PARADES! by George


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I know that greater minds than mine have devoted many hours to this but would this work?

We tell the Loyalists that all the parades they currently have that are not contentious will be copper-plated that status from now on by the Parades Commission! (assuming acceptable standards of behaviour are adhered to, of course). No last minute rush to get a slew of contentious parades on the docket now boys – play fair.

We tell the Nationalists that the Loyalists will no longer try to parade along the routes that are contentious. As a one-off concession in Ardoyne to kick off the bonhomie of my brave new world, the Prods get to complete the return leg of their parade but henceforth, they accept a re-route.

Bish, bash, bosh, everyone gets to go home and Jude can celebrate his birthday in peace from now on!

I think why the Prods are so relentless on Ardoyne is that they fear the “erosion”. “If we give in here, where will it end”. If you draw a line in the sand, the erosion ends and so too does the need to rail against it.

Oh it’s probably already been thought of and rejected but what the heck, I thought I would give it a go. It’s amazing the crazy notions you come up with on holiday. Call me a naïve, fool but might it work? Would the Nationalists buy it?


18 Responses to PARADES! by George

  1. Paul Devlin July 31, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    Aside from your contentious use of ‘the Prods’, George, your idea doesn’t take into account demographic/political change plus the ongoing creation of new and usually deliberately provocative parades. The new battlefront is the Upper Ormeau with this Bratty/Elder memorial fiasco. Loyalist parading is, I believe, designed to be an assertion of power and physical presence. The pressure will always be ramped in from one area to another

  2. neill July 31, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    That sounds fairly reasonable to me I certainly would go for that

  3. Cal July 31, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    No community should be forced to host marches they find offensive. Demographic changes will inevitably lead to more contention…

    How about talking face to face in an open and respectful way to the community you want to host your marches ?

    How about refusing to employ paramilitary linked bands ?

    How about signing up to a code of conduct and expel members that fell short of that conduct ?

    How about calling on all members to obey the law of the land and refrain from attacks on police and property ?

    These aren’t insurmountable issues, they were sorted in Derry many years ago. Until the order elsewhere overcomes its supremacist tendencies we won’t go anywhere.

  4. neill July 31, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    So no compromise then?

    • Ceannaire July 31, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

      Well Neill, in Ardoyne there was compromise – up in the morning, no parade in the evening.

      But that is not good enough for Loyalism. It wouldn’t surprise me if that compromise was off the table for next year, considering the events of this year.

    • Cal August 1, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      Gio, are you suggesting, the order’s ‘compromise’ would be to give up marching in a unionist area so they can march in a nationalist one !?

      • giordanobruno August 1, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

        It seems more likely to me than getting them to back down on Ardoyne. After taking their stand at camp Twaddell,it would be a great loss of face were they to pack up and go home without getting to parade up the road.
        I think it would be a smart move by either side to offer a compromise. A resolution woud be good for all those in the area and whichever side did so would be seen to have taken the moral high ground by governments and outside observers.
        Of course it has all been said before and on and on it goes.

  5. billy July 31, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    give them long,kesh as a parade ground free,until a united ireland comes new laws will apply then on parades,

  6. Séamus Ó Néill July 31, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    Neill, let’s be brutally honest here… don’t want compromise here ,you want to stick your sectarian show of strength down our necks ! Would you ,or the unionist community be prepared to agree that ALL marches ,whether the Gay Pride ,Jehovah Witnesses ,Republican , Orange etc be made to have Public Liability Insurance ,be made to responsible for the cost of policing ,be made to pay a bond beforehand and agree to the law of the land ? I await you reply…..with no ifs or buts

    • neill July 31, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      Sorry did you read what I wrote I broadly supported the tone of the blog which seems a fair compromise to me

  7. Colmán August 1, 2015 at 4:02 am #

    I don’t get the point of this article and I don’t think “prods” is acceptable language to use. Cal’s code of conduct for marches seems like a reasonable solution and it has worked in the past regarding racism and sectarianism at football matches in England and Scotland.

    • George August 3, 2015 at 9:54 am #

      I appreciate you not wanting to cause Protestants offence by using the term “Prods” Colman but please don’t look for offence where none is intended. As a Prod myself, I wouldn’t be offended if someone called me that so let’s move on to the bigger issue – the point of my article.

      The point of the article is to establish if there is a way out of the impasse and move on from the destruction, vitriol and bile that blights both our communities on a yearly basis and makes us the laughing stock of the world. I would have thought that is a subject worth discussing – no?

      From the comments so far, I am not encouraged. A number of folk here have made the “changing demographics” point but I’m afraid that the quid-pro-quo for the OO giving up marching currently contentious routes is that no other contentious routes spring up henceforth. The price of peace, if you like. Once we have peace, we can move to an agenda of mutual respect and accommodation as they have in Londonderry and Rossnowlagh. (incidentally, if you come back and refer to it as “Derry”, I won’t be offended by that either Colman – I’m fireproof)

      I would combine my suggestions with a very strict code of conduct written into legislation with many of the points that others have suggested incorporated – public liability insurance, contribution to policing etc provided that it applied to all sides of the community that wanted to march. The penalty for breaching the code would be an immediate ban from marching that route again.

      What do Nationalists get out of this? I genuinely believe that if there are no contentious parades, the OO will gradually fade away over time. Laugh if you will but eventually they will not have any relevance in a modern society. Younger generations will see it as a bit naff, a bit like Morris Dancing and they will have no reason to join.

      At the moment though, the reason that the young join bands and parade with the OO is not because they feel “superior” to Nationalists but because they feel territorially under threat even if they are not able to articulate that. Nationalists making the “changing demographics” point and retaining the right to establish some other spurious “concerned residents” group elsewhere, only gives them encouragement that they are right and that is why this has to be addressed as part of any compromise solution. Their thinking is that if they don’t make a stand at Ardoyne or Drumcree, they will be obliterated by what they see as a carefully orchestrated Republican strategy. My contention is that if you remove the reason why they feel they need to make a stand, they will, over time, find something else to do because the buzz of conflict will have been removed. Nothing more exciting than a riot, is there?

      Or I suppose we could just carry on

      • Colmán August 4, 2015 at 10:48 am #

        Thanks for your answer George and I’m sorry if I offended you. I will not give away my religion to you but I think it is not right for black people to refer to themselves with the ‘n’ word either – call me old fashioned but I still believe in the principles of Martin Luther King. Regarding marching I would think that it would be a cultural blow to Ireland to loose all the music and traditions assosiated with the Scots-Irish. I have nothing against Morris Dancing either by the way. The contention involves stopping outside chapels, and purposley being antagonistic to the Catholic communities not to mention the burning of flags and emblems on bonfires. This needs to stop!

        • George August 4, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

          You didn’t offend me Colman – you really didn’t. In fact, I think I went out of my way to say that did I not?

          By mentioning that I was a “Prod”, I wasn’t telling you my religion, merely confirming the side of the political divide I was born into. I think that this viewpoint, if it does not appear too patronising, is a pre-requisite to understanding the psyche of bandsmen and the Orange Order and that is what I was trying to shed some light on.

          I am intrigued by your statement that you think it would be a cultural blow to lose the music and traditions associated with the Scots Irish. Do you really mean that and do you sincerely believe that other Nationalists think that too? If that were true, we might be onto something here Colman . I’m not inclined to believe you though because you surely can’t mean what you said about Morris Dancing can you?

          • Colmán August 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

            Haha, well I think most traditional musicians would agree with them sentiments George as it is a shared culture. May of the tunes used in the orange marches are also to be found in the music sessions. In times past traditional music was much more prevalent among Protestants on accordian, fiddle, ect and the céilí houses welcomed both Catholic and Protestant alike. These tunes then found their way into the pub sessions and the marching bands. I really lament the dogged relations between the two main communties in the North because it wasn’t always that way!

      • RJC August 4, 2015 at 11:17 am #

        Interesting stuff George – in particular your (correct imho) assertion that ‘the reason that the young join bands and parade with the OO is not because they feel “superior” to Nationalists but because they feel territorially under threat even if they are not able to articulate that.’

        Put me in mind of this blog I read a while back –

        Every year all we hear is talk of ‘culture’ ‘communities’, ‘lack of leadership’ and so and and so on, yet nothing ever changes. Great to hear somebody coming up with some concrete ideas. More of this sort of thing, please…

        • George August 4, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

          Thanks for your feedback RJC and for appreciating that my blog was a genuine attempt to put forward some alterative thinking on this – someone has to! Maybe someone in a position of influence might read it and see some merit in it.

  8. giordanobruno August 1, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    I cannot see the Orange backing down on contentious parades anytime soon. It would be viewed as a defeat.
    They are more likely, if anything, to give up some of the non-contentious parades in exchange for getting the Ardoyne one through.