Pride week is a fantastic series of events held to promote the LGBT political campaign for legislative change and also to celebrate what Rainbow project spokesperson John O’Doherty describes as LGBT culture and identity.
The LGBT community should be fully entitled to enjoy this week, they should receive fair and equitable funding and resources for their events and most importantly they should feel comfortable and safe in celebrating their culture/identity and promoting their political campaign.
What Pride week, and the broader LGBT movement, are not entitled to is to be treated differently than other political and/or cultural movements. The core argument underpinning the LGBT movement is that, they say, they are treated differently. Therefore having preferential treatment would surely be abhorrent to their movement?
In this regard I fail to see why the PSNI would be taking part in what John O’Doherty on the Nolan show described as a “political event” and a “protest”.
The PSNI are supposed to be neutral and are prohibited by their own code of ethics from participating in political activity. There is also a duty on the PSNI, under article 6.2 of their code of ethics, to treat all persons equally regardless of status.
In this regard if the PSNI position is that they now take part in political events, then should an invite be extended to take part in a loyalist or republican parade, then the PSNI- in the interests of treating all persons/groups equally- would have to take up this invite.
Would the liberal left be so supportive of the PSNI marching alongside a loyalist flute band with a banner saying “End the hatred of Orange culture- report all attacks on Orange Halls”?
There appeared to be some social media dissension in relation to Mr O’Doherty’s position that “Pride is a political event”. Perhaps the organisers of Pride could clarify whether Mr O’Doherty is right or wrong in his assertion on this morning’s Nolan show that “Pride is a political event.”
I also raised the matter of painted kerbstones on Union street. I do not have any issue with painting kerbstones to celebrate a cultural event, however I do have an issue when the liberals howl and wail if kerbstones are painted red, white and blue or green, white and gold yet take a different approach when it comes to the colours of the rainbow.
Mr O’Doherty further informed the Nolan show that the shops in the vicinity of Union street took responsibility for this criminal damage. Is this an accurate statement made on behalf of the businesses? If it is, then it is arguably an admission of criminal damage, which is an offence.
I raised this matter with the SDLP press officer, Martin McCauley, during a good natured and respectful twitter debate following the Nolan show. Mr McCauley initially advised that he found the painting of kerbstones “tacky”.
When pressed on the issue of the painted kerbstones in Union street, the SDLP press officer began to bizarrely equivocate and appeared to suggest that painting kerbstones was only wrong if it was “marking territory”.
It appeared to be his view that so long as the painting of kerbstones as supporting the LGBT community, then this was a relevant ‘context’ and somewhat different than painting the kerbstones in support of any other community. How this is squared with what the LGBT movement say is their demand to be treated equally under the law, is beyond me.
I appreciate Mr McCauley was engaging via social media in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the SDLP, but I did ask for the party position on a number of occasions. Mr McCauley was ably assisted in this regard by the intervention of SDLP East Belfast election candidate, Seamus de Faoite.
The former East Belfast candidate helpfully revealed that the party position was much the same as in relation to flags, and given you cannot eat a flag then it would prove difficult to eat a kerbstone.
So it appears, according to Mr de Faoite at least, that the SDLP opposition to some painted kerbstones, presumably ones painted with the colours of a flag, is that you cannot eat them. Whether the LGBT painted kerbstones are eatable or not is yet to be established.
This morning’s debate has exposed how many of the most liberal in our society display tolerance only in so far as they agree with what they are tolerating. Dissenting views are not to be tolerated. It has further become clear that there is, at least among some quarters, a desire for the LGBT community not to be treated equally under the law, but rather to have special privileges.
The PSNI need to urgently clarify why they are taking part in a political event and make clear whether they will take part in other political events/protests if the organisers extend an invite.
It is also important to know whether the officers taking part in this political event, in uniform, are being paid from the public purse to do so.
The full debate from this mornings Stephen Nolan show can be heard here: