Saturday Supplement

On this Saturday when the Orange Order has proposed another parade along the contentious Crumlin Road in North Belfast... a proposal which, in my mind, as recklessly provocative and rightly restricted by the Parades Commission, most of the internet snippets that have caught my eye this week relate to last week's Twelfth Parade and it's aftermath...
First was a piece by Alan in Belfast, posted on the Slugger O'Toole site last month, but which I only saw this week, critiquing the BBC coverage of the Twelfth Parades in the wake of the corporation's assessment that its coverage in  2012 had complied with its own impartiality guidelines... I have to say that I agree with Alan's analysis, not suggesting that the BBC's coverage should be reduced, but should be more imaginative and informative. However, this year's coverage was just more of the same, suggesting that the Beeb has a lot to learn...
But nothing like as much to learn as the Orange Order. Again, Alan in Belfast offered a digest of the resolutions to be read at the various demonstration fields... suggesting that they were inward looking... I would hasten to add, backward looking... The combative words from various platforms across the province, certainly did nothing to diffuse the tensions over the few contentious parades and, despite protestations about calling for peaceful protests, might well, in other jurisdictions, have led to prosecutions for incitement to riot... Certainly the macho language and ''No Surrender'' mentality of certain Orange spokespersons are a significant dimension to the subsequent trouble, and Ross Kemp, (who functions like a modern day, balding and less articulate Kate Adie), was apparently doing the rounds of bonfires and parades for one of his down-market, shock-horror documentaries. Dave Magee has regularly commented on the dimension of masculinity in Loyalist culture and offered a perspective that Mr. Kemp probably won't major on... There were a couple of other bonfire blogs, but I'll probably save them for the run-up to next year's 11th night... Harriet Long, who gave us a superb series of blogs prompted by the flag protests earlier in the year, also offered a take on parading, patriotism and machismo, from a female perspective.
Identity is a key question in all of this, and Ballymena girl, Hails, explores what that means for her, in a description of her visit to the culture hotspots of Belfast on her Coffee Helps blog
Two other pieces on the same site as Dave Magee's post, Compromise after Conflict, are also worth a read: John Brewer looks at the future of the Orange Order in the wake of this mess, and how all the citizen's of Northern Ireland have a stake in the successful integration of the Orange into a ''shared future.''
Meanwhile Francis Teeney offers a little reality check, reminding us that Orangeism is bigger than Belfast and that contentious Orange Parades are not necessarily the most important things in the world, or indeed even in Northern Ireland.
With that in mind let me finish with a few non-orange tinted pieces... First an interesting profile of the new Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast Martin O'Muilleoir in the Irish Catholic, which emphasises his attempts to reach across the political divides in this fractured city, which the last Sinn Fein incumbent signally failed to do.
Then there were two pieces in the Grauniad: the first a by Polly Toynbee, questioning some of the spin on the recent stories related to mortality rates in NHS hospitals, and suggesting that some of this may be a smokescreen for surreptitious privatisation, then another news story today looking at the possible privatisation of care for vulnerable children, with one of the possible providers being G4S, the grasping but useless providers of security for the Olympics... As if those children haven't suffered enough...
But finally take a look at this blog about an art exhibition entitled  Reflections, which offers portraits of elderly people as they once were... After unearthing a mound of old photographs in our recent move I know how some of the people in these pictures feel...

Shalom

Comments

Alan Meban said…
There is an argument that the Twelfth coverage isn't aimed at you or me, so it should be no surprise that we're not impressed with the programmes from BBC or UTV. However, I think the programme may be judged even more harshly if measured against that audience given the lack of coherent commentary and poor coverage of the fields in the evening.

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