Try running this one up the poll

By Squinter

BBC Ulster this week carried out a poll on local attitudes to flags and parades as the Haass talks built to a thrilling climax.

The results were illuminating, to say the least. When it comes to the union jack and public buildings, most people support flying the butcher’s apron on designated days; next most popular option was flying it 24/7, followed by flying it never, followed by the I-don’t-give-a-monkey’s option.

Of course, the findings were dismissed as IRA propaganda by the fleg protestors, who remain convinced that the only people who have any right to have a say – or indeed be listened to – on the issue of flags and emblems is the Loyliss Pradistin People of Ulster (LPPU).

But wait! It appears that even among the LPPU there’s not exactly a consensus on the desirability of putting the fleg back up on the City Hall flagpole or putting the Parades Commission in front of a Camp Twaddell firing squad.

Squinter had a chat yesterday with a spokesman for the Protestant Coalition and he gave a number of brief but telling ripostes to some of the poll’s key findings.

32% of Protestants want to keep the Parades Commission, the poll reveals. “Aye, that’s 32% of Protestants at the Ormeau Avenue Christmas party, no doubt.”

33% of Protestants have ‘no opinion’ on the Parades Commission, says the new survey. “I think you’ll find that should read ‘33% of Protestants smoking crystal meth.’”

32% of Protestants say union jack should be flown on ‘designated days’. “That’s 33% of Protestants in the Alliance Party, obviously.”

The Parades Commission and flags poll was carried out for the BBC by Ipsos Mori. The Protestant Coalition man asked Squinter: “Did you know Ipsos Mori is Latin for ‘Tiocfaidh Ar La’?”

And the top loyalist revealed that the Protestant Coalition had carried out a survey of its own on the Woodvale Road and Twaddell Avenue in response to the risible BBC survey – a poll on the BBC itself. Its key findings were:

78% think Ormeau Avenue has a chapel in the basement

89% per cent think Stephen Nolan was educated at Maynooth

67% think the BBC Director General is on the Sinn Féin ard comhairle

48% think the BBC weather reports have subliminal messages from Gerry Kelly variously saying ‘go out and blow things up’ and ‘kill all Prods’

97% think Good Evening Ulster should be replaced with a revamped Scene Around Six complete with car coats and kipper ties

Meanwhile, as Squinter strolled through Lisburn town centre (sorry, city centre) on Monday evening he took this picture (right) of one of the many new union jacks that have been erected to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Nothing unremarkable about that, you might think – a unionist flag in what remains a pretty unionist town (although when Squinter shops there he spies an ever-increasing number of fellow Westies). But if you look closely, you’ll see that the flag is in fact see-through.

Squinter at first assumed the Christmas lights of Market Square could be seen through the flag because it was strictly pound-shop, made-in-China quality. But then it occurred to him that a see through union jack might be just the stroke of genius required to get the parties over the current impasse in the Haass talks. Might it be that the loyal citadel of Lisburn is being used as a guinea pig for an idea that might once and for all slay the flags dragon that has stalked This Here Pravince since its unhappy and unfortunate birth?

Wouldn’t that be quite a Christmas present if it were?

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