I have admitted in the past an ambivalence toward Orangeism and the Orange Order. I would like to be more sympathetic, but the organisation really doesn’t do itself any favours at times. You have to wonder does anyone at all furnish the Order with public relations advice, and if so do they listen or does some dour Ulster thranness cause them to act directly counter to these suggestions?
Take the OO’s protests outside Hillsborough Castle last night. It takes a peculiarly warped sensibility to make genuine victimhood appear like a specious type of martyr complex, but the Orange Order has managed it. There is a concerted and sectarian campaign by republicans to attack the Order’s property. That is a fact and one which has gained the organisation some sympathy. These attacks are particularly reprehensible because they are aimed at small rural Orange Halls which play a pivotal role in their communities and are often used by people of all religions and political opinions for a myriad of purposes.
Why then, instead of highlighting the insidious nature of these attacks and how they are aimed not only at the organisation but at the very fabric of the communities in which the Order exists, do 200 Orangemen (including Grand Master Robert Saulters) elect to bear posters with the legend “fair play to protestants” and engage in whataboutery claiming the police would be more concerned with attacks on GAA halls?