Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Missing the Glorious Twalth... Happily

The last time I stood and watched a parade go by on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne - in fact, I should say the only time - was in 2000, and a dispiriting occasion it was too, other than for the fiercely determined and fairly skilful efforts of the many adolescent baton twirlers-and-tossers. After the first five minutes of (admittedly impressive) Lambeg drum din, any Twelfth of July march becomes as tedious as that martial pounding over time: block after block of dapper and dogged walkers, old men in bowler hats quite often proclaiming their temperance, younger men and boys squeezed into smart gear, disciplined for sure, but looking like they could murder a pint... And on the pavements, the real gala event, awash with booze, already waiting for the night to fall. A summer festival of sorts, but not the sort of party you'd want to stumble upon.
Even after all the ironies of the 'Peace Process' it was odd to hear Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly speak scowlingly of the 'Real IRA''s supposed orchestration of protests against yesterday's marches. If Sinn Fein and their supporters have come to see 'The Twelfth' as an irrelevance that should be allowed by the 'Nationalist Community' to pass off without so much as a rock tossed in anger, then far we have travelled indeed...

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