In the Belfast Telegraph, Ed Moloney argues that “Not only does the Sinn Fein conspiracy theory not hold water, but the evidence about securocrat behaviour is strongly to the contrary.”
Boiled down to essentials, what the Sinn Fein leadership is saying amounts to this: in an attempt to prevent Sinn Fein staying in government, and as part of an effort to kill off the peace process, MI5 and the PSNI leadership conspired to subvert the policies of their democratically elected Prime Minister, Tony Blair by inventing a spy ring at Stormont, thereby ensuring the collapse of the Executive.
If this is true, and the spooks had managed to get away with it, then Stormontgate would represent one of the most audacious anti-democratic plots in British history – one that dwarfs the allegations of spookish dirty tricks against Harold Wilson in the 1970s.
Common sense suggests that in such circumstances, amounting to a grave constitutional crisis, Tony Blair would have to move quickly to crush such dangerous dissent or see his authority fatally eroded. But he hasn’t. And that is because he knows Adams and McGuinness are playing politics and that what they say is so much eyewash.
The Sinn Fein conspiracy theory – that the spooks are out to destroy the peace process – suffers from a more fundamental flaw. Not only is it rubbish, but the exact opposite is the truth. The peace process represents the wildest fantasies of the security establishment come true and the last thing the spooks want is to see it destroyed.
The peace process has enabled MI5 and the PSNI Special Branch to achieve something that very few if any security forces have ever accomplished: to see their enemy defanged by its own leadership and led out of violent revolutionary ways into constitutional politics and a world where the principle of consent overrides the Armalite.
MI5 and the PSNI know they could never have done this themselves, that they needed people like Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to do it for them.