • Carl Mark

    so this bit wasn’t true,

    At a Twelfth parade there would not be a problem, why would there? I have watched them for many years and I have never seen any trouble.”
    No TV then!
    you are aware of sectarian trouble at 12th parades and your advice to SK was false.

  • Carl Mark

    and of course the compulsory mopery.
    are you aware that there has been sectarian violence at the 12th long before Gerry’s grandpa was a twinkle.

  • Thomas Girvan

    My advice was to go to the North Down parade.
    If you can give me an incident that has arisen at that parade please give it, and I will accept that I was wrong.
    Clearly I am not going to advise him to go to a flashpoint where so called Nationalist “Residents” are out to disrupt the parade. I know there are people who do go there, but they are not there to enjoy the parade.
    My advice was 100% accurate.

  • Carl Mark

    tell me are their paramilitary stalls (you know the people who sell t shirts with “Yabba dabba do any taig will do” on them, no kick the pope bands, and is that a different OO from Belfast.
    Sorry until I hear that the North down OO has condemned the sectarian behaviour of other sections instead of pretending (like you ) that it doesn’t exist then I don’t believe you.

  • Thomas Girvan

    I know there have been incidents relating to eleventh night bonfires and they are to be condemned.
    In particular was the one where a car drove into a crowd at the Donegall Road bonfire.
    Another was the premature lighting of the Sandy Row bonfire, fortunately there has been no retaliation.
    Obviously when large crowds gather and drink is taken there will be some incidents, that will happen in any such gatherings, St Patrick’s day the Notting Hill Carnival, you name it.
    However generally 11th night bonfires pass off peacefully, with not too many problems.
    I just wish that there should be legal action taken against the crooks, who dump tyres at bonfire sites.
    These people are criminals who are taking advantage of bonfires to make money, disposing of tyres that they have received money to dispose of legally.

  • Carl Mark

    lovely, the only incidents you came come up with are rather strange,
    no mention of burning posters flags or symbols, no mention of damaged property, no mention of loyalist terror displays or terrified OAPs.
    Just a bit more whataboutry.
    Classic sir.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Hopefully the Council’s scheme to monitor bonfires and to award grants for good behaviour has proven to be beneficial
    To be honest I don’t know much about the Sandy Row Bonfire, I suppose there is inevitably going to be a mess after a bonfire.
    I suppose the same could be said about Glastonbury, I saw it in the papers, but what can you do,?
    Will you cancel the St Patrick’s day celebrations?
    No, it will always be a work in progress.
    As for pollution I don’t think the Sandy Row bonfire had tyres, but there should be a mechanism to determine who is dumping tyres at bonfire sites to cream off the money paid to them for proper recycling.
    As for the criminality associated with the Sandy Row bonfire, I would absolutely condemn the actions of those who set it alight prematurely, thankfully there has been no retaliation to the act of deliberate provocation.
    It would be good to see the mindless thugs in court, but I won’t hold my breath!

  • Thomas Girvan

    I suppose you could describe the deliberate driving of a car into a crowd of people as strange.
    Having said that, it pales into insignificance against the burning of posters etc. Now that’s scary, almost as bad as that scene in the Wicker Man.
    (In case you haven’t seen it, it was a very disturbing film, starring Edward Woodward.)

  • Thomas Girvan

    No there aren’t any stalls selling such T-shirts.
    (You certainly have a fertile imagination!)
    As for kick the Pope bands, I wouldn’t think an Orange Lodge would be too keen to pay a lot of money to a band that was playing anything but decent music to walk behind.
    It is clear that you haven’t been to an Orange Parade in a long time, because your comments are a load of nonsense and bear no relation to reality.
    Hmmm, just a thought.
    Have you been radicalised?

  • james

    I thought I already had. But just for you: part of the justification of slavery was that Africans were deemed incapable of reasoning and it was dangerous to let them think for themselves. Thus white slaveowners took it upon themselves to remove their freedoms. Now perhaps you will reread the post I originally responded to and then stop wasting my time asking me to explain what was perfectly comprehensible first time around.

  • james

    I don’t think music, or cultural expression, should be banned because you don’t like it.

  • james

    Which half is imaginary? And how?

  • Thomas Girvan

    I know that you are fond of using the word “Mopery”.
    Here’s a wee teaser for you.
    Do you know what MOPE stands for?
    Well it is an acronym, (look it up!)
    It was coined to describe the mentality of the extreme Republicans, you know the ones who are always whingeing, Gerry Adams would be a good example..
    Here’s the answer,
    The Most Oppressed People Ever.
    Now you know.

  • Thomas Girvan

    I know Gerry’s da did a bit of twinkling, but his grandpa?

  • james

    I didn’t bring up Frazer. The post I was responding to used the attack on him as an example of the sort of thing that people use to deflect from the ‘real’ issue of bonfires.

  • mac tire

    So you admit that you were drawn off the OP because of whataboutery, with whataboutery?

  • james

    No, I don’t. And I think you missed your calling. You should have been a lawyer in a low budget tv show.

  • Carl Mark

    dear man , what I meant is that there has been sectarian violence around the OO since it was formed, your (and unionisns) trying to blame SF on trouble around parades is mere mopery.

  • Carl Mark

    It means , the most oppressed people ever, David Irvine made it up and you have moped all through this thread, which is about unionist mopery .
    Just because David made up the word (and feel free to point out any mopery from me) does not mean it is exclusive to any group any can be a mope. (but few up to your standard)

  • Carl Mark

    very good, can I go up the Shankill then singing songs about wading knee deep in prod blood, or telling them to go home?
    of course hate songs shod like hate speech be banned.
    now what does this have to do with the bonfire, why do you not want to talk about it?

  • Carl Mark

    and were did SK do this, (by the way the reason for slavery was greed mainly the British and tier need for cheap labour in cotton and sugar plantations.
    still nothing to say on the bonfire?

  • Carl Mark

    claiming no loyalist stall at the field. LOL

  • Carl Mark

    wow you really are trying vey hard not to talk about the bonfire arnt you.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Quite right.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    James this kind of comment is heresy hunting rather than a critique. Try to think about what Kris is actually saying.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Best place to stand, sk, is the bottom end of the Lisburn road, just below the City Hospital. This is where the Dublin Unionists used to congregate as late as the 1950s. Ruth Dudley Edwards comments about her warm welcome when watching a “Twelfth” in this area, despite her Dublin accent……

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It sets my teeth on edge too!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I take it you are speaking of the two main parties, james?

  • Reader

    Kris/BB
    Your problem is that mentally and spiritually you have left the ghetto, but physically, you are still there. Since you are unlikely to settle back into the morass, your options are:
    1) Stay there and soak it up.
    2) Stay there and lead them out of the wilderness.
    3) Get out and forget about it.
    4) Get out and lead them out of the wilderness.
    And look on the bright side. It could be worse – though the place suffers from relative poverty, and poverty of aspiration, and shockingly poor leadership; there is at least some sort of sense of community.

  • LindsayB

    Maybe an entry exam should be started. No entry to a bonfire site unless you can answer these questions three:
    1) What is the significance of the bonfires?
    2) Do you know what the Irish flag represents, and if yes how can you justify burning it?
    3) Do you know the difference between right and wrong as defined by the law?

    Pretty sure the bonfires would be much quieter…

  • james

    Really?? One has the feeling that you are trying to distract me while someone burgles my house. Your questions have a ring of pointlessness to them which suggests you hope I will give up responding so you can claim to have had the best of the argument. Very tedious to argue with a Republican, so it is. You say that the reason for slavery was greed,. Quite true, but if you had read my post with even a small degree of intention you would see that I am talking about the rationalizations for slavery. More simply, I use the word ‘justification’. As such, i’m not convinced your question even deserves an answer. However, since you ask, he/she wrote “And Unionists are classically lacking in self awareness and incapable of introspection, so we have to do the job for you ” which is obviously in a very similar vein to the slaver tactic I referred to where, among other things, slavery was justified by thr thinking of the time with the theory that Africans were unevolved and incapable of thought and thus it were better that the white men take away their freedom. Now, if you will insist on asking me to restate at length what was patently clear the first, second and third time around, I will have to assume you have nothing of value to say and are merely hoping to rouse me to anger so you can say ‘aha!’ and point out the evil and intransigence of them dastardly unionists. I find such tactics ridiculous, though tried and tested by SF with the whole resident collective malarky. Good day to you, sir.

  • Alan N/Ards

    SK, When you say “your culture” are you saying all unionists are commemorating “beating the taigs” ? I would say that bonfires is really a working class pastime. You will not find a bonfire in a middle class area. Saying that, I know many working class unionists, who happen to be Christians, and they do not go anywhere bonfires, or parades.

    How many murals, flags or bonfires do you see in middle class nationalist areas?

  • Paddy Reilly

    PUL stands for P + U + L, and not P = U = L. It is not assumed that all Protestants are Loyalists.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I suppose they still see it as the flag of the country that laid claim to Northern Ireland for decades. While that claim as gone (thankfully) they still harbour a grudge against said country. Hopefully, someday, the issue of flags will be gone and both sides will wise, and stop imposing their flag on the other side.

  • james

    Greedy is certainly appilable to both, and there are elements of thuggish or at least oafish behaviour in the DUP, yes. They aren’t the political wing of a terrorist group, like Sinn Fein are, mind you

  • LindsayB

    A flag gifted by French women to represent both sides of the community and the hoped for peace between them…. Maybe if people knew that’s what it represented they wouldn’t be so quick to burn it which may, in turn, lead to less tension.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I would say most of them would know the meaning of the flag. The problem many of them have ( apart from the former claims in articles 2,3) is probably the people that they have seen abusing the flag over the decades. I am guessing here, of course. You can’t deny that there are republicans (who revere this flag) but who have tarnished it in the eyes of many for eternity….and beyond.

    I have said this before, but I will say it again. The tricolour would have been the ideal flag for an agreed Ireland. It could have united the people of the island. But it isn’t going to happen now. If a UI does come about, a new flag will be needed. It’s a shame that they didn’t wait to see if the island could’ve been united ( before declaring this flag as the flag of all Ireland) because I doubt any unionist would buy into now. Saying that, it doesn’t make it right for some unionists to burn it.

  • james

    I think it is by some and isn’t by others. Though I personally certainly feel that it isn’t and shouldn’t be assumed to be. Sinn Fein certainly assume that C =N=R. Just check out their election paraphenalia.

  • james

    I think it’s important to recognize the word ‘elements’. Any group may have elements that need to be tempered/turned down/kicked out, but by and large my own experience of ‘the Orange’ as the Sinners so mischievously refer to them, as if by rote, these days has been that they are more or less harmless. Whatever axe one may have to grind, I think it is unhelpful to demonize the whole group which, like it or not, is not something distinct from the unionist community generally.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    In their inception they DUP were not all that far from being a kind of “political wing” of people just as addicted to violent solutions as PIRA would be, in that Bunting Sr and the thugs who made a peaceful transition to full civil rights impossible were very, very much under the spell of Paisley’s immoderate rhetoric. I can see very little to choose between them both myself. It would be a pleasant change to have people governing us who were concerned with “real” politics……

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    By a similar token I think it important to recognise that Kris, myself and most of the other commentators are only ever referring to these elements.

    Certain deniers or wolf criers on here like to present the case that we’re referring to the entire unionist community but to anyone armed with the most basic comprehension skills this is obviously hogwash, but the perception exists and it takes a series of posts to get a single person to finally admit that they don’t like the unwholesome aspects of acts such as the bonfires.

    Thomas Girvan (Gavin?), Joe Hoggs and Trevorbh have all at some point stated that they dislike certain aspects of 11th night bonfires e.g. tyres, yet whenever a post regarding this topic comes up we are led down a twisty windy path of whataboutery and defensiveness before they finally admit it.

    Why bother with this excruciating process?

    Why not just say at the very beginning of a post about anti social behaviour at 11th night bonfires that you agree that some of the behaviour is a bit off and reel off some suggestions? It is not ‘letting the f*nians off the hook’ or ‘vindicating the IRA’ or anything like that.

    This would mean other unionists reading these posts won’t feel automatically obliged to defend these ghoulish exhibitions, rather they might find some fortitude of will regarding how they actually feel e.g.” you know, I’m not at all at ease with banners calling for religious based genocide being placed on top of bonfires in the name of culture…”

    They might not feel like they’re backstabbing ‘the tribe’ if other unionists on this site criticise that which is clearly unacceptable.

    Now James, do you acknowledge that some aspects of these bonfires and parades go to far and could do with being tamed a little bit?

    If yes, great, could you just admit it and spare us this rigmarole and if no, well, by all means defend these aspects properly and without whataboutery.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    In fairness James this term is actively employed by unionist representatives and commentators:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/dup-and-uup-walk-out-of-peace-talks-30404388.html

    and

    http://www.longkeshinsideout.co.uk/?p=1607

    and https://twitter.com/mikenesbittni/status/407797136743342080
    etc etc.
    There’s abundance of examples I’m afraid.

  • Carl Mark

    And I ask again were is their any hint of removing peoples rights.
    I agree that many protestants are sickened by the bonfire/symbol burning culture and perhaps he could have been more specific in his references but he does not demand that “your culture” (apt here since you seem to be defending it or at least trying to distract from discussing it) be demeaned, apart from those bits that are unwelcome in a civilised society.

  • Carl Mark

    How long ago did the car thing happen?
    is it happening at the moment?
    do you think that it has caused the present situation to arise (if so how)?
    Can you come up with a more irrelevant item to try and divert the thread from a dangerous, toxic, illegal bonfire guarded by young thugs?

  • Thomas Girvan

    Sorry, I don’t respond to multiple answer questionnaires.
    My telephone is congested with them.

  • Sprite

    Unfortunately the IRA have sullied the Irish flag to the extent that amongst loyalist communities that flag primarily represents republican murderers not the Irish state

  • Zeno

    Bonfires are not the problem. The image of loyalists is not the problem. Flags are not the problem. The problem is sectarianism and it has been rife in Belfast for around 400 years. Sectarianism thrives in the ghettos where it is fed and nurtured. The ghettos and the lack of education of sections of the community who live there is the problem.

  • Carl Mark

    Well then Thomas you should not make statements so irrelevant to the post and so much laden with mopery and whataboutry, that people feel obliged (after the “did he really say that” moment) to find out if you can explain what you mean.
    and it would appear that you cant!

  • Foster Kane

    Belfast Barman
    Another excellent piece that has managed to promote an exciting discussion. I too have been through the same, living beside a large bonfire can be somewhat trying when displays of culture turn in to behaviour that is breaking the law.

    I personally agree, Loyalism has a serious imagine problem. So what are my credentials for making this assumption? Grew up in a notorious loyalist area of north Belfast, my Da ended up in prison for the ’cause’, was told I’d be knee-capped for standing up to what I seen was loyalism turning in to the biggest gang of criminals I had ever seen in one small area.

    Leadership is another serious problem. The way I see it is you have loyalist paramilitary leaders in communities who crave power then you have unionist leaders who crave power – all they do is take and give nothing back. And so this power struggle continues while everyday life gets harder and harder. Is it any wonder someone who lives in these areas hangs on with all their strength to what makes them feel important, that they have some control over, that they have something that is worth fighting over?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    CitR, it comes from a very long period of unchallenged “L’État, c’est nous” thinking which debauched their ability to conform to any law but encouraged actions determined by temporary expediency. This was the very issue on which the Civil Rights movement challenged the respectable end of “loyalism” during 1967/9.

  • sk

    Confederate flag hoisted outside the house of a black family in East Belfast.

    “Culture”.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    But what about themuns…

  • Carl Mark

    You don’t know much about the Sandy row bonfire! now that is strange did you not read the article, you were able to remember the car incident from years ago and the setting fire to it was not news to you either.
    And the only criminality associated with it that you can see is the setting fire to it, again very strange.
    So Underage drinking, youths building illegal and dangerous bonfires were they want, the sectarian issues, pollution none of these thing register with you!
    while you believe that burning it is a act of deliberate provocation you don’t seem to see the deliberate provocation of burning tricolours (which we know will happen), sectarian graffiti or loyalist terror group flags.
    Thomas could I suggest, you should have gone to Specsavers!

  • Carl Mark

    what would those thugs you mentioned be charged with that the bonfire builders wouldn’t be charged with?
    All they done was illegally light a bonfire before someone else illegally lit it.
    being liable to disturb the peace, well the bonfire is likely to disturb the peace on the 11th night.
    Damage to property (the car park) will also take place on the 11th night.
    so what charge do you think they should face?

  • Thomas Girvan

    I see you haven’t mentioned the burning down of the 62nd Orange Hall near Loughgall.
    It sort of pales into insignificance all the petty activities that you refer to.
    I suppose it is a manifestation of a deep seated sectarian mind set that seems to come out at this time of year.
    Maybe you could shed some light upon it, from a personal perspective.

  • Carl Mark

    Of course I condemn outright with no reservations any attack on any OO hall(or any building) and hope the thugs responsible are caught and sent to prison.
    Now is that bit of whataboutry taken care of?
    You on the other hand seem determined to avoid condemning the sectarian antisocial behaviour of the bonfire builders.
    tell you what I am interested to see what bit of whataboutry you will come up with next.
    Any chance of you telling us what you think the people who set fire to the Bonfire should be charged with?

  • Thomas Girvan

    You know what they say “Talk is cheap” , and your superficial condemnation makes it even cheaper.
    There is as much chance of prosecutions in these cases as a pig flying. What is needed is a concerted strategy to uncover who the perpetrators are and to have them put in court.
    Mere condemnation is meaningless, especially from you, as you have no public standing, and clearly have a track record of anti Orange utterances that only serves to reinforce the moronic mind set of the fascist morons who indulge in such hate crimes.
    For what it is worth, (which is nothing), I condemn anti social behaviour at bonfires.
    Mind you I don’t know much about whether it is a big deal or not, because I don’t go to bonfires.
    I would suggest that if it is causing you so much grief, you should do the same and stop going to them.

  • Carl Mark

    My superficial condemnation?

    “Of course I condemn outright with no reservations any attack on any OO hall(or any building) and hope the thugs responsible are caught and sent to prison.”

    No ifs or buts no whataboutry, just an outright condemnation, which is a great deal more than you can muster about the bonfire!

    Now maybe instead of waffling you could tell us what charges you think should be brought against those who lit the bonfire that would not be applied to those building it?

    and this, A hissy fit mix of man playing and mopery,

    “Mere condemnation is meaningless, especially from you, as you have no public standing, and clearly have a track record of anti Orange utterances that only serves to reinforce the moronic mind set of the fascist morons who indulge in such hate crimes.
    For what it is worth, (which is nothing), I condemn anti social behaviour at bonfires”
    you asked me my opinion on the burning of a Orange hall and when you didn’t get the whataboutry you wanted you got all mopey.

  • Thomas Girvan

    I am not a lawyer but would have thought that behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace would be a starter.
    Also, if you are burning someone else’s property without permission, then that would be an offence
    I’m sure if I was inclined I could think of some more.
    Surely you could have worked that out yourself, or maybe I am overestimating your intellectual credibility.

  • Carl Mark

    AS for my ” intellectual credibility” I asked if you could list a offence the burners committed that the builders have either committed or will commit when they burn it.
    you failed miserably but lets go through your examples.

    behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace! surely the people building the bonfire and those lighting it are guilty of also?
    After all not everybody is very happy with this monster that will damage their property when it is lit.

    Burning somebody else’s property, interesting can anybody produce proof of ownership for the mess, can they prove that no material on the bonfire was acquired by theft or intimidation?
    In future James read the question and make sure you understand first before calling other people names.

  • Thomas Girvan

    It took a while but eventually I have figured you out.
    I’m not as soft as you think
    !https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

  • Thomas Girvan

    “In future James read the question and make sure you understand first before calling other people names.”
    You must be as thick as a bonfire pallet.
    Read this quotation from yourself, and then look at my name, it is not James it is Thomas.
    As Frank Carson would say “That’s a cracker!”

  • Carl Mark

    I’m sorry, you and James are so similar in your posts.
    I do notice that you haven’t answered my question.
    thank you for the personal abuse, but it would be a lot better if you answered my question.
    Here it is again.
    what charge do you think could be laid against the people who lit the bonfire that couldn’t be laid against those building it and intending to burn It?
    If you cant answer the question feel free to continue with the personal abuse, but the only person you will be fooling is your self.

  • Carl Mark

    still no answer!
    this is why unionist have a image problem (apart from the whole blaming everything on themuns thing) you seem to believe that rudeness and attacking people is how to debate.
    Try answering a question this is how debate works, you express a viewpoint I challenge it and state a viewpoint you challenge it.
    having to resort to incivility to avoid answering something is a sure sign you have lost the argument.

  • Thomas Girvan

    I refer you to my pevious answer,

    “I am not a lawyer but would have thought that behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace would be a starter.
    Also, if you are burning someone else’s property without permission, then that would be an offence”
    I read your response to this, which was at odds with my understanding of how the law works.
    If a person is engaged in lawful activity, and if another person takes offence against that lawful act, (in this instance building a bonfire), and takes the law into his/her own hands then that person, i.e.. the person who chooses to take offence, is acting illegally.
    As regards burning someone else’s property, the actual nature of what is clearly a criminal offence, should not be confused with the difficulty in mounting a prosecution.
    I would assume, for such a scenario charges would relate to the first one allied to possible charges under the Hate Crime legislation.
    As I say I am not a Lawyer, but I know a bit about it, and clearly a lot more than you.
    May I say, you seem to be preoccupied with the prospect of potential hooliganism around bonfires.? Fair enough.
    Yes, where there are crowds and drink is taken there will be some anti-social behaviour.
    However we should put into perspective that the vast majority of bonfires go over without difficulties.
    Ironically the majority of serious hate crimes seem to be committed by so-called Nationalists.
    Over the past few days we have had three attacks on Orange halls, which is more or less par for the course.
    It would appear that the people who committed the last two of these crimes, either did not see your condemnation, or chose to ignore it.
    There’s a surprise.
    As regards my offensive comments, maybe you are not as thick as your submissions would indicate.
    It may instead be a case of O.C.D.

  • Carl Mark

    And all those charges could be levelled against the builders of the bonfire.

    As for hooliganism at the bonfire, when it is lit it will damage the property of people who don’t want it their, the people setting it alight know this, that is hooliganism, Burning other peoples flags and symbols is provocation and hate crime.
    Still the whataboutry, I have robustly condemned the Attacks on the OO halls.
    this bit is very funny.
    “It would appear that the people who committed the last two of these crimes, either did not see your condemnation, or chose to ignore it.
    There’s a surprise.”
    it has to rank as one of most unusual statements ever on slugger, when did I ever claim to have any influence with the spides who burn down Orange hall’s and whatever give you the idea that I had any influence over these lowlifes?
    finally sir, you did make one correct statement “I am not a lawyer”
    because if you had any knowledge of the law you would realise that if the PPS bring scharges against the idiots who burnt the bonfire and failed to bring the same charges against those fools planning to burn it, then the whole thing would be thrown out of court.

  • Carl Mark

    Here is something in your own words that shows us how accurate your posts on this subject are.
    “If a person is engaged in lawful activity, and if another person takes offence against that lawful act, (in this instance building a bonfire), ”
    This is simply not true, the bonfire is illegal, how could you possibly think it is legal, what is that idea based on, it breaks all sort of laws from pollution, litter, health and safety, will damage peoples property.
    and you are the one who questioned my Intellectual capability!

  • Thomas Girvan

    O.K Baldrick, if bonfires are illegal, how come the organisers are receiving grants from Belfast City Council?