It may seem a harsh assessment, but the practical reality of what the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, is reported to be suggesting to Sinn Féin in the Sixth Annual John Hume Lecture at the MacGill summer school today is that the political rhetoric would remain the same in public, while co-operation with the police would take place on the ground. That sounds like hypocrisy to me. From the Sunday Times report:
“I would strongly urge the republican leadership to draw a distinction between constitutional endorsement of the structures of policing and support for the practical service of policing in the community.”
Update Peter Hain’s full speech can be read here.. some elements may merit closer examination.Another point from the report worth looking at. Liam Clarke states that:
When the House of Commons rises on July 25 the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which allows for the devolution of policing, will pass into law. This will allow for co-operation between the police and Sinn Fein.
Not quite as simple as that. We’ve had the promotion of this legislation as a watershed moment, when SF will be able to change their stance on policing, but it’s not the legislation that some seem to think it is.
It allows for the devolution of policing, but only after the quadruple lock is navigated.. SF’s stated position on policing, subject to revision, requires much more than the mere ability to devolve policing powers.
Denis Bradley’s speech tomorrow might be more interesting..