More on Stupid Parading

Posted By: August 13, 2013

Tom Kelly. Irish News (Belfast). Monday, August 12, 2013
SO WHAT did you do at the weekend? Well if you were not on holiday, you probably took the wife for a meal, joined friends for a drink, took the children to their summer camps or perhaps visited relatives. Maybe you were working or rounding up livestock? It is highly likely that you were not sitting in the middle of Royal Avenue tearing up the pavements, squealing sectarian abuse,[uninating]in side streets or throwing missiles at the police. Yet we are told that in protecting an- under -threat Protestant culture , that’s exactly what a group of serial protesters were doing on Friday evening. It’s hard to imagine this ever happening on Regent Street, London or Princes Street in Edinburgh. But let’s put it in perspective before a legion of loony lecturers, social workers and community activists get their anthropological spin on it.

Firstly, let’s deal with the numpty, rag-tail scumbags who took over lower Divis mimicking the worst practices of their ‘hun’ cousins on the Shankill, building bonfires replete with symbols of the other side for roasting and attacking the media. These are the new foot-soldiers and cannon-fodder of the dissident republican movement in Ireland. Not that many of them look as if they could spell dissident. The so-called ‘anti-internment’ rally which followed appeared to be nothing more than a cynical ruse to annoy loyalists. Even the majority of nationalists throughout the north were bewildered by the creation of an event that no one much cared for. It was cynically billed a human rights march. Well the bused-in louts bedecked in Celtic shirts and tricolors that were nursing hangovers on Castle Street on Saturday morning would not have recognised a human right from a flying pig. But these people were in the city for a live version of ‘Punch and Judy’ Belfast style. Yet it was Friday evening that really showed the bowels and darker side of Belfast as pure sectarian sewage spewed onto the streets and most of it directed at the police. The chief constable called it right when he said it was like anarchy but he was only partly right. I witnessed many leading loyalist paramilitaries in Belfast on Friday night.

This was orchestrated violence and it begs the question why the Orange Order appears to be allowing it to be drawn in to a political power play that most ordinary decent brethren would find abhorrent? Some mainstream politicians like Mike Nesbitt tried to provide a moderating influence on protesters but his best efforts were to no avail. These protesters went out looking for violence and were determined to get it. Frontline police officers of the PSNI are a credit to everyone in Northern Ireland who cares about law and order.

They were far from heavy handed as claimed by some. In view of what they faced, they were incredibly restrained. The numbers speak for themselves – 56 officers injured. Again it is hard to disagree with the chief constable when he has little sympathy for injured rioters. In fact I would go further – I have none. If you go to a parade as a peaceful protestor and see first hand that it is anything but peaceful then common sense says get out of there. Those who stayed were looking for political martyrdom. Elections are always pending. Friday night was all about two sets of rabble-rousing, sectarian, bigoted crowds intent on a face-off. Headbanging loyalists and wingnut dissidents are like a pantomime horse with two ends and no head. When they couldn’t get at each other they settled for the police. With the use of CCTV there should be plenty of arrests and instead of putting these eejits in jail, let’s go for where it hurts – their benefits. If it was good enough to use against English rioters then there is nothing to prevent it here. Employers too should take a close look at the pictures in the newspapers. Who would want a missile-throwing, buckfast-fueled foul-mouthed lout as an ambassador for their company? Mainstream politicians, both nationalists and unionists, need to wake up and smell the city burning. It is pointless excusing violence just because it is from your own side. There are no excuses and there is only one side of law and order you can be on. A cruise ship docked in Belfast on Friday – God knows what they made of us. Mark Twain wrote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” He clearly had Belfast in mind.