is an old saying: “Before opening one’s mouth, first engage
one’s brain” (providing you have one).
would seem that David Davis, the Conservative Member of Parliament
for Monmouth, is unaware of, or just simply ignored such advice when
he ventured into the written media – and on the air on Radio
Wales – with comments on Steve McQueen’s prize-winning film.
publicity‑seeking politician, when questioned, admitted that he
hadn’t seen the film yet still asserted that it was just another
piece of IRA propaganda. He also objected to the giving of public
money to a company in Wales which was involved in the making of the
film. I wonder if he might consider the cost of his self-promoting
publication just recently delivered (as he boasts) to 30,000 homes as
falling into the same category.
failed to substantiate any real case in his attack on this investment
and was ably rebutted by a representative from the funding body. In
addition he was wildly off the remark in his view of the contents of
the film which won the prestigious Caméra d’or prize at the 2008
Cannes Film Festival.
myself had the opportunity to join in the phone‑in programme on Radio
Wales and gave him a potted history lesson, covering the last eighty
years or so, on the background of the relationship between the two
islands, about which he had no knowledge and clearly no
understanding. To him my robust intervention was unexpected and
helped to expose his stupidity in entering the field with such a
paucity of understanding of the problems.
there is one thing about which he and I and listeners could agree
when he said that “My conception of history was not the same as
his, mine was based on experience, knowledge and understanding, so
clearly absent in his case which is also so often obviously apparent
in many of his other pronouncements.
is still much concern at the failure to resolve the impasse between
the DUP and Sinn Féin on the issue of the devolution of
policing and justice powers. The Joint Executive has not met since
June. I am not very sanguine about an early end to this saga, but it
appears that both parties have separate meetings recently and there
is a suggestion the the Executive might meet on Thursday November
Bradley however, writing in the Irish News on 7th November, is quite
upbeat saying, “Before long the Executive will be meeting and
taking decisions that have been piling up in the waiting tray. There
will be a date for the devolution of policing and justice and there
will be some announcements about the Kesh and about respect,
appreciation and support for minorty languages.”
President elect of the USA, Barack Obama, is now rather strangely
being claimed to having his ancestral home located in Moneygall,
County Offaly (pop. 299) or so it is reported in the Belfast
Telegraph 6th. November – apparently his ancestors left for
America in the 1850s. He has already signalled his desire to see it.
there is also a dispute with Wales in the offing as there are claims
that he has some family links there.
question of Vice‑President Elect is another matter, as two rival
claims are being made concerning his Irish family connections. One is
that Senator Biden’s mother’s family came from Derry, the other is
that his family originated from Carlingford in County Louth. No doubt
some opportunity will arise for one or other of these claimed places
of origin to receive some reflected glory from a personal visit to
the area – the tourist industry will see to that.
be outdone, up jumps a Democratic Unionist Party Stormont Junior
Minister and renegade from the Ulster Unionist Party, Jeffrey
Donaldson, to reproach President Elect Obama for having been
photographed alongside Rita O’Hare, one of the most prominent
Republicans (Irish) on the run since 1971. For the last ten years she
has been representing Sinn Féin in the United States.
Donaldson, metaphorically wagging a finger, warns ‘O’Bama’ that he
must not be partisan in his approach to Northern Ireland.
advice to Barack as he takes on what is said to be the biggest job in
the world is to heed the advice he spoke of during his campaign which
he had from his late grandmother: “In any issue, try to put
yourself in the other person’s shoes..”.
Hugh Orde, the Northern Ireland Chief Constable, told a House of
Commons committee that he estimates the cost to the Police Service of
Northern Ireland of the recent army ‘Homecoming Parade’ was in excess
of £300,000 which could have been spent on routine community
policing had the situation been less tense.
from the cost I believe it was a mistake to have that parade against
the background of commemmorations arranged in the Republic to
remember those from all over Ireland who had sacrificed their lives
serving in the British Forces in the two world wars.
demonstrations in the centre of Belfast in support of the ‘Welcome
Home’ event were clearly of a triumphalist tribal nature and roused
tensions unnecessarily. In order to diminish the possibility of
dissident Republicans taking advantage of these tensions Sinn Féin
had no alternative but to themselves take over the protest against
this provocative parade.
organisers of the parade were engaged in coat trailing and without
the policing arrangements and the cooperation of the protest
organisers a serious situation might have occurred.
Remembrance Day service, a week later, with the returning soldiers
joining in, would have been the better way of them being welcomed hom
– it seems that that event went off without tension.
starting to write this article a few days ago I have been overtaken
by events. Denis Bradley, whom I quoted earlier, proved to be right
on the mark. The Executive will meet on Thgursday 20 November and an
agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin has been reached which
will be reported then. This will clear the way for the devolution of
police and justice powers to the Assembly.
appears that the resulting organisation will be headed by a human
rights lawyer who has been involved in cases pursued by both sides
and who will function as an attorney general. Fuller details will be
made known following Thursday’s resumption of Executive meeting.
worth noting that lawyer Paddy Finucane also had a record of taking
up cases from both communities and that President Elect Obama, whilst
serving as a senator, backed a demand for a public inquiry into
Finucane’s asassination seven years ago, a demand that has not yet
some progress has taken place since the days of bloody turmoil, it
still is very slow and tortuous. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry is an
example – the report of the findings in relation to an event 36
years ago will not be published until late in 2009.
took many years to have the inquiry set up and time still drags on
David Davis, the MP for Monmouth, had even the remotest idea of any
of the events in the recent history of the relationship between
Ireland and Great Britain, he would not have been so asinine in the
remarks he made about the film ‘Hunger’,
trust that he has had his burnt fingers seen to and his reddened
countenance reduced in colour...