It almost seems redundant to report on riots in Northern Ireland at this time of year (or indeed any time of year). After all, the likelihood of a riot breaking out is roughly on a par with the potential for rain showers in April. Growing up in Northern Ireland, I never really understood the inclination, and I still don’t. Indeed, the only tangible result that ever materialises is more misery for a region that already takes misery to an Olympic level.
Last night it was the turn of Nationalists to do further damage to the North’s already damaged image. But I want to focus my attention on this occasion on the ‘Loyalists’ who chose to riot on Saturday night when police decided to remove British and paramilitary flags near a Catholic church. Were it not for the injury sustained by police officers upholding the law in the face of violence, the very notion of ‘loyalism’ in Northern Ireland would be laughable.
Where else can a group of individuals who consistently break the law and engage in violence against officers of the Crown style themselves as being ‘loyal’ to Queen and country? Only in Northern Ireland.
At best, an individual who claims to hold one belief and act in a way which demonstrates disdain for that belief might be described as a hypocrite. But in this instance it would be a great deal more honest simply to call a spade a spade: instead of the term loyalist, we should simply describe them as traitors. What else are they?
Not that it really matters. We can call them what we like, but ultimately an excuse will always be found to riot in Northern Ireland. And those of us who live and work in England will be left to pick up the tab.