Tuesday, 22 April 2014

All aboard the Stormont Express!!!

Choo Choo Choose Wisely!
Just browsing through the BBC News page when I came across a story involving the destruction of banners at the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast. Apparently police are treating the incident as a hate crime as opposed to an act of criminal damage or attention seeking.

The protest camp was set up in opposition to the refusal by the parades commission to allow a return Orange Parade to pass by the Ardoyne shops in July 2013. This was due to ongoing tensions in the area during the marching season and the anti-social behaviour that ensued after the return parade in previous years.

Just to remind people the protest camp at Twaddell avenue is at an interface and is so contentious it requires a nightly police presence costing £40,000- £50,000. And lets not forget that this camp is situated on Housing Executive Land, yet the Minister responsible for the Housing Executive, Nelson McCausland of the DUP, is for once mute.

What I fail to grasp is how the recent destruction of banners and flags whilst wrong can be described as a hate crime. In contrast the breaching of countless parades rulings which included sectarian tunes being played outside of a Catholic church were never branded the same. Bandsmen involved in breaching Parades Commission rulings had their charges dropped because they not only didn't see the big signs telling them about the ruling nor did they hear the PSNI with loud hailers  but they failed to see the protesters and the church!

Anyway I've gone off on a tangent here!

What frustrates me is the money that is being spent on this glorified huffing exercise given the money that is being denied to front-line services. Maybe these serial protesters should take to the streets and exercise their democratic right to protest over things that are actually impacting on the wider population. Things like the impending welfare reform, the hacking of front-line services and the ongoing attack on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

Maybe they could stand in solidarity with the people of Belfast who have been forced out of their homes after racist attacks. Maybe they could protest against the failure of the Stormont Junta to implement the promises of the Good Friday Agreement which include the Bill of Rights and the Civic forum.

We are a multi-cultural and multi-faith society, the orange and green record is less than melodic and frankly was  played out a long time ago. This nonsense serves only deflect from the ineptitude of those pretending to run the North of this country. It helps portray us as a nation of religious muck savages who are too stupid to see when we are being played for fools and robbed of the basics. 

Looking for his old job back!
(See Ross Kemp for details) Many young people are being used as cannon fodder for the politicians preaching civil disobedience before they scuttle back to their middle class homes and all expenses paid jobs, whilst some poor wee fella ends up with a criminal record that will limit opportunities for him for the rest of his life, that is unless he takes up politics as a career.

Flags, camps and parades don't feed, house or clothe families nor do they help reverse the cruel decisions being made by those who benefit from the orange and green gravy train. The antics of those at Twaddell avenue not only provide great material for local wits like Jake O'kane but ultimately fuel the sectarian agenda that is being played out by those on the Northern Ireland Assembly.

All aboard the Stormont express, you don't need a ticket to ride this train, just a blinkered perspective.

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