Afternoon to you all, hope your weekend is going well. I had the great pleasure of being in the Castlemain XXXX Brewery today on a tour which I shall post about on Sunday. It is quite hot here in Brisbane, as it is the beginning of the summer, however, I do sincerely hope that it is raining and cold in Belfast so that there is less trouble over the ‘fleg’.
Now, I have been back to my computer and been reviewing all the goings on in Belfast and the North; no matter where I am I seemingly am unable to escape the lure of her politics, for better or for worse.
A very good friend of mine invited me to the ‘Peace Gathering‘ taking place at Belfast City Hall whereby politics aside people are calling on the violence to stop and for the normal, democratic process to come back to the fore, this is something I cannot disagree with and wish I had the chance to attend and wish all who do the very best of luck.
I have a simple and short question: is the North capable of regular politics? The reason I ask is that I read Liam Clarke’s analysis in the Tele from Friday. I kind of like Liam, he is interesting and insightful and is often an honest broker unlike most. There was one part of his piece that made me pose this question:
‘Unionism has blundered into an avoidable crisis and its leaders need to sort things out – and quickly.
Unionists have legitimate gripes. It is true that the SDLP and Sinn Fein stoked unionist fears by naming a play-park after a dead IRA man and that Sammy Brush of the DUP was treated shamefully in Dungannon. It is also true that the flags issues at Belfast City Council was pushed to a vote by nationalists.‘
Is it a ‘legitimate gripe’ that the ‘flegs’ issue was brought to a vote by Nats? I mean, we do have a democracy of sorts and Nats want parity of esteem in the North regarding cultural and political symbols, they want to make the North a place for everyone to be happy with, right? So, I ask again, how is bringing a vote to City Hall to bring the flying of the flag in line with what happens at Stormont and at Lisburn City Council’s civic building a ‘legitimate gripe’?
If it is going to be so difficult for any side to bring a motion to a council chamber for a vote without violence ensuing and for their opponents to then say that they have a ‘legitimate gripe’ due to their opponents actually bringing something to a vote (confusing, no?) then will we not have stalemate? Are we not constantly being told how the North is screaming out for politics of the ‘bread and butter’ kind? How we wish that they would just get on with it, uninhibited? What I want to know is, are people kidding themselves? Do they really understand the nature of the GFA, how the winners really view it’s interpretation and outworkings? Are we just being slow on the uptake?