Victims poorly served by political selfishness

Several correspondents have asked me what I made of last week’s events at Stormont. The answer, to be honest, is “not much”! With regard to the Judgement itself, I am not legally qualified and have not read it yet (though I have it on my smartphone for a quiet moment or bout of insomnia, whichever comes first). With regard to the politics, I thought it was all pre-election posturing. There wasn’t the slightest chance of the First Minister resigning.

What appalled me about the whole episode wasn’t the apparent near-collapse of the institutions (as I didn’t believe they were near collapse), but rather the complete absence of any real feeling for the victims.

Peter Robinson’s own attitude was selfish and rotten. One local journalist noted that he even had the unbelievable arrogance to describe himself as “reigning” (sic) as First Minister! The Queen reigns, thank you very much – the First Minister serves. His whole concern was that he had not been informed by the UK Government of what was going on – it was all about himin other words, never mind the victims of the actual atrocity in Hyde Park or countless others.

Mike Nesbitt wasn’t much better, of course. He claimed the whole episode had 1.8 million victims (i.e. the population of Northern Ireland). In fact, the soldiers killed at Hyde Park were from Great Britain, not Northern Ireland. Funny how “Unionists” forgot that bit. Do only Ulster victims count?

Then we had Lord Empey moaning that a DUP MLA had besmirched him during Friday’s debate. What part of “This isn’t about you” do politicians not get? Seriously, who the hell cares?

Of course, we had Basil McCrea forgetting that it was he, not anyone from the Alliance Party, who “propped up the sectarian system” and served on the Policing Board at the crucial juncture during the key briefings from 2007-10. His party’s stance was already “stuff the victims”, of course.

Even Jim Allister gave the game away in a tweet referring to how much he was looking forward to “22 May” – it’s all about elections in other words, not victims.

Sinn Fein of course pulled off its usual trick, by setting up and then “generously” cancelling a “Coming Home party” for someone accused of murder, where the victims still have no closure.

With a few exceptions (not least Mark Durkan in a starring role for the SDLP and Naomi Long for the Alliance Party – two excellent MPs but losses to Stormont), the whole objective was to score partisan political points. Just read the Hansard, and you will see the concern is not victims, but battering people over the head for petty political gain.

Pathetic stuff. But did we expect anything else?

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11 thoughts on “Victims poorly served by political selfishness

  1. martyntodd says:

    Last night’s Spotlight was further evidence of four political parties doing what they always do, but even more so as an election approaches.

    The exception was Stephen Farry, who did not interrupt anyone else, nor talk over them. He did keep going assertively (not retaliating aggressively) when interrupted during answering a question and gave the impression of a measured and reasonable person in full knowledge of his brief.

    Noel Thompson colluded in the Whataboutery and set the adversarial and tetchy nature of the debate.

    More exposure of Stephen Farry’s and David Ford’s professionalism and clear focus on the greater good can only help grow support for Alliance

  2. I’d be careful about what you put in “quotes”, Ian. Because you’re libelling others by inferring that these words were said by your victims. Do you really want to be doing that?

    Especially as a political activist and knowledgeable about the ways of public relations, you should know better.

    • Ah yes, the threat of libel action.

      That’s the third I’ve had. The first two were from Mike Nesbitt and Peter Robinson.

      A threat beloved of those who’ve lost the argument to the extent they are unwilling to debate rationally, in other words.

  3. Ploditics says:

    […] Ian Parsley, an Alliance activist (if only for domestic bliss) wrote on his blog: […]

  4. paul says:

    quite a long winded blog ian i rather suspect its nothing more than a rant am surprised you wrote it.is it out of frustration that you and alliance are not been heard and your up coming mauling at the polls.?one area of comfort however is i rather suspect the conbined vote of NI 21 and allaince will be bigger than the uup and sdlp will poll sdlp about 15 16 pe cent god knows what the uup will poll i suspect NI 21 AND ALLIANCE vote together will poll close to 17 percent why you didnt takle advantage of the government new ruling that you can have two party logos on the ballot paper in other words run a progressive NI”21 and alliance party single backed candidate is beyond me.ypu shoul think long and hard about such an idea i the future

    • Grippler says:

      “Progressives” are amongst the first to scream sectarian when a joint candidate is announced so why should they be allowed one one themselves?

      • It’s a good question. I can only answer personally.

        I don’t have a problem in theory with single Unionist candidates. My issue is that they result in single Nationalist candidates. This means two things: A) every election is a straightforward sectarian head count; and B), even worse for Unionists, demographics aren’t on their side anyway.

        “Progressive Unity” unifies not 40-50% of the electorate on the basis of past divisions, but at best 20% based on a more hopeful future. And it does so to *remove* sectarian head counts rather than reinforce them, towards a future where politics eventually come to be about issues and competence rather than religious and national background.

        In other words, I happen to think we are moving towards Unionist Unity and Republican Unity on each “side”, whatever we may think of that. If Progressives remain divided in such a situation, their influence will be zero.

      • They’re a sectarian candidate if they’re actually sectarian and made up of sectarian candidates from sectarian parties. Or was that too obvious?

        Alliance/GPNI/NI21/WC/whatever joint candidate or election agreement isn’t sectarian because, duh, they’re not sectarian parties.

      • Exactly Matt – you’ve done that much more clearly than I did!

        If “Unionism” and “Nationalism” were cross-community movements (i.e. along religious and ethnic lines – as they are in Scotland) and the constitutional position were under serious threat, there would be no issue whatsoever with joint candidates.

        As it is, the constitutional position is established and they are, of course, split precisely along religious lines. There are no Catholic Unionist MLAs and no Protestant Nationalist MLAs.

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