Orange lodges in north Belfast will hardly have been too surprised that the Parades Commission turned down their request for a procession along a contested section of the Crumlin Road tomorrow.
The proposed parade will only have the three lodges and bands which were prevented from passing the Ardoyne flashpoint on their return from the Belfast Twelfth parade last Friday and, while there will again be bitter disappointment in Orange ranks at yet another commission blockage, the prospects of an official rethink were never considered high.
In traditional Orange culture, lodges heading out on parade from a given point always aim to return to that location on the same day and Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge will argue that as the Ligoniel contingents were unable to complete their route on the Twelfth evening, they were obligated to once again attempt to reach a final destination
The same argument has been proferred by Portadown Orange district for a decade and a half over the completion of the Drumcree parade, but without success.
Indeed, unless there is a change of mindset within a Parades Commission that is totally out of sympathy with thinking in mainstream unionist/loyalist society, and a much less intransigent attitude taken by local republican/nationalists, the main arterial upper Crumlin Road could also be out of bounds for Orangemen, even for those genuinely wanting to return home.
In this latest commission determination, the Ligoniel lodges and bands will be allowed to walk along the mainly loyalist upper Shankill and Woodvale roads, but a strong PSNI detachment will not allow them to go any further.
With the inevitability of tomorrow’s parade being halted, Orangemen and bandsmen must exercise total discipline.
The proposed parade must at all costs be absolutely peaceful, with lodge and band marshals ensuring that irresponsible hangers-on do not engage in loutish coat-trailing activities that would besmirch the Orange and unionist cause.