News flash: President Obama has cancelled his flight to Monegall today, not because of high winds but because he’s read and listened to our commentators on the queen’s visit last week. “Having thought carefully about the arguments presented” the President said, “I am convinced that their central message is a valid one. And so I have instructed my aides that we will not after all be visiting Moneygall, the birthplace of my ancestors. As the commentators on the queen’s visit repeatedly pointed out, we must leave the past behind, draw a line under it and look to the future. The past is gone and should play no part in our political future, specifically my bid for re-election in 2012”.
The family and friends of lawyer Rosemary Nelson, however, are less enlightened. Today, they and the general public will look back to 1999, when Mrs Nelson was killed by a car-bomb. At the time, the authorities blamed loyalist paramilitaries; Mrs Nelson’s family, friends and a lot of others claimed there was collusion between loyalists and British security forces. Certainly a year before her death the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Param Curamaswamy, stated on television that her life could be in danger. Later that same year Mrs Nelson confirmed the death threats, including threats made by RUC police officers.
The report released today will reveal all. Or will it? British Secretary of State Owen Paterson has held up publication while the document was screened for “matters of national security”. In oher words, we’re checking to make sure we, Britain, and our forces, don’t come out of this looking any worse than absolutely necessary. So although I hope the family and friends of Mrs Nelson, and the wider public, get the full story, I’m not holding my breath. One thing’s sure: no police officer, past or present, will spend a day in prison for the murder of this woman.
Thank goodness the President of the United States doesn’t favour killing people he doesn’t like and has heeded the calls here to leave the past behind.