persuade the council to come up with a set policy for sectarian marches instead of taking each on its own merit.
‘Some ofthem are exhibitions of outright hostility towards a large section of the population.’ he says. admitting that his is perhaps a minority view in the Council Chambers. ‘I personally do not see that marching down the road singing dirty songs about the Pope is a necessary part of democratic free speech. Some of the slogans written on the drums are inflammatory in the extreme. But there are faults on both sides. These marches are aggressive acts and they are not committed to free speech.‘
On top of this comes the accusation that sectarian marches. whether ()range or Republican. are dirtied by an inherent support for Irish terrorist groups — although the marchers themselves would often deny this. The Republicans‘ stance is more openly political than the pomp and circumstance of the Orangemen. but that is not to say that the Lodges do not have links with Loyalist terrorist organisations at some level. A Strathclyde Lodge has recently had its warrant lifted and has been banned from marches because ofcriticisms it levelled at the Grandmaster of Scotland over his lack of vocal support for the Loyalists and condemnation for the Provos — whom this Lodge refer to in a leaﬂet as ‘subhuman trash‘.
A political solution in Ireland is probably required before sectarianism here can begin to lose its ugly overtones of bigotry — and with the breakdown of the Brooke talks. this seems as far off as ever. For the foreseeable future. therefore. llector Macmillan‘s hopes remain somewhat idealistic.
‘Ifyou deal with the political issues.‘ he says. ‘then certainly I would want to see the Ancient Order of l libernians and the Loyal Orange Lodges as a pagent. a spectacle on the level of a May Day parade that folk from both sides could enjoy. The rhythm and the lift of those tunes is obviously satisfying some human need. but we allow it to be misused. You iust can’t help but let your feet go with the mtisic. \\ hate\ er your head is saying. The Sax/1 is a great tune. but so is The Boys alum/ma \\ hy should you get rid of them‘."
12Thc List l2— 25 July 1991