Tuesday, December 20, 2005

OTR (On The Ropes)

Sinn Féin has rejected the British government's On-The-Runs legislation.

You almost feel sorry for Tony Blur's government. Yes, the man who brought us 'constructive ambiguity' and, as a poorly disguised sop to the IRA, passed legislation through the Commons to let all terrorist murderers off without spending a single day in jail has just been dealt the ultimate humiliation by the very party whose nether regions he was tongue-probing.

If it wasn't so sick, it'd be funny.

The reason for Pat Doherty's rejection? He's insisting that, whilst terrorist murderers go unpunished, British crown forces who abused their power to kill terrorists should not be let off the hook in the same way. He's saying that a soldier who kills members of an active IRA unit about to murder policemen in Loughgall should go to jail, but a paramilitary who shot a police reservist dead on his doorstep in front of his 5-year-old daughter should go free.

Do I think Doherty is right to reject the OTR legislation? Actually, yes. I've explained here why I think the legislation is morally wrong and against human rights. It compromises every principle of justice I know. My reasoning is defensible, but Doherty's is just sick.

The negotiating strategy is interesting: Sinn Féin knows that the government, having cajoled the law through the Commons, will not now suffer the humiliation of withdrawing it. So, barring rejection in the Lords and (possibly) Strasbourg, it'll go onto the statute books, thereby giving Republican terrorists all the benefits they originally pressed so hard for. By stating its dissatisfaction at this late stage, however, SF permits itself to retain the issue as a gripe and so help stem alienation of its hardline electorate.

It just goes to show what a mess you get yourself into when you starting compromising basic principles, and if Tony's on the ropes pending a knock-out, that's fine by me because the man simply isn't fit to govern.

The Big thing: devolve full governmental powers to Ulster, and let all our parties govern us. They'd do a better job, especially now that all those spies are out of the way. Allegedly.


At 10:44 p.m., Anonymous levee said...

John, after watching with horror the events of the last few weeks, the last thing I want is to be governed by Nationalists or Unionists of whatever hue.

The people of Northern Ireland should realise that this 'process' is a joke. It is all about personalities and party politics and nothing about the citizens of this island.

As you correctly pointed out, the SF reasoning behind the OTR legislation is sick. Hypocritical. Warped beyond belief. How can you claim these people are fit to govern when they bring this attitude with them?

You'll know from reading The Levee Breaks that I'm in favour of a fully devolved Northern Ireland. However, few of our politicians are fit for the job. I'd dearly love to see them all disappear and real parties emerge to take their place. Shame the UUP 'real politics' campaign has suffered in the midst of all this....

At 11:17 p.m., Blogger B.U. said...

Levee, I share your fears on the stature of our politicians, but if if those fears are right the politicians should be exposed as soon as possible. On the other hand, people have a habit of rising to challenges, and I guess I'm trusting in a bit of natural check-and-balance stuff. In my view, anything'd be better than Tony Blur and his rampant post-modernist wallies. BU.


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