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Parades legislation a 'bad law' for the majority

I refer to the article which begins, "A member of the Parades Commission has told of her personal hurt following the barrage of unionist abuse directed at the body". (News, July 18).

As Harold Laski wrote: "In politics, at any rate, it is not only necessary to will what is right, but also to know what it is right to will. It is a nice question whether more harm than good has not been done by governments who have been left unopposed because it has been conjectured that they were doing their best."

The Parades Commission legislation is in contravention of the cross-community consensus protocol of the Belfast Agreement, since no member of parliament representing the unionist community voted in support of the legislation when passed at Westminster. Consequently, the parades legislation may be seen as despotic, when compared to the classical democracy of Athens, as explained by George H Sabine: "The Athenian did not imagine himself to be wholly unconstrained, but he drew the sharpest distinction between the restraint which is merely subjection to another man's arbitrary will and that which recognises in the law a rule which has a right to be respected and hence is in this sense self-imposed."

Based on the latter premise, the commission legislation is 'bad law', imposed on, but lacking in the respect of, the majority community against whose aspect of cultural expression it is directed.


UK Independence Party

Belfast Telegraph