I was watching Sky News at midnight last night. The lead story was that the British Government was going to do “something” about intimidation of directors of the Grangemouth Oil Refinery by trade unionists. It is said that members of the Unite Trade Union had been picketing the homes of directors and standing in gardens with….a giant inflatable rat (sic).
I think all reasonable people … including life-long trade unionists like myself appreciate that in bitter industrial disputes, things can get out of hand.
Yet around the same time that I was watching Sky News…reports were coming thru from East Belfast that there had been an arson attack on the local constituency office of the Alliance Party.
Readers of this blog will know that I dont much care for the Alliance Party. It should go without saying that I condemn this attack…and indeed all attacks, that they have endured since they screwed up with their policy on the “Fleg” at Belfast City Hall, almost a year ago.
Thanks to Peter Robinsons little problem in 2010, Naomi Long won East Belfast in the Westminster parliament. It appears pretty obvious that the campaign against Alliance in East Belfast, is at least partly designed to ensure the Party loses the seat in 2015.
It is also pretty obvious that unionist-loyalist paramilitaries are behind the ongoing rioting and that the UVF have been involved in criminal activity, including drug dealing and intimidation in East Belfast.
The PSNI are powerless in the face of this. The Peace Process is believed to be too fragile to move against this sort of crime..
By any reasonable standard, the (latest) arson attack in East Belfast is a more direct and dangerous form of intimidation than an Inflatable Rat.
But while David Cameron’s Government is prepared to do “something” about the Inflatable Rat, nobody seems prepared to do “anything” about continuing criminality in East Belfast.
The PUP has…ahem the “ear” of the UVF and it is to be welcomed that Party Spokesperson, Dr John Kyle has condemned the attack, although it does seem to be a qualified condemnation.
Dr John Kyle …he is a family doctor…seems the softly spoken voice of there PUP.
He is popular with the City’s MetroTextual Twitterati, who would be unlikely to be Facebook Friends with UVF thugs.
There is a curious mirror image. The Twitterati are not very fond of Gerry Adams and Gerry Kelly but Belfasts mayor Mairtin O’Muilleoir (also Sinn Fein) is loved and his every word and deed is re-tweeted by his admirers…the artsy set, the academics,the journalists, the lobbyists and assorted hangers on.
As he moves thru the City with his EIGHT (count them!!!) chaplains, his photographer and his Poet Laureate (honestly) his Twitter account (“New Belfast”) is admired.
This morning, he attended a Remembrance Service for the City’s Dockers. And this afternoon a Remembrance Service for the Transgendered Community.
On Friday night, it was Van Morrison.
But the point is that the Media cant get away with trying to distinguish between GOOD PUP and BAD PUP. Or GOOD SINN FEIN and BAD SINN FEIN.
In Belfast and Norn Iron…Double Standards and Ambiguity reign.
And that extends to the Alliance Party.
In Government, they owe their position to DUP and Sinn Fein.
And the PSNI wont move against their tormentors.
And the Minister for Justice…is David Ford who is actually Leader of the Alliance Party.
You couldn’t make it up.