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Sneering liberals must accept the rights of the Orange marchers

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AMIDST the echoes of a Catholic childhood in the West of Scotland, the clamour of orange parades still resonate. In vain you try to recall a sense of jeopardy as all those men and women, their faces hard as flint, marched past on feet that always seemed to be set at ten to two on a clock-face.

There was no jeopardy though, only fascination tinged with a slight unease from all those embroidered stories from uncles in whisky when Margaret Maria or Damian John were making their first holy communions.

In those hot summers there was a swagger about the Orangemen that seemed rooted in a confidence that comes from knowing your place in society and in the certainty that it was near the top of it. In the decades that have since passed that confidence has steadily evaporated and there is little certainty about anything. How could there be? The pillars that once upheld and reinforced their view of the world have crumbled and what remains is under siege.

The Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland, once a citadel of intellects like Malcolm Rifkind, Michael Forsyth and George Younger, is now the preserve of an assortment of backwoodsmen whom you wouldn’t trust to return safely with the messages. The Church of Scotland is a mere husk of what it once was; susceptible to every passing populous whim and calling it ‘inclusiveness’. The factories and yards that once guaranteed well-paid employment and security of tenure have vanished and the once downtrodden Irish Catholic community has risen to a position of genuine influence in politics, media and........

© Herald Scotland