Jude Collins

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Herman Goring, Orange culture and No Surrender!

Herman Goring is reputed to have said “When I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver”. The events here since Friday suggest that when the Orange Order hear the word culture coupled with the word ‘No’,  it reaches for anything it can lay its hands on. 

What happened on Friday in Belfast has already been given such repeated and expansive space, it’s hard to step back and disentangle the knee-jerk and glib from the factual and thoughtful. But let’s try.

  • The Orange Order leaders pumped up the rioters with talk of “No surrender!” and the terrible injustice of the Parades Commission decision. They  then denied that the vicious rioting which followed had anything to do with their words. To a degree they’re right:  there are some people who don’t need encouragement to attack the PSNI. But the Orange Order’s fiery rhetoric added kerosene rather than cold water to the mixture.  
  • Any talk of the Orange culture and heritage is laughable in the face of the vicious, sometimes hysterical attacks on police vehicles and anything else that got in the way of the rioters/Orangemen.
  • RTE  television broadcast the words of one young marcher to the silent protestors at Ardoyne: “Youse are second-class citizens - this is our country!”  Oddly, neither the BBC nor the UTV cameras/microphones managed to catch this moment. 
  • Which brings us to the live and edited broadcasting of the Twelfth. Walter Love did his usual how-interesting-and-charming  commentary on the live morning programme. The evening programme on UTV  (I didn’t see the BBC counterpart programme) was side-splitting. In the news before the edited highlights of the Twelfth, we had footage of the savagery and vitriol which accompanied the day. Immediately afterwards we had the soothing tones of Paul  Clark    presenting  the Walter-Love-type highlights of happy marching bands and grandas eating ice-cream in the sun. Is there no irony department in UTV? 
  • We really shouldn’t be surprised by this latest outbreak of barbarism on the Twelfth. The history of the Twelfth, for at least two centuries now, is littered with the same kind of social upheaval, drunkenness and bigotry that were on display on Friday.  Why has no politician the guts to suggest the obvious: the Orange marches themselves are the problem, not what erupts once the drums start banging.
  • Do the Parades Commission decisions have any standing in law?  Because it’s obvious that the Orange Order has decided to simply ignore its determinations. Hymns while passing St Patrick’s Church?  Don’t be daft - a blast of the sash there, men. And march on the spot while you’re doing it. Unwittingly, the Orange Order may have a point: if the Parades Commission doesn’t have any power to see that its rulings are enforced, it really isn’t serving much purpose, is it? 
  • Does the brick which struck Nigel Dodds bring him and the DUP closer to or further away from the alienated section of East Belfast? One newspaper report suggested the brick was aimed at Dodds, not the police, because of the contempt the rioters had for his efforts to bring about an end to rioting. He’ll certainly receive some sympathy for putting his head on the line, so to speak, and suffering for his beliefs. Whether that suffering came about because somebody had a bad aim or a very good one may ultimately be seen as irrelevant. 
  • My old chum Nelson McCausland was eloquent on the rioting being provoked because loyalists saw republicans being rewarded for their rioting a year ago. Mmm. And of course flying the Union flag on thirteen or whatever number of days annually was another outrage that meant loyalist rioting was ultimately traceable to the Alliance Party. Right?
  • Final point:  loyalism is showing all of the characteristics of a community that feels the ground falling away from under its feet. When you suffer that kind of insecurity, you’re likely to say or do anything. 


  1. Yes Jude the contrast was stark the news reported 1 parade whilst the highlights of the #Twelfth reported on the other 549 peaceful parades that occurred too - many funded by Sinn Fein controlled councils West of the Bann

  2. I was in belfast covering the 11th and 12th for a photo documentary peice im working on with a writer, what i found strange is the mood as we followed the bands through the city centre i couldnt call it a celebratory mood, we walked through sandy row where people asked me to take their photographs I just nodded and did, not wanting my accent to give me away. We then wandered up the falls through lanark way via woodvale for crumlin rd ultimeatly arriving at the ardyone, where, we found kids playing football and people out getting ice cream around the massive police pressence while twaddel and ardyone resdients traded banter back and forth over the intersection meanwhile police stopped and questioned us time and time again sizing up our motavitations. All together it was one hell of a surreal day. All that was going through my head was how easy the abnormal becomes normal. We spent most of the time speaking in hushed tones again afraid our accents would get us into a situation. I always thought that it would take our generation dying off for the divisions to melt away, listening to the way teenagers spoke of "them" across the road i.e. twaddel makes me wonder if it will ever truly die off.

  3. Herman Goring would have initially demonised and then banned all outward expression of the polar opposite of his narrow political and cultural viewpoint. Is that what you're advocating?

  4. Republican and Monarchist historical support for the Nazis highlights there is much common ground in the extreme right ideologies of both. Herman Goring is fitting quote. Perhaps some sort of ‘Hitler Day‘ might unite both groups of fascists?

    Questions I would love to ask someone who might know:

    1. Do CARA represent most people in Ardoyne?
    2. If not, why talk to them and not GARC or both?
    3. Was this an attempt to pick who represents Ardoyne residents?
    4. Do Orange supporters live in houses?
    5. Is there any reason why they want to bury corruption in the NIHE or the NI Assembly (if any exists)?
    6. If not then why did they create a situation that buried real problems and floated the completely false idea of ‘a cultural war’? They are not protesting for equality, they are protesting for the right to supremacy because they once had it. Well now they don’t, they need to get over it and do the best for their members. Plenty of smart Loyalists out there, why do we only see mostly overweight, red-faced drunken idiots facing down water cannons as the face of dissenting loyalism? Someone wants it that way, assuming it’s not Republicans who don’t control international media outlets, who is it? Why do ‘loyal supremacists’ hand them negative coverage on a plate. Why not articulate their point of view in a thought provoking way?

    As for the NI Assembly, the whole thing recalls the ‘Happy Valley Set’ in Kenya until the Kikuyu uprising came along. Makes you wonder why the British nick-named Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn ‘Happy Valley’ doesn’t it? The double o’s in both communities think we are all second class citizens. While they can use cultural codes to shortcut logic we are doomed. People should demand better Government, but they won’t. They will continue to dance in their underwear against the water cannon of poverty!

  5. Jude
    Another depressing 12th.
    Those who use violence are first and foremost responsible for their own actions. Secondary responsibility lies with those whose words stir up a volatile situation. It is not good enough for the OO to call people onto the streets and then subsequently wash their hands of the consequences.
    I don't know what the solution is. I don't gree with your nuclear option of banning all parades, nor do I want to see the OO proscribed. Perhaps over time they will dwindle away as the membership ages.
    In the meantime more dialogue seems like the only option, coupled with stiff sentences for those involved in violence.

  6. As an above comment pointed out :
    "They are not protesting for equality, they are protesting for the right to supremacy because they once had it"
    Which is true, for many years the Nationalist community had no rights to speak of and where literally walked all over by a predominantly "Orange" government and police force.
    The Loyalists claim that Republicans/Nationalists have gotten everything from the Good Friday Agreement yet Loyalists have gotten nothing or are losing rights such as to march or fly the Union Flag but what they fail to realise is that Nationalists are only being given the rights that had been taken away by the previous "orange" government and the rights that Loyalists are "losing" where given by the same government as an act of supremacy over the Nationalist people. These "rights" such as the Queen Highway where pretty much made up by the Orange Men that held this country for many years but are now gone and outside influence in government is pretty much saying "Wait a second, this can't be right...can it? Ok, that needs changed"