Like Oliver, the DUP wants more


I was on BBC Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster’s Talkback yesterday discussing the latest DUP kite. No, sorry, that should have been ‘initiative’. As Liam Clarke pointed out in the front-page story of the Belfast Telegraph, the DUP plans to press for, among other things, legislation that would “protect the right to march” and limit the ability of residents’ groups to object.

Under a number of headings this makes as much sense as walking around with a paper bag over your head reciting ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’. What everybody knows or should know is that where there’s a difference of view between marchers and residents, the only answer will come through an agreement that treats both sides with respect. It would appear the DUP have given up on that. What they want is more muscle in the ranks of the marchers and a gag in the mouth of the residents. Can you think of a better recipe for disaster?

There’s one of two ways to interpret this latest DUP move. The first is that they sincerely believe that this enhancement of the right to march (anywhere?) is what justice demands, in which case they’ve an odd idea of justice. The second is that they know full well that this call for legislation that’ll sweep the road clear for the happy marchers won’t get anywhere at Westminster, but they believe that their demands for the croppies to lie down or at least step aside will be met with enthusiasm by a substantial segment of the electorate. This will out-flank the PUP and the TUV and garner them more votes  on 7 May. It’s hard to know whether the arrogance of the first interpretation is worse than the cynicism of the second.

During the Talkback programme, the number of people who called in and said the DUP was disaster-bound was surprising and encouraging in equal measure. A number of them – and Winston Irvine – said that they were convinced the DUP had miscalculated and that their posturing as superprod defenders of all things marching would not find an echo in the bosom of unionist voters.

Me, I’m afraid I’m a bit more cynical. Just as the media can encourage the public to think in given ways about any situation, so I think the DUP with its proposal is encouraging and affirming those who want to boot the residents out of the way and march where and when they want.

Not all the phone calls to Talkback were positive. At least one caller insisted that the residents’ groups were being manipulated and intimidated by ‘dissident’ republicans who were intent on playing the role of super-taig in this matter. In other words, the problem lay with the residents, not the marchers. It would appear the DUP agree.

Looming behind all this, of course, is the whole marching tradition. When we speak of the Orange Order we’re talking about an anti-Catholic, reactionary force in Irish politics, founded on the death of some thirty Catholics, opposed to Catholic Emancipation in 1829 and the Great Reform Act in 1832, the source, as Andy Boyd’s book Holy War in Belfast catalogues, of repeated scenes of public disorder and even death throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, right up to the Garvaghy Road and Camp Twaddell. That’s not to say that all Orangemen are bigots. Many – even most – simply want a day of crack and excitement to break up the summer. But the organisation that is giving them this is one that has divided the Irish people for centuries and continues to bring out the worst in  a lot of people. As for the need to have 2,000+ marches a year to celebrate the victory at the Boyne and to have enhanced legislation to see those marches happen: the Orange state may have been dismantled but the outer trappings are alive and pounding our highways. And now the DUP has indicated they need more room on those highway, step aside, fenian,  if you don’t want trampled on.

Some people seem determined to nip reconciliation and reasonableness in the bud.

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21 Responses to Like Oliver, the DUP wants more

  1. neill April 18, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Some interesting points lets discuss them

    But the organisation that is giving them this is one that has divided the Irish people for centuries and continues to bring out the worst in a lot of people
    Very convenient to blame the division of the people of Ireland on the Orange order especially if you come of a republican background and strangely no mention of the actions of groups on the Nationalist side that helped cause divisions.

    The DUP looking after its political interests what`s wrong with that many people on here were supportive of SF looking after their own interests and yet when a unionist party does the same they are in the wrong.

    As for marches what can be done probably not much now that we are in a election cycle over the next year and nobody will compromise now.

    Some people seem determined to nip reconciliation and reasonableness in the bud.
    Yeah just like the Raymond McCreesh play park that was a sign of reasonableness now wasn’t it?

    • Jude Collins April 18, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      Thanks for thoughts, neill: some interesting points so lets discuss them…

      Of course there are divisive forces within nationalism and republicanism – but none with anything approaching the clout of the OO. I don’t think there’s many would dispute that.
      Yes, it’s quite legitimate to look after your party’s interests – but if the way you do it is to deepen divisions and encourage the OO to believe it can do what it pleases, then that’s being cynical and divisive.
      As for the marches – you’re right, the DUP and no other unionist party would dare encourage moderation let alone cancellation of a single march; which says something for the clout the OO has within unionism.
      I think the Raymond McCreesh thing has been hyped for political advantage. You may not believe me when I say that but that’s the truth as I see it. To republicans McCreesh is a heroic figure. To unionists he is the opposite. Just as to anti-monarchists Prince Charles is a joke while to monarchists he is a respected figure. And to Catholics Queen Victoria is the Famine Queen and to unionists she is honoured and remembered. I think we all have to accept that people have revered figures we’re not fond of but that other people have the right to have them. Royal Avenue, King’s Hall, Prince Charles’s Way, etc etc…Nobody’s agitating for a name change of these, nor is anyone saying it’s a disgrace that the Famine Queen’s statue sits in front of city hall. So would it not be OK for nationalists/republicans to have a wee play park named in Newry?

      • Ryan April 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

        Its also interesting to note that when the Park in Newry was named after Raymond McCreesh Sinn Fein wasn’t the majority on the council, the SDLP and the unionists were. It took a whole 14 years for the Unionists on the council to make a big fuss of the Park being named after McCreesh….

        Personally, I don’t agree that a park should’ve been named after Raymond McCreesh, a main street or a large venue would’ve been better but I don’t agree with the Park being renamed now either.

    • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai April 18, 2015 at 11:18 pm #

      In response to your assertion it’s “very convenient to blame the division of the people of Ireland on the Orange Order” kindly deal with the following:-

      01: Eversince its formation, the Loyal Orders have been at the forefront of opposing equality for Irish Catholics in our island of Ireland homeland; see futher details at para 13 here

      02: The Loyal Orders were founded in 1795 on the basis of sectarian violence and hatred toward Irish Catholics in Armagh?

      03: 12th July 1797, 8 Catholic Militia men were murdered during clashes at the first recorded Orange Order parade in Stewartstown, Aghalee, County Kerry – are you aware of this Neil Y/N?

      04: 12th July 1849, 80 Catholics were killed and many Catholic homes were burnt as a massive Orange Order parade marched through rural Dolly’s Brae district outside Castlewellan – were you aware of this and numerous other murderous OO parades, Neil?

      05: Throughout the history of the Loyal Orders there has been numerous muderous parades across Ireland. On 12th July 1886, over 30 people were killed in Belfast and many properties destroyed during prolonged clashes flowing from Orange Order parades trying to force their way through Catholic districts. On 12th July 1921, 23 people were killed in Belfast and over 200 Catholic homes destroyed following clashes which erupted due to Orange Order parades; see a fuller outline of the murderous history of OO parades

      06: The Orange Order is a policial imperialist organisation which uses religion to stoke division amongst Irish Nationalists/Republicans and Unionists/Loyalists. This it does in the form of parading and other manifestations of outright anti-Catholic bigotry and anti-Irish racism – if ever the OO becomes a genuine Christian fraternity it will robustly confront its bigoted bands, the burning of Catholic effigies and Irish symbols on 12th July bonfires and furthermore it will stop its representatives frequent attacks on the Irish language and Irish culture… but alas don’t hold your breath on this ever happening.

    • John April 19, 2015 at 2:18 am #

      neill – Can you simply explain to me why the Orange Order feels the need – and why it feels it has the right to hold over 2,000 marches per year – celebrating the death of Republicans. Openly taunting Nationalist areas, driving the Policing bill sky-high. Burning thousands of tyres – thereby creating health-hazards for people of both communities – children especially (asthma etc) – not to mention the cost to the atmosphere due to pollution. Thugs wanting a day out, starting on the beer at 9am – Out come the Riot Vans. On and on and on it goes. Year after year after year.
      Now we hear that “We’ll do a deal with the Tories if….”

      It absolutely bemuses me how the Unionist Parties see all of the above as a god-given right – and do you ever stop to think how people from all cultures around the World view your ‘brethren’. – Do you ever?

  2. giordanobruno April 18, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Another wrong headed move by the DUP.
    However,by my (quick) calculation about 1 in 7 of the adult population here voted for the DUP in the last assembly elections. The Orange Order itself only has around 30,000 members.
    There must be some cause for encouragement there.
    The notion that the protestant population as a whole like this kind of thing is simplistic and I hope wrong, and I am sure you are not implying that.
    How to get the silent 50% to vote is the problem in my view.

    • Jude Collins April 18, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

      Far from implying it, gio. I’m just fearful that the DUP’s calculation that there’d be sufficient boneheads out there who’d cry Hooray to their move. And yes, the OO is just 30,000 – but note how its rep went into formal talks as part of the DUP delegation. Disheartening and alarming in equal measure.

  3. daniel moran April 18, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi. It is encouraging to find the scales may be lifting from unionist/loyalist voters eyes about the DUP. Nigel Dodds has demonstrated that nothing short of a return to the old norn iron pre-troubles when the SS RUC made sure the orange bigots got their way. Nice to see that when the germans marched through polish towns and cities they had stolen from the Poles, and to gloat, they took their cue from our lot of fascists here. Lovely people in the DUP/ OO innit? I agree that most of the rural members of the OO are respectful of locals when marching. it’s the urban ones that are the bad apples.

  4. Perkin Warbeck April 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    The Orange Order to which you allude today, Esteemed Blogmeister, can hardly be the same cultural organisation of the jolly July stomp which was always guaranteed saturation coverage in The Unionist Times in the not so dim and dimwitted past.

    If in fact it turns out they are the one and the Sammy, they how times have indeed changed.

    Back in the Eighties and Nineties (19-) it was customary to the point of being obligatory for the entire staff of The Unionist Times on the eve of the Twalfth to board the specially hired Orange Blossom Special at (gulp) Connolly Station and head north of the Black Pig’s Dyke. Leaving only the AM behind. That would be the Answering Machine.

    How we loyal readers on Liffeyside would eagerly await the return of our favourite warm correspondents. from their overnight assignment spent embedded in the bosom of the billy boys in bowler hats and the moustacioed men from Del Monte in sashes

    Hey, look a-yonder coming
    Coming on down the track
    It’s the Orange Blossom Special
    Bringing their copy back.

    How we’d eye-devour their health-giving and glowing accounts which supplemented our glasses of Tropicana,our boiled eggs, tea and toast generously smothered with butter and orange marmalade at the breakfast table the following AM. .

    It was hard even at times to keep up with the breathless sentences of approval , Sousa-like sentences which seemed to march in the mind’s ear in time to the life-affirming LOLs as they fifed and drummed with hearts of pure snow, shoes of stoutest steel and linen gloves of white.

    In page after page of prose and photograph, the stiff upper-zipped staff of The Unionist Times caught the carefree spirit of the celebrations with the same unerring aplomb as the drum major caught the descending mace from an astounding height after an intense bout of wrist twist and twirl.

    The core message conveyed was unmistakable: that here was a harmless display of a proud and passionate people, whose business was all about celebration and in no way related to intimidation. As soothing as a nursery rhymei itself, as harmless indeed as the opening verse of ‘ Mary had a little lambeg drum’.

    Truly was The Unionist Times the true blue Agent Orange south of the Boyne Water and verily did they fulfill their mission with supreme effect. That their herbicidal editorials and defoitiaing columnists were astonishingly successful in denuding the mental landscape in the Free Soutehrn Stateen of the myths, shibboleths and deusions of the native mind-set vis a vis the separated breds is all too apparent.

    Not for nowt is The Orange Blossom Special now decommissioned and housed in a Transport of Joy Exhibition.

    To conclude with a short anecdote for the benefit of those too young to recall those light hearted and headed days. So they might get a better grip on the mind set and badger sets alike of the times. An anecdote from the world of golf as told by Phil Mickleson.

    When Lefty was a rookie on the pro circuit the Big Wheel was The Great White Shark. At one of his earliest tournamens he witnessed Greg Norman (for it was he !) sucking on a orange, having tossed the peel away. Which led a breathless fan to pounce upon the discarded item and to proclaim in a voice tilting with an orgasmic thrill: ‘I’ve got Greg Norman’s orange peel ! I’ve got Greg Norman’s orange peel’.

    For that breathless fan read the staff (entire) of The Unionist Times.

    Nowadays, it is not so much what TUT says as what it doesn’t say. Although Orange and Umbrage might well form the basis of a happy rhyming couplet they are never to be seen within a roar of Roaring Meg of each other in that august organ of record.

    Umbrage being the plutonium of emotions, is jealously reserved for mattes of a much graver import. Like demanding, on the one red hand, that a Shinner be turfed out of Dail E. while berating the Shinners of Norneverland on the other red hand for not taking their places in the House of C.

    Btw, odd how the peeler and the orange are invariably in close proximity.

    • ben madigan April 19, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

      talking of the orange blossom special Perkin I am sure you will appreciate this

      • Perkin Warbeck April 21, 2015 at 6:17 am #

        Muchas buiochas, ben madigan.!

        Cannot see lines like

        ‘with bigotry of such power
        that it brings forth the Orange Sour’.

        making it Squeeze of the Month for The Unionist Times, however..

        Cannot think of higher praise ! Ar fheabhas.

        One good churn deserves an udder, it is said. So you’ll no doubt be interested to take a look at a documentary shown on TG4 last week on one of the great conundrums/ conundra of Irish politics: Engima de Bhlaghd.

        Though born and reared in an orange grove of Antrim he, Ernest Blythe, as a young journalist left his job with the North Down Herald and went down to the Kerry Gaeltacht in the Dingle Peninsula to work as a farm labourer and learn Irish.

        Though not mentioned in the documentary he eventually, after a circuitous route, fetched up as a columnist on the weekly Irish-language weekly in Dublin, INNIU.

        His pen name was: Beann Mhadagain.

  5. Ryan April 18, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    The DUP know they have no chance of getting the Conservatives or Labour to pass a “Right to March” law. Do you honestly think the British Government will want to spark off Drumcree again? That’s not to mention agreeing to such a law would be such an obvious act of undermining the nationalist population here and previous agreements made.

    What this matter highlights the most is the DUP’s supremacist attitude. I was going to say it is very Nazi like but I’m sure some will say I’m over egging it but I don’t think I’m over egging it when I say its comparable to the attitude of Whites towards Blacks in the southern states of the USA in 1960’s and before. This attitude of “the taigs/catholics should know their place” is as well and truly alive today as it was in the 1960’s and the decades before.

    When it comes to the Orange Order I honestly cant think of one thing in which they contribute positively to community relations here. As mentioned in this article, the Orange Order has a history of deep rooted hatred of Catholics that goes back centuries and I’m definitely not over egging it to say, historically, the Orange Orders hatred of Catholics is akin to that of Nazi hatred of the Jews. I’m sure there’s many decent people in the Orange Order but I’m afraid I cant bring myself to say the same thing about its current (and previous) leadership, especially when you think of Drumcree and the deaths caused by their insistent demands to march where they clearly aren’t welcome, deaths such as the 3 Quinn children who were burnt to death by the UVF because the Orange men couldn’t march.

    It doesn’t take Einstein to work out the DUP are either run by the Orange Order or are heavily influenced by it. Unfortunately for the Orange Order its the year 2015, not 1715, Westminster wont be passing anymore anti-Catholic laws (though it still has the Act of Settlement).

    For an organisation that claims its Christian, you would think the Orange Order would maybe start to act like it….

  6. moser April 18, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    Disheartening that people/person actually try to justify this rubbish on this blog. ‘re: Raymond McCreesh and the hunger strikers. The hunger strike was inclusive and not exclusive: political status for all political prisoners. BIG difference. The hunger strikers will always be revered among nationalists: and quite rightly so!

    • neill April 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      Which frankly says a lot about your community doesn’t it?

  7. ben madigan April 18, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    Nice to see you citing Andrew Boyd ‘s work Jude. I can assure he would be delighted to see his research lives on after his death. Close to the end of his life while news of Flegger riots was broadcast on the TV and radio he himself said “I did my best to stop it all”

    Strangely enough I blogged on a similar topic just a few hours before you and have taken the liberty of inserting a couple of your thoughts, with due acknowledgement of course in the reference list

    i suppose it could be considered “a companion piece”as it looks at a wider perspective

    • Jude Collins April 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

      Thanks Ben – great minds etc…

  8. Antonio April 18, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    You know a political philosophy is in trouble when it’s elected leaders appeal so much to those who think parade s are an election issue

  9. RJC April 19, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    I think the old ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce’ adage is increasingly proven correct when one looks at the ongoing and largely futile attempts by the Orange Order to be allowed to march wherever they want whenever they want.

    The arrogance/cynicism displayed by the DUP in relation to this is certainly disheartening but hardly surprising. Sometimes I find the best approach to the OO/DUP is to just point and laugh. It’s 2015. Do these people not realise how utterly ridiculous they appear? Dirty Dodds getting hit with a brick thrown by one of his own was just the beginning. LOL indeed.