I very much welcome the measured and conciliatory statement this week by the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
I share many of the concerns currently being expressed about recent public order policing. Questions do need to be answered, especially about the heavy handed way in which the Clyde Valley flute band was dealt with last Saturday.
The apparent witch-hunt against soldiers who served here has angered and appalled many, but I think the band’s inclusion of the parachute regiment’s crest/soldier F on its uniform in Londonderry was, to put it mildly, very unwise.
I understand that they have worn it at other parades this summer, but bearing in mind the sensitivities surrounding the crest in Londonderry, it would have been prudent to have left it out on Saturday (Before the parade pictured above).
Perception is all important and, whatever the motive of the Clyde Valley band, its actions have caused hurt and also given ammunition to those who are opposed to our traditions and heritage.
It has also detracted from the purpose of Saturday’s parade which was to celebrate the providential relief of the city from the terrible siege.
Our parades are, above all else, Protestant parades.
We must at all times be true to our Protestant principles and we must behave in a dignified and respectful manner.
I write these comments as someone who has Orange blood flowing through his veins and who is passionately committed to the evangelical Protestant cause.
Wallace Thompson, Belfast