THE SDLP has finally disowned the decision to name a playpark in Newry after an IRA man.
This is a step forward in the crisis over symbols.
It was absurd to maintain that flying the flag of the nation, as endorsed across Ireland by the electorates in the referenda after the Belfast Agreement, is offensive to one section of the community, while not recognising that naming a children’s play area after a dedicated terrorist is not objectionable to the other.
The SDLP hierarchy has acknowledged the discrepancy, with Alex Attwood and Alasdair McDonnell admitting unhappiness at the actions of party colleagues in Newry and Mourne over the tribute to Raymond McCreesh.
The recent loyalist violence has been abominable.
It is crucial that those guilty of attacks on the homes of Alliance councillors receive long prison terms.
But there is no inconsistency in calling for this while recognising the frustration of a large section of the Protestant community as it watches the relentless advance of a nationalism that is intolerant of anything British.
Take, for example, the way the embattled minority population in the north west puts up with the petty, almost obsessively singular references to Derry – a refusal even to utter the name of the great city that gave Londonderry its charter.
And embattled is the key word: Protestants who live anywhere near Northern Ireland’s long border are in retreat.
All around Ulster, they sense hypocrisy.
If Catholic students had to put up with the GAA triumphalism that Protestants endure in the universities, you can be sure that the equality industry would intervene.
The McCreesh naming is merely a more blunt manifestation of this tribalism, and needs to be reversed.