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Protestants need to wise up over flag row

I understand the anger the majority of Protestants feel at those who are damaging our good name by holding these flag-waving protests at the City Hall.

We are appalled by these protests, by the effect they are having on this city and on the young people who are being used as cannon-fodder by those with political ambitions.

However, perhaps this is the time for ordinary Protestants to be more understanding of those who are involved in these protests.

For the past few years, they have been told (by ambitious unionist politicians) that their culture and heritage were under threat. Now the very same politicians who created this mess are condemning them.

The excitement of recreational rioting will not be easily matched by normality. Young people, who enjoyed facing down riot police and water-cannon, may not be easily settled by a teacher in a classroom.

We need politicians brave enough to be honest with their communities, who will persuade their followers that compromise is not a sign of weakness. More importantly, we need to tell our people their future does not depend on flying the flag every day. The road to success for the unionist community is through academic achievement and the hard work of growing real businesses with real jobs for our young people - not a competition with Sinn Fein for more handouts to fund community workers.

AJC

Belfast

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