Well you will be glad to hear that the Orange Order is holding a series of workshops to discuss its future. We’ll be talking about the ‘Orange Order: The Way Forward’.
So the way forward for that Irish Protestant and political society is in doubt, is it?
I’m worried. Our numbers are declining.
Not surprising. Don’t you remember as far back as 2000, one senior figure said that the Orange Order was losing moderate members because it was increasingly dominated by politics, “ignorance and malevolence”.
The problem today is the young folk join the marching bands
instead of the lodges as they are more in tune with the drinking culture and night clubbing.
Who’s invited to these Workshops?
Only members of the Orange Order
and Orange Hall users
Don’t you think it might be wise, given the predicament you‘ve got yourselves into at Twadell for example,
to listen to opinions from people who aren’t members?
We’re upscaling our protest there. William Mawhinney of the Orange Order said so and North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, who was present alongside DUP party colleagues William Humphrey and Nelson McCausland,didn’t disagree.
Who’s organising the Workshops?
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and Orange Community Network STRIPE project
Isn’t that Peace III funded? Isn’t it supposed to encourage groups to take part in meaningful cross community and cross border activity?
Yes, but a single identity group can be set up to build the self confidence of that community
I see. So the Orange Order lacks confidence!
What are you going to do in these Workshops?
We’ll be answering strategic questions
Have you got a list? Let me see
I’ll read them out to you and we’ll see how you answer them
What is the role of the Orange Order?
It doesn’t say. Society in Northern Ireland?
That’s easy. To manipulate religious hatred as a tool for political agenda
We defend the civil and religious liberties of Protestants
But nobody else’s. You’re surly bullies
“What is the remit of the Orange Order?”
To dabble in politics, refuse to endorse political or religious pluralism, and refuse to take responsibility for your role in the recent civil disturbances as well as in past oppression of Catholics.
Don’t be so stupid. All our actions are motivated by a desire for the glory of God, the welfare of man, the honour of our sovereign, and the good of the UK.
Are the internal structures of the Orange Order fit for purpose or effective?
You mean all that self-aggrandizement and self-knighting business?
Just to make you think you’re special?
“Is the organisation geared to meet the challenges of the 21st century?
Hardly. You rejected Good Friday Agreement
You reject the Parades Commission
You display an ambiguous relationship with Loyalist paramilitaries and their activities
You block everything you object to
When you don’t get what you want, you foment violence
and your political parties justify that as they have shown with the response to the flag protests and so on .
“How could the order be more appealing to aid recruitment?
Allow Roman Catholics to join?
“What is the public perception of the Orange Order?
You’re an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting
brush fires of bigotry in the minds of men
Is there a need to change this?
What do you think? Haven’t your unyielding tactics antagonized a majority of the public?
“What are the main challenges?
Your awful slogans and your weight in Northern Ireland politics
and how do we address these?
Abolish the slogans and get out of politics Very few of you are fit to be MLAs or Councillors. For example, would any of you be willing and able to campaign in Catholic areas?
Where do we go from here?
March into oblivion. On your way stop burning your neighbour’s flag
and don’t go around parading that you are up to your necks in Fenian blood or that Catholics should go home because the famine is over
Your answers don’t count because you’re not one of us, you’re one of the other sort