A modest alternative to Orange marches

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I’ve said it before (repetition for the sake of emphasis, Virginia):  the most interesting reading on this blogsite is often to be found among the comments added by readers.  One such happened a couple of days ago on the topic of Orange Order marches.

I’d made the suggestion that all marches –  the 4,000+ loyal order marches and the 150 nationalist/republican marches – simply end. While I’ve lumped together the Orange Order et al  with nationalists/republican marches, there is an interesting difference between them: some Orange and Loyal Order marches take place in or as near as they can get to nationalist areas;  nationalist/republican marches take place within areas where they are welcome. However, to avoid the annual disruption of traffic, use of police time,  social and political division, I suggested they should all end.

This was greeted with incredulity by some of those commenting. How could this happen? The expression of the Orange culture needs marching and efforts to crush it would be counter-productive.That’s when a highly interesting idea was floated: build a stadium.

A parallel was drawn with rock festivals. In the early days of these events,  lack of amenities, drunkenness, even violence were features. Then the organisers took things in hand. People were charged for entry, no alcohol was allowed to the event, the bands were protected by security as were the audience. What had been occasions of near-mayhem became orderly events which attracted tens of thousands.

Why not this for Orange and Loyal Order marches –  or nationalist/republican marches for that matter?  Build a stadium, which would be rented by those involved with the march. Charge those who wish to see the event or events;  screen patrons for alcohol and any other disruptive material; then let everyone sit back and enjoy the music and speeches and marches within the stadium.

Did I hear you say ‘Cost’, Virginia? Yes it would be costly to construct a purpose-built stadium. But do you know how much 4,000+ Orange and Loyal Order marches cost at present? Well, in 2011 security around loyalist marches cost over £5 million, while republican parades cost £250,000. You could probably construct a fairly attractive stadium inside a short time, using that kind of saving.

This is the twenty-first century. Since the end of the eighteenth century we’ve been bedevilled by sectarian clashes, ill-feeling and community divisiveness as a result of Orange marches.  It’s costing us a bundle, socially and financially, every year. No suggestion is being made that those who espouse the Orange culture should not continue to do so. All that is asked is that they should not ask the rest of us to pay for it financially or socially. Despite the sectarian nature of its origins, ordinances and history, the Orange Order could become a source of genuine culture, even generating  revenue for tourism and ending the drain on police resources.

If someone can tell me why the need to walk/march trumps all that, I’ll be interested in hearing it. And my thanks again to the person who suggested it a few days back.

68 Responses to A modest alternative to Orange marches

  1. paddykool January 30, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Glad to see you floating my eccentric idea for further perusal ,Jude. It can do no more harm than already exists. Rocknroll has the answer!

  2. sean smith January 30, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Jude you miss one essential ingredient of their ‘culture’, they must march on the ‘Queens’ Highway’ (and if not in Catholic areas, then as close as they can possibly get without being physically restrained)

    • ben madigan January 30, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      On one of my posts I suggested re-naming an isolated stretch of road somewhere Queen’s Highway and allowing Orangemen to march up and down it non-stop to their heart’s content.
      Since we are now considering the idea of a custom-built stadium I suggest calling it or the track The Queen’s Highway – thereby removing all potential objections to the venue on the grounds they would not be marching in or on the Queen’s Highway

  3. daniel moran January 30, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    ‘…..Why the need to walk/march trumps all that….’
    Could I suggest it’s the need to ‘stick it up to themmuns’ in the case of OO marches trumps everything for those who participate. As to the stadium for your 20th century initiative?
    Windsor Park? During July at least, there’s no football played so problem solved.

  4. colman January 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Had to check the date there to see if this is 1st April.
    Build it and they wil come, eh? You’re forgetting the obvious. The OO and their neanderthal hanger ons will still want to strut past the papist neighborhoods to get
    to this hypothetical pantheon of bigotry and hatred. As you so often point out, the 12th is less about culture and more about Protestant supremacy.
    You cant just wish away the rollicking good time the Orange bandsmen have every year reminding the Taigs of their place in British Ulster.
    Let’s play along with you here for the craic. Supposing it did happen, How will the Derry wans react when the stadium goes to Belfast. They still haven’t gotten over that college thing from a few years back.
    How will Republicans react if Jamie and the boys propose building the stadium on the Long Kesh site and turn it into a celebration of loyalist paramilitarism?
    Will the stadium have little replica’s of Ardoyne houses so the Twaddell loyalists can march past and pretend they got home?
    What merry band of loyalist paramiltaries will provide the weed, ahem, security for the event and how will the the proceeds from the event be divided among the UDA Brigade commanders and UVF Battalion Chiefs?
    Which tolerant and accomodating current Unionist leader do you think will be the first to back up the plan and bring it to the Assembly for discussion?
    Answers on a sash please.


  5. RJC January 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    A great idea. What with their history of being so reasonable, I’m sure the OO will go for it!

    I was thinking about this during the recent Newtownabbey DUP play banning debacle. The attitude amongst those DUP councillors was that as they found the play offensive, it should be banned. The counter argument being that we are grown ups who can make our own minds up – anybody who thinks the play might offend simply doesn’t have to attend.

    I find OO marches hugely offensive – not simply the marches themselves, but also the accompanying public spaces bedecked in all manner of sectarian regalia. I view OO marches as a public display of supremacy, sectarianism, bigotry and hatred.

    If these marches were held behind closed doors (or stadium gates) then I would have to buy a ticket and attend in order to feel offended. Frankly, I’ve got better things to be doing.

    If it were up to me though, I’d ban the lot of them. The Incitement to Hatred Act really needs to be enforced a hell of a lot more often than it currently is.

  6. ASR January 30, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Jeez Jude, I’m surprised by your post, we all know its about where the Orange Order march. Sure what would be the point if it wasn’t in the face of nationalists? That is their raison d’etre if you ask me. It’s good to see people coming up with new ideas, I just don’t think this would work.

  7. paddykool January 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Hey Jude …don’t make it sad…..Some of your commentators think I was joking with this Marching Stadium idea. I laid out the reasons in some detail. I’d like to see some more flesh being put on the bare bones that I laid out. Think beyond my ironic joke and compare it to any other radical ideas that we’ve seen so far. They are easy to count. I don’t see our great heaving populace or our “talented” politicians coming up with any sky blue thinking worth one damn. They are in a cul de- sac …a Groundhog Day…marching , marching , marching to nowhere.
    In respect of the Maze …maybe that’s the very place to build the thing.somehow the perfect completion to this arrant nonsense which we call everyday life in Northern Ireland. Neither in Belfast or Derry, somewhere in between. Is it any crazier than any of the ongoing mediocrity that drags this tiny wee place into world infamy? To recent memory we have had the flags nonsense, the Maze nonsense. the Newtownabbey play nonsense, the Paisley quip that maybe he got Civil Rights wrong after all..{yeah and set the last horrific bloody phase in motion] No , don’t bother apologising Ian….it doesn’t matter any more.I have heard lots of negativity about it not working but no better ideas.The idea that marches are being used as a weapon is a fair point but if that’s an objection to the idea, ..well it works both ways. this idea removes the need for a weapon. There is no threat to anyone in this scheme and even recognition of the special place of marching in the coming world where streets will not so easily be blocked without financial redress.

  8. Paul January 30, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Never mind building them a stadium why does the BBC continue to show live coverage and highlights of this sectarian rabble. Its a pity they dont show them on their way home after their marching as they urinate and abuse people on the public highway. Walter love and Seamus Mc Lee lend commentary as if it was state funeral. I think its time the BBC were taken to task on this issue by our so called politicians.

    • Den Duffin February 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      them bastards in the BBC are taking 12 quid a month out of my account to be insulted by this shite every year. Between that , corporation st, Xfactor and Jeremy Kyle etc, surely it’s time for a rebate?

  9. paddykool January 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Better to get a “special” place to march now before the streets are so congested in the future that any kind of marching will be a physical impossibility without personally paying a small fortune in insurances and permissions for the privilege. Non- believers are not going to foot the bill forever for such out of whack behaviour.

    • giordanobruno January 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      If you are just floating it as a radical idea, fair enough. The sort of thing trainers like you to come up with during company away days, not for use in the real world.
      If you are making a genuine suggestion I just don’t see how it will work.
      Who will bring it in?Our current administration? Which Unionist parties will vote for it?
      A future administration with a Nationalist majority? Perhaps but I think it unlikely
      A United Ireland government? When that time comes I believe they will be careful to handle the Unionist minority with kid gloves.
      The only solution in the real world as far as I can see is more prosaic.
      Carrot and stick.
      Reward them when they behave(pat on the head, you can come back next year)
      and punish them when they misbehave (no more parade on this route lads).
      It’s not a quick fix but it is our best way forward in the real world.

  10. Patrick Kelly January 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    The Orange Order could have a two week festival in July organised along these lines.


    May I suggest the copeland Islands as a venue.

    • paddykool January 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      The idea of the Marching Stadium came to me as a product of living in this insane place for over sixty years. You might say i’ve seen it all in those years. I lost faith in any kind of god or gods while still a teenager so any religions that would organically grow from such beliefs has no real relevance for me. Protestants, Catholics, Hindus ,Jains, worshippers of sun gods or Kali or Odin, druids…. can believe anything they like as far as I am concerned but the physical life for myself and all the other assorted creatures of the planet is enough for me.
      I want to live and die and enjoy it while I’m here and am quite content that that’s all there is to it…I was not born at a time of enslavement or abject poverty and have mostly worked hard throughout my life and raised a family of fairly balanced individuals so it makes each moment of my life here all the more sweet and profound.

      I have not the arrogance or the vanity to believe that as a human I am somehow more special and that I am any more worthy in the grand scheme of things than a dolphin or a zebra.As the top predator and killer on the planet i simply believe the human mind constructs these power fantasies of an endless life beyond our present earth.I don’t believe I need to be “saved” by some nebulous great being out there somewhere so that I can do this all over again in some cloudy mysterious dimension where everyone will then be super -pleasant and nice to each other for ever and ever..No I can look around and see that everything eventually dies around us and is consumed by the dust of the earth. We walk through thousands of years of dusty graves in our day to day existence. It’s really that simple. There is no more.[end of]

      I’m not shoving my beliefs or ideas down anyone’s throat and i can respect the idea that we are all products of individual family and community indoctrination of various sorts. I can even enjoy the” theatre ” and communal togetherness of religious ceremony at weddings or funerals as I would enjoy any piece of artwork, concert or original idea. None of this means I believe it in much the same way that I don’y necessarily support Stalin simply because i have a book about the man on my shelf.
      In a place like Northern Ireland I can understand that this makes me one of the awkward squad who has no real tribal place in the demarcated “two sides”..My views would fall on a lot of stony ground for a variety of fearful reasons.There is always that fear of leaving the group and thinking beyond it.That’s why they invented art colleges! My problem is that rightly or wrongly the two political groupings and various religions have made a bloody mess of it and most of it{to my mind} is based on fantasy.
      The more there is explained about the complexity of religious belief, the further it goes away from the abject simplicity of actual life. Life really is that simple. You are born, you live and you die. you would think that that simple fact would concentrate thinking.

      I want something that everyone can buy into so that we can live a normal life like most people in places like the UK or the rest of Ireland, already do.I am also thinking of the future where practices like bonfires will have to be outlawed simply because it’s bad for all of us, the environment and the planet. Hate crimes are also being ignored in relation to these events.It’s not new that many traditional practices , such as slavery and hanging were changed for the betterment of the common good. This idea shifts them sideways and controls them without banning them.It also regulates the more hateful aspects .

      It is said that football matches are substitutes for war…a way of channelling aggression within a confined area and with a set of rules. The same could be said in relation to parading, walking, marching or whatever it needs to be called.This stadium idea of mine allows the practice but contains it. It would also shine a light on the practice as to who and why it is supported , away from the context of street bullying.
      It’s been pointed out that the current lot of politicians would dismiss this idea because their support depends on tribal rivalry..There’s really not much to vote for when you have a perspective like mine but it would be interesting to know how many more of us eccentric non-believers are out there . because if we are to have any solutions to all our social ills here the new ideas will come from that group.
      I think my idea has merit if only because there is nothing else out there. I think it should not be dismissed, but rather, debated and dissected to see how it could work or be bettered.Like i say , i have no particular saw to grind other than to find a pragmatic solution to the ongoing lunacy..We all know how things evolve socially. Sometimes we need to talk about these things loudly.
      The current lot of politicians are only holding back the tide ..a stopgap. If there is not some original thought imposed a new generation will fall into more and more street violence….it only took Paisley a few short years to wind the whole thing out of control with his ranting behaviour and presto, the streets were aflame for thirty years….. the old saw of an eye for an eye……now where did I hear that?

  11. Teri January 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    I think this is a terrific idea. The OO can have an Orangefest in the stadium. They can make it a week, fortnight or month’s celebration in July, not just with their marching but with events for the children, concerts, prayer meetings etc, throughout the time too. Instead of hundreds of bonfires they could have one huge bonfire in the stadium on the 11th night and party together till dawn.

    No-one would be offended by this method of celebrating culture.

    Alternatively, since they decided to ban the play at Newton Abbey as it was offensive to their culture, they should reflect on that and concede that it would be appropriate for OO parades to be banned as they offend other people’s cultures.

  12. Am Ghobsmacht January 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    I agree with Giordanobruno, a carrot-stick measure is required.

    First things first; will this be seen as ‘good for Sinn Fein’?

    If the answer is yes then that’s that, no sale.

    I can’t explain without sounding like a madman the extent to which ‘Sinn Fein/IRA’ haunts the minds many in the Orange tent.

    To many they are they octopus that controls all nationalist tentacles such as the GAA, music sessions, Irish language, dissidents, all other rival republicans…. etc.

    Utter tripe I know but hey I’m just a guy with a lap top, not a top Orangeman

    So, if SF are seen to be ‘winning’ then it’s time to close the gates and cry “no surrender”. Again. Yaaaawwwwwnnnnn…..

    Anyway, before considering such ideas one should concern one’s self with the differences between an Orange parade and a band parade.

    Then one should consider the difference between a rural Orange parade and the Belfast parade.

    FYI, being stuck in a stadium with ‘the Belfast scum’ (that’s what many rural Orangemen call them when they don’t call them ‘Orange Brethren’ in times like Camp Twaddell) is the stuff of nightmares for a lot (if not most) rural Orangemen.

    I honestly think I’d be able to talk some of them into going to a hurling game before I could convince them to go to some sort of Orange ‘V-Festival’.

    The main motivations for marching in areas where they’re not wanted is a mix of ‘tradition’ and (chiefly) defiance as in wanting to show that they won’t be easily ‘forced’ out.

    Please don’t hit me with the lunacy of these notions as I have probably spent more time thinking about them than most people here and am well aware of the futility of these arguments.

    But the fact is that they remain in place and fuel the ‘tradition’.

    I have sometimes argued (harshly) that Orange parades shouldn’t march in Catholic areas as that is depriving ‘good Protestant businesses’ of much needed and appreciated trade. Consolidate the Orange pound so to speak. (A tad cruel I know but it might register with someone somewhere)

    With regards to carrot & stick, any band or lodge that is seen to be breaking the law or flying terrorist banners should be immediately struck off the list of prospective ‘grants’ or lottery aid.

    This ‘Orange-drome’ idea could be floated only as a potential mother of all sticks.

    However, given what we all know about Orange reactions are they likely to say “hmmmmm, maybe we’d better behave rationally and take stock of ourselves” or “No surrender!!!!!!!!!! To the streets!!!!!!!!!!!!!(again)”?

    Also, the Orange-drome idea utterly detracts from the delights that many communities get from the ‘big day’; being able to sit there, watch your neighbours, friends and family ‘walk’ (not ‘march’, Orangemen as far as I recall never say march) past, give a wave and a nod whilst you look forward to a cup of tea or an ice-cream up at ‘the field’.*

    The day loses its touch if the familiarity is not there e.g. I never went to any of the all county processions as they’re just too big and there’s too many strangers. Part of the fun is knowing everyone and seeing them all in the one place.

    If we want to solve the problems of Carnival season then I recommend less logical thinking, it’s never going to work with an Orange algorithm: “Men want to walk. Other men against this. COMPUTE: HAL says separate men….”


    I don’t have the solution but from reading the comments here I can see that we’re further away from a solution than I initially feared.

    *NOTE: This doesn’t apply to Belfast. I haven’t been to a Belfast 12th for 20 years and am unlikely ever to go again but it and the Glasgow 12th are different eggs to the smaller rural 12ths.
    FYI, the Glasgow 12th is the nightmare vision for how a 12th parade can end up, if it ever comes to that province wide then yes, by all means round them all up in a stadium and …..

  13. Pointis January 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    It is going to be difficult for anyone who considers themselves to be open minded and tolerant to put themselves in the shoes of those in control of the Orange Order.

    If the Orange Order do have strategists capable of seeing beyond the bottom of the neighbouring Nationalist street then they must be postulating a vision for the future of these organisations in an increasingly tolerant and more pluralist society.

    In a situation where the yearnings of an increasingly influential Nationalist population is for an acceptance of equality and much less tolerant of the antics of an organisation whose sworn objective is to keep society here apart the smart money would be on someone trying to carve out a future for the Order where it would be more acceptable to everyone here.

    In those circumstances your idea would merit consideration by an Order capable of considering the sensitivities of everyone.

    I suspect by that stage that those in control of the Order may realise that the rest of the world see them as some odd sect of bigots akin to the Klu Klux Klan whose intolerance is rooted in an unsavoury past that most decent people want to transcend and move on to live in harmony with their fellow country men.

    I think that wiser unionists like Basil McCrea and John McAllister have already seen the writing on the wall and know that tolerant Protestants are feeling increasingly disenfranchised by the hard line orange positions adopted by the traditional unionist parties and are showing their disillusionment by their increasing tendency of not voting.

    If trends continue the Order my well be a much smaller irrelevant organisation. We can only hope that public pressure and conscience may have see it drop some of their more detestable policies.

    In the rest of the UK you would not even expect to hold down a public sector position if you were a member of an organisation who treat black and coloured people the way the Orange Order treats Catholics here and maybe that is the way it should eventually be!

  14. Am Ghobsmacht January 31, 2014 at 2:54 am #

    On a related note, I suggested some sort of ‘Oranje Dag’:
    http://amgobsmacked.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-truth-please-old-school-straight.html (sorry Dr C, I know this is a bit rude but it seems apt).

    I know I drone on a bit (as usual) but it’s food for thought.

    If an ‘alternative Orange Day’ was drummed up by progressives/middle-of-the-roaders then it could perhaps draw the young people of both the main religions (like in the Netherlands)?

    This could exacerbate the withering of the main 12th day and as for the bandsmen, well put it like this they could either:

    a/ Go to the 12th, full of grey hairs, gospel and/or grog

    b/ Go to the ‘anti-12th/alternative 12th’ full of bands (rock bands, folk bands etc), beer tents (sponsored by Heineken or Amstel?), tourists and female backpackers

    I’d wager that the more secular element of the 12th would jump ship pretty quickly (myself included) leaving only a mass of religious adherents, people who like the 12th for what it is and families, thereby removing the confrontational and provocative element (as they’d in theory be too busy getting off their face trying to pull Canadian backpackers at the alt Orange day festival…)

    Yes, this is wildly dreamy and optimistic of me to think like this but it’s time for some outside the box thinking.

    And as for the band parades (which are actually cloaked as ‘contests’) well, encourage republican bands to have parades on the exact same day in the same area, particularly protestant areas.

    The resulting carnage will force a territorial redress “youse cin walk down that street an we’ll tick this un’ so we will….”

    Or even have the republican bands ‘challenge’ the loyalist bands (bring in Simon Cowall if need be, not Louis Walsh, too much room for bias I’m afraid) and see who’s actually top dog after all.

    A loyalist vs. republican fyfe-rap battle. Jesus, you could sell tickets.

    I dunno, just making stuff up now. It’s hot here….

    • Páid January 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      Am Ghobsmacht, give us a smoke of that when your finished, lol

  15. neill January 31, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Jude your are being far to modest about your proposal and in a similar spirit i hope to lay out my proposals.

    Let us build a new complex in Strabane (spending money on a poor area and encouraging gameful employment is always a good idea)

    Then we can send those people who dont like the orange order there and we can provide workshops were you can have leading orangemen there who can profusely apologise not only for the last 40 years but for the last 900 years then they can promise to disband the orange order sign up for Irish classes and truly get in touch with their true Irishness and forget about being silly British citizens.

    Added to this we will have the Gerry Kelly creche were he can take young children and read extracts of his book the kids will love it because the book was wrote using crayons

    As Irish language schemes are being sadly squeezed fiancially we can provide free services and meetings rooms for them because afterall they have been sadly victimised by the Orange Junta State.

    As a sign of compromise it will agreed by the management of the complex that it will have to named after a dead republican ah but who should it be named after the true Republican Bobby Sands or thatt sell out Gerry Adams?

    The complex will also be able to offer classes on recovering from victimhood we can have Am Ghobsmacht as the lead professor in the course who will prostrate himself and say how the protestant middle classes are ashamed of what happened in the past and beg that the poor nationalists can forgive the nasty unionists…

    Yours negative neill

  16. Am Ghobsmacht January 31, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Dear negative Neill

    Thank you for bestowing upon me an honorary academic title, I shall wear it with al the vim and vigour of Lord Bannside himself.

    Not sure where you got the impression that I was some sort of apologist as I seldom do apologise for anyone’s behaviour rather I simply separate it into different categories the chief categories being ‘Good Idea’ and ‘Bad Idea’.

    If I think something to be a ‘bad idea’ e.g. singing songs about killing Catholics whilst trying to march through Catholic areas or segregated education or republican use of Gaelic, then it gets put into the ‘Bad Idea’ section.

    Admittedly, to a disinterested outsider it would seem that I put more than a fair share of Orange behaviour into this category, but I fail to see that as my fault, I have an unfair insight to the Orange culture and it gives me a bit more ammo, but I also highlight parts of Orange thinking that are often over looked in matters e.g. did you inform the learned readers of the differences in Orange parades and band parades?


    Well some one has to, a solution can only come about if all the facts are known.

    So spare me your watered down version of ‘you’re with us or against us’, the first step in unionist progress is the answering of some stern questions, don’t hold it against me if I’m honest about the answers.

    Unionism will either shape up or die.

    A major weakness in Unionism is the disproportionate strength and influence of the current version of the OO, they act as 19th century blinkers for what should be a 21st century horse.

    Professor Positive

    • neill January 31, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Because Am Ghobsmacht i knew you would bite…

      Of course there are issues with the Orange Order nobody denies that for a minute to me the big issue is the alcohol issue I dont belive alcohol should have any role to play and in fairness in the countryside it really doesnt.

      As for playing offensive tunes outside places of worship I am against that as well simply because it is unacceptable.

      So spare me your watered down version of ‘you’re with us or against us’, the first step in unionist progress is the answering of some stern questions, don’t hold it against me if I’m honest about the answers.

      A little rich coming from soming who thinks he has the answers to the stern questions come down and live with the rest of us mere mortals you never know you might like it…

      • Jude Collins January 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

        ‘To me the big issue is the alcohol issue’…. Sorry to disagree, Neill. In my book the big issue is anti-Catholic sectarianism, which is a central plank in the establishment, ordinances and history of the OO. That’s why I figure providing a stadium for its celebration of its culture is a truly generous move.

        • neill January 31, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

          Fear enough that is your view nothing I say will ever change your mind.

          Stadium(Indian reservation)

          • deMóinbhíol January 31, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

            Well that is indeed rich Neill, comparing the stadium idea to Indian reservations. Your sense of history is obviously askew. Irish Catholics have considerably more in common with the American Indian than Unionists do. You see you are trying to compare oranges to Apple’s!

        • giordanobruno January 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

          You have opened the same discussion on two fronts here. And look how that worked out for Hitler!
          I will repeat my question for you from the other thread.
          Assuming we were to agree that a ban on all marches is the way to go,how would we make it happen?
          Would our current administration vote for it? We both know the answer to that.
          Perhaps you think a future assembly with majority Nationalists would introduce it?
          Seems highly unlikely to me.

  17. Pointis January 31, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Hi Neil,

    Jude Collins, the people of Strabane, Gerry Kelly, Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams, Am Ghobsmacht and poor Nationalists, is there anyone else you may have forgotten to include in the blame for all our problems here?

    I nearly destroyed my ipad before I realised Jude’s webpage doesn’t allow you to use crayon in responding to blogs!

  18. neill January 31, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Well if Jude can get away with it why cant I? 🙂


    Negative Neill

  19. Am Ghobsmacht January 31, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    “Of course there are issues with the Orange Order nobody denies that for a minute to me the big issue is the alcohol issue I dont belive alcohol should have any role to play and in fairness in the countryside it really doesnt.

    As for playing offensive tunes outside places of worship I am against that as well simply because it is unacceptable.

    Then why are you arguing with me if we agree on these points?

    “A little rich coming from soming who thinks he has the answers to the stern questions ”

    I’m happy to point out the mistakes and folly of both sides, if the unionist side can’t stand up to scrutiny then should I colour my answers to suit that agenda? Just because republicans are found wanting doesn’t mean I can’t criticise unionism.

    What ever happened to Presbyterian independence of the mind?

    Tell me exactly which of my points and criticisms you disagree with, not my attitude or the character of me that you have painted in your head or the social class that you think I ‘belong’ to, just deal with the points and tell me where I’m wrong (alternative Oranje Dag notwithstanding, that was just some lateral thinking…)

  20. neill January 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Am Ghob. what I was trying to say is that instead of critising and by God we are all capble of doing that here what we need to do is actually follow through by helping and getting your hands dirty.

    What ever happened to Presbyterian independence of the mind?
    Nothing at all isnt that what we are doing now?

    Tell me exactly which of my points and criticisms you disagree with, not my attitude or the character of me that you have painted in your head or the social class that you think I ‘belong’ to, just deal with the points and tell me where I’m wrong (alternative Oranje Dag notwithstanding, that was just some lateral thinking…)

    I like flippancy as much as the next person but I would rather spend time getting good proposals to work thats a very presbty.value set isnt it? ; )

  21. Am Ghobsmacht January 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Getting my hands dirty?!

    Surely the first thing to do is to find out where we are going wrong (everyone, not just unionism) and lay it on the table?

    I certainly try to do that.

    But it gets interpreted as some one who would ‘lay prostrate’.

    How’s it laying prostrate when you know that your former friends, fellow citizens and family members want to rip the head off your shoulders for your ‘blasphemy’.?

    I may have given some quite flippant suggestions, but then surely that was the subject matter was it not?

    And I feel my Oranje Dag would be more fun than an ‘Orange-drome’, which would you prefer?

    I understand Orange culture very well and don’t want to see it die, much less see it perpetually amputate parts of itself which it is doing and has been doing for a long time, the most notable figure being the Rev Bingham. They need more people like Rev Kennaway.

    So again, which of my points do you actually disagree with?

  22. Pointis January 31, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    Am Ghodsmacht,

    I am afraid you have little chance of Neil answering direct questions because to to do so would undermine his underlying beliefs.

    We all have a duty to examine how our actions affect others and try and put ourselves in the other man’s shoes. We will not move forward unless people like Neil feel confident enough to move beyond “whataboutry”.

    • neill January 31, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

      Thats a little rich coming from you Pointis have you ever exposed your underlying beliefs?

      My beliefs are quite simple I want Northern Ireland to be a good place to live were everybody has a fair crack of the whip and were the weakest and poorest are protected.

      However I have very little time for people who come up with unworkable ideas if we are to heal the wounds that both sides have inflicted on each other we will have to show a generousity of spirit which sadly we have not been able to come to agreement about this will take a long time perhaps at a glacial speed.

      The underlying problem is trust neither side trusts each over the larger issues but over the smaller ones some trust is being built and I guess that is how we will have to fix things here with tiny baby steps.

      As for victims i fully support them being given full support i dont think victim makers should be given any help whatsover be they from either side.

      As for rogue members of the police and army they should be harshly teated as the state should never sink to terrorist activities

      Negative Neill

      • Am Ghobsmacht January 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm #


        At present it appears that every idea regarding the parades issue is unworkable, so in that respect all bets are off…

        • neill January 31, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

          For once perhaps im not going to be negative.

          It all has to come down to a code of conduct which deals with the right to march tied with the responsibility of the marchers to march in a dignified and responsible way in sensite areas.However everybody has to sign upto it.

          However this has to be done at a grassroots level without external political pressure.

      • Pointis January 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

        I could be wrong Neil, but I am sensing a bit of anger and frustration in your responses! You don’t need to make attacks on the integrity of others to get your view points across!

        There are very few people who would not share your core beliefs as outlined in your response to me but they are just a generic response dished out by politicians from every shade. Some of the spokespersons who defended the Loyalist mob that trashed Royal Avenue trotted out the self same mantra.

        Have you ever tried to be proactive in your contributions rather than dishing others?

        I am confident that if you explore your own beliefs you will be able to rationalise what steps you, me and everyone else need to take for everyone to get along together to make our country something that we can all be proud of around the world.

        I am sure you would agree that sectarianism is one of the fundamental issues we need to address in our society and say it is like drink driving and smoking in pubs – no longer socially acceptable!

        I am not going to call you Negative Neil as I believe every dark cloud has a silver lining!

        • neill January 31, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

          My mood isnt helped by having the man flu and being in work….!

          I hope i wasnt being rude i was trying to be a trifle cheeky.

          The problem we have in this country is a relative straightforward one we know what the issues and problems are but have a complete inability to come up with a solution.

          We all know our rights what about our responsibilities?

          I am sure you would agree that sectarianism is one of the fundamental issues we need to address in our society and say it is like drink driving and smoking in pubs – no longer socially acceptable!

          Completelty right now we have to translate that into peoples homes and then we shall see real progress.

          As for the loyalist mob all i have to say is Friday night plenty of booze and drugs and guess what happens if i had my way they would have picked up and sent down straight away

  23. neill January 31, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    How’s it laying prostrate when you know that your former friends, fellow citizens and family members want to rip the head off your shoulders for your ‘blasphemy’.?

    Obviously I cant comment on your individual circumstances it would not be fair or proper except to say everybody has a right to express their respective views without the threat of violence.

    And I feel my Oranje Dag would be more fun than an ‘Orange-drome’, which would you prefer?

    I suspect no matter what the Orange Order does it will never be acceptable to some people but in my opinion has to go back to its core roots and stay away from politics.

    • Pointis January 31, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

      Hi Neill, nearly home time now so you can look forward to getting home and taking something for the flu, perhaps a hot toddy would do the trick!

      “Completelty right now we have to translate that into peoples homes and then we shall see real progress”. I agree 100%.

      I think we as a society this should be our number 1 priority and as in other things those in charge should lead by example.

      If we could give our politicians a mark out of 10 for their endeavours in stretching a hand across the divide, how many would register a score?

      A good start would be for each politician to volunteer to spend a weekend in the home of a politician from the opposite end of the spectrum and see if it helps breakdown barriers. At least they would have shown a positive example to us.

      And if politicians refused to participate at least the electorate would know who wants peace and who doesn’t!

      • neill January 31, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

        Might be more than one….!

        If we could give our politicians a mark out of 10 for their endeavours in stretching a hand across the divide, how many would register a score?

        None because they need to beat the secterian drum(pardon the pun) to survive even the Alliance party needs secterianism….

        A good start would be for each politician to volunteer to spend a weekend in the home of a politician from the opposite end of the spectrum and see if it helps breakdown barriers. At least they would have shown a positive example to us.

        And if politicians refused to participate at least the electorate would know who wants peace and who doesn’t!

        Good idea! Although the thought of gerry kelly and gregory campbell swapping homes would be be very amusing forget big brother!

        • Pointis January 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

          Would make a great TV show! I would certainly tune in but do you think many would agree to participate?

          • Neill January 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

            Well if it got them on tv I would say 108….

          • Pointis January 31, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

            Neill, unfortunately I don’t think you would get 108 and I also think people might be surprised about just who would refuse to get involved in any such enterprise.

            I think there has been a considerable lack of generosity in politicians in not reaching across to people in whose company they traditionally would not have felt comfortable.

  24. Am Ghobsmacht January 31, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    “I suspect no matter what the Orange Order does it will never be acceptable to some people but in my opinion has to go back to its core roots and stay away from politics.”


    100 times yes.


  25. Billy Pilgrim January 31, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Neill / Am Gobschmacht

    ‘…(the OO) has to go back to its core roots and stay away from politics.’
    ‘Yes. 100 times yes.’

    The problem with this otherwise nice idea is that it completely overlooks just what the ‘core roots’ of Orangeism are. The Orange Order is not actually a principally religious organisation and never has been. It was founded as an explicitly political and paramilitary organisation, with the express purpose of ‘defending the King and his heirs so long as he or they support the Protestant Ascendancy”.

    That’s an explicitly political raison d’etre, with a ‘religious’ dimension only in the most sectarian sense.

    Nor did it arise from any religious revival. It was founded to commemorate the massacre of 30+ Catholics, in the crucible of sectarian hatred that was late 18th century County Armagh. Its first major ‘achievement’ was to drive 7,000 Catholics out of the county within a few months of its founding.

    These are the ‘core roots’ of Orangeism, and the Orange Order has never strayed very far from them. People like Rev Kennaway and Rev Bingham are well-meaning and brave, but they are extremely naïve. With the personal and family connections they must have, I can well understand why. (Who among us, for example, doesn’t have a racist aunt or uncle or grandparent whom we love all the same?)

    But I do hope one day that people of good conscience such as these will make the leap and recognise that there is nothing within Orangeism that is worth preserving, whether socially or morally.

    AG – you said earlier: ‘I can’t explain without sounding like a madman the extent to which ‘Sinn Fein/IRA’ haunts the minds many in the Orange tent.’

    I think what you’re describing is simply sectarian bigotry as it actually occurs in real life. This is how one naturally thinks when one is a sectarian bigot.

    And I actually feel really sorry for people like this. We talk about the need for the OO to show tolerance, but in reality, it’s Orangemen who are the beneficiaries of tolerance in our society, and it’s they who would suffer if we, as a society, were less tolerant.

    Perhaps, in order that they be helped to snap out of it, it’s time to seriously discuss the biggest of all sticks: the banning of all sectarian marches and the proscription of the Orange Order.

    If such a proscription were to happen, the rural communities you mention who enjoy the occasion because it’s a way of getting together, would be freed to create newer, healthier and more positive ways to do so. (Which may well involve, for example, flute and pipe music.)

    For most of us nowadays, the Orange Order is really just an irritant. It’s ordinary decent Protestant communities that are most in need of emancipation from the tyranny of Orangeism.

    • paddykool January 31, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

      Billy. The biggest problem with banning anything in Northern Ireland is that it then becomes a crusade. It is glamourised and it provides another focus for demonstration. My stadium idea does not want to ban anything for that very reason.I just want it off the streets. I don’t particularly enjoy Garth Brooks the country singer, but I’ve no problem with his many thousands of fanatical followers waiting up all night and buying top dollar tickets to see him in a concert stadium.That’s the way to go i think.Let me enjoy Bob Dylan or Tom Waits in peace.

    • neill January 31, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

      AG – you said earlier: ‘I can’t explain without sounding like a madman the extent to which ‘Sinn Fein/IRA’ haunts the minds many in the Orange tent.’

      Yes because many of its members were killed by the IRA fairly logical

      • Am Ghobsmacht February 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

        Thankyou Neill

        It is indeed logical.

        So logical in fact that I omitted this reasoning from the statement as I imagined everyone would figure that one out for themselves.

        Are my posts not long enough without having to cover the obvious?

  26. neill January 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    Perhaps, in order that they be helped to snap out of it, it’s time to seriously discuss the biggest of all sticks: the banning of all sectarian marches and the proscription of the Orange Order.

    Lets ban all the culture we dislike wouldnt be a lot left in Northern Ireland culturally wise would there?

  27. paddykool January 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Neill. Frankly If we are ever to get this place pulled into the modern world, we’ll have to agree to differ as to who did what to whom.It’s a” who came first the chicken or the egg ” situation here. We can go back literally hundreds if not thousands of years to blame the guys that started it all much as the muslims are still blaming the Christians for the crusades or any country with an imperialist invasion can go on blaming somebody.We all know what whitey did to the Native American tribes or the aboriginals in Australia. This is now.This is the 21st century. We all carry a little Neanderthal DNA in our bloodlines so somewhere back there we probably were responsible for interbreeding or destroying them. there are none around now to fight about it. Every “tribe” has done bad things. All kingship is built on theft and murder.so who killed who for what is not really the issue. Everyone has their great arguments and reasons as to why communication broke down into murderous acts.Do you really think anyone in Northern Ireland has really clean hands in thought or deed. I don’t see much “christian” charity in many of these nominal followers of their declared son of god.It’s neither here or there to me but if I believed that I would have to answer for my uncharitable and twisted acts against either community here after my death, I wouldn’t behave with the unchristian hypocrisy which is demonstrated on our streets and in our politicians on a regular basis.As the man says, you can’t have it both ways.This situation in Northern Ireland is a product of some very strange thinking.

    • Neill January 31, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

      Can’t argue with that at all

  28. Billy Pilgrim January 31, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    Neill / Paddykool

    I’m not saying we should ban the OO because I don’t like it. I’m saying we should seriously discuss banning it because it is a malignant and destructive institution which has done nothing but sow hatred in our society for the past two hundred years.

    Which, to be fair, Garth Brooks hasn’t.

  29. paddykool January 31, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Billy…My thinking is that by not banning it but allowing it to still flourish in a stadium context,:

    1. It has to police itself more rigidly and will have no presence on the streets. All bussed in.etc

    2. Only those who truly want to go will pay for the pleasure and can do anything they want including making inclement and medieval orations about their particualr take on the universe and their presumed special place in it. The rest of us can get on with believing in evolution etc.
    3. Those who want to drink and riot or whatever will be left outside of this to find another reason for doing it and will be isolated as the hoodlums they actually are and scooped up for that reason alone.
    $. Politician/religious leaders will not be able to stir up violence on the streets by using poorly educated youths as potential cannon-fodder.
    My feeling is that when the excitement of political violence is removed from the equation what will be left in that stadium will be a fairly bland affair. The orange Order or whoever hires the stadium will find out within ten or twenty years if their followers continue to support them or not.Either way we all win.Football matches or rock concerts only exist if the people want to attend them.

    • Pointis January 31, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

      Paddykool, I happen to think you have a great idea on your hands and maybe it could be tied in to the peace and reconciliation initiative in Moira!

      • paddykool February 1, 2014 at 10:14 am #

        Pointis…I think we are on the same page. How do we make an idea like this a reality without getting ourselves killed?

        • neill February 1, 2014 at 10:32 am #

          By the people of Moira? ; )

        • Pointis February 1, 2014 at 10:57 am #


          You probably understand that the wheels turn very slowly here so don’t be surprised if the mechanics of your idea only start to be considered seriously in 6 or 7 years time. It doesn’t take away from the innovative thought which you had, except of course someone else will probably try to claim it!

  30. giordanobruno February 1, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    There is a tactic sometimes used by political parties of what you might call kite-flying. Usually getting a friendly journalist or tame blogger to float a solution to a problem that is clearly going to be unacceptable to the opposition or to sections of the public. You might even notice the same idea suddenly popping up in a few different places.
    Cue predictable anger, possibly outrage. When the wiley politician then puts forward a more reasonable solution (the one he always favoured anyway) it is viewed more favourably than it would otherwise have been.
    That is the only reason I can think of for the pie-in-the-sky talk of moratoriums on parades or some kind of marching stadium. We all know these things will not happen, entertaining though it is to fly those kites.

    • Jude Collins February 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      Gio – the idea is paddyk’s, so it may be he’s involved in some political kite-flying conspiracy. On the other hand he may not. ‘That is the only reason I can think of for the pie-in-the-sky talk of moratoriums on parades or some kind of marching stadium’ – because an idea is not responded to doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea – it might be the thickness of skull-bone in some other people that prevents its realisation. I personally think it’s the first bit of fresh thinking – and very tolerant thinking – I’ve come across re OO marches. Maith thú, paddyk.
      (Um, not quite sure how to put this, gio, but…no ‘e’ in ‘wily’…

      • giordanobruno February 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

        The stadium is paddykool’s idea yes. I believe your suggestion was a moratorium. Fresh thinking maybe, but an idea must have some grounding in reality before it is a good one.
        Neither you nor paddy are telling me how this idea will become a reality. Who will bring it into force? Our current assembly? No chance.
        How about some practical ideas?
        And thank you for the spellcheck. Thoroughly deserved as I’ve done it to you in the past! Must be thinking of Wile E Coyote.

  31. paddykool February 1, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Pointis : Well as a one- time fine art student many years ago and a sometime underground cartoonist back in the 1970s, I can appreciate that all art is theft. We all stand on the shoulders of giants and there is nothing new under the sun. Just as all religions and gods are based on an original worship of the sun as giver of life , ideas evolve slowly. It would be lovely to think that I’d made a small contribution to solving an intractable problem but I’m not holding my breath. I think Jude and the rest of us can all take credit in thrashing out my “original” idea as after all, Jude provided the shop window.

    • paddykool February 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      Gio…Believe me , I’ve no axes to grind, kites to fly etc.I cannot find anything of originality to vote for from our supposed representatives and the only reason you are hearing about my idea is because I innocently expected some other original mind to come up with it before me. I got fed up waiting really. My particular planet is a lonely place and i simply wonder how many more thinkers like me exist on it. There’s not a lot of evidence so far so it can be a frightening place to be . All those people who do not vote? Who are they? They’re all waiting for an original idea to get their teeth into.

      • giordanobruno February 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

        See my reply to Jude above.
        You seem like a reasonable man and I’m not knocking you for trying to come up with something. Tell me how you see it becoming a reality. In what possible scenario?

        • paddykool February 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

          Gio…that’s the bit I need help with!

          • paddykool February 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

            Gio , Jude et all :
            Given the seven hoops Mr. Haass had to jump through before arriving at a place of no compromise after slaving for six months to produce a rather woolly and innocuous paper, clipped of cojones, for our politicians to further savage or finally, totally ignore…all at our expense, I might add, I have no doubts about the enormity of the task of chipping through frozen skulls to somehow provide a doorway for them all to escape through, while saving face.
            The stadium idea , I thought , gave them all that possibility. A compromise that takes the sting out of facing an uncertain future for marchers /walkers of every stripe and protects the rest of us from their worst excesses..
            I suppose if Haass can’t work with them we’ll need some even more expert guidance. These politicians are heading for a cliff-edge and are dragging us with them………again while we pay the bills.

  32. paddykool February 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Jude et al ….Just thought I’d let you know that I finally got around to uploading and publishing the whole piece which led to the “Marching Stadium” idea. If you have some time to waste it’s at :

    Any comment appreciated.

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