Sinn Fein propagandists, such as Jim Gibney in The Irish News (8 December) have been busy weighing in behind Belfast Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile. They have not directly tried to justify what he did, when he refused to hand over a Duke of Edinburgh award to a young Army Cadet. They know that Martin McGuinness has already admitted that O Donnghaile was wrong and they can't very well disagree with Martin. However they have been busy attacking unionist politicians and attacking the British Army, hoping that they can divert the focus of attention away from Niall's little disaster.
Jim Gibney engages in a bit of propagandist nonsense, claiming that the union flag has been 'flying illegally for more than 20 years ... on top of Belfast City Hall' Now that is simply nonsense. There is nothing 'illegal' about the flying of the union flag.
Gibney also indulges in a popular pastime for Sinn Feiners and that is trying to demoralise unionists, while at the same time boosting the morale of republicans.
There is a battle taking place inside the city hall, led mainly by Sinn Fein councillors, to secure institutional recognition of the cultural tradition of the nationalist people of Belfast. This battle has been caused by the unionist parties' refusal to voluntarily accept symbols and emblems associated with nationalists on public display inside and outside the city hall.Unionists might bluster as they did at the city hall about the mayor's handling of the Duke of Edinburgh awards. But the winds of change continue blowing through that particular chamber. Before the night was over the unionist (sic) lost a vote to erect an Irish language sign. And that is the enduring and unending story - unionists continue to resist to no avail.
This is rather like the repeated claims by Sinn Fein that a 'United Ireland' is inevitable. It is propaganda designed to demoralise unionists by suggesting that there is nothing they can do and that it is not worth trying. The only thing that is inevitable is death. There is nothing inevitable about a 'United Ireland' and indeed it is less popular than ever but that does not stop Sinn Feiners trotting out the old line time and time again.
Jim Gibney has been at it in The Irish News and Martin O'Muilleoir has been at it in the Andersonstown News. Of course no sensible unionist will believe a word of it. I don't believe Gerry Adams when he says he was never in the IRA, I don't believe him when he says a 'United Ireland' is inevitable and I don't believe his acolytes when they tell me this or that is 'inevitable'.
However this smug and patronising attitude from Sinn Fein is certainly poisoning the atmosphere in the City Hall.
I have talked to many moderate unionists over the past few weeks and the behaviour of the Lord Mayor, along with Sinn Fein demands to take down the union flag, has certainly antagonised them.