So. This is the day. Today we find out how much our politicians are capable of achieving together. However much or little, let’s remember that this is not a collective report. Some may have approached things in a constructive, accommodating manner, some with a dogged determination not to yield an inch of ground. Shouldn’t Haass give them a mark out of ten each? That’d be interesting.
According to reports, it’s flags that is the sticking point. So here’s my suggestion. A group can choose to fly the Union flag or the Tricolour, but they’ll be required to pay for it out of their own pocket. And it should be a significant sum: say £10,000 per flag-fly. Per day. And yes, you can use a public building. Where there’s a conflict – that is, one group wants to fly the Union flag and one wants to fly the Tricolour (and pay), we could hold an auction. Live on TV. The highest bidder gets to fly their flag. All monies so raised would be used for charitable purposes. If you say you value your flag and its flying, please put your money where your mouth is.
That’s flags disposed of. Now parades. Word is the Parades Commission is to be replaced by another body which will do essentially the same work. And be paid, I assume. So here’s a counter-proposal: ban all marches for five years. Let’s find out what it feels like to live in a society where you don’t have 3,000+ marches every year. Other societies don’t seem to need that number. Marching and uniforms and bands – there’s an undeniable militaristic element to such events. So scrap the lot. That’s not to say that people shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate whatever event or festival they choose. But do it where you are now. With the help of God and some performancing enhancing drugs, I’ll be running in the Greencastle 5-mile event in Co Tyrone on St Stephen’s Day. But I won’t be conducting some sort of approach march before the big event. I’ll drive there and enjoy ..OK, OK, endure the day. Down with restless legs syndrome, I say. Do it where you live, or travel as a private citizen, not part of a quasi-military outfit.
Radical? Not really. We’d just be finding out how it feels to be normal. Or are our delicate constitutions unable to stand normality? Yes I know I haven’t ‘dealt’ with the past. You do that.