Posted By: February 05, 2014

Brian Feeney. Wednesday, February 5, 2014
YOU can’t fail to have noticed what passes for politics here these days, and
dispiriting stuff it is too. Perhaps because it’s in Belfast and a couple of miles
from TV studios, perhaps because there’s always the chance of a mini-riot but,
whatever the reason, the squalid street theatre surrounding the contrived sit-in at
Twaddell Avenue attracts an inordinate amount of attention. Every couple of weeks
after a ragged march trails up to the police lines at the Crumlin road,  some
bizarro blockhead makes an impromptu speech from a makeshift platform.

There he, and it’s always a ‘he’, displays his prejudice, ignorance and intolerance
for the people across the North to hear and see.

Some news outlet picks out a suitably juicy piece of nonsense and it becomes the
matter of discussion on TV and radio shows for the next three or four days.

It’s the Orange version of ‘Ulster’s got Talent’.

What’s astonishing is that the rubbish spouted from the platform could have been
heard at any Orange field 50 or 60 years ago. The prejudice and intolerance and fear
of Fenian advancement is rock solid and unchanged.

No unionist politician ever steps in to offer a moderating opinion much less tell
unionists that it’s nonsense that’s being spouted. Even more deplorable, senior
unionist politicians share the same shameful platform with the week’s bizarro
blockhead. “Qui tacet consentire videtur”, as they used to say in law courts. That
is, ‘silence means consent’. Educated liberal Unionists raise their eyebrows, or
snigger at the incoherence and shake their heads at the bad grammar and inability to
complete a sentence, sometimes writing a letter to the press disdaining the
antediluvial views.

Unionist newspapers print dissenting editorials but from unionist politicians not a
word. You can only conclude they agree. Why would you not? In the sectarian cockpit
of north, Belfast orangemen, Nelson McCausland and the mighty Deputy Dawds march
behind a retinue of bands extolling UVF men.

They condemn the Parades Commission, they endorse the tattered camp at Twaddell by
their presence.

McCausland even applauds the occasional speech though courageously clapping below his waist so the TV cameras don’t pick it up.

Given the personnel at times on the makeshift platform, you have to say that when
Martin McGuinness said the PUP, Orange Order and UVF are inextricably linked in
Belfast, he should have added the DUP.

Meanwhile, dissident Republicans ponder the possibility of packing in the cigarette-
end of the armed struggle to seek another way of advancing their argument.
Eventually they will discover it’s called politics.

Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney plugs on in his unrequited love-bombing of Unionists with
speeches to Republican gatherings and articles in the Unionist press. No-one pays a
blind bit of notice to his ‘Republican agenda’ of seeking accommodation with

There is no engagement by Unionists because none of their leaders has a clue where
to turn next.

Take a normal politician like Ed Milliband. You can read about the think tanks he
favours, his advisers, the book he gave his inner circle for Christmas and his plans
to restructure capitalism.

There’s not one Unionist who has evinced a single idea other than a way to maintain
Unionist dominance as they become a declining minority in Ireland.

In this respect it is true that nothing has changed. No-one in Unionism has had an
original idea since they devised their ethnic umbrella in 1904 at the Ulster
Unionist Council and resolved to use violence and intimidation to get their way.

In essence the squalor and stupidity at Twaddell are the current manifestation of
that original idea. Give us what we want or we’ll wreck the place, make it

So far the latest version of that ploy has cost £20 million we’re told.

Don’t let anyone tell you it’s the tail wagging the dog. Unionist leaders are using
the Orange dog at Twaddell just as their predecessors did, except that they no
longer control the police.

Instead their stratagem is to obscure the issue with another piece of nonsense
summed up in the attractive phrase ‘them’uns get everything and we get nathing’.

You’ll notice they’ve given up on Stormont and returned politics to the streets of Belfast.