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 him, in 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?