Jude Collins

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Glorious Twelfth

I wonder how the Twelfth looks to outsiders. I know Mary McAleese, when she was in the Áras, thought of the Orangemen’s day as part of our culture. That’s why she invited unionists down to the Áras,  put on a big spread for them.  Most of us, however, are outsiders. We look in on the Orangeman’s day via the media - mainly television. 

In the good old days (Wha’?), the BBC used to cover the marches and bands in exquisite/excruciating detail. I’ve even heard it said by those who should know that the Grand Master of the Orange Order would be invited by the Controller of the BBC to sit with him (it was always a him then) and watch the bands go by, maybe while enjoying a quality lunch to the sound of their music. 

Nowadays things are different. Television doesn’t go on for hours and hours - maybe around an hour in the morning and a half-hour wrap-up in the evening. It’s not something I circle in my Radio Times, but I can’t recall a TV commentary that presented the marchers and bands and brethren as other than decent folk out having a bit of fun on a colourful, musical day. 

Except, of course, it’s more than that. At considerable expense to the tax-payer, the bands and marchers are there (and on 3,000-4,000 other occasions each year, ach sin sceal eile) to remind themselves and their neighbours that in a battle over 300 years ago, the Protestant tradition in the shape of William of Orange defeated the Catholic tradition in the shape of James II. This, of course, is an honourable expression of Protestant/unionist culture, nothing to do with sticking two fingers up to the taigs - never has been, never will be. Which is why so many Catholics/nationalists look forward to the big day with happy anticipation also.  And why papers like The Irish Times present pictures of the oh-so-high bonfires, taking care to crop out the tricolour perched on top. 

So between TV and the papers, the uninformed outsider comes away from the Twelfth with the vision of a happy people acting out a time-honoured event,  and a vision of those who complain about it as a bunch of trouble-fomenting bigots. Shame, isn’t it?


  1. "At considerable expense to the tax-payer"....

    Parades generate £55m for economy, research finds


    1. I think using parades as a money spinner would be a great idea. Also because they generate so much revenue those who directly benefit from that revenue should be happy to pay the total cost for policing.

      The Lodges, Hotels, Bars and Off Sales getting the massive boost out of the Orange fan club should be happy to stump up since it is such a large amount of money being generated.

      If only one side of the community benefits from parades then surely only that side should pay policing costs?

      Also, where is temperance in current parading culture, are blue bags traditional?

      Could we put up some traditional porta-potties so non-traditionally pissed followers of marches don’t have to urinate on Christian Churches from other denominations?

      Parade participants marked their territory like animals, which is as far away from the religious festival cover as you could possibly get. That in itself is incredibly disrespectful and if I did that as an agnostic all kinds of anti-Christian bias would be claimed.

      As an agnostic I would make all parading on private or rented venues. Orange Order fans should be able to enjoy their culture and have fun, but don’t make everyone else pay for your fun.

      Also the Pope backed William so if you’re going to kick the Pope at least recognize his traditional role in William’s victory.

      Perhaps carry a banner saying, this victory was made possible by Papist money!

  2. Those who complain as trouble fomenting bigots - perhaps the television pictures of the rioting at Ardoyne in previous years have been forgotten about certainly wasn't Orangemen attacking Police.

  3. "At considerable expense to the tax-payer" hmmmm , It's amazing how the Orange Order seem to be the only squeeze on the taxpayers hard earned coffers. You seem to forget those jolly old "craicsters" the Republicans ,who over the years bombed and maimed their way across NI,at a higher cost to life aswell as to the tax payer. But sure that doesn't matter.....
    I'm a taxpayer,I'm a proud Orange man......my tax POUND has gone to fund Londonderry 2013 European city of culture, the G8 ,even Féile an Phobail's in Belfast. I didn't ask for or want them.They do nothing for me. But all ,apart from the Republicans "destroy the state" agenda , generate millions for the economy......"but that's another story"