I was reading an article by Newton Emerson in the Sunday Times where he was asking , I suppose, after much thought and deep concentration , if Sinn Fein really wanted to make any compromise on Orangemen marching . I thought it was a fair enough question .Newton is a bit of a pundit and he has regular gigs in the ST and I am told, also in the Irish News , so some people out there value his thoughts enough to pay him good money to expound them regularly .
He seems to know what he is talking about but his analysis reads a bit like a John Le Carre spy novel . He lays out the twists and turns of perceived “leadership” issues concerning both Sinn Fein and the unionist parties. He reckons the whole thing is about control and political manoeuvering within both the republican and unionist camps. When I read something like this I always begin to wonder where the writer gets the ideas from… . I imagine him or her , much like ourselves pecking away at the keypad, looking out the window at the world . Yes , I know these days with all the various ipads , phones and all the rest , that we can write this stuff anywhere and at any time of day or night. We might be sitting in the park, on a bench, watching children feeding some quacking ducks or maybe sitting on the train hurtling down to the city.
The ideas , though.Where are they coming from ? The way Newton writes it , he sees Sinn Fein’s involvement in the Parades Dispute as part of some Grand Master Plan that pits Sinn Fein against the Dissident republicans for control of the hearts and minds of the disputed marching area.It sounds like they are the kind of masterminds that would only inhabit an old pulpy movie from the 1940’s. He then postulates that a similat thing is happening within the unionists and loyalism. Maybe it is .Now I know very little about the disputed area . I fortunately do not live there and I often ask myself ,why would anyone want to live there? .If I did live there ,I would spend a lifetime planning to get myself and my family as far away from it as I possibly could. I would have a long term plan to move away to some other part of the planet and I would be encouraging my children to get away to some other less crazy country and never come back.. . I know that life isn’t as easy as that, of course. To me there is a childish simplicity to all human behaviour. I don’t see our politicians in any different light than the rest of the people you’d meet milling about on our streets and shops.They may all be fixated on the made- up minutiae of what passes for political shenanigans but they are the same people who walk into Tesco’s and buy their Shreddies and their Ready Brek.
Just like everyone else. I haven’t seen much evidence that they are great “thinkers”. When the cameras aren’t on them they’ll be picking that bogey out of their nose or giving their arse a quick secret surreptitious scratch. Just like any other Great Ape , really. Just human apes really .With suits on. The truth about this disputed march appears to be quite prosaic, really .The people living in the area appear to have been regularly insulted by elements within the marching community who want to walk past their area.It doesn’t really matter if it is a “King’s Highway ” or a public arterial route. The consensus seems to be that there is created a forum on the street where insults are hurled from the marching throng and provocative music is played in an insulting way . That is the certain perception and no amount of walking out on meetings set up to solve that, is going to changethe perception.It just looks silly. One man on the radio this morning simply put it that some of the women are even more insulting than their male colleagues, Apparently all sorts of calumnies are exchanged by the fair sex, like vixens with too much to drink. That should really be teased out a bit in case it appears as a sexist rant .Is it true ? Is it simply a confession that this has really nothing at all to do with politics or religion or any Grand Plan about control or leadership issues.
Does it simply all hang on the mundane fact that some people cannot behave themselves and shouldn’t really be allowed out in public and that the worst offenders here are sometimes female? Is this an annual chance for women to get out on the streets and vent? Well, anyone who knows anything about relationships or about love and passion already knows that there is very little rational about any of our relationships.It’s why some people continue to live with abusive partners . They’re not all saints out there. Some of them are just plain crackers .There’s really no other way to describe it Does it mean that the Parades Commission should be looking at the gender of the participants too and making decisions based on that? Do the women egg on the men and do the men then promenade and show off to the women? Do they wind each other up? If the women were not allowed to participate would the whole thing go off without a whimper? Is that a sexist thing to think or is that the reality? Are we allowed to think that? I suppose it’s worth a thought….