Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

How politicians always make sure it's a real riot living here

Someone with an eye to a making a fast buck would have the City Hall "No Surrenderrrrrrr!!!" woman's face on T-shirts by now and be selling them like hot cakes (well, hot once they'd been sprayed with hairspray and set on fire) at every pro-flag, anti-flag-being-taken-down-to-be-put-up-again demo for the next two weeks.

There are only 14 rioting days 'til Christmas, gotta make a few shekels when y'can, cos Christmas isn't cheap these days, especially when you've got a busy protesting schedule to keep up with, never mind shoppin' for presents, keepin' your Facebook rants up to date and remembering to set the TV to record Pointless cos you're out every day at teatime, demonstrating your sense of alienation by alienating everybody round you.

"It's a disgrace, so it is," declared the woman on Radio Ulster's Nolan show. "Our Britishness is bein' chipped away, so it is!"

"How?" asked Stephen Nolan, in unusually succinct mode. There was a pause you could drive a burning car through, then the considered response came: "It's just a disgrace, so it is."

A moment later a different woman came on and said: "It's a disgrace so it is, my kids sez they niver even knew there was a fleg flyin' above the City Hall, it's just a disgrace so it is, all this protestin' over a fleg, so it is."

Y'see, if we just look closely enough, we discover that there's a lot more unites us here than divides us. Both sides agree that it's a disgrace. Surely that's progress?

Today's the one week anniversary of the City Hall riot. To be fair to us here, we have moved on when it comes to violence. I mean, Continental Market out the front, Medieval Riot out the back, at least there's Cultural Diversity, eh? If only it hadn't turned violent they probably could've qualified for Peace III grants from Europe.

Sadly, it all went sausage-shaped on the night. They breached the gates but couldn't get into the City Hall itself so most of the rioters were jammed into the tunnel, or, stuck in the back passage, which seems like a more appropriate image.

I understand that ordinary Protestants sense they're the poor relations now. They're feeling the discomfort of majority rule not going their way and they're discovering how unpalatable that can be. I do sympathise.

If the Shinners or the DUP elected representatives had the faintest interest in social progress here, this week's events wouldn't have happened. If they really wanted a shared future as opposed to a cultural apartheid where things are carved up and shared out, then we could have it.

There are wee lads locked up tonight in custody awaiting trial for rioting. Suffice to say, for our politicians there are more ways to cause mayhem than simply taking to the streets in a scarf yourself.

We laugh at the puppets. Why not, it's Christmas, we need panto-style villains to take our minds off the facts that Osborne and Co are running the country into the buffers.

But if it's real villains you want, best look to the puppet masters. You won't see them screaming in an undignified fashion anymore, those days are past. Why should they? As the saying goes, why have a dog and bark yourself?

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