It’s the Glorious Twelfth up in the Wee North, but everywhere else it is just Sunday the twelfth of July. As more people are taking the peace seriously the lunatic fridge of Ulster Loyalism feels that it needs to ramp-up the levels of social and sectarian antagonism, but much to the dismay of the chosen few no one anywhere else gives a damn what they do. So long as they are not out murdering people we are all quite happy to sit back and watch them throw their annual tantrum.
Ùr-Fhàsaidh (@UrFhasaidh) July 10, 2015
Once upon a time the Eleventh Night celebrations were marked with drum and flute bands marauding Nationalist areas making a god-awful racket to demonstrate their neighbourliness and their sworn affection for the German monarchy of England. It was a time when moderately sized bonfires were lit all about Britain’s Northern Province and families got together to drink lager straight from the tin. The Good Friday Agreement and the Parades Commission have changed all of that. Now the good Christian men of the Loyalist persuasion are less likely to be allowed terrorise their neighbours, and have to make do with cultural celebrations on their own streets.
Their increasing irrelevance and their own desperation has driven the hardliners of the Loyalist community to more extravagant displays of immaturity. When the new rules pertaining to the public display of inflammatory banners and flags was eventually enforced a couple of years ago they took to the streets in protest with the union flag (always the mass produced ones from Taiwan) thinking that by stopping the Christmas traffic they would draw attention to their oppression. In fairness, these guys were never the real oppressors. They were the underclass cat’s paw of the truly oppressive British military regime. Now that they have been abandoned by the British Armed Forces, and are increasingly being looked on with embarrassment by the Northern Irish and British middle class establishment, they have decided to claim victim status. Around the world the response has been either boredom or laughter. So now the bonfires are getting bigger, and – out of fear of a more violent tantrum – the authorities are pandering to the lunacy. Family homes have been temporarily abandoned and boarded up because, rather than dealing with the real threat to health and safety posed by these serious hazards, the fire brigade has been kept busy hosing down homes. Happy Twelfth of July!