Recent weeks have seen remarkable joint, cross-community protests in favour of free speech for Tommy Robinson and Brexit. Older folk have watched open-mouthed as young working class protesters from Protestant and Catholic areas of Belfast joined forces and marched together under Union flags and Irish tricolours.
Not surprisingly, the Marxist bigots of Sinn Fein/IRA are appalled at the shift towards normal, non-sectarian politics. But now it seems as if elements within the security forces are also more comfortable with the idea of the old sectarian divisions than with working class Protestants and Catholics uniting around a politically incorrect agenda and against Islamification.
That is the only conclusion we can draw from the otherwise insane decision of the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) to dismantle two of the bonfires which were due to be lit in East Belfast this evening.
The bonfire in Cluan Place was dismantled by contractors wearing face coverings to protect their identity with the PSNI saying the pyre had posed “a significant risk to people and property in the area”.
A line of PSNI Land Rovers parked on Albertbridge Road which is around a mile from the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire which is also being removed today.
Pallets were loaded on to a lorry by a forklift truck.
Contractors took several hours to clear the site, guarded by riot police, as dozens of people looked on.
The truth was explained by former DUP councillor Ruth Patterson told the Irish News there had never been trouble connected to the Cluan Place bonfire and no buildings had ever been damaged. She said the decision to remove the bonfire was part of an agenda being driven by individuals on Belfast City Council and within the PSNI.
Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers, independent unionist councillor Jolene Bunting and prominent loyalist Jamie Bryson were also at the scene.
Several people at the scene complained that stones were being thrown into the road from the mainly nationalist Short Strand.
Earlier today, Sinn Féin claimed a device was thrown into the Clandeboye area of Short Strand.
Councillor Mairead O’Donnell said the device was thrown over a wall at the interface.
“This was a reckless indiscriminate attack on homes in Clandeboye and it’s fortunate that no one has been injured,” she said.
She added: “I unreservedly condemn this sectarian attack on the residents of the Short Strand and I urge anyone with any influence in the community to come out strongly against those behind this cowardly attack.
“This attack has naturally raised tensions in the local community and I am calling on people to remain calm.”
The Sinn Fein/IRA councillor hypocritically attacked ‘sectarianism’, despite the IRA’s long and bloody record of sectarian murder and Sinn Fein’s own continued involvement in nakedly sectarian ‘cultural cleansing’ against the loyalist community – including pressure to ban parades and bonfires.
It is true that the 11th Night bonfires were once sectarian, with every one of them topped by effigies of the Pope and Irish tricolours. In recent years, however, the more and more of the effigies and flags burned have represented ISIS or the European Union. Deeply upsetting to liberals and Sinn Fein, of course, but not of any concern to ordinary Catholics.
As a direct result of the removal of the two bonfires, dozens of young loyalists who were previously not involved in anything remotely political, let alone paramilitary, are reported to have joined the Ulster Volunteer Force.
At the same time, loyalist anger over the PSNI attack on their culture will almost inevitably lead some idiots to blame the Catholics, which means that several dozen youngsters in the Short Strand will at least wonder if they shouldn’t join the dissident Irish Republicans in order to ‘defend the community’.
Either the people running the PSNI are out-of-touch university-educated liberals with no grasp of reality, or they are deliberately stirring up sectarian tension. The only question is which is worse? Total incompetence or malicious cynicism. It’s hard to tell, but if they keep at it, it won’t end well, whichever it is!