I'm not interested in discussing the most recent riots up north, the usual tit for tat (It was the catholics/it was the prods) BS that gets peddled out ad naseum and results in numerous headaches. Rather, I'm interested in how seriously we should take these occasional outbreaks of thuggery. I'm familiar with the Ulster mind, there is a certain level of unhinged ferociousness there lying beneath the surface that manifests itself ocassionally. (Anyone who has been on a night out in Belfast or Derry can testify to this - much rougher than any Dublin or Cork equivilent)
The riots themselves usually involve tiny numbers of people - a few hundred hoodies, perhaps, with a few dozen adults playing at either Republicanism or loyalism for the day. For these few adherents to neanderthal activity, fabricated outrage is their natural state. The Orangemen pretend to be enraged that some people are preventing them have their camp little march up some Catholic area and the Republicans pretend to be enraged that some people are having a camp little march through their little area. Rationally speaking, there is no cause for discontent. Rationally speaking, its more logical to assume that this fabricated rage invented by zealots on both sides is merely a pretense for the true cause of the riots, the chance to throw petrolbombs and act the mick, which is undeniably a huge part of masculinity in some parts of the North.
When you really get down to it, these riots are all about sweaty unemployed idiots fighting each other. Its oddly homo-erotic. I swear, watching some of the footage the other evening reminded me of some really gay film I saw not too long ago where the protagonists were very aggressive with one another but eventually admitted their homosexuality (One of them committed suicide, if I remember right)
My thesis: All of Northern Ireland's political problems stem from the confused bi-curious urges of inner city, working class youths.