Hippies but not Eames Bradley mark midsummer’s day

Sunday was of course Mid summer’s day: hardly a shattering revelation. The hippies, druids, Morris Dancers and assorted New Age types seem to have had a good time at Stonehenge.

Midsummers day had also been proposed by the Eames Bradley Consultative Group on the Past Report as a “Day of Reflection and Reconciliation.” Interestingly I could find no mention of the idea this Mid Summer’s Day (the first since the report was published).

The Group had suggested:

The Group recommends that full support is given by government, the private and
voluntary sector, including the churches, to the continuation of the annual Day
of Reflection initiated by HTR, on 21st June each year.
The Group also recommends that, on or around this day each year, the First Minister
and deputy First Minister should together make a keynote address to the Northern
Ireland Assembly and invited guests. This address would provide an opportunity for
the elected leaders to lead by example by directing society to reflect upon the past
in a positive way and to confirm their commitment to lead us towards a shared
and reconciled future.

It went on to state:

In reflecting on the past it is important that an element of responsible self acknowledgement is included. Put simply, this means that, as well as reflecting
on wrongs done to us, we should consider wrongs we have done to others, or perhaps
things we could have done differently, with an ultimate focus on taking responsibility
for the future. As suggested in Chapter 2, responsibility for the future lies not only
with those who were directly involved in the conflict, but with every sector of society.
A shared and reconciled future can only be achieved by active cooperation and
participation by society as a whole, of which reflection is a necessary prerequisite.

These proposals are of course fairly typical of the intellectually lazy and morally bankrupt nature of the whole report. Yet again we see the care which is taken to avoid any hierarchy of responsibility: despite the fact that it clearly exists. There is, yet again, the suggestion that we are all responsible for the past and its wrongs. This of course avoids the overwhelming difference in responsibility between the likes of Lenny Murphy and his unfortunate victims or between those who planted the Claudy bomb and Kathryn Eakin. It also avoids the vast moral difference between those of us, of whatever political position, who never committed nor supported any of the crimes visited upon people here and the perpetrators and their supporters.

Although a day to remember the victims might not have been an unreasonable idea, Eames Bradley has of course managed to so mangle the concept that if adopted on the lines they propose it would be acceptable to no one apart possibly from the terrorists and their fellow travellers.

As an aside it is also interesting that Jarlath Burns who alleged some unionists were “a bit dishonest and almost duplicitous” never did “Name and Shame.” Instead to paraphrase fair_deal: He shut up rather than put up.

The government’s full response to the report is of course still awaited. However, hopefully the whole report will go the way of the insulting £12,000 payment and be remembered only for its folly, moral and intellectual laziness. As I have suggested all along the report is not fit for purpose.

  • west belfast

    Surely you hav read Woodwards piece in todays newsletter.

    NIO are consulting on a consultation! Talks about talks!

    As for June 21 – that was the idea of healing through remembering. Isnt a good idea for the ordinary people to have a day to remember? I have Easter – you have November – what about the rest?

  • missfitz
  • artjones

    ‘The hippies, druids, freestyle Irish (Morris) Dancers and assorted New Age types’ did not have a good time on the Hill Of Tara. they were barred by the Office of Public Works…

  • Rory Carr


    You are making quite a campaign out of this distinction between those you would deem guilty of being terrorists and criminals and those others, innocents all, washed in the Blood of the Lamb. While I can understand your wish not to be lumped in with those who resorted to the extra-legal exercise of violence (legal violence or at least state violence, whether legal or not, you seem to be happy enough about) I do feel that you are ploughing the wrong furrow by returning to this theme when discussing the merits of a day of reflection.

    I suspect that this is because introspection, reflection, examination of conscience are not spiritual exercises that sit comfortably within your religious experience. The whole pont upon reflecting upon past actions is to learn from the mistakes that one may have made and to profit from that understanding by not repeating them. It is essential that one only reflects upon one’s own
    actions and motivation and examines them ruthlessly and not be distracted by looking at perceived short-comings of others over which we have no control and can bring no change.

    Eames and Bradley are suggesting merely that we all reflect upon how each of us might have acted in such a way that our words or deeds might have been harmful to the social good and to resolve to act or speak with more care for that good in the future. This is no more than asking that a special day be given over each year to remind us to do that which any healthy person does each night, that is to examine the past day and our part in it for mistakes we might have made and resolve to do better tommorow. Not much to ask, is it?

    You may recall the words of Jesus of Nazareth on this matter of making oneself look pure and holy by comparing oneself to the more public of sinners. If not, here’s a reminder:

    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. (Luke 18:11 King James Authorised Version)

  • fin

    …..or even as this republican