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Orange Order has failed to move with the times… BBC’s Twelfth parade decision reflects changing position of unionism in Northern Ireland

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July 12, 1960. An immensely exciting occasion for BBC Northern Ireland and the Orange Order as the corporation chooses the Belfast parade for its first live broadcast.

But the times are changing, even in this part of the world. Back then, TVs were black and white, the internet didn’t exist and homosexuality was a crime.

The Beeb’s decision to axe live coverage of the Twelfth comes in the context of sweeping cuts after the government froze the licence fee. Yet there can be no doubting its huge symbolic significance to everyone who lives here.

As Orangemen prepare to celebrate their victory 332 years ago, many feel they’ve lost every battle in recent decades.

The Drumcree defeat still looms large, even though around 2,000 parades go uncontested annually.

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The institution lost its political clout a long time ago. Until the introduction of direct rule in 1972, membership was almost a prerequisite for holding office.

Back then, it........

© Belfast Telegraph

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