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A long Kesh parade

By Squinter

HUNDREDS of loyal order banners were in parade in Kesh, Co Fermanagh, in an effort, we were told, to set a new record for the largest number of banners on parade at one time. Yes, yes, it’s the journalistic silly season and stories that would normally lead to a severe outbreak of gout in your average news editor are given five minutes on the teatime news and spread across six columns in the daily papers – 101 Chihuahuas, drowning donkeys. But even by the lax standards of the summer, when the SS Hackville is becalmed in a still and oily sea, surrounded on all sides by the inconsequential flotsam and jetsam of the summer dog days, this struck Squinter as a particularly bizarre tale.

For on show in Kesh were not 10,000 banners or 100,000 banners or half a million banners, but 350 banners. Which seems decidedly modest for a Guinness Book of Records attempt. Squinter’s been at demos on the Falls Road where there was ten times 350 banners – more. Across the Middle East during the Arab Spring, Squinter saw demonstrations with so many banners they were visible from outer space; on the teeming streets of fledgling Asian democracies, countless waving banners flap and crack in the warm air, their colours as strong and vivid as the yearning of the protestors for freedom.

Against that background, 350 banners with pictures of Bibles and Noah’s Ark would struggle, you might think, to make the cut in the battle for Guinness recognition.

Or maybe the media got it wrong. Maybe the Orange weren’t in pursuit of the record for ‘Most Banners on Parade at One Time’. Maybe they were trying to set a record for ‘Most Orange Banners on Parade in Kesh, County Fermanagh, in July 2012’. In which case they may well have succeeded. And if that isn’t a good reason to hang out the flags and have a parade, what is?t

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