Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PSNI trumps Woodward

Only a wee while after British NI minister Shaun Woodward said the IRA had ceased all illegal activities, the police force has now stated publicly that, although the IRA has stopped punishment beatings and killings, it's still (I paraphrase) involved in organised crime, in common with other (ex-)terrorist groups.
So who's telling the porkies? Is the PSNI really engaged in "political policing", as Sinn Féin has been quick to allege, or is it merely stating what it knows to be true, whereas Shaun Woodward was pushing the Tony Blur bandwagon uphill by talking up Republican restraint and reformation in order to steamroll Unionists into an all-Ireland a.s.a.p.?
Without commenting on the merits or otherwise, my bet's on the latter. Just look at the Westminster newsflow over the last 2 months: de-facto re-partitioning of Ulster from "A to B" between Annalong and Bellarena, effectively leaving West Ulster to Sinn Féin and East Ulster to the DUP, healthcare and social services reorganised in such a way as to facilitate easy assumption into the Éireann system and, at a more everyday level, the prospective abolition of roaming charges for cross-border mobile phone traffic.
It's quite obvious the British government's PR machine is set on churning out as much "the 'Ra's gone straight" messages as it can and is currently engaged in hyping out of reasonable proportion each and every news item or statistic that supports this assumption - all in a back-door effort to exert pre-negotiation pressure on the DUP to enter a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. Put bluntly, the message is "Take your choice, Ian: share power with Gerry now or be ceded forcibly by 2010".
I reckon that, as far as the British government is concerned, it's that simple, and that Shaun Woodward's merely a puppet within Tony Blur's "Paisley management" strategy. I suppose we can't expect too much from a guy whose parents couldn't spell Seán.


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