I NOTE that Ian Parsley feels unionist opposition to the removal of the Union Flag from the City Hall on all but 17 days is seeking to have Belfast “remain exceptional” in terms of being uber-British.
He might wish to consult the Draft EQIA report on this issue a little more closely.
It clearly states there are a variety of flag-flying practices in council chambers across the UK and that a number of councils appear to be changing their policy towards flying the Union Flag 365 days per year in response to a UK Government White Paper in 2008.
Many already do this, such as Dundee, Newcastle, Bradford and Cardiff, to name a few.
Interestingly, the Draft EQIA report also notes that Leeds and Swansea, two councils Mr Parsley mentions in defence of his position, have now taken to flying the Union Flag every day.
The Alliance Party are moving in the wrong direction on this issue, seeking to hide behind a “standard practice” argument which doesn’t exist.
Apparently, debating this is unionist “time wasting”, something deeply ironic given that it was the Alliance Party who were instrumental in farming this out to consultation in the first place.
“Standard practice” is a ruse for political correctness.
We simply want our national flag to fly respectfully on the main civic building in Belfast city centre, as the UK Government and the Equality Commission recognise is legitimate. Is that too much to ask?