Skirting around the police issue is not going to work.

Before it slips below the radar, Newshound caught Denis Bradley’s recent Irish News article in which he revisits a topic he tackled previously. This time though he starts with the issue of the consultation on the guidelines for Restorative Justice schemes recently revamped, and re-released for public scrutiny, by the NIO. In short he argues that until the issue of policing is both directly addressed and resolved any debate of those guidelines is pointless. And, despite Peter Hain’s recent assertion, to the News Letter, that “I don’t think anybody can accuse me of ducking the issue [of policing]”, Denis Bradley goes close to saying just that.. and not just about Hain.A short extract from Denis Bradley’s article

No political entity that has any chance of working can have an alternative police force. The leadership of her[Caitriona Ruane] party would never have fallen, in public at least, into such a hole.

Jim Auld’s statement puts him so much in the camp and the bias of Sinn Féin that he forfeits the integrity and force of other important arguments he makes.

So support for policing, in the form of Patten-constructed PSNI, is integral to the resolution of this issue. Skirting around the police issue or trying to find an alternative position is not going to work.

When this issue is resolved, and the sooner the better, then it will be easy to write the protocols that are appropriate to that domain.

He identifies some other contradictions too..

They [loyalist groupings] argue that they support and work with the police and are being unfairly financially penalised because the republican groups don’t. But they have former paramilitaries in their ranks and are caught in this second dispute.

Those who make this argument about former paramilitaries admit to a fundamentalist purity.

Former paramilitaries can be in government, can be ministers. But they cannot be custodians of justice. Justice must be kept pure!

Apart from a dubious assumption that justice is different from other human endeavours it also links the understanding that the ‘Troubles’ were politically and not criminally motivated with arguments that justify the ‘Troubles’. One doesn’t follow from the other. But perhaps the biggest contradiction is the position of the SDLP.

They are seen as leading on this issue. They lead on what they claim are principled arguments, while at the same time stand aside from arguing that signing up to the new policing arrangements are a precondition for a new political executive.

Now there’s a contradiction that makes me hot under the collar.

As previously noted, the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland believes that the policing issue is capable of being ducked delayed until after an Executive is formed – arguing that it will be easier to influence everyone when everyone is inside the tent

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  • aquifer

    Back to the future: From the history section of the PSNI website on the Irish war of Independence:

    “A nationwide boycott of police was begun, often enforced by intimidation, and an alternative system of police and courts sprang up, orchestrated by the I.R.A. and Sinn Fein.”