THE Orange Order dispatched an expeditionary force to the Tommy Robinson march at the London Cenotaph on Saturday. As the lads from the Rising Sons of Lenny LOL 1690 set off from Belfast Port with a brass band playing Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye, they leaned over the side of the departing Stena Voyager and blew kisses as the girls they left behind wept into their union jack hankies.

And as Our Boys woke in their hotel rooms on Saturday morning, knocking half-empty Buckie bottles from the bedside tables as they stretched sleepily to silence the alarms on their mobile phones, a kindly autumn sun flooded the waking city with the light of freedom and hope. The air was filled with friendly banter as the bandsmen tuned up in the street outside, resplendent in the uniforms that they thought they’d put away for the season until Suella called. Cheeky, chirpy patriots expressed their admiration of the band’s attire with typical Cockney humour:

“Oi, Paddy! Give us a ninety-nine and a slider, me old China.”
“A tub of cream and two bottles of semi-skimmed, milkman.”

The day was a tremendous success, with only a couple of thousand skinheads invading the Cenotaph and attacking police and just the 150 Tommy Apostles scooped for public order offences. And it’s because the Empire Loyalists did us so proud at the weekend that Squinter must set the record straight in relation to his part in celebrating the Irish helping claim back England for the English. Squinter liked a tweet that said band was playing that traditional religious tune ‘No Pope in Rome’. 

No, no Pope in Rome,
No chapels to sadden my eyes,
No nuns and no priests,
No rosary beads,
Every day is the 12th of July.

A spokesman for the Rising Sons of Lenny got in touch to say that in response to complaints by some Catholic supporters of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, sorry, Tommy Robinson, they wanted to point out that the tune they were playing was in fact ‘Home on the Range’ the late 19th century cowboy song that became the state anthem of Kansas and is considered the most quintessentially Western song of all time. The lodge said in a statement:

“It’s a mistake that many people make, to be fair. Yes, the tune of No Pope in Rome is the same as Home on the Range, but ask yourself: Why would we travel all the way from the Province to our capital to play a song about the Pope and Catholics and nuns and priests when we can do it at home?

“We have the same problem with ‘The Sloop John B’ by the Beach Boys. Mischievous elements have claimed that when we play that song we’re actually playing ‘The Famine Song’ and insulting Scots Catholics of Irish descent. But ask yourself again: Why would an Orange band be interested in the starving to death of a million Irish Roman Catholics by the British Empire? It’s madness.

“The Orange Order has long had a close connection to the Wild West. That frontier spirit that tamed the wilderness is something that the Brethren have a close affinity with – after all, we used to march in Ardoyne and the Garvaghy Road.

“‘Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play...’ Substitute the range for a bonfire and substitute deer and antelope for bands and you’ve got the Twelfth. 

“‘Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day...’ Our unionist family is renowned for never fighting among ourselves and the skies in July are nearly always clear and blue, except for the cancer tyre smoke from the bonfires, of course.

“So you can see why a song like that is irresistible to the loyal psyche and you can see why it would be the perfect choice to play at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day. And the steadfast Londoners who were marching with us made their delight clear with comments like ‘Listen to the fackin’ Jesse James gang’ and ‘Ride ‘em, cowboy!’”

Next week: An interview with the Tombstone Defenders LOL.