In Ulster the marching season is officially over, and this summer it came off more peacefully than most. But on Saturday the largest parade of them all took place in Belfast – the Gay Pride parade. Or more accurately the LGBT Pride Parade, which is in fact the largest of such events in the British Isles. There was another in Stockholm, which was also huge and well-supported, but… Belfast? It’s hopefully reassuring that there can be a parade in that divided city that doesn’t involve shouting, Molotov cocktails, burning cars, tear gas, and rubber bullets.
Granted, a few staunch members of the Righteous Elect displayed banners condemning all and sundry to the fires of hell. One banner-bearing protester described the whole business as an abomination. That parades which extol bigotry, religious intolerance, cultural prejudice, and political suppression might be less than virtuous somehow escaped his notice.
But such expostulations were few and the raucous, colorful march was mercifully free of violence and vituperation. Unionists and Republicans appear to have more in common than one might suspect.