Thursday, February 25

That bang.

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.



Tuesday, February 9

Northern Ireland's problem.

There's been much in the news the last few days — as there is every few months — about the stalling, the stalemates, the lack of progress, and the all-round nothinghappeningness of Northern Irish politics, and how awful that is.

Well, I think it's bloody brilliant.

Just imagine how much better Britain would be if our lords & masters couldn't get anything done; how little chance they'd have to fuck up the country if it took Parliament three years merely to do a simple little thing like figure out who runs the police. We'd be living in a utopia.

Yet everyone acts like Northern Irish politics' usual glacial progress is a bad thing. And like their finally agreeing to work together and Get Things Done is a good one. Despite all the evidence of their lives, people still dwell on this fantasy planet where some good can come from an assembly of professional politicians achieving something. I despair.



The dead art of proof-reading.

This from The Times, who have standards, apparently:

Gordon Brown announced in the Commons that the South-East Antrim UDA — a splinter group of the Ulster Defence Association, the province’s largest Protestant paramilitary organisation — had decommissioned just completed getting rid of its weapons.


Asked about the murder of Mr Neave, who was Mrs Thatcher’s Northern Ireland spokesman, was killed when a bomb exploded beneath his car in 1979 as he left the House of Commons.


Yesterday Shaun Woodward, the Northern Ireland Secretary, confirmed that the IICD, would cease to function from todaytue. As a result, the possession of terrorist weapons can be prosecuted throught the courts.


Brilliant.