The other day (well, a wee while ago) I saw something most peculiar. At least I found it to be peculiar as I am quite ignorant of said topic.

The topic in question being the latest turmoil in Gaza.

And the peculiarity in question was the sight of Hassidic Jews attending a pro-Palestine rally.

Regardless of your views on the Israel-Palestinian conflict you would be hard pressed to deny that this is quite a sight and gesture.

This surely is fine example of courage?

It is a very polarised topic and there must be some people on both sides of the divide that would be quite irate at such a stance.

But nonetheless they made their stand.

Hats off (or ‘shtreimels off’ in this particular case).

I’m sure someone somewhere is bandying about the label traitor/Josephus/Lundy at their actions, but they’re standing up for what they believe is right.

Imagine if in NI some of the unionist political leaders were to practise what they preach?

To have a consistent line on parades, flags, bonfires, respect and behaviour?

No doubt they’d attract the wrath of the hardliners and maybe even lose votes to begin with.

But what could the benefits be?

Would those who are more ‘pro-status quo’ rather than explicitly ‘pro-union’ finally feel that unionism is no longer an exclusive club?

Would it show the world that not all unionist leaders happily turn a blind eye to sectarianism, the minority of marches that are contentious or even ‘sashbashs’?

Would it show or that the unionists aren’t necessarily ‘the baddies’?

Rabble rousing, fear mongering and playing on the paranoia of the Protestant people is indeed an effective way of winning votes from many Protestants, much to the detriment of the Protestant community. It seems they have to be kept in a state of semi-panic so that their indignant votes can be harvested when necessary.

However, the Protestant community is in decline the Catholic community is on the increase.

Since the GFA there has also been noticeable increase (or indeed ‘sudden appearance’) of people from a Catholic background who are willing to vote pro-union.

It would seem that being a part of both Ireland and the UK holds appeal for some people.

To an outsider, this state of affairs would foster the following assumption:

 “So, obviously these unionist politicians are focusing on a potential growth market as opposed to the shrinking one?”

“Erm, not quite…”


Unionist Strategy: Illogical

From a unionist point of view, the link with the union doesn’t stand to lose. In fact, it would if anything be strengthened by the addition of fresh votes from new quarters

Yet seemingly they feel they would lose something for adopting a consistent line.

 That they would be betraying something in their heritage or ancestry (which would only start in the mid-19th century when Presbyterian Unionism appeared on the scene, before that Presbyterians were always a law unto themselves with regards to the establishment)

What exactly they would lose I don’t know; the idea of preserving culture has been exposed as nonsense time and time again, upholding Christian values certainly doesn’t come into it, ‘British’ values even less so.

Here’s an example of someone throwing fuel on the fire, the TUV’s Walter Miller, despite all the evidence of intimidation and loutish behaviour at some parades there’s always someone ready to ignore reality and offer up a fantasy version of what they think is going on:

So, let’s go through what he has to say and see what stands up under scrutiny:

The Ulster Protestant and loyalist communities, rather than looking forward to a peaceful and stress-free Twelfth of July, are yet again being subjected to intolerance, opposition and hostility by the republican community in Ardoyne who have the backing of the Parades Commission in their determination not to allow the Orange Order lodges past Ardoyne in the evening parade from the field. “

Out of all the hundreds/thousands of parades that day, it was only this one that caused any hassle. There were parades in nationalist towns that went ahead without any trouble. This might lead an outsider to think that if nationalists all over NI are willing to tolerate parades elsewhere then there may indeed be something wrong with this one. But not if you’re the TUV.

Since the time of the Reformation, Protestants not only in Ulster but throughout the British Isles have faced such opposition for standing up for their Protestant beliefs.”

 Well, yes they have. But drunken behavior and  provocative acts are NOT part of the Protestant belief system, yet this is not mentioned. It would be fair to say that they are NOT standing up for their Protestant beliefs rather Protestant beliefs have been put on hold to facilitate the rabble rousing nature of this parade.

Protestant Values: Laying a wreath to the memory of a young GAA player

NOT Protestant Values!!!

“Those republicans and their allies in political, religious and media circles who oppose us will not have to do much research or look for evidence as all they have to do is look at the various paintings on the Orange banners during the Twelfth of July and they will see the persecution faced by our Protestant forefathers throughout the centuries.

Some of the banners will have paintings of Ridley and Latimer, the two Protestant reformers who were burned at the stake in 1555 for refusing to denounce their faith and turn to Roman Catholicism.”

No one needs evidence cos no one is doubting it. So why mention  it? Oh yes, that’s right, we have to make people believe they’re being oppressed or they won’t vote for you….

“They will also see the banner paintings with the words “My Faith Looks Up To Thee” which shows the young Scottish Covenanter Margaret Wilson who, in 1685, was tied to a stake in the Solway Firth and drowned when the tide came in because she refused to acknowledge King James II as the head of the Church, or denounce her Protestant faith. “

Bad example, many historians are dubious if this took place at all and it wasn’t the Church of Rome that was intent on drowning them, it was the church of the state i.e ‘Protestants’.

The banners will also show King William III crossing the Boyne and defeating King James II, a battle which was decisive and has secured the civil and religious liberties which we now enjoy and a battle which changed the course of the history of the British Isles and Europe.”

Only a few day ago a plaque was unveiled in Aghadowey in honour of ‘the Moses of the Scots-Irish’ Rev James McGregor led his flock to the New World because of the DENIAL of ‘civil and religious liberties’ since the victory of the Williamite forces (that he had fought for):
to avoid oppression and cruel bondage, to shun persecution and designed ruin…and have an opportunity of worshiping God according to the dictates of conscience and rules of His Inspired Word”

And as for changing the course of history of Europe? Well, most of the important battles were fought in Europe itself, Ireland was a minor theatre of operations, so much so that William didn’t even hang around to see the Irish war to its end: (Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but ‘mon).

The banner paintings will show a century later how Protestants came together after the Battle of the Diamond and formed the Orange Institution, again to defend their Protestant religion.”

 SOME Protestants, Presbyterians very on the whole quite suspicious of the OO until Anglicanism was de-established as the state religion. Some of these Protestants teamed up with Catholic Militiamen (like the Monaghan militia) to break some Presbyterian skulls in 1798

“Other banners will show paintings of the signing of the Ulster Covenant and Lord Carson in 1912 and the sacrifice of the men of the 36th Ulster Division at the Battle of the Somme. “

This act actively encouraged other Irish militias including those who would later take part in the Easter Uprising. Oops!

“Erm, loyalty-IRA????”

“The banner paintings take us to the present generation and, sadly, many have portraits of members who have been murdered by the IRA in their terrorist campaign. “

Sad indeed, but a cheap attempt to induce sympathy for a cause that is in the wrong, the protesters have not highlighted ANY of the above points as their key gripes.

In fact, Mr Millar makes no attempt to address their key gripes, as the key gripes are un-Christian in nature and therefore don’t exist…



“Ulster Protestants and Unionists are again being subjected to an ongoing assault on our identity by those who would seek to lecture us on equality and a shared space, yet for a few minutes they cannot allow an Orange parade to go by on the Twelfth without seeking to cause disruption and tension in what should be a peaceful and enjoyable day for Ulster Protestants and unionists.”

If it is an assault then it’s a pretty feeble effort, there are as many parades now as there ever were.

He can’t even address the actual controversial points of the parade. Can’t bring himself to mention them. So he has to change the topic completely to one that isn’t even up for debate.

This does nothing to further the unionist cause, it keeps it as an exclusive club and repels people who may actually be interested in voting ‘no’.

It is all so very short term and makes the idea of maintaining the union with Britain all the less appealing on account of the actions of its advocates and ‘defenders’.

So those looking after the union are seemingly doing so in a manner akin to thon creepy mad woman in the film ‘Misery’.

“Why do you have to talk about drunk people being abusive? We all know you’re just being intolerant of a culture that you tolerate everywhere else 3500 times a year…”

When will we have our version of defiant pro-Palestine Hassidic Jews? Someone from the unionist side to stand up against the extremes of unionism?
Michael Nesbittowitz?