Friday, 29 August 2008
P Sinn Féin can't be allowed to poop the Olympic party
A Sinn Féin councillor has complained to the Equality Commission after it adjudged a British Olympic flag erected for four hours at a leisure centre in Craigavon to be unproblematic. The emblem incorporated the Union Flag as part of the British Olympic Association’s lion logo.
Three Thousand Versts has consistently argued that the principle of consent must not be disregarded, by erasing consequences which naturally flow from Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom, under the guise of equality. Sinn Féin has persistently instigated a policy whereby any outward manifestation of Northern Ireland’s constitutional status is considered offensive and must be removed on grounds of parity of esteem.
It is correct to provide neutral public spaces and shared environments where flags and symbols are not appropriate. I have volubly supported, for example, initiatives to furnish the Northern Ireland football team with its own anthem. I do not wish to see buildings and lampposts festooned with flags. I am a strong advocate of cultures and traditions in Northern Ireland being afforded recognition and accorded respect, as the many cultures and traditions which comprise the UK as a whole should similarly be recognised and respected.
There are however consequences which remaining in the United Kingdom entails, which nationalism as a whole, and republicanism in particular, signed up to when they accepted the Belfast Agreement and which they must begin to accept in practice. Most importantly there is the primacy of Northern Ireland’s constitutional status along with the furniture and symbols of state which accompany that status. In addition there are certain sporting and cultural connections which as residents of the United Kingdom, the people of Northern Ireland must be free to enjoy.
The UK is the next Olympic host and the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team represents all of that territory. Northern Irish people cannot be excluded from celebrating and participating in the Olympic party because of the petty mindedness of Sinn Féin.