As a servant of the crown, I was enjoying today off work, as part of the celebrations to mark Elizabeth Windsor’s remarkable 70 year tenure as Head of State. Regardless of what one might feel about having an unelected monarch as head of state, the Queen’s dedication and sense of duty are quite a sight to behold, particularly when juxtaposed against her Prime Minister’s blatant disregard for laws he enacted, but that he allowed. The Queen mourned the loss of her husband alone, whilst Boris Johnson’s office and staff made merry.
But the Bullingdon alumni that abused cleaning and security staff at No 10 Downing Street, whilst objectionable, don’t approach the squalid, wretched pitiful excuses for human beings who decided to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee with a song celebrating the violent murder of a woman, who happened to be the daughter of a successful sporting figure, who also happened to be from the nationalist community.
One of the those singing away was a girls' football volunteer coach at Linfield FC. Linfield, to their credit, removed the man immediately. A Craigavon firm are investigating reports that one of their employees was involved in this episode, and the Orange Order are apparently looking into whether or not any of their members were involved.
The Belfast Telegraph reported that:
While it has not yet been verified where the incident in the video took place, it is understood it occurred during the recent Centenary celebrations, with Orange Order banners in the background and Union flag bunting.
One wonders what action, if any, the Orange Order would take. It didn’t expel Norman Coopey for beating a 16 year old Catholic schoolboy to death with a hammer. To be fair to the Order, though, they did ask him to resign.
Nor did it expel Eddie McIlwaine, sentenced for his part in the abduction, torture, and attempted murder of a Catholic. Mcllwaine was also a part-time member of the UDR.
On the 29th September 2017, a 63 year old prominent member of the Orange Order named John Alexander Aughey was given a two-year sentence at Belfast Crown Court on Friday (half to be spent in prison) for offences related to driving a car into Catholics in Ardoyne. I could find no indication of the Orange Order having expelled him. At his trial, the crown prosecutor said that Aughey’s criminal record was “minor and of considerable vintage.”
In 1975, an Ardoyne man (and part-time UDR member) named John Alexander Aughey was charged with possession of ammunition in suspicious circumstances. I have no idea if this is the same man who would later be jailed for the car incident, but Dale “Nelson” Pankhurst didn’t seem put off by having Aughey of car infamy signing his DUP nomination papers.
So, perhaps we can’t expect much from the Orange Order. It’s a bigoted organisation which is capable of the most laughable hypocrisy, and associated time and again with the dregs of society.
But the condemnation of the low-lives singing a song celebrating the murder of a young woman on her honeymoon have been universal, and swift. In a perhaps questionable move, two of the men (John Bell and Andrew McDade) involved in the sing-song about a woman being strangled to death have employed the PR services of Jamie Bryson’s PR’s consultancy, through whom a statement has been released.
Part of the statement reads:
This behaviour is unreflective of the values of the Loyal Orders and the wider unionist and loyalist community.
I wonder how much of this is true? I think it’s accurate to say that a great majority of the wider unionist community would not engage in such base behaviour, but have not the “loyal orders” a prolonged track record of hosting behaviour such as this? A British Secretary of State said that the behaviour of some Orangemen would shame a tribe of cannibals. And didn’t the loyalist community bring us the sectarian lawlessness of Harryville, Drumcree, and Holy Cross?
Beyond the issue of the culpability of the Orange Order for continuing, and the continuation, of rancid, hate-filled actions like this incident, is where free speech fits in to all of this.
I have no dogmatic position here, but my general feeling is that the losers pictured singing away should not be prosecuted, but that their employers should be able to sack them for their actions. I wouldn’t want to work beside any of those individuals, and I wouldn’t want my sister, wife, or daughter to have to spend any time with them either. Ultimately, though, it’s all subjective, and without a criminal conviction, maybe employers shouldn’t have the right to sack individuals for their beliefs and the content of their songs, so matter how sickening they are.
⏩ Brandon Sullivan is a middle aged, middle management, centre-left Belfast man. Would prefer people focused on the actual bad guys.