If Unionists are world champions at anything, it is manufactured rage.
Of course, the presence of paramilitary trappings at a funeral is outrageous. But then, the presence of paramilitary trappings on public property or at war memorials is outrageous. How about some consistency? Ah no, you see, it’s one rule for “usuns” and one rule for “themmuns”.
This July, as ever, has seen courageous public servants injured by mobs; an arranged fight between (ahem, female) kids in a busy shopping street; and even the export of paramilitarism by a Bangor man to Alice Springs where he plans to “tar and feather” Aboriginals. All of these hint that parts of Northern Irish society are fundamentally uncivilised – yet they drew scant comment from Unionist leaders who could do something about it.
As a British Protestant, I am fed up with seeing my national flag besmirched by its placing on public property alongside paramilitary flags; and I am fed up with seeing my religion besmirched with the ludicrous notion that burning an image of the mother of Christ or forcing co-religionists out of their homes is my “culture”.
The fact that Unionist leaders choose, at best, to do nothing about these things says more to their own lack of real understanding or both Britishness and Protestantism. This lack of understanding of what it is to be a responsible British citizen and compassionate follower of the reformed faith has much to answer for.