Unionisms Difficulty Reaching Out…

When discussing Unionism, a characteristic often cited is the difficult relationship it has with anyone from outside of its ideology. However, it would be equally true to state that Unionism has a difficult relationship with itself, both its internal and external relationships are a problem. In this article, I wanted to focus on Unionist outreach in terms of those seeking to better understand Unionism and also how Unionism projects itself onto others. Nobody Understands Us Unionism is unhelpfully stereotyped by …

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Some thoughts on leadership within Unionism…

When talking about Unionism in Northern Ireland, one of the most frequent issues brought up is leadership. Looking at Sinn Fein, the SDLP, and Alliance, there is an abundance of effective leadership on display with more in reserve if the need arises. Unionism, by contrast, is not experiencing similar fortunes, and this has become an issue. Never before has leadership within Unionism been so problematic, especially during a time that could eventually define Northern Ireland. With a massive appetite for …

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There’s no Twelfth, so no parades or bonfires are required…

As a starting point, I am fully aware of the irony, I’m an Orangeman, penning an article outlining my opposition to any type of parade or bonfire over the Twelfth weekend this year. Like Unionism, Orangeism (bands, lodges, and supporters) doesn’t do long term planning, so when the leadership of the Loyal Orange Institution (LOI) decided to cancel this year’s Twelfth celebrations back in March, it was an unexpected and decisive move. The Institution made a long terms decision (well …

Read more…There’s no Twelfth, so no parades or bonfires are required…

If Unionism is to maintain Northern Ireland’s membership of the UK then it must change and evolve – otherwise, it will become a footnote in a forgotten story…

There is an old joke within Orange circles that goes, if you put 10 Orangemen into a room for 3 hours and task them with putting together a strategy on their lodge’s ambition for the next 10 years, the outcome would be – 15 completely different and contradicting ideas that all must be implemented. The results being 3 people leaving the Orange for good (2 indicating it’s gone soft, 1 citing it’s got too extreme), 3 leave to set up …

Read more…If Unionism is to maintain Northern Ireland’s membership of the UK then it must change and evolve – otherwise, it will become a footnote in a forgotten story…

Unionism needs a Reformation of its own, one that turns it into a movement that is fit for the modern era…

I woke up early on the 9th of June 2017 to tune into the election coverage and see how the new UK government was shaping up. All of the Northern Ireland seats had been decided before I had retired the night before and it had been a reasonably good night for Unionism taking 11 of 18 seats, with the DUP capturing 10 of them. However, when I tuned into the election coverage, I was alarmed to see the DUP included within …

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What happened to the Polish people under Russian Occupation?

“History is written by the victors” is a well known and often accurate statement, however, for me it was never truer than when examining Russia’s role in World War II (WWII). With VE day (Victory in Europe) having now just passed, it was notable that many people highlighted the important role Russia played in bringing about freedom in Europe by helping to defeat Nazi tyranny. Whilst there is absolutely no doubt that Russia played a huge role in defeating Nazism, …

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The Loyal Orange Institution may not be on parade this year, but there is still an important role for us to play in society at large…

As April arrives to borrow a phrase that’s popular now, the Loyal Orange Institution (LOI) would be ramping up its efforts in preparation for the Twelfth. This year however, the 2020 Twelfth will not go ahead. As things stand and if we are lucky the UK and ROI will hopefully be emerging from the epidemic in July with the lockdown being slowly released, it would be entirely irresponsible to have 17 large scale Twelfth demonstrations across Northern Ireland and an …

Read more…The Loyal Orange Institution may not be on parade this year, but there is still an important role for us to play in society at large…

What sort of a society does that make us if we feel certain lives are more valuable than others?

I have temporarily sidelined two articles I have penned for Slugger to instead discuss the Covid-19 epidemic and how it questions our morality and values. I have always been hugely passionate about history and I sometimes wonder how I would have reacted to wrongdoings of the past if I was in that situation. The persecution of Jews at the hands of the Nazis, the discrimination that many black people faced (unfortunately some still do) and societies treatment of minorities including …

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The Orange needs to go back to basics and look at what it stands for in 2020 and beyond…

There is something worryingly out of sync with the Loyal Orange Intuition when over three weeks after the “New Decade, New Approach” deal is agreed upon by politicians which brought about the immediate restoration of Stormont, senior delegates of the Institution meet to discuss the deal. The outworking of such a discussion was always going to be predictable, one might even say boring, however, the actions of the Orange have reinforced their status as being almost irrelevant and certainly not …

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The Orange Order’s Complex Relationship With The Irish Language…

In an ever-changing world there are now few constants and certainties, however, in Northern Ireland some remain including the fact that Unionism will find itself on the wrong side of a debate and be forced into a massive climb-down. The second certainty is that a spokesman (it’s always a man) for the Loyal Orange Institution will awkwardly enter the political arena with an ill-informed and often inaccurate intervention which will usually oppose whatever is being proposed. Unfortunately, as both a …

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As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds, what next?

As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds after a devastating Westminster election, I wanted to focus on two crucial battlegrounds where political Unionism acted in an unacceptable manner, namely North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone (FST). Both battles were on paper, good old-fashioned knockdown and drag-out fights involving a single Unionist candidate against the might of the old foe – Sinn Fein. Unionism approached both campaigns in a very different manner but the outcome was the same …

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The bogeyman of Lundy plays an extremely damaging role today within Unionism…

At this time of the year, most people are busy getting ready for Christmas and enjoying the festivities, however within Protestant and Unionist circles (of which I’m from) the historical character of Lundy is remembered by many. Unfortunately remembering the historical Lundy and flushing out perceived modern-day Lundies has become an unhealthy and destructive daily obsession within political Unionism and grassroots Protestantism and  I wanted to briefly discuss the shadow of Lundy that hangs over my community even today. On …

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Tom Elliott and the battle for Fermanagh and South Tyrone…

Tom Elliot is very much the reluctant candidate in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone Westminster contest. I wanted to focus on this election battle and give outsiders a little context on the contest from a Unionist perspective. Within FST, Unionists are the minority community. If you ask any Unionist within the constituency what they expect from the election, the answer is a Sinn Fein victory. Having said that, there is a strong desire for representation at Westminster, a strong desire …

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A long way from Dan Winter’s cottage – An insiders view of the current state of the Orange Order…

Choyaa is a Fermanagh Orangeman Sam McBride has penned the highly acclaimed “Burned” which is a serious and important piece of investigative journalism that focuses on the Renewal Heating Incentive (RHI) scandal overseen by a number of prominent DUP members including the current leader Arlene Forster. Sam McBride was told by some within the DUP following the release of the book that it contained many errors, when Sam asked for specific examples he was met with silence. When I heard …

Read more…A long way from Dan Winter’s cottage – An insiders view of the current state of the Orange Order…

An insiders guide to the Royal Black Institution and the Fermanagh Black Twelfth…

Choyaa is a Fermanagh Orangeman The anticipation of the big parade has been building up for the past year and come the first Saturday in August all preparations are about to be realised. There’s a plethora of speculation about who will be within the procession with some very famous dignitaries anticipated along with spectators expected to reach tens of thousands. There is a buzz, there is vibrancy, and there is a feeling that this parade is part of the mainstream …

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The Orange Order: An Insider’s View of The Twelfth Day

Choyaa is an Fermanagh Orangeman It’s the Sunday following the Twelfth and I arrive into church a few minutes early. The pews are generally empty as it’s the Twelfth period and our minister is on his annual holidays. A lady watches me attentively as I sit in one of the pews, I watch her from the corner of my eye and I suspect something is wrong. I have never spoken to this lady before but I have seen her in …

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The Orange Order: An Insider’s View…

To my surprise some recent thoughts of mine on the Orange Institution and its problems received a number of requests for more detail and I was kindly asked to post a topic or two on the subject. I thought I would break it into three posts if this doesn’t bore the Slugger audience too much, namely (1) Life in the Orange and the challenges faced, (2) A day at a Fermanagh Twelfth and (3) Moving the Institution Forward. Many years …

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