Posted By: July 18, 2013

Brian Feeney. Irish News (Belfast). Wednesday, June17, 2013
THOMAS Babington Macaulay was a 19th century English historian, politician and
writer. in the 1840s he was MP for Edinburgh. in 1847, after he had made a speech
supporting an increase in the annual grant to Maynooth, the Tories whipped up
Orangemen into a campaign of sectarian hatred against him and he lost his seat. The
campaign degenerated into violence against Catholics fleeing the Famine to scotland.
The Tories washed their hands of it.

Plus ca change.

Macaulay said: “The natural consequences follow. All those fierce spirits, whom you
hallooed on to harass us, now turn round and begin to worry you. The Orangeman
raises his war-whoop… But what did you expect? Did you think, when, to serve your
turn, you called the Devil up, that it was as easy to lay him as to raise him? Did
you think, when you went on flattering all the worse passions of those whom you knew
to be in the wrong, that the day of reckoning would never come?”

The day of reckoning has certainly come for the Orange Order. They have been exposed
as never before after the inflammatory speeches of their leaders threatening days of
demonstrations and “fighting the war on today’s battleground” blew up in their
faces. They were isolated as the thugs their emotive language unleashed proceeded to
wreck the gardens, walls and fences of neat houses on the woodvale Road. To add to
their disgrace semi-naked men and women full of cheap drink performed acts of
debauchery in public. Men wearing Orange Order collarettes and uniformed bandsmen
tried to kill police with swords, ball-bearings fired from hunting catapults and
petrol bombs. Orange culture on full display for the world’s media. like Macaulay’s
Tories the cowardly unionist politicians who only days before had signed an appeal
calling for decisions of the Parades Commission to be obeyed ran for cover after
immediately attacking any decision they didn’t like whether at Carrick Hill or
Ardoyne. Besashed nigel Dodds and his little sir Echo, nodding dog McCausland, tried
on Friday morning to persuade the police to breach the ruling that only 100 blue-bag
yahoos be permitted past Ardoyne. Rather than starting the day with a riot the
police agreed to the raucous jeers of said blue-bag brigade.

You’d think that even the ancient dopes who lead the Orange Order must realise the
game is up. They don’t. when Richard Haass arrives to try to square the circle he
will need to realise that the only way to bring them to heel is to hit them where it
hurts – in their pockets.

if you were to try to organise a public function in a park or square you would need
to acquire public liability insurance. Every Orange march declared contentious
should be required to lodge a bond of £10,000 and provide an insurance certificate
for £10 million. The Orange Order should be required to pay for policing just as
football clubs do. ACC will Kerr has said the cost of the weekend disturbances is
already into “multiple millions”. we all have to pay for that in money diverted from
schools, hospitals and roads. That’s outrageous. The people who cause the damage
should be liable and that’s the Orange Order.

Just as the Football Association penalises clubs that transgress so the order should
be made to fine lodges who hire paramilitaries masquerading as bands and who breach
Parades Commission rulings.

The executive will never agree to any of this. However, the Public Processions Act
1998 is westminster legislation that westminster can amend overnight. it’s long past
time to stop concentrating efforts to regulate Orange marches on criminal sanctions
for policing their routes and behaviour. The only way to proceed is to cripple the
order financially if they refuse to behave decently and lawfully. Hurting the clubs
was the only way football thuggery was brought to heel.

For a start there should be a review of conditions for all government grants and
certainly of any EU money promised to the Orange Order. They cannot continue to
receive public money yet tell their members to disobey the law, encourage them onto
the streets and then collect the next tranche of cash after their antics have cost
millions of pounds.