Arguing up-hill about Alasdair’s bill

That great Englishman George Orwell believed there was a direct correlation between the use of words and the quality of thought they embodied. Where words were used awkwardly or in an ugly fashion, they reflected awkward and ugly thinking. I’m not sure about the ugly part but listening to Alex Attwood being interviewed on the Nolan Show  on BBC Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster this morning felt as comfortable as the sound that dentists’ drills made circa 1957. Nolan played a clip of Dominic Bradley a little while back explaining why the SDLP would very likely vote against what has since become Alasdair’s Bill  (no, pace Jim Allister but it’s not Ann’s Bill – Alasdair was the man who made it happen). Nolan then asked Alex to explain the screeching hand-brake turn his party had made. Alex didn’t say it was less about victims and more about unionist votes in places like South Down, but you could tell something badly-oiled was clanking and grinding at the back of  his mind as he spoke. 
The Belfast Telegraph has devoted an editorial to the bill,  lamenting how badly the SDLP have handled the whole affair but arguing  it was vital that Alasdair’s bill be passed. Again the language has that slightly high-pitched, fake note. Hardly surprising, when you have the job of explaining that it’s OK to have ex-IRA people in government but it’s a grievous insult to victims to have ex-IRA people (who’ve served more than five years) acting as a special adviser: 
They (ex-prisoners) are as entitled as anyone else to the vast majority of jobs, but it is uncaring and wounding to appoint people guilty of serious terrorist offences to positions at the very heart of the political administration. Quite rightly that will no longer be allowed when the bill becomes law.”

Mmm – ‘At the very heart of the political administration’. That sounds awfully like Martin McGuinness, Gerry Kelly and a few others you could probably add yourself. And yet the Bel Tel  strains every illogical fibre to argue that no, no, that’s different, that’s not a problem, it’s those pesky advisers.

Oh Orwell, thou should’st be living at this hour.

6 Responses to Arguing up-hill about Alasdair’s bill

  1. Anonymous May 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Special advisers are civil servants and, as such, should have the same qualifications and disqualifications.

    The current situation amounts to special treatment.

    Government ministers, on the other hand, are not civil servants: they are MLAs. As such, qualifications and disqualifications are different.

  2. Anonymous May 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Martin ,Gerry K et al are elected representatives.M/s Mc Ardle and Paul Kavanagh are not.What are their special qualifications for acting as “special advisors”? Presumably there are loads of Sinn Fein supporting graduates who would be more than happy to have a chance of being considered for a job like that.As none of S F’s actions are done accidentally ,we must assume that the above appointments were deliberate to send out a message.Within a party that stresses “equality” at every opportunity,it does appear that there is still a hierarchy of esteem eg if your name is Kearney!

  3. Anonymous May 30, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    Catholics and nationalists are generally opposed to discrimination because for years it was the mechanism used by unionists to ensure that they were not welcome in the state and were less likely to have a house, vote, employment, and investment in areas where they made up a majority of the local population.

    By their cowardice in not defending the principles of the Good Friday Agreement, the SDLP will have allowed a man whose avowed purpose is the destruction of the Good Friday Agreement, to drive forward this retrograde legislation which will once more legitimise discrimination against a section of the nationalist population.

  4. Anonymous May 30, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    It discriminates against all serious criminals, regardless of their political views.

    • Anonymous May 30, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      Its primary purpose is to discriminates against ex-political prisoners it is merely an after effect that it will discriminate against criminals aswell!

    • Anonymous May 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

      The primary of target of the proposed legislation are ex-republican prisoners. The fact that criminals are also affected is a side issue.