Flegs and Anthems

I was interested to note the Union Flag carefully positioned immediately beside Belfast PUP Councillor Julie-Anne Corr Johnson for her interview with BBC NI’s The View recently. “On one hand they tell us the British identity of Northern Ireland citizens is under threat”, she thundered, “whilst at the same time denying British citizens like me access to British laws and British rights.” The openly lesbian Corr Johnson was objecting to the DUP campaign for a ‘religious opt-out’ to equality laws … Read more

A history lesson from Ruth Patterson

During this week’s Belfast City Council debate on the placing of the Union Flag on driving licences (something that the council has absolutely no control over), firebrand DUP Councillor Ruth Patterson decided to enlighten all those present with her interpretation of history and how it relates to the vexed subject of ‘flegs’. Scholars may be somewhat alarmed by Councillor Patterson’s interpretation of history as indeed may some of her creationist colleagues in the DUP who subscribe to the view that … Read more

The Flag Dispute – Anatomy of a Protest seminar – what, who, where, how and why? +audio +video

The researchers from QUB’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice behind The Flag Dispute: Anatomy of a Protest report [PDF] held a seminar in Queen’s University this morning. [Gladys Ganiel blogged in detail about the report when it was published in December.] Two of the six researchers behind the report introduced the main findings. Paul Nolan quickly revisited the background to the protest (the “archaeology”). The PSNI gave researchers open access to operational logs from the … Read more

Do we really need another debate about flags?

Tonight our esteemed elected representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly are due to debate driving licences. Good news – I hear you cry – at last some action may be taken to address the disparity in the cost of driving licences between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Last week there was much consternation when it was revealed that learner drivers in Northern Ireland pay nearly twice the price for a provisional licence compared to elsewhere in the UK – £62.50 … Read more

@LADFLEG: “We are pro-Union and pro Loyalist”

Last week I sat down with two of the brains behind Loyalists Against Democracy (LAD), Billy and Ron. I was interested to catch up with the guys since we last spoke in February about the group’s foundation and how they approach certain issues. This time, however, I was interested to speak to them about some of the issues that they group has been involved in since we spoke, namely; the departure of Winston Smith, Pastor McConnell and where does LAD … Read more

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 … Read more

McCann meets….Cllr Lee Reynolds @duponline

The DUP launched their local government manifesto for Belfast on Monday. I have always been intrigued by the DUP as they come across as a fiscally conservative party, yet they do seem to enjoy spending money, so, I went along to City Hall and spoke with the party’s council leader, Lee Reynolds about what his party propose to do over the next council term, issues around flags, rates and leisure centres all featured. I began by asking him about the … Read more

“neither should loyalists use the flag issue as an excuse to stir up sectarian strife”

Paisley, K Reverend, scion of the founder of the DUP has had this to say on #flegs: “Perhaps [UUP MLA] Tom Elliott is right when he says ‘people should not deliberately confuse sovereignty with identity’. “However, neither should loyalists use the flag issue as an excuse to stir up sectarian strife, or to attack the PSNI, to the delight of dissident republicans. “If they are as patriotic as they claim, then perhaps they should come to Britain and see how … Read more

McCann meets…David Ford MLA #AP2014

In my second interview from the Alliance party conference, I was able to chat to the party leader, Justice Minister, David Ford. In the interview we chatted about the conference, his predictions for the future growth of the party and the On the Runs issue. I asked him about the comments made by Anna Lo in the Irish News; If any leading member of the party had said that I have a long term vision that Northern Ireland remains within … Read more

#Haass talks D-Day-No Agreement

Well it’s nearly over. After three months of talks and attempted deal Dr. Haass and Prof. O’Sullivan will end their talks on flags, parades and the past. At the moment we are looking at an announcement of a deal or failure to agree at around midnight. It may well be the latter as Tracey Magee from UTV tweeted just a moment ago these comments from Jeffrey Donaldson DUPs Jeffrey Donaldson says he’s not sure there is a basis for agreement. Leaving … Read more

Parade Commission, flegs and other matters…

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 – … Read more

Interview with Loyalists Against Democracy – will @LADFLEG’s second year in existence be their difficult second album?

Like them or loathe them, Loyalists Against Democracy will have been around for a year on Tuesday 10 December. They’ve become a local online phenomenon with their mix of parody, banter and acerbic attacks. It started out as one man trolling “ridiculous” loyalist flag protesters online. Early daft parody protest ideas like complaining about Aer Lingus flying over East Belfast have grown into a collective producing sophisticated graphics, videos, music, a musical for the Edinburgh fringe as well as caustic … Read more

Where have all the moderates gone?

Well he’s back; Jamie Bryson made his first appearance on Nolan this morning since his restrictions on public speaking were lifted. I listened to Jamie talk about the need for more protests (he did say they should be peaceful in fairness) and how he believed the last round of protests had actually achieved a lot. Last time I checked their number one goal of punishing the city council into submission hadn’t worked as the flag is still not up and … Read more

Lord Empey attacks Alliance Party for flags, participation in Irish Constitutional Convention and issues warning to Dublin government

Listening back to Lord Empey’s opening statement at today’s UUP conference, his comments seemed worthy of a post on their own. In his nine minute address he predictably attacked the Alliance Party’s role in the Belfast City Council Union flag vote, explained why they shouldn’t be viewed as Unionist, and questioned their role in the Irish Constitutional Convention. He also laid down a white line over allowing Northerners to vote in Irish elections that the Irish Government shouldn’t cross if … Read more

#WillieFrazer dresses as Abu Hamza for court

                                      Sometimes, there just aren’t words (and no, I’ve no idea who Jamie Bryson is dressed as). Certainly, Newt thinks he has a point:   As usual, the real problem with Willie Frazer is that he has a point. — Newton Emerson (@NewtonEmerson) September 27, 2013   This is Willie’s own take on his motives for the ‘protest’ (as reported by UTV). … Read more

“I have no problem with the burning of a tricolour on top of a bonfire”

DUP MLA Paul Girvan (PG below) did an interview with Frank Mitchell (FM) this afternoon where he expounded upon his ideas about bonfires and burning the Irish tricolour. I’ve included a transcript below, rather than comment, other than he may have got this memo, but he didn’t get this one (and he probably burnt the one from Chris).  That first link brings you to the full audio. FM: Ballyduff is only one of many bonfires which may or may not have an effigy, do you … Read more

No room for British #flegs in, erm, British Fermanagh…

Aha, I wondered how long it would take. In today’s Irish News Fionnuala O’Connor that it is ‘time to give all our identities a rest’. But not in Fermanagh. It started with the council airbrushing an English flag of St George from the top of Enniskillen Castle in a leaflet, now, according SF MLA Phil Flanagan, it is time for the real thing to come down. The Fermanagh-south Tyrone MLA said the flag, which has been present at the castle … Read more

See that #fleg in Enniskillen? Well, now you don’t…

Now relax… The St George’s flag still flies over Enniskillen Castle as a reference to two former British regiments raised in the town’s defence in 1689. Can’t say I’d ever noticed before, but apparently there’s a row brewing over it’s removal from a leaflet for the G8 Summit… Here’s the council’s reasoning… “The design team gave long and detailed consideration to the content and design of the leaflet. In relation to any decision around the inclusion of flags, the design … Read more