Have McGuinness’s ‘Dark Side’ remarks increased the risk to lives of young PSNI officers?

Alex Kane makes an important point with regard to the deputy First Minister’s “dark side…” comments about the PSNI yesterday…

What he doesn’t say is that this perception is being framed by a comprehensive communications strategy from Sinn Fein who’ve hardly spared the kitchen sink in trying to rescue their leader from the clutches of a police force they themselves are charged with overseeing.

Both the timing and now ‘political policing’ issues are a pair of a well constructed ringers. It’s a problem for SF certainly, and depending on the outcome of Adams’ interview possibly even quite a marginal one, but a problem nonetheless.

That doesn’t mean someone in the PSNI planned it like that.

Indeed, listen to Martin’s list of things that add up to the Dark Side, it’s all pretty disparate and unconnected (rehiring old RUC men may or may not be a sub optimal use of resources, but it’s hardly a conspiracy).

The party has had time since Bell’s arrest to design a cover story for the elections and this is appears to be it. Trouble is it also sends a message that their presence on the Policing Board is a complete waste of time.

More seriously it also sends a pretty ‘dark’ message all of its own to dissident Republicans who have week in and week out been busting a gut to kill another policemen.

A perilous game for any political party and one that potentially puts the lives of the young nationalists whom Sinn Fein has encouraged to play their role by joining the PSNI at even greater risk.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty