One step forward, two back

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AS a unionist who grew up during the Troubles but whose children are thankfully growing up in a comparatively peaceful environment, I have been disturbed by the recent backward steps resulting from the decision by Belfast City Council to fly the Union Flag only on selected days.

I do not dispute that losing this symbolism at the City Hall is for many people a very emotive issue and one on which they have very strong feelings; I am though no less British now than I was before.

Such events, however, call for strong and calm leadership from our unionist politicians.

Sadly, I do not believe this was recently sufficiently evident. Indeed during the media coverage only Basil McCrea appeared brave enough to immediately stand up and express a sensible and non-inflammatory response.

History shows that events can sometimes spiral out of control and there is no place in our shared society for any violence or intimidation.

For everyone in this Province, their employment and well-being, for its economy and investment, it is time that all our politicians recognised the potential such events have to destabilise and damage the excellent progress which has been made.

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