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I'm dreaming of a whiter than white new year

(Brian Feeney, Irish News)

Over the next week or so they'll be looking back on TV and in the papers at Norn Irn in 2006. They'll point to the quietest marching season since pussy was a cat; hardly any killings; the DUP nearly admitted talking to Sinn Féin in private; Ian Paisley talked to Gerry Adams publicly in the cod assembly, even offered him some unhistorical advice. They'll conclude that, all in all, it was a good year.

They'll be wrong because they'll ignore the behaviour of the British administration here, behaviour typical of this British government, the most revoltingly dishonest and deceitful anyone can remember.

Lady Hacksaw had deceitful ministers and everyone knew members of her government were lining their pockets and those of their cronies as they sold off the family silver but the Tories never made any secret of what they came into government to do.

They got on with it until they sank in a swamp of sleaze.

In response to people's revulsion at all that, the present government of liars and hypocrites promised to be 'whiter than white'.

It didn't take long to fail the Daz whiteness test. Bernie Ecclestone's million pound bung, which of course was totally unconnected to Labour's 1997 decision to change its policy on tobacco advertising, caused the first wave of nausea. Since then it's become glaringly obvious that Blair's lot know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

During 2006 his arrogant proconsul vigorously applied Labour policy to the north. He was simply continuing the NIO's panicky response to the DUP's destruction of the UUP in the 2005 British general election.

No sooner had our proconsul smarmed his way onto the local scene than efforts to bribe and buy the DUP reached fever pitch.

We know largely because of court cases that the DUP had a shopping list including parades and victims and the RIR and peerages. Following the loyalist riots in September 2005 the DUP added loyalist alienation to the shopping list.

The wonderful feature of their list is that, unlike your Christmas shopping, they presented their list and everybody else had to pay. Great, isn't it?

Thus our proconsul instantly appreciated that the inalienable right of DUP voters to swagger through Catholic districts was frustrated by the Parades Commission. Perhaps they would like to have people on the Parades Commission?

For the DUP only Protestants were victims of the Troubles. Perhaps the DUP would like to nominate someone to be victims commissioner?

The DUP said 'Protestant' districts are worst off. OK.

So the NIO appointed a minister for Protestant districts to shell out, we think, about £30 million.

The UDA also got in on the act since they, not the DUP, run these districts. Can we have money too they asked, like a kind of pension like the RIR? No problem. The thugs in south-east Antrim asked for a special pension fund for themselves.

Consideration is still pending.

All this if only, please, would the DUP share power with Sinn Féin, even speak to Sinn Féin?

Hey, how about an assembly? What about a couple of peerages? Givvus a couple of names. No problem. Ah gwan, just speak to Sinn Féin.

Did they? Would they? Did our proconsul get anything for his bungs? Absolutely nothing.

The process of this ignominious fawning is reprehensible enough but the consequences are very serious.

Slowly, bit by bit since the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement there has grown up the belief that nationalists would get a fair crack of the whip, that jobs would be allocated fairly, that positions of influence could be open to nationalists like anyone else, that there were selection processes, albeit imperfect.

What this current proconsul has done is to subvert that process and with it the rule of law.

He has blithely ignored the courts just like other Labour ministers such as Blunkett and Reid and lately Blair by dropping the inquiry into arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The present crop of carpet-baggers we have has also sectarianised the allocation of funding when it used to be on the basis of need. They've undone decades of painstaking work.

Do they care? Not a bit. Why should they? No votes here.

December 28, 2006

This article appeared first in the December 27, 2006 edition of the Irish News.

This article appears thanks to the Irish News. Subscribe to the Irish News