Stop pressing the button


I’ve just read a Belfast Telegraph piece by Ed Curran in which he laments the fact that, forty years on from when he was a young journalist, we’re heading into another summer of marching chaos. There’s talk of the need for compromise, of the hardliners in Ardoyne  who don’t want any parade at any time, of the Twaddell camp that’s costing the tax-payer absurdly large sums of money as they insist on their right to ‘march home’.  Nowhere in the BT piece do I find what is the obvious solution.

Which is? End marching. All of it. Now. “What? But that’s the culture of the Orange Order and other loyal orders! You can’t just close that down!”  Well , let’s think of the consequences of not closing it down. There’ll be huge expense of PSNI time and personnel. There’s a good chance there’ll be public disorder. Maybe injuries, maybe even, God forbid, death.  Public feeling will be whipped up to boiling-over point, community relations lacerated.

Nobody would pretend that any of these consequences are good. Yet they occur, as Ed Curran points out, every year, again and again and again. If our society keeps pressing the same button annually and giving itself the same electric shock, the solution to the problem should be obvious: stop pressing the button.

That’s not to say that the average Orangeman should be told to go home and burn his sash and regalia,  that the day’s outing on the Twelfth is over.  Summers in this part of Ireland can be long and dreary, and the opportunity to meet with one’s friends and have a celebration of those events that mean something, plus maybe a bottle or two of stout,  a few sandwiches, an ice cream cone  – that’s not really too much to ask. But all of these could be enjoyed AT the field. When I go to a concert or a play  or film to enjoy myself, I don’t have the streets before me cleared and march in pomp to the point of celebration. Especially if I know that my progress will inflame those inconvenienced by my procession.

So let’s stop trying to do the splits and going on about on the one hand, on the other hand. Year after year, marching during the summer sends a damaging charge through this society. So let’s just stop doing it, since it’s obviously harmful. Let those participating in Orange Order events proceed from A to B, from their home to the field or place of celebration, in the normal way – by foot, by car, by bus, by bicycle. Do whatever you feel like or you think needs doing while you’re there. Then get back on the bus/bike/car and go home. Peacefully.

It’d never work? Maybe that’s because it’s never been tried. Try it for three successive years, and see if it doesn’t do something good for this society. I’m confident that skipping the restless legs thing would be a gain for everyone, but if I’m wrong I’ll be the first to admit it. All I’m saying is, try it. We’ve tinkered and tweaked and tried everything else. Isn’t it about time we tried the obvious?

76 Responses to Stop pressing the button

  1. neill June 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Ah good to see you understand cultural diversity perhaps you can discuss with your friends in SF about how much they cost Northern Irelands economy by blowing it to pieces of course that is in the past and has to be forgiven…

    • Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      Neill, Neill, Neill – why don’t we look at one thing at a time? Have you a better solution for a summer of tranquillity and enjoyment?

      • neill June 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

        I enjoy summer in Northern Ireland I play golf have bbqs spend time with the family just like the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland do so my summers are very tranquil.

        As for looking at one thing at the time perhaps look at the economic damage the bombing campaign did to Northern Ireland economy

        • RJC June 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

          Neill, just out of interest – what is to be gained from looking at the economic damage caused by a bombing campaign which ended 15 years ago?

          • neill June 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

            The late 60`s and 70`s was a boom period in Northern Ireland the bombing campaign forced lots of these companies out and the economy collapsed now the economy has to be rebuilt from the bottom and will cost more to fix than any orange parade still if you don’t wish to think about this fair enough.

          • RJC June 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

            It’s not that I don’t wish to think about this, Neill – I just don’t understand what is to be gained by fixating upon it. We can’t change the past. We can however, change the future.

  2. Paul Devlin June 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Or how about just one day of marching a year. One designated day. Each march is exactly the same, same dreary tunes, same quasi-military bands, same dour faces and always the same point. So why not just give them one day a year when they can knock themselves out doing marching marathons up and down every road, alley, boreen and mountain.

  3. RJC June 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Alternatively, for those who would equate the OO with the GAA, let’s stage the inter-club championships in town centres and through housing estates. Might make passing the ball a bit difficult, mind…

    • Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      I like that one, RJC. Only woudn’t that hint at tit for tat?

      • RJC June 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

        Well, exactly. “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” as the bould Mahatma so wisely put it.

  4. Iolar June 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Lose our Quango’s. Perish the thought. Disinterested listeners to ‘Sunday Sequence’ (15 June 2014) had to struggle as the level of decibels from the chair of the Community Relations Council soared exponentially in relation to any attempt to analyse the reality of segregation, division, sectarianism and racism in this part of the world. It would be interesting to examine the ‘jobs for the boys and girls’ syndrome in the establishment of Quangos. Who decides the composition of such groups? What criteria is used to include and exclude people? Patrick Kavanagh claimed to have met the Devil once. He described him thus, “Solemn…/He was a man the world would appoint to a Board…/He would be on the list of invitees for a bishop’s garden party…/For he was conscious of being uncreative.” Stop pressing the button? Remember Luke Kelly’s song? “I am the man, the well fed man in charge of the terrible knob, the most pleasing thing about it, it’s almost a permanent job… .”

  5. Sean.R June 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    In an ideal world eh jude lol The reality is accountability needs to be imposed. If the Order decides to coatrail where it wishes let them foot the bill simple. Also accountability for the actions of its members, an Orangeman was convicted recently for the attempted murder of a Catholic teenager in Antrim. In the United States KKK members murdered a young african american who was on his way home from buying milk. The link between KKK incitement due to literature they produced and the killing was made. The young African americans family took the KKK to court and sued them for 60 million bucks. The KKK were bankrupted.

  6. neill June 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    SF should be worried if the above was attempted on them ; )

    • Sean.R June 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Sinn Fein does not profess to be a Christian fraternal Institution…….

      • neill June 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

        yes that is correct in the past they didn’t sign up to thou shall not kill….

        • Sean.R June 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

          Sinn Fein as you know were quite straight regarding what they were about. They done what it said on the tin so to speak. The Orange Order on the otherhand used the mask of Christianity to hide its Sectarian bigotry. This same Christian Institution can lay claim to having members who were involved in the Glenanne Gang while being Police Officers and British soldiers while murdering the people they were supposed to serveing and protecting. The Order can lay claim to members who were a part of Britians worst gang of serial killers, the Order can lay claim to countless sectarian murderers and gunrunners. The list is endless, i must admit im enjoying their narritive of victimhood the day is coming when this little Christian Fraternal Institutions deceit is going to be exposed once and for all for all the world to see….. and im sure you will enjoy it when it happens Neill lol

        • ANOTHER JUDE June 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

          Unlike the Unionists of course, Quakers all.

  7. Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    You’re shuffling away from the point, Neill. Not a good sign, that…

    • neill June 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Far from it my summers are tranquil why should I change anything?

      • Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

        So it’s I’m-all-right-Jack then, is that your core philosophy?

        • neill June 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

          Once again if marching doesnt effect my tranquil summer life why would i wish to change anything?

  8. Billy June 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Neill, the only things booming in Ballymurphy in the late 60s and early 70s were the rifles of the British Army as they shot innocent people

    • neill June 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

      Nothing has ever boomed in Ballymurphy bar perhaps post office robberies….

  9. Sean.R June 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Neill must be away to collect for this years fleg burnings, i wonder what holy relics will be getting defaced and burnt this year. I wonder will there be any muslim flegs or Polak flegs on the bonnie this year. Lets hope theres a fenian chapel near the bonnie just incase anyone needs a pish while singing the famine song with a bottle of bucky in hand. And dont forget respect our kulture cause respect is given when its demanded isnt it. Away and play with the buses Neil but here dont burn them when you dont get coattrailing past the shops eh…….. I never got why you celebrate a battle that was fought in a foreign country anyway eh…….

    • neill June 17, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

      You stay classy Sean still you sound quite the victim those bad orangeman enough to give you nightmares……

    • Baxter h June 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

      Put that in your pipe Neil….

  10. paddykool June 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Jude :For gawdsakes ,Jude , ..I go away for five minutes to mow the lawn and you’ve got yourself into a whole ruckus about marching again!!! ….neill in the thick of it too !! Didn’t we sort that all out months ago? { way before the marching Season was imminent!!!!} ..ah well …Groundhog Day again……

  11. Patrick Fahy June 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    The answer to the problem created by marches through contested areas is so obvious as not to require restating. The cure for the unionist attachment to domination over their neighbours which the marches represent is harder to find. Until they learn that they share this place as equals with their nationalist/ republican neighbours and must behave accordingly we are doomed to constant friction and worse

  12. giordanobruno June 17, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    As paddy says this is familiar ground, almost a traditional route for you now.
    Next paddy’s stadium will be coming out again.
    I agree that your idea is sound reasonable and fair. But it wont happen because it would require legislation and no Unionist party (possibly even non Unionist parties too) will vote for it.
    It would be great if we all stopped fussin’ and feudin’ and had a group hug, but that wont happen either.
    Practical solution needed. Smart boy wanted.

    • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

      Ahhh Gio …My “Marching Stadium”….surely a timely reminder !!! Ha Ha! There’s still time before the spend all that allotted money on some of Boris Johnston’s second -hand water cannons !!

      • Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

        Damn. I’d hoped they’d forgotten your stadium. That way my ‘just go to the field’ might have sounded more thorough, PK. And if this sounds like a traditional route, we return to it so often, about a millisecond of thought should tell you that’s because the bloody marching absurdity comes ploughing down our streets every year.

    • Jude Collins June 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

      No group hug required, gio. Just common sense.

      • giordanobruno June 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

        Just common sense? Sounds easy then. Seen a lot of common sense in this part of the world have you?
        So describe the scenario you envisage when this is being discussed at Stormont.
        What are the steps required to make it happen.?

        • RJC June 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

          Disbanding Stormont might be a start…

  13. ANOTHER JUDE June 17, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    The Orange will never change, why should they when their masters across the water are as guilty of religious bigotry as they are? Until Britain drops it`s outdated hateful anti Catholic law prohibiting a Papist from becoming head of state then the Orange will have no incentive to come into the twentieth, never mind the twenty first century. The pot bellied street generals and politicians who dress up in their regalia and head bricks in the summer time may be fools but they are Britain`s fools.

  14. ben madigan June 17, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Jude – I’m afraid your idea of buses, taxis etc is a NO NO for the orange order
    “It has been shown that even travelling by bus past certain areas is sufficient for some people to attack those of our tradition”.
    Paddy’s Queen’s Highway Stadium would probably be refused out of hand

    It’s marchin’ only as far as they are concerned.Along their so called “traditional routes”!
    When was one minority group’s idea of “tradition” ever accepted as a valid reason for doing nothing to prevent social disorder?

    Is there no authority that can over rule their decisions?
    Stormont with its over-represention of orangemen through all the Unionist parties is a no runner.
    The Parades Commission simply says “thus far and no further”

    Can no one in Ireland, the UK, the EU, prevent this 2% of the population from wreaking havoc with all its associated financial and social costs ?

    • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

      hiya Ben …howya doing’? What about making the “Traditional Routes” more interesting in a festive, annual sort of way…..You know, instead of spending all that money on policing and rioting….why not set up a sort of fairground/ obstacle course to entertain both “walkers” and put upon spectators…….you know…to get………..
      From A to Z you have to weave through a specially set up “Tunnel of Love” …..moving right on to specially constructed water chute/flume…(swimming sashes optional)…….stepping right this way… a rollicking Roller Coaster Ride…..and so on till they all get to the other side where they climb, sated and soaked into the blessed security of their waiting coaches……everyone….spectators included…happily cheering the end of another great 12th Jamboree……….Spectators laughing merrily as they arm in arm down to the pub….laughing at a day well spent…..another day well spent ……Coaches take off for the Field where tea and sandwiches are eaten and wet clothes and ashes are wrung out ….bowler hats buffed to gleaming shine……

      • ben madigan June 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

        Hi paddy – exam session drawing to a close tomorrow – final adjustments to last set paper today – ready to go!! hope all goes well for students!
        Like your idea of a 12th carnival The Ghost train would be the big highlight of the day – orangemen whisked along – high speed rail just like they’re building in England -straight to the Field. Visions of Orange triumphs to speed them on their way!, King Billy hologram – no holograms – on white horse, off white horse, brandishing sword, no weapon – full sound track – marching bands at full volume, free to urinate where they want (cleaning included in ticket)
        What joy! no aching feet. no pinching “good “shoes, no marching miles and miles and miles – after all they are getting to be elderly gentlemen

        On a more serious note – they would have to agree! Don’t see that happening any time soon.

        Personally speaking I would have agreed to some re-routing (e.g. spare St pat’s – why not turn up clifton st instead of down, turn left at carlisle circus, march thru Loyalist estate , out on to shankhill and down north st?) but am getting past desire to be confined at home while belfast goes on lockdown over 11th night and 12th and ordinary taxpayers pick up bill for social unrest caused by orange intransigence and bigotry.

        Anyway the number of parades should be scaled right back to 1950s numbers – they want a return of the Orange State – well here you are,gentlemen!!Can you imagine what would happen if all “new” “traditional parades” since the 60s were declared illegal?

  15. michael c June 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    I certainly recall orangemen being attacked while travelling by bus.While returning from a demonstration they stopped on the Glenshane pass in the heart of South Derry to wreck a newly erected Sinn Fein election hoarding.However to their total surprise a number of irate locals arrived on the scene in a matter of seconds and the brethern ran to their now windowless bus without any attempt to “make a stand for Ulster.So used were they to putting the taigs in their place in vulnerable areas of Belfast that someone neglected to tell them that the”badlands” west of the Bann were a different proposition altogether.!

    • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Ben….Ahhhhh but that is the very point. …They wouldn’t have an option to agree… it would be built right there on a stretch of their “Traditional Route” …before the day….and then there jwould be no option other than to get on with it. each year there could be a different mystery ride or journey…..a surprise to test the heart and pulse the muscles, !!,Everyone could join in with the design and Craig ……It would take the sting out of it…..Reintroduce the Ministry of Silly Walks and have John Cleese as a special guest star! ….C’mon….let’s get this thing organised!!!

  16. Keith June 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    Jude – your view regarding the banning of all marches is at odds with your friends in Sinn Fein. The leadership of Sinn Fein have often stated that the Orange Order can march where ever they like, just not through nationalist areas where they are not wanted.

    We as a society will never move forward until the elephant in the room, that is the orange order, is dealt with and addressed appropriately. No normal functioning society can cope with an organistaion of the ilk of the orange order. The nationalist population should not have to put up with 1 orange march promoting intolerance and division never mind a whole summer of these so called festivities.

    Can you imagine the outcry from human rights activists in the USA if the KKK where granted the right to assemble and march on a regular basis through the state of Alabama.

    The solution will never come internally when we have a government party that was recently revealed to have 60% of its elected representatives members of the same organisation. We need an independent/international body to review the whole concept of orangism to determine if it is fit for the 21st century.

    • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

      That should be Craig…..not Craig…..How did that slip in? …….

      • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

        Actually that should be Craig….not Craig or even Craig!! Bloody keypad!

        • paddykool June 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

          Actually that should be Craic…….not Craig, Craig or Craig…….

    • ben madigan June 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

      glad to see you agree keith and that some authority should be able to organise things a bit better – now we just have to identify a suitable organization/body/authority

    • Jude Collins June 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

      Keith – I’m aware that ‘ my friends in SF’ (I’ve a suspicion that was meant as a slight but I’ll not take it as one) are not in line with my thinking on the OO. Fine. Diversity is OK with me. Actually my proposal is a sort of half-way house: scrap the marching, hang onto the celebration. I know there are thousands of decent Orangemen who don’t see themselves as bigots and simply use the day for an outing, so I’d be in favour of facilitating them. I accept your more radical suggestion has merit, even logic; but I’m keen to move things forward while maintaining some sort of decent relations with people who are my fellow- countrymen and women.

  17. Am Ghobsmacht June 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    I am surprised that no one has tried lawsuits.

    Surely there must be some sort of legal obligation or duty of care regarding the application for parades?

    If so, then could this not be exploited?

    Now, I say this as someone who doesn’t want to see the parade culture banned (or relegated to a big field or stadium) but at the same time I’m sick of the hangers-on, the underbelly and the sloppy shoulders that accompanies carnival season.

    Part of the problem is that as usual they (and other unionists) see it as a sop to SF.

    Neill just demonstrated this wonderfully:

    Bystander: “The Problem NOW is that some of the parades are controversial and some people really do suffer on account of them”

    Unionist: “Well, SF blew stuff up. So there! There’s no need to make the parades more civilised!”

    The evils of SF and the Provos are really no reason to insist on sloppy standards for parades.

    Furthermore, IF it is ‘The Queen’s Highway’ then does that not by its very nature imply the necessity for some sort of dignity and code of conduct?

    Any wonder she seldom invites them to the Palace “I’m afraid gents, after the terrible mess you made of my highways I’ve no intention of letting you near my castles. Plus some of Philip’s family are of ‘the non-reformed faith’ so I can’t have you upsetting him….”

  18. paddykool June 17, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    There’s more …Local employment opportunities too. just like Glastonbury….Every year the locals get to make a mint …Fleecing and feeding the marching visitors with all kinds of exotic sandwiches and candyfloss…funny hats and novelty items ….not to mention jobs as barkers, Stewart’s , maintenance men and general fixer uppers on marching route site….endless possibilities for local reward with a little imagination!! Let’s go for it!

    • Pointis June 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

      Paddykool, do you think there could be a possible amendment to your marching stadium idea?

      With all this marching in circles inside the stadium would it not be possible to incorporate an underfoot conveyor belt energy recovery system to tap some of the energy from the marching feet which could be used to power the funfair rides and ice cream vans?

      Your stadium could then boast “the future is not just orange, it is also green”!

      • paddykool June 18, 2014 at 7:40 am #

        Pointis : I love that….an amendment…a fully “green” eco- powered “routemaster” ….come to think of it , my neighbour recently installed very eco-friendly solar panels on his roof….we could build that idea into it too….show the world that we might be crackers but we’ve got great imagination and we’re forward thinking to boot! A small step in saving the planet folks ….all by a Traditional Route!!!!!

        • Pointis June 18, 2014 at 8:41 am #

          Paddykool, your plan is totally underrated! What would be the likely capacity of the marching stadium? Too many in there and you could end up with an “orange crush”!

  19. Billy June 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    Neill, there were no post offices in Ballymurphy in the late 60s and early 70s to be robbed……

    • neill June 18, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      You keep dreaming Munster man if it keeps you happy

      • North Munsterman June 18, 2014 at 8:06 am #

        You keep marching neill – we’ll handle the rest.

        • neill June 18, 2014 at 8:35 am #

          Really from Southern Ireland concentrate on paying your bills old boy

          • Pointis June 18, 2014 at 8:47 am #

            Punctuation missing there!

            Explanation mark after Really. Capital F on from. Full stop after Ireland and capital C on concentrate. Finally full stop or exclamation mark at end of sentence.

      • RJC June 18, 2014 at 8:09 am #

        ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see’

        • neill June 18, 2014 at 8:37 am #

          Is that your best argument? ah well so much for cultural diversity…

          • Am Ghobsmacht June 18, 2014 at 8:50 am #


            In all seriousness, what is your stance on the marching issue?

            You don’t strike me as someone who is particularly involved in the band scene or OO.

            IF that is the case, well, then what is your opinion on it really?

            Do you see nothing wrong with any of the culture at all or are all the failings of the marching culture simply pale in comparison to those of SF?

            If that is the case, well, pragmatically speaking what is to be done?


            If we can’t do anything about some of the parades because of SF’s past transgressions then where does this stop?

            Should graffiti, litter, muggings etc be sidelined too because the IRA were worse?

            What is your moral water margin and how far above or below the line are the actions of the less desirable elements of the marching culture? (Yes, SF are at the bottom, we get that).

            Please note that you never actually come out and defend the OO or bands, you only ever point out how bad the IRA were.

            So what is your honest thoughts on the matter AT HAND (as in the marching underbelly, not SF/IRA or anyone else, just the OO and the bands)?

          • North Munsterman June 18, 2014 at 8:59 am #

            The good news for you “neill” is that you can still march after Re-unification – no worries there.
            Even better news is that Nationalists are not into lording it over unionists – that’s an Orangey/unionist /colonial thingy.

            We will re-unite our country – of that you can be absolutely certain.

            It’s all good.

          • RJC June 18, 2014 at 9:06 am #

            That wasn’t an argument Neill, it was a quote. What do you mean when you say “so much for cultural diversity”? Ireland will remain a very culturally diverse place in the future I should imagine. I have absolutely no issue with cultural diversity. Supremacism dressed up as culture, on the other hand…

  20. North Munsterman June 18, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    From 2020 onwards, unionists will be the minority in the North – a minority decreasing every year subsequently.
    By 2030, unionists could well dip below the 40% mark in the North and will be about 10% in the whole country.
    The nearer this tipping-point comes, the more desperate the OO and all other unionist fanatics become in a futile attempt to try to hold back the tide.

    The good news is that an increasing number of moderate unionists see the writing on the wall – and this is even worse news for the fanatics who are totally powerless and impotent.

    A Re-United Ireland is inevitable.

    It’s all good.

  21. LapsedIrishNewsReader June 18, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    The Orange Order are marching to celebrate freedom of expression. You know, celebrating that period of the birth of The Enlightenment where it was acceptable to have differing views and be allowed to express them. By writing pieces like this to silence that freedom of expression, you merely make it all the more obvious why those values are needed, and make them all the more determined to defend them.

    If you want to stop “pressing the button” take a look in the mirror, stop misrepresenting the position of themmuns in the endless bigotry written in the Irish News where all you do is egg-on intolerance, and maybe start adopting a few Enlightenment values yourself?

    • Pointis June 18, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      What exactly is “enlightening” about trying to prevent someone getting married to a Catholic or to trying to restrict their rights to attend a Catholic Mass!

      I suppose you will be trying to tell everyone that it is enlightening to prevent people from other backgrounds being able to get a house in a certain area or even a job!

      Check out ‘bigot’ in the dictionary and maybe you will not need a mirror!

  22. neill June 18, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    In relation to marching I have a simple belief that if people want to march and the people who support behave don’t get drunk and show respect I am happy with it if they don’t the culprits should be arrested.

    I am not interested in marching and would rather play golf or just chill out however I would defend the rights of others to enjoy themselves even if I didn’t enjoy it.

    The bottom line is that we have to accept cultural diversity rather than to attempt to smash it to restrict culture to reservations may be humorous to some…

    • Am Ghobsmacht June 19, 2014 at 2:02 pm #


      So, after all that, we find out that you and I (on the subject of marching) are quite similar with the exceptions of you would rather play golf than go to a parade whereas I would go to a parade (or ten) when I’m home and that I’m a lambeg fan?

      So, why did ye not just say at the beginning “lads, I agree with ye on the bad behaviour thing, but you’re out of order on the banning stuff completely idea, wise the bap!”

      Instead you took criticisms of parts of Orange culture as criticisms of EVERYTHING Orange and ergo gave the impression of defending EVERYTHING, including the bits that you don’t actually agree with?

      I appreciate the idea of Presbyterians instinctively sticking up for the underdogs (believe me, I know this) but my goodness, surely logic can intervene now and again?

      If people are saying things that you part agree with then why not part agree back instead of drawing lines in the sand?

      This is why unionism is in a mess, justified criticisms are seen as an attack on the tribe when it’s not (necessarily) the case.

  23. neill June 18, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    That wasn’t an argument Neill, it was a quote. What do you mean when you say “so much for cultural diversity”? Ireland will remain a very culturally diverse place in the future I should imagine. I have absolutely no issue with cultural diversity. Supremacism dressed up as culture, on the other hand…

    Thanks for backing up my statement

    • RJC June 18, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      Neill, I try my best to form my opinions based on facts, views and opinions from a broad range of people, books, articles, films and so on. I’m happy to engage in conversation with you, even though we may be coming at issues from different perspectives, and perhaps hold different points of view. Glib, one line answers to my posts, and the posts of others add little to the debate, and can lead to frustration.

      Am Ghobsmacht has tried to engage you in conversation above but you seem to evade answering any direct questions, choosing instead to post near-meaningless remarks such as “Thanks for backing up my statement” or “You keep dreaming Munster man if it keeps you happy”.

      I value your presence here, as I do not think it would be helpful if everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. I just wish you would engage in debate a little more. Comments like that which you posted above add very little to the conversation.

      • paddykool June 18, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        RJC : Neill has been commenting for some time now but he never actually engages .As you pointed out , those glib one- liners are okay if you are a stand up comedian dealing with hecklers, but they add little to a conversation between friends or associates.They are just a non-committal extension of that old pub banter or that awful bloody noise that passes for politisc in Stormont. Neil has yet to share his thoughts or ideas with anyone here.That takes a certain less- parsimonious , generosity of spirit .

      • Jude Collins June 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

        RJC – I think that’s a v helpful comment. Neil – I admire you: you have the guts to come onto a blogsite where the majority of comments are contrary to your thinking (not to mention the aritlcles) and you’re prepared to defend your corner. But that would be so much more effective if you honestly put forward your views and your reasons for holding them, and then let people examine those and respond in a civilized way. I know it’s tempting to hit people with the odd one-liner but maybe more rational debate is a better route. Like RJC, I value your presence on the site.

        • neill June 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

          I suppose its my Presbyterian upbringing we get to the point without messing around I dont like or have the time to compose long epistles.

          If the long term project is to win soft unionists over to the idea of a united ireland do you think you and your contributors are doing a good job?

          I am just an average bloke whose opinions dont hold any sway whatsover but study unionism and the history of the people who created unionism and then try to understand unionism if you do so then you might understand why there is such an attachment to the orange order and when it is attacked many people who might have no attachment to it suddenly become more supportive of the movement….

          • RJC June 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

            Neill, I live in the heart of a Presbyterian farming community and I daresay my neighbours would laugh if they knew how much time I spend arseing about on the Internet. There’s a lot to be said for the Presbyterian work ethic, and a fair bit of it has rubbed off on me since living here, although for better or for worse I remain a feckless Catholic at heart.

            I couldn’t really say what the motivations of Jude or the various contributors of this site are. I can only speak for myself, and I am here in an attempt to learn more about this strange place in which I have found myself living. In the real world, I speak to my neighbours regularly, and consider them to be friends. We discuss all sorts, including both politics and religion although talk tends towards matters of the day, rather than the sort of discussion which takes place here.

            For what it’s worth, last Friday the annual parade and competition organised by the local band where I live took place. I had planned to attend out of interest more than anything else, but was unable to as I was working away. 55 bands from all over the North were due to take part according to the Parades Commission website, and the town had been covered with flags since about a week or so prior to the parade day.

            I heard an interesting story about it this morning. A Catholic woman from the area who had been living in England for a long time died early last week, and her remains were being brought over by her family for burial here. The removal (first part of the Catholic funeral rite, where the coffin is brought to the church) was due to take place at the same time as the parade. The parade route traditionally passes the Catholic chapel which is located on the edge of town.

            One of the parade organisers, a local Orangeman phoned up the Catholic priest to discuss this matter. Apparently, they had a chat about what best to do and came up with a solution. On the night, the host band marched past the chapel but in silence, as a mark of respect for the dead woman. For the duration of the removal service, no other bands marched past the chapel until the service was over and the final mourner had left.

            These sort of stories don’t get reported in the media, but they’re as much a part of life here as anything that does. I am just an average bloke whose opinions hold no sway either, but we make up the majority of people here. I believe that our similarities far outweigh our differences, and it is through dialogue that we can better come to agreement on the contentious issues. A website such as this helps to facilitate this dialogue, I think.

            For the record, I’m not completely anti-parades etc. I agree with what Jude says above where he asserts “I know there are thousands of decent Orangemen who don’t see themselves as bigots and simply use the day for an outing, so I’d be in favour of facilitating them.” I’d be more or less of this mindset – I just wish people didn’t feel the need to cover my town in Union flags for most of the Summer months. One of my reasons for not liking this is that I have young children, and will soon have to explain to them why this is – I’m not sure that I know how.

            Apologies for the long, waffly post. I should probably do some work 🙂

          • Jude Collins June 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

            Neill – the winning or non-winning of soft unionists is a matter for SF, not me. I do think there is a need to try and understand unionism – but that’s a different matter from accepting unionism and its various practices. There are things much-loved of unionists which are in my view wrong. You may be sure I’m not going to say they’re right in the hope that will encourage some unionists to look more kindly on me. The OO is a case in point. If people do a reflex action and defend it when it is criticised, then I’d say they’re using their instincts and not their brains. I’ve listed several times my reasons for seeing the OO as a divisive force. Not once have critics responded by addressing the points I raise. Instead the normal approach is to tell me I’m a bigot. I have changed my thinking on the OO in that I now accept that there are probably thousands of OO members who don’t consciously espouse the ordinances of the organisation to which they belong. And they want to have a good day out. So I’m suggesting we accept that but get rid of the most obviously divisive part, the marching. If that goes against the unionist grain, I’m sorry but that’s how I see it and I would urge them to re-think it. And/or argue their case. That is what this blogsite should be used for: discussion. I try to make my pieces the catalyst for that discussion.

  24. paddykool June 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    Neil : I don’ t for one minute believe in the idea of “an average bloke”.Your opinion is as important and as educational as anyone’s. This conversation isn’t about converting anyone from soft unionism. It’s a conversation between a bunch of people interested in what makes us all tick.Without that talking we’ll never know the other fella’s point of view.I want to hear your thoughts and ideas , not a bunch of texts from “opinion makers” …The media is full of that. I enjoy different ideas from all sorts of contributors.I might not not agree with everything I read …but it can still be worthwhile. I’m sureI I’ve said it before…you don’t have to have a Napoleon complex to read and enjoy a book about the man…keep contributing.This is not a competition.

  25. Pointis June 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi Neill,

    I know from your point of view this blog site isn’t doing a lot to win soft unionists over to a United Ireland but it is doing a good job of providing a forum where people can converse with each other in a safe and amicable way.

    It could be argued that you and others from a unionist background who continue to contribute with opinions which are at variance with the prevailing slant of the site is a success. As Jude says you deserve credit for taking that step to engage with those you politically oppose when other unionist would choose to despise rather than engage.

    It is nice to see you engage more fully in your opinions. I firmly believe that unionists will overcome their fear of their fellow countrymen and women.

  26. Am Ghobsmacht June 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Dr C

    “Neill – the winning or non-winning of soft unionists is a matter for SF, not me.”

    With respect, I don’t think that even features on their radar.

    If I were to list 5 things that are very off putting to unionists I’m confident SF would tick all those boxes.

    (And yes, ditto unionist parties for nationalists)