Jude Collins

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Five questions from last night

When I was a teenage boarder in St Columb’s in Derry, I used hold my breath on a Saturday night as my (illegal) crystal set ( attached to metal bed-post and under-mattress bed-springs) played the hits and told me what was Number One that week. Maybe that’s what’s motivating the flaggers: last night they were Number One item on practically every TV channel l- BBC One, BBC News 24,  RTÉ, Sky. Well done, guys. You’re famous. 

But I have a number of questions that baffle me:

  1. Could the PSNI have seen to it that the City Hall demonstrators went home to East Belfast without going near, much less directly past the Short Strand? After all, every year  over 3,000 marches ensure that the rest of us must wait/take a detour while the loyal sons of Ulster remember that battle more than 300 years ago. 
  2. What kind of reporting describes demonstrations as ‘peaceful’ when they are in fact blocking roads? Or has the law against such actions been changed when I wasn’t paying attention?
  3. Let’s imagine for a moment Parity of Arrogance. Flag protestors from the Short Strand, outraged that the parity of esteem promised by the GFA has not been delivered,  decide to block off roads and wave Irish tricolours. How long would it be before the PSNI cleared the road? How often would the media report such events as ‘peaceful’?
  4. When will the media accept and report that both-flags-or-none  is a reasonable position to take in a society that is hoping for a shared future? And when will they note that republicans actually made a concession when they voted for flying the Union flag on 17 occasions?
  5. What unionist leader will be honest enough to tell his/her followers that the times, they are a-changin’? With Belfast a city 49% nationalist, 42% unionist; with the school-going population showing Protestant numbers lagging far behind Catholic numbers; with the Protestant population generally having a  more-elderly profile than that of Catholics -  it’s not a question of if change comes, it’s a question of how change will come. I’m for peaceful, managed change that shows equal respect (and equal means equal) for both traditions, rather than trying to contain the contradictions of yesteryear until they explode and the jagged debris damages us all. 


  1. Great articl Jude. Why does the PSNI not kettle that illegal "peaceful" mob at the city hall & charge them? D

  2. I think the population generally is much more aware of agendas in the press and political/intelligence interference/briefing on particular stories and events, to ensure a particular narrative is portrayed. There are a few definite themes emerging from the fleg stuff - the "peaceful protest" phrase being used over and over and over is possibly the one that's getting on peoples nerves the most. Virtually every one of these "protests" are illegal and certainly every "parade" to and from are illegal.

    The press have been briefed to emphasize these "peaceful protests" and distance them from the riots, as if they are practically unrelated. I know someone who got arrested and charged with breach of the peace for cursing in front of a PSNI officer - if that was breach of the peace - what exactly is mounting an illegal road block?!

  3. Could you imagine Alistair McDonnell and Martin McGuinness handing over the future of their communities political aspirations and the streets to the local hoods, drug dealers and reprobates?

    If the shoe was on the other foot, they would be faced down!

  4. Spot on Jude. Unionist leaders must stop playing for votes and tell it as it is. Times have changed and there is no going back. A Nation of equals is the only way.

  5. The media reporting is disgraceful.RTE and Tommy Gorman have been dreadful. It is time for Tommy to tell the truth. There have been a lot of peaceful protests over the years where Nationalists have been battered off the street and arrested so what is different about these ones?
    It is to the credit of the community in Short Strand that they shown so much restraint for the past 6 weeks. How much more are they expected to put up with. Glad to see that some of the political leaders have seen fit to go there today and offer some support. They need to know that they are not alone.
    The whole issue of the disenfranchised Loyalist community has sweet FA to do with Nationalism. They (loyalists) had ALL of the power and ALL of the jobs. Now they are isolated because THEIR political leaders abandoned them.

  6. Not too many years ago during a riot in the Bogside the police fired over 2000 plastic bullets in one day,now it seems newsworthy that 5 plastic bullets were fired in East Belfast probably 3 of them at people from the Short Strand,so much for the PSNI being infiltrated by "brutal Taig cops". If these demonstrations were happening in Dublin they would be scraping the protestors off the street and talking about demographics these ageing loyalists better think about who will be making their food when they are in the nursing home.