As you may remember, I was greatly inconvenienced last October by the Real IRA's trial run for Monday's car-bomb in Newry. I was working from home this Monday, so thankfully unaffected. My colleagues who were in the office said that the shockwave was unbelievable: like the storey above them had collapsed, they described it. Our office is pretty close to Newry Courthouse, and the bomb exploded about ten to twenty yards away from where my car would usually be parked. Had I been in Newry at the time, the chances of my getting caught in the blast as I popped out to get food would have been pretty high. One of my colleagues walked past it a couple of minutes before it exploded, apparently. Reassuring.
And the bastards'll be trying again. The intention of this bomb was to get some casualties, as evinced by their giving a thirty-minute warning seventeen minutes before the explosion. Great.
On the subject of Northern Ireland's politics, I do have one observation. The bombing has been condemned by all members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, the Northern Ireland Assembly doesn't have straight unfettered democratic representation; it has democracy that's been rigged to enable the peace process. (And there's nowt wrong with that, I should add: I'm all for constraining democracy within awkward undemocratic boundaries, as, for instance, the USA's system does. Imagine how much better British governance could be if the Deputy Prime Minister were always the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister were forced to work with him.) Anyway, the whole point of the Northern Ireland Assembly is that the views of all Northern Ireland's political factions are represented, to encourage them to get involved in democratic politics rather than terrorism. So, by its very definition, the Assembly is supposed to contain at least one member who approves of this bombing. When every member of the Assembly condemns this attack, what that demonstrates is that they've set up the Assembly wrong.