My Uncle Charlie was a country man. From Glenavy in County Antrim. He liked to tell stories …some of which might have been true. To some extent..they were all true. Parables. Usually about the casual cruelty of rural poverty.
Take the story of the poor and inadequate hermit who was hired by a wealthy farmer to do some work. The payment would be a pair of new boots from a shoe shop in Lisburn. As a gesture of good faith, the farmer measured the mans feet with a stick.
So….work done, the pair set off for Lisburn. But half way there the farmer told the man that he could not buy him the boots. The reason….the farmer had lost the stick. As Uncle Charlie told it the man said “Sir, I think you have tricked old Paddy but Paddy doesnt know how you tricked him”.
Indeed….the casual nature of Cruelty.
We are all a bit like Old Paddy. Sometimes we know there is a “con” going on. But we just dont know what the “con” is.
Last week, I blogged about the inquest into the Kingsmill Massacre. It happened over forty years ago. Ten Protestant workmen killed when their van was stopped by a local republican group. The IRA denied involvement but little happened in South Armagh without them knowing. And then this week the relatives are taken aside and told that the Police have a development….a palm print has been discovered in a getaway vehicle. Actually it was discovered at the time…but somehow missed in a review in the 1970s and 1980s.
You dont really have to be a conspiracy theorist to think that this is all a bit suspicious. Could it be that the “development” will lead to an arrest that would mean a postponement (again) of the Inquest.
It all makes me think of the Rich Farmer with his stick.
And just as curiously the Inquest into the Birmingham Pub Bombings has re-opened. The relatives are jubilant but I suspect they too are having their feet measured by the Establishment.
What exactly happened in Birmigham four decades ago? THe IRA murdered several people. The West Midlands police framed six Irishmen, forensic evidence was fabricated, the suspects were badly beaten by police and prison officers (nobody faced justice for that) and then several years later the six prisoners were found totally innocent.
Actually thats not all that happened in Birmingham.
With honourable exceptions the Irish Government and nationalist Ireland did little to help these innocent men. The campaign for Justice was long and difficult.
But what also happened at Birmingham is that more than twenty innocent Englishmen and women were blown to pieces by two IRA bombs. It was (depending on your viewpoint) a deliberate and callous act or a tragic error because telephoned warnings were either inadequate or could not be made because of telephone boxes were damaged.
IRA did…as they would for innocent or guilty men….say that the arrested and jailed men were innocent but nobody in IRA was ever going to walk into a West Midlands police station and say “I am Spartacus”.
Yet we are told that the names of the real Birmingham bombers are known. And in the unlikely event of them ever being arrested, there is the even more unlikely possibility of them being charged….witnesses have died, too much time has elapsed and of course no jail time is realistically possible for a crime committed before 1998. Sinn Féin would argue that it would be “damaging to the Peace Process”.
It makes me think of the Rich Farmer andhis stick.
Meanwhile the Kincora campaigners have suffered a set back. The scandal of young boys in care being abused will not be investigated by the London Inquiry into institutional abuse. It is downgraded to the Norn Iron Inquiry with fewer legal powers.
The allegation that MI5/MI6 had knowledge of the systematic abuse remains a very potent one. The British Security Services…the State…allegedly ran a child prostitution racket. If, true…it would be unlikely that the truth will emerge.
Likely as not, the whole promise of an Inquiry is little more than a promise to buy boots for Old Paddy.
We will never know ALL of the secrets in the vaults of British Intelligence.
They determine that it is not in the public interest to know the truth.
There are secrets held at Boston College.
Oddly, some people who demand that the British vaults be opened demand that the Boston vaults remain closed.
While Anthony McIntyres blog “The Pensive Quill” deserves credit for exposing some uncomfortable truths about (mostly) Sinn Féin hypocrisy, neither he or collaborator Ed Moloney are entitled to withold valid facts.
The British State does not want the Truth told.
Sinn Féin do not want the Truth told.
Loyalist “ex-prisoners” do not want the Truth told.
Maybe in 1998, some well-meaning people thought that the Truth could be told and that it would be told as part of the Peace Process. Actually, the Peace Process survives by witholding the Truth.
Is that a price worth paying?
We are all tainted by signing up to this.
The Rich Farmer (the British State, Sinn Féin, loyalist paramilitaries) make the promise about Truth. Old Paddy (the ordinary unionist and nationalist people) are being conned. And like Old Paddy…we know we are being conned. We expect nothing more than lies and deceit.