From the UTV Report last night we are told that a Truth Commission is “actively back on the Agenda”. Its hard not to conclude that we are being softened up to be prepared for an announcement, the draft of which is possibly known in British and Irish Government circles and the Conflict Resolutionists (with a degree of special pleading) who advise them.
Three Victims Groups had spokespersons in the Report……WAVE Trauma Centre, Relatives for Justice and a Mr McAvoy an academic who has been involved in this for some years from an organistaion called Healing Through Remembering.
While the other groups were more guarded, predictably Mr McAvoy was enthusiastic about a Truth Commission on “moral, political and practical” grounds.
But just how many Victims Organisations are there? Well CAIN website lists…..over one hundred, many getting government funding….some of it quite generous.
Now if we accept (and some wont) that 3,900 is a round figure for victims that works out at around one Victim Group for every 39 people. Of course some of these Groups are about “victimhood in general” rather than Troubles related but seeing that the British Military are represented by two or three charities and the RUC by just one or two (I suppose)……..it still seems to me that the ratio of Victim Group to Victim is very high.
With so many voices wanting to be heard and (frankly) funding to be earned, it seems that the advice and opinions from Victims Groups are often contradictory……exactly the kinda contradictory advice that the Conflict Resolutionists “need” to hear to further their own demands for a Truth Commission.
“Victims want” “victims demand” should of course be more properly “SOME victims want”, “SOME victims demand” and it is exactly that contradiction that fuels the Conflict Resolution “industry” which sees a need for it……at a price…to step in and facilitate our healing.
Yet in the list of over one hundred there is no “Healing Thru Amnesia” ……but for a small start up grant and a new laptop I could set up such a group.
Is it not as valid as “Healing through Remembering”.
Yet the lessons of Eames-Bradley seem to have been learned…….well in presentational terms at least.
The present situation……..we are told….is intolerable.
The Peace Process is fragile.
No it isnt.
And the Truth will set us free.
But what exactly is the new pitch?
Well Eames-Bradley was a well meaning attempt by the two Governments but we need a person of International repute. In fact we are told the International Community demands it of us. Personally I dont think they care but it sounds like a nice little earner for an ex-Commonwealth Prime Minister or senior UN Official.
The IRA……..which doesnt actually exist is……on board this time.
Well they want Truth. For an Amnesty.
Now we have had a de facto Amnesty for several years and no ex-gunman (who is on message) is actually going to Jail but an Amnesty regulates things………and effectively a Truth Commission based on we are all victims and all responsible de-criminalises those who were in the armed struggle. They cant be prosecuted.
Of course the perceived inability of some senior Republicans to fess up about their own perceived history undermines this somewhat.
So we are being prepared for an International Commission and an Amnesty.
Well what is in this for Unionists?
Not much of course
There is a fig leaf that the Inquiry procedure (Saville, Rosemary Nelson, McGurks Bar) criticises the security forces to an extent that there is no real scrutiny of terrorist actions. Especially those terrorists who have been on-message since 1998. A fig leaf there for loyalists.
And thats the trade off in tying up the loose ends.
An Amnesty versus Scrutiny of all actions (State and non-State).
Republican, socialist, moderate & nationalist. Not a big fan of loyalist dissidents, republican dissidents and liberal dissidents. Skeptical about Community Relations Journalism & Conflict Resolution.
I have oft described myself as a Man without Ethics. This may or may not be true.