Outrageous optimism and the need for belief in the long term future of the Orange tradition

This #SluggerReport was recored on Monday and takes a deliberately and outrageously optimistic (although far from naive) view of the Orange Institutions and their future role in society. Taking a leaf out of Carmin Medina’s book (that Optimism is the greatest act of rebellion)

I don’t try to deny the dark nihilism that Phil sees in the reckless bonfire culture is there, but rather I suggest we are all conniving at feeding it through a certain comfortable pessimism that this is the way it always has been and always will be.

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  • Biftergreenthumb

    “You are seen as an aggressive bunch of troublemakers who are prepared to
    kill and destroy your home towns out of hatred of the other side.”

    Who is this “you” you are talking about? You seem to be making massive generalisations about the people of northern ireland based on the actions of a few loyalist thugs. Tarring everyone from NI with the same brush, referring to us all as childish etc is just as much as manfestation of prejudice as that which you seem to be criticising.

    The OO is no more representative of NI people than the EDL or BNP is representative of people from England. Imagine if the next time the EDL organise a rally someone from NI went onto a forum and started saying things like “English people are a bunch of racist thugs. You should be ashamed of yourselves!”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It’s very interesting Nevin, that you consider Sowerby a “Jacobite” historian. Virtually every reputable historian I know researching the period, no matter how they interpret it, would simply consider him a fellow historian. What you are rejecting, rather than some reiteration of previous shibboleths, is what really modern analytic history looks like. But the real question is how do you answer his conclusions, in support of your position in criticising him? That would be of some interest, but simply dismissing him with a label without actually answering him only shows a desire to hold unto familiar myths.

    It’s perhaps interesting too, that you seem to feel that every protestant in Ireland fled to Derry on James’s arrival. Far from it, and Hamill ( the agent to demand reparations for the losses of the Derry defenders) speaks of those many who simply accepted the king’s protections and carried on at home with their farms and businesses during the blockade, as flourishing far, far more in succeeding years than those whose paranoia walled them up in Derry. Others, among them the Bishop of Meath and Lord Granard, attended the king in Dublin. And even the armies offer no clean cut division in confession between those who supported or opposed the king. In 1712 a veteran Jacobite Wild Geese officer who had been wounded at Newtownbutler, was refused admittance to Les Invalades because he was a Presbyterian.

    By the way, Abernethy (the father of the philosopher) and Adair spent, as I remember, about a month outside William’s door before gaining a very cool audience, where they were dismissed with a flea in their ears for their sponsors unreasonable requests. They had had a small fortune collected as travelling (and bribing) expenses by those Presbyterian elders who met at Connor to instruct them, all wasted in a rather pointless attempt to gain William’s favour, and to get him not to simply ensure “freedom of worship” but to give them control of the established Church in Ireland, as had occurred in Scotland.

    There is something of a debate on what is described as “Presbyterian Loyalty” during the reign of Anne. I’d recommend you read William Tisdall, Swift’s friend, on this. Illuminating……..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’ve read Reilly, and he’s not really a serious historian, despite trying hard to support his claims by sources. He’s simply not looked at the wider picture, or properly treated that evidence that counters his claims. I’m notorious for long detailed answers, so much so that recently someone admitted to not actually reading my postings when he “rejected” what I’d said. Actually, he simply dismissed it without making any actual points to counter what I was saying. So I’ll forbear my detailed and careful de-construction of Reilly’s position unless you would wish to ask over points he raises. There is enough strong contemporary material to support the accepted version of what occurred at Drogheda to my mind, and credible historians such as Professor Ian Gentiles, pretty much the acknowledged expert on Cromwell and the New Model Army now, entirely support my interpretation in the face of Reilly.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Just something else, Nevin, just how is Sowerby to be thought of as a “Jacobite Tract”? Does he not fully support everything he says with verifiable research, much of it strong primary research in original papers, all of it peer reviewed, and his original thesis was clearly supervised by an historian no one would call “Jacobite”? It’s a lot of serious work I know, but for you to call it a “Jacobite Tract” you’d have to show us exactly where and in what manner the historian is at fault in his research and the conclusions he draws, not simply imply bias.

  • Nevin

    Seaan, here’s a snippet of Sowerby’s Jacobite tendency in that essay I linked to:

    If the events of 1688-9 were indeed ‘Glorious’, it was because leading Anglicans did not use the revolution to exact vengeance on the nonconformists. Instead, by mutual agreement, the past was reimagined. King James was presented as an unscrupulous, scheming despot in league with France, while his nonconformist allies were reconceived as a handful of self-seeking turncoats. The nonconformists were invited into the eighteenth-century whig state, provided they were willing to forswear any links to the Jacobite cause. This they proved more than willing to do.

    I understood that James was in league with the French and you drew attention to the value of the Foyle as a base to supply a move by the former king into Scotland.

  • Nevin

    “It’s perhaps interesting too, that you seem to feel that every protestant in Ireland fled to Derry on James’s arrival.”

    I have no such feeling, Seaan. Fforde’s book has arrived and I’ve had a quick skellie. The following, in relation to Macdonnell’s Catholic troops, caught my attention:

    There was no real reason for Derry to fear their arrival, after all it was just routine change of garrison and all might have been well had they arrived when Mountjoy’s regiment left.

    Older survivors of the 1640s insurgency on the north coast wouldn’t have had such a complacent view.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Nevin, how is this in any way “Jacobite”, it’s simply an account of what was actually going on. You seem to be still simply reacting without analysing why Sowerby is saying this or offering any proofs that he is in any way inaccurate in what he is saying. Why is he wrong in this? What proof do you have from your own researches that he is in any way misleading? I know it’s not the “history” you grew up with, but it is his summation of a carefully researched reappraisal of the significance of these events. His masterly analyse of the compounding of this re-imagined myth over the centuries since is a valuable tour de force in itself.

    James was not allied to France before the Dutch Invasion, nor to Holland. He had built a strong small army to protect his people and reversed his brother’s policies of taking money from Louis. He was intending to keep the three kingdoms entirely neutral, despite the attempts of both Louis and William to draw him and his valuable little highly professional army into the developing European war. When foreign invasion drove him into exile he was forced to seek help from Louis, but there was no alliance before the invasion.

    Former king? When did he actually “abdicate”, other in the convenient interpretation of his enemies? James was still “de jure” king, (and de facto king in Ireland during 1689/90) certainly to a sizeable portion of the population of the three kingdoms (see Paul Monad’s work) as well as to those five Bishops and the clergy who resigned their livings and beggared themselves before allowing their sense of moral truth to be debauched with the nonsensical lie that the king had abdicated his crown.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Robin, Loyalism in the centre of Belfast has been reaching across the divide since the early 70s. The men I talk about in my previous post had vision. They could have kept a sectarian war and conflict going in the city centre but it would have meant permanent vigilante, continuing children knocking F out of each other on school buses, denied access to roads and facilities. A compromise had to be reached by all sides to share the space. I believe it is possible for a final resolution to parading in Belfast and moving us all forward but it shall require generosity from all sides.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Which means there’s plenty of rope to hang him with, QED earlier comment.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well, that goes back to my point about ‘Catholicism vs Republicanism’ i.e. which is more important to the individual?

    If the person finds republicanism more important than ‘their religion’ then this is a suitable caveat with which to approach the above proposal i.e. the afore mentioned limiting of the power of monarchies.

    If one takes Catholicism to be the priority then I would suggest looking at the support the Pope at the time gave to William and his allies.

    Or, one could look at the early marches of the apprentice boys and the early tradition of senior members of the Catholic clergy taking part in the celebrations.

    If they (the Irish Roman Catholic clergy) can find reasons to do so then I’m sure we could extend the same principles to willing locals who seek a peaceful and lasting solution to the current problem in Ardoyne.

    Regarding Adams’ coming over during the plantation it’s really hard to say:

    Many names that we take to be ‘English’ are in fact Anglicisations from Irish names in the first place e.g. Smith (Gowan/Gawen/McGovern), Thomson (MacCavish), Cunningham (I really can’t pronounce let alone memorise the Gaelic name it came from) and loads of others to boot.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Cheers Nev, but I don’t see any references to them in the 1688 section. Where should I be looking?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I am indeed.

    A quick peruse of ‘The Men Whom God Made Mad’ and a suggestion by a friend of mind has me of the belief that they simply went to the barracks in Coleraine immediately after the gate were shut and set about bothering the local female population and pub landlords in the time honoured highland fashion.

    What baffles me is IF there was such a hullaballoo and the defences weren’t repaired at that point (?) why didn’t Antrim simply take Derry?

    It seems (from what little I know so far) that he could have easily done so?

  • LordSummerisle

    I am afraid you are wrong. To be a member of the Orange Order one does not have to be a member of a “reformed” sect and neither do both parents have to be members of a “reformed” sect. For example, the Past Grand Master of Ireland Robert Saulters, was a member of the Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland which has strong ties to the Unitarian Church. There are many Anglican (of a dubious bent I grant you) who are members of the OO/RBP and the Church of Ireland is not a reformed sect. Both parents do not have to be members of a reformed sect. The Laws and Constitution of the Orange Order have changed (if I am reading your post correctly, I suspect you have access to outdated Institution rules). The quotation about the Royal Black Institution is also wrong. Stipulation regarding wedlock is not written into the Constitution of the IGBCOBC. I should also point out that the rules for Ireland are not the same as the rules of the worldwide Institution. Canada for example did away with the more sectarian rules and it has not been unknown for Orangemen there to participate in ecumenical events.

  • LordSummerisle

    Ghob it’s outdated, trust me, you know from whence I came 🙂

  • LordSummerisle

    An argument I may have put forward once upon a time. However one would have to be very credulous to take it seriously. I contest that it is “Protestant” in name only. I am sorry but I am not going to listen to, “Ah but it is different in the country”, there is no metropolis / country divide, it is the same institution. What you really want is a Grand Lodge that is Ultra Montane and actually exercises some sort of authority and control rather than this decentralised nonsense. This is why we have the likes of Drew Nelson telling the Newsletter that action will be taken regarding the FTB episode outside St. Patricks. He knows very well, that nothing will happen. Why ? Simply that Sandy Row District will not do anything. So yes by all means proclaim that it is a “Protestant” organisation, the Agnostic/Atheist members (of which there are many) will not argue with you.

  • LordSummerisle

    Yes and Vatican II gave our brethren in the Latin Church the Bible, which as the late lamented Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Martini, observed, they did not read.

  • LordSummerisle

    Obviously not Republicans in the tradition of Blessed James Connolly, that poor man, how many times must he be betrayed.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I do indeed your Lordship.

    For the sake of clarity, what is outdated? The rules and/or websites referenced to by Donncha?

    How’s the harvest going to look this year? Are the Gods satisfied thus far?

  • PeterBrown

    You are of course also making massive generalisations about the Orange order as well – it had hundreds of parades on Monday and only one ended in violence so they are all tarred with that brush. Which to continue the analogy is a bit like comparing all English football fans to the Chelsea racists based on half a dozen of them keeping on man off the Metro. Again it may be perception but it is not a fair one – as had been said elsewhere on this site since Monday Ardoyne is the exception rather than the rule…

  • LordSummerisle

    Those rules regarding membership requirements. I did chuckle at the one re: legitimacy for the Royal Black, that could never be enforced in this day and age.

    The Gods Will be as kind as they wish. Now that the late Peter Quigley has joined the pantheon they shall be rightly entertained.

  • LordSummerisle

    I suspect our paths have crossed before on youtube, if you are the same person you upheld Dr Jonathan Bardon as the gospel writer of the Ulster story. If you are not then I apologise. As we are warned by the great Aquinas, “Beware of the person of one book”.

  • PeterBrown

    Its not PR – that’s self generated, its the news and if you check the PR on the website you’ll find it somewhat different from the news reporting. Better still come and experience it for yourself.
    There is no obsession with the battles – think of it as akin to the Guy Fawkes (which lets face it was nearly a century before the Boyne) and you again appear to assume that the commemoration is designed to provoke (hence the marching up and down in front of German tourists) whereas in fact only a tiny percentage of the traditional parades are controversial and any tradition of going through a hostile area (I think almost without exception) predates it becoming hostile (think of it as the German embassy moving to one of the vacant premises in Whitehall and demanding changes to Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph – although the Boyne was not a protestant v catholic / unionist v nationalist).
    The lowlifes occasionally do call the tune and they don’t care as they do everywhere occasionally but no one is accusing everyone in London of taking advantage of the death of Mark Duggan to update their electrical goods? The Order itself has condemned the law breaking – but maybe the PR machine of the media didn’t convey that to the good folks on the mainland who seem to have forgotten who it was delivered death to their doorstep during the Troubles….we are not perfect (who is) but you should not use the lowest common denominator to find the mean average….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Six companies of foot were in no position do so. As long as the gates were even slightly sound, the “Redshanks” (local glens men here, rather than McDonald/McDonnell levies from Kintyre and Loughaber) had no ladders with which to scale the walls, and in all probability, no shot ball and match for their muskets. They were expecting a simple entry to the town, as Antrim’s act in travelling with his wife and family clearly showed.

    Derry may have been something of a mess defensively speaking, but without cannon to breach the walls, any simple rush of men was always going to be costly. The boys in the town has the cannon, also, and could use this to keep Antrim’s men on the far bank of the Foyle.

    Importantly, Antrim himself was still a few miles back in his coach, with family and the odious Philips, who was still trying to suck up to him in case Antrim was admitted and he, philips, “needed a friend at court.” Antrim’s natural son Daniel was in command, and under the big guns on the east wall, and with the appearance of a large body of horse up the hill behind his men, with, amongst others, Adam Murray, Daniel thought it prudent to draw off and go and speak with his father.

    They only passed through Coleraine for a few days on the retreat, as I understand it. The earth walls of Coleraine offered poor protection for either camp, and at this time the uncertainties of the future discouraged any action that might become culpable to whoever would be in power in a few months. The closing of the gates owed more to the fears generated by the Comber letter than to any desire to side with William against James, as the respectful hearing the apprentices gave to the very pro-James Bishop of Derry, Ezekiel Hopkins clearly showed.

  • John

    The only problem with that drivel you wrote was you think that we are all like that. Unfortunately for you, most people are honest hard working people who’d have nothing to do with the tiny minority that were on the news recently. Too hungover to write a long spiel but for example did you know that per head of population NI produces more persons into the British Armed Forces than any other of the home nations/regions. This is even more impressive as many on one side of the equation would have nothing to do with the Armed Forces (although over time more and more Catholics are joining). We aren’t as disastrous as you would hope we are.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    For the sake of anyone actually listening in on our conversation Nevin, I’m re-posting the link to the article.

    http://scottsowerby.net/Home_files/Sowerby%20on%20Repealers.pdf

    Sowerby’s most insightful moderation in his analysis of his ground breaking research needs to be read in full by anyone interested in order to contextualise just how bizarre your suggestion that he’s written a “Jacobite Tract” actually is!!!!!!

    You are still not offering any evidence to support your position that his research and conclusions are in any way flawed. And how is the fragment you quote (well within “reasonable usage”, good!) other than a simple description of what occurred. Did both dissenter and Anglican not agree to forget the episode where the dissenters allied with James in 1687/8? Did they not agree to this “safe” image of the exiled king? Did they not describe those dissenters who remained loyal to james as “self-seeking turncoats”? Should you need reference I have many quotes from news-sheets of 1688-1700 describing the Society of Friends in particular in this manner, over and above what Sowerby offers. Just how is this simple description of how people acted at the time “Jacobite”……?

  • PeterBrown

    But If the reality is different from your perception what can I / we do to change the perception to reality especially when you have been here and seen the reality but been more influenced by your perceptions….

  • PeterBrown

    The problem is that banning is potentially an infringement of Human Rights hence the Parades Commission to balance the rights of marchers and objectors and if you mean voluntarily reroute the perception is that given that the objection to parades is not spontaneous but an orchestrated Republican strategy (ask Nevin about this or google Gerry Adams Athboy! and also contrast the reaction of the priest and republican politicians to the hymn playing on Monday”) voluntarily rerouting if there is any objection is the top of the slippery slope to no parades. I agree that the louts need to be put in their place (and even that my brethren in Belfast are too slow / reluctant to do so) and the Order actually invited the Irish President to its main parade in the Republic and he declined – maybe next year his diary will not be so full?
    Just to reiterate the perception is costing us millions not the reality and even changing the reality where it still needs change will not change the perception – come over to my local twelfth next year and I’ll guarantee you and the Mrs safe passage and even accompany you to the Crown afterwards! I might even be able to change your perception – one down 5 billion to go…

  • John

    Catch a grip. Scotland, Wales and many parts of England are supplemented by the overall UK block grant. In my experience that is not the view of people on the mainland at all. I did read your whole post … there is that much rubbish I didn’t know where to start so I just made a positive from NI that you would never normally hear about. Your obviously from an Irish background now living in England … a republican in disguise by the sounds of it. Link up with that muppet Robin Keogh I’m sure you’ll get on well. They couldn’t bring in conscription because nationalists would have kicked off. Go figure. Yes as many from the south as from NI during WW2 but as you say they were broke so it was there only hope for many.

  • PeterBrown
  • John

    Republican in the Irish sense i.e. anti-British. I didn’t waste too much time reading all that you wrote. What about the Scots and Welsh and North East English?? Net beneficiaries of UK tax take. Are you looking rid of those as well?

  • submariner

    what can I / we do to change the perception to reality

    You could start by expelling the terrorists in your orginisation and refusing to hire loyalist terrorist bands for your parades, You could also condemn the flying of terrorist flags in Larne Ballymena Belfast Coleraine Derry and a host of other towns, With respect to Twaddell you could walk away and state that as long as terrorists like Winkie Irvine and his ilk are involved then the OO will have no part in it.

  • PeterBrown

    1 Expelling terrorists – which currently active terrorists and their bands are in the Order (with sufficient supporting evidence to ensure that any of our disciplinary processes which are challenged in the courts are upheld)?
    2 As I have pointed out elsewhere on this thread why are the flags anything to do with the Order?
    3 My view on the incidents at Twaddell is well reported elsewhere and I have not joined the Order in Belfast because its standard of membership and hangers on is lower but why single out loyalist ex terrorists supporting the Order when there are currently on bail dissidents running GARC?

  • PeterBrown

    When the Order and its supporters (sometimes uninvited) cause the trouble then that’s our problem hence the statements last week but what can we do when the opposition riots?

  • submariner

    1 Expelling terrorists – which currently active terrorists and their bands are in the Order (with sufficient supporting evidence to ensure that any of our disciplinary processes which are challenged in the courts are upheld)?

    There are convicted terrorists in the OO a quick Google should educate you as to their names.
    As for the Bands I am of the understanding that the bands are not part of the OO per se but are hired by the lodges for marches there are loads of these bands who are aligned with either of the main loyalist terrorist groups and are quite open about it .These are the bands I am referring to

    2 As I have pointed out elsewhere on this thread why are the flags anything to do with the Order?

    The OO could use its influence to get them removed otherwise these flags will remain synonymous with with the twelfth and therefor associated with the OO rightly or wrongly

    3 My view on the incidents at Twaddell is well reported elsewhere and I have not joined the Order in Belfast because its standard of membership and hangers on is lower but why single out loyalist ex terrorists supporting the Order when there are currently on bail dissidents running GARC?

    Winkie Irvine is not an ex anything but is the present commander of the Woodvale UVF all this is common knowledge or have you been living on another planet?

  • PeterBrown

    1 I’m not sure the Order or indeed the courts accept Google and Wikipedia entries as grounds for disciplining members. Bands are not permitted to display any terrorist emblems in our parades (you might be mixing us up with Republicans or even the AOH which do seem to ignore this Parades Commission requirement although the Commission seem reluctant to do anything about it)
    2 I share your views on the flags but can assure you that the Order does not erect them and has little or no influence over those who do
    3 If Winkie Irvine is guilty of this crime and it can be proved to the required standard why not report him to the PSNI (and deal with the second part of my point and the rest of my post while you are at it). Also then tell me how the Order can prevent him attending a public event?

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: …it is comprised of 9 counties 6 of which are currently under the jurisdiction of another country.
    Well, actually, it is composed of 9 counties, 3 of which are currently under the jurisdiction of another country [Ireland (the state)].
    I’m not sure about the extent to which Ireland [the state] currently claims to be organised on provincial lines. I suspect; not at all.

  • ted hagan

    Roy Mason was a jumped_up little buffoon and probably one of the worst secretaries of State Northern Ireland ever had. He was also a hardline pro-unionist buffoon and would unlikely have countenanced any talk of a united Ireland.

  • ted hagan

    Maybe your English friends who shake their heads in dismay and disgust at Northern Ireland and its people might take some time to consider that their own country might bear much of the responsibility for Northern Ireland’s plight?

  • ted hagan

    ‘You’, I take it, refers to a fairly small section of the unionist community? Or is ‘you’ referring to the entire population of Northern Ireland, loyalist and nationalist? It’s rather confusing and patronising.

  • ted hagan

    You certainly make intelligent observations. I left Northern Ireland on the day Trimble, John Hume and Bono were raising each others’ hands to salute the peace process, in 1997, though return at least once a year and despair at the lack of progress. The sad fact is that the core problem still exists. Northern Ireland remains on very shaky foundations. One side wants to preserve it, the other side is working to end it. There is little integration, less than ever; perhaps, and so the siege mentality, and suspicions, persist. A section of working class Protestants feels neglected,outsmarted and betrayed and feel there only means of expression is by violence. Meanwhile the young middle class Protestants increasingly head for Great Britain.Young Catholics have been brought up to think smart and get educated while their political leaders are streets ahead of their unionist counterparts. And yes, it does look all so pathetic to the outside observer, but it is a place with many good, talented and warm people.

  • kalista63

    How about cops go to arrest man who snatches SAS flag at twaddell when they think he’s a taig then don’t when they realise he’s the son of a loyalist murderer who killed a Catholic at Ardoyne’s son, Roberrt Robinson.

    This place is quickly turning in to the wild west.

  • kalista63

    I’m not sure they ever have

  • kalista63

    Given that they did the same in GB and The Wiked Witch is dead reached number 2 in the charts, it’s hardly a uniquely Irish republican position.

  • PeterBrown

    Kalista
    The burning of effigies is a matter of personal taste (not something that appeals to me I have to say) but you at least have to be consistent about it – if it was OK for Maggie its OK for bonfires but it can’t be pick & mix

  • Seamus M

    Whatever one thinks of the OO, they are a religious organisation that supports a lot of charities, i as a Nationalist would not seek to ban a christian organisation because a few bad apples are associated with it, whatever next, a ban on all religions?

  • Seamus M

    they don’t refer to Ulster as its part of the UI, everybody knows that the irish state has 26 counties even PSF has a representative for Ulster thereby recognising the island of Ireland is split into two