As I have pointed out before, it is impossible to listen to the Today programme. This morning’s interview with David Trimble was a fine reminder of why. You would never guess from the number of interruptions that the guest is someone who knows more than the BBC interviewer does about the subject under discussion. That subject is the deal which came to light yesterday which ensured that John Downey, the alleged Hyde Park bomber, and almost 200 other IRA suspects would never be brought to trial.
Despite the Today interviewer’s best efforts David Trimble did get a couple of opportunities to speak (you can listen to the clip above). Most interesting is the portion in which he discusses whether or not a formal or informal amnesty of Republican terrorists has occurred behind the backs of Unionist politicians. Asked if he thinks that there has been some secret British deal with Sinn Fein he says, simply, ‘Yes’.
I think Trimble is right, and it does not require any great conspiracy to come to this conclusion, simply an observation of the facts. A couple of years ago I wrote in the magazine of how John Major’s government ensured that an investigation into the alleged crimes of Martin McGuinness was ‘disappeared’ in order not to ‘derail’ the ‘peace process’. That similar deals – open and covert – were made over the Labour years was obvious. That not all politicians knew about it was also clear.
Criminal charges against the Bloody Sunday soldiers appear to have been kicked into the long grass so that British soldiers do not go to jail while IRA terrorists are given immunity. And I suppose the hope is simply that nobody notices any of this, or that if they do they don’t care enough, or that they care in too small numbers. And so a process which should have been ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ turns out to be no more than a society-wide amnesty for murder. ‘Lies and obfuscation’, if you prefer.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.