We are told — and can see it on our streets — that we live in a multicultural society.
We are told that by accepting and welcoming the wide breadth of cultures and religions that have found a home in Northern Ireland, we can all cultivate a better, more peaceful future where we all sing, like that famous song from the 1970s Coca-Cola advert, in perfect harmony.
Those are fine words, but it seems the BBC feels that, like an opened can of Coke, the Twelfth has lost a bit of fizz.
When you look back at the 1970s, the Twelfth of July was a day when pretty much everyone had a holiday.
Parades were attended by people from all walks of life. The Orange Order wasn’t as politicised, nor demonised, in some quarters as it is today, built into a caricature of what it stands for by those on the outside.
Perceptions have been eroded over time and, yes, some members haven’t exactly helped the cause recently.
The timing of the announcement is important. It will not go unnoticed that the BBC has abandoned live coverage of the Twelfth just a week after a video emerged of men in an Orange Hall singing and laughing about the murder of Michaela McAreavey.
It also comes just days after an image of the Irish tricolour was used to represent Northern Ireland at the Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace.
A week earlier, the Belfast celebrations of Northern Ireland’s centenary were largely ignored.
The BBC is in a unique position where it is funded by the viewers. It is also unique in that it provides localised coverage.
Not everyone will want to watch a live broadcast of the Twelfth of July parades. That’s fine, but a lot of people will.
Not everyone will want to watch EastEnders, The Great British Sewing Bee or Barra Best’s Walk the Line. But all those shows have an audience.
The broadcaster has made a big play in recent years about multiculturalism.
Coverage of Gaelic games has increased, so too has coverage of road racing — two pursuits adored by significant sections of the population.
Irish language programming has also improved.
All these things have their place, and the commitment to increase programming is great.
But if the BBC is to be truly reflective of local life, scaling back the coverage of something that many people love, a colourful spectacle of historic significance to Northern Ireland, is not a good look.
There will be many who can’t make it to the parades, who pay their licence fees to see events such as the Twelfth. It’s a part of their life, so they will feel bitterly let down by the BBC’s decision. The corporation has lost a great deal of goodwill from a large section of the people who fund it.
Instead of watching the Twelfth, the likelihood is they will be ‘treated’ to a repeat of Bargain Hunt, with the BBC citing resourcing issues as a reason for its decision.
The cameras will still be there, the BBC has said, and there will be highlights. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t compare to the feeling of actually being there, which a live broadcast provides. If the cameras will be there regardless, the financial savings should be negligible.
So much for singing in perfect harmony.