Dear Ambassador Haaaaaassss,
It is my understannin' that you and yer compatriots have been sent o'er frae the USA fur til luk intil the issues o' Flegs, Parades an' the Past, an' hiv therefur invited submissions frae intrested parties in Norn Iron.
As Heid Yin o' 1690 an all thon I wud describe messel as such an interested party, having bin knain fur til parade wi' flegs in the past, so am richt an' well qwallyfied fur til lecture ye oan all thrie issues. I hiv therefur put ma heid taegither tae come up wi the fallyin' submission:
When Naomi Long climbed up oan the City Hall an' tuk doon the Union Fleg, she cannae hiv expected the backlash which was tae fally. As a direct result o' her takin' doon yin single fleg, there are now mair flegs in Norn Iron than in any o'er country in the Western Hemisphere, includin' yer ain hameplace the USA. We hiv Union flegs, Ulster flegs, UVF flegs, UDA flegs, Israeli flegs, Scotland flegs, Orange flegs, Army flegs, Upside doon flegs, French flegs, Dutch flegs an' a plethora o' made up flegs. Nat oany that, we have also seen the rise o' the "fleg protestor" as a sub-species o' Loyalism, wi' Jamie Bwyson niver aff the news, dressed up as a Comanche wi' thon dickheid Willie Fraser. Add tae that the o'er surt's flegs an' ye hiv a situation where nae lamp post is wi' oot some reg or o'er hingin' aff it, gien' the impression thit the country is hostin' some kine o' Olympics fur bigots.
Naomi, o' coorse, was oany tryin' fur til be inclusive, but whit she failed til dae when she nicked the City Hall fleg was put up a differn' fleg - a truly inclusive fleg. We naid a fleg which represents both o' oor diverse cultures, yin wi' symbols frae both communities. As yid expect, I've an idea fur it.
New inclusive fleg:
Whit I intend fur til dae is take the auld Ulster Province fleg, as a Nationalist symbol, an make some minor changes til it til plaise Unionists. The original province o' Ulster has 9 counties, fur example, sae I will reflect the loss o' three o' them til the Free State by changin' the wee shield intil some surt o' a 6 sided shape fur til reflect the 6 counties o' Norn Iron. We'll keep the Red Hand and the Red Cross fur til keep the o'er surt happy, but maybe change the background frae yellow til white til reflect the English influence, an' add some kine o' wee symbol fur the Queen, a wee crown or the like.
Thus ma new inclusive fleg will evolve frae the auld Provincial fleg, til luk somethin' like this..... Ah kin safely say thit if Naomi Long sticks this up oan the City Hall ye'll see an end til the protests.
Accordin' til some figures I read a while back but cannae remember, there were about 5000 parades in Norn Iron last year, o' which somethin' like 10% were contentious. Much debate has been expended oan considerin' how til make this 10% mair like the 90%, but I think we're comin' at it frae the wrang angle. Insteid o' makin' these parades fit wi' the rest, the lang term solution is til make sure thit every parade includes somethin' that offends someone or o'er. Eventually all parades will be so offensive that we all secretly agree they shud be banned, but at the same time everyone will be glad to see that the o'er surt are bein' offended. No one will turn up to protest, and no one will take part. Thus every parade must include Republicans, Loyalists, Gays, Lesbians, Feminists, Racists, Perverts, Satanists, Fundamentalist Christians, Homophobes and the French.
The past in Norn Iron is a very contentious area. Naebudy unnerstans it but everybudy wants fur til live in it, an at the end o' the day there isnae enough room. The versions o' the past we attempt fur til live in are tae wee, generally quite narrow an' poorly put taegither, a bit like livin' in a caravan in Ballyhalbert. The past must therefore be extended - adding a metaphorical conservatory or a roofspace conversion - until it has a bit mair room fur differen' folk, is better lit, an' maybe has nicer curtains.
The way fur til achieve this is til pay me til write it.
Enjoy your stay Ambassador, an' mind thit if ye want to keep the peace, dinnae furget til share oot yer Fererro Rocher in a just an' equitable manner.
Professor Billy McWilliams.