Monday, 23 June 2008

Insider's take on the marching season

Ignited has begun what promises to be an interesting series of posts over on Redemption’s Son. He intends to blog his experiences of the marching season as it unfolds, through the prism of his own membership of the Orange Order. The initial post provides some insight into his motivations in joining the Order and his perceptions of what membership means to those who have joined.

When Ignited comments, “the Orange Order is a family; and that is not lost on its members”, I am reminded of Ruth Dudley Edwards book ‘The Faithful Tribe’ in which the author is noticably seduced by the familial aspect of the loyal orders and the acceptance which she found amongst its members. Ignited is circumspect about some of the problems within the Order, but he is also firmly committed to the principle that marches should not be restricted.

I have recorded on this blog my ambivalence and indeed apathy as regards Orange culture. I believe that in many cases the orders have not presented themselves in a favourable light and have a tendency to assume a victim mentality which proves counter-productive in putting their case across. I would acknowledge that some attempts are being made to make parades more trouble free, family friendly occasions, but the continued participation of paramilitary style bands undermines the Orange argument that parades are harmless and should be tolerated as legitimate expressions of culture. Put simply, the Order has a lot of work to do, and seriously needs to look at the manner in which it manages public relations.

Of course my belief is that it is important to allow different identities and cultures to express themselves without hindrance where possible, and I do not in any way exclude Orange culture from this tenet. Tolerance of diversity is one of the important principles which define the modern United Kingdom. As I commented in a previous post, “I fully acknowledge the validity of the culture from which they [the Loyal Orders] spring and I defend the right of that culture to express itself in these ways, unhindered as much as possible, within the confines of the law and within reasonable boundaries of nuisance and risk”.

As an Orange agnostic I look forward to reading the perspective of an insider, throughout the summer on Redemption’s Son.


Aidan said...

That's a very interesting link. The OO is definitely a very mysterious organization for anybody brought up in the south so an insider's view makes very interesting reading.

Ignited said...

Thank you for the support Chekov hopefully you'll find it an insightful exercise.

On Ruth Dudley-Edwards book I found it very fair and I though she brought along with her the right attitude to finding out more about the OO. What I've experienced through travel and meeting non NI people is an real and acute interest in the OO. That is a fault of the OO not explaining or even attempting to explain itself to a wider audience.

CW said...

You didn't happen to catch Alexei Sayle's documentary on Liverpool, screened recently on BBC2, Chekov? I flicked over in a moment of boredom during extra-time in the Turkey-Croatia match. There was an interesting item in which the bald, corpulent, Marxist Scouse comedian examined the sectarian tensions which until recently were a blight on the city.
He interviewed a member of one of the Liverpool Orange lodges, who, when challenged denied that the organisation was anti-Catholic, saying words to the effect of "In fact we pray for Roman Catholics (sic) at the start of every meeting, in the hope that one day they will learn the error of their ways". How very considerate of him.

The funny thing was he kept referrng to Roman Catholics. I don't know why he was bothered about people in Italy, when surely he should be more concerned about Liverpudlian Catholics?

Chekov said...

I did see a couple of parts of the documentary cw, but I didn't catch it on Friday.