THE policy governing parades and marches in Glasgow is to be reviewed.

Whenever the issue is raised it becomes a debate about Orange Walks and leads to calls from many people for them to be banned.

It is understandable the focus falls on this one particular organisation because the figures show that the biggest number of parades in the city are by the Orange Order.

The Orange Order has as much right in law as any other organisation to hold a parade or procession.

It doesn’t matter whether it is an Orange lodge, an Irish republican group, a trade union, All Under One Banner or the North Glasgow Association of Allotment Owners, should it exist, they can all take to the streets to celebrate their traditions, protest or commemorate an event in history.

So once we get past the notion that they should or could be banned we can focus on the other side of the coin.

The right to freedom of assembly and association enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (which has nothing to do with EU membership, so won’t be affected by Brexit) comes with responsibilities.

Those rights need to be balanced with the rights of others not to have their lives disrupted, which includes people going to worship, whatever faith or denomination they adhere to, and to go about their daily business of getting to work, shops or leisure.

In those respects it needs to be understood and accepted that conditions can be imposed on any march or parade. You do not have the inalienable right to parade whenever, wherever or in whatever manner you like.

That applies to all marches not just the Orange Order.

But again the focus falls on the Orange parades because recently a man was jailed for spitting on a priest outside his church as the ‘Big Walk’ passed by last July.

The common defence in this and other incidents when there is trouble, drunkenness, violence, sectarianism and other criminal or anti-social behaviour, is that it was followers not members or participants in the parade.

That argument cannot hold water. Canon Tom white would not have been spat at by Bradley Wallace on that day had there not been an Orange walk, that was why he was passing St Alphonsus’ at that time, and as far as we are aware he did not spit at anyone else that day, just a catholic priest.

The so called followers are as much a part of the parades as the law abiding lodge members and the musicians in the bands that accompany them.

While it is able to make a distinction between members and followers in a way that can’t be done in other parades like political protests, the existence of followers at a big orange parade is so established, recognised and accepted that the organisation has to take some responsibility.

If it doesn’t want their support what action is it taking to dissuade or prevent them from following?

The orange order can’t be banned from marching, nor should they. You cannot pick and choose who is covered by human rights laws and who is not on the basis of not agreeing with them.

But the public has a right not to be disrupted and not to have criminal behaviour on the streets as a result.