It seems that when this Tory government has to make a statement that is shaming and ignores the truth, the cry goes up “Get Brandon Lewis!”
When the Withdrawal Agreement needed to be holed below the water-line, they sent for Brandon. Sure enough, he conceded modestly that his government planned to “break international law” by possibly changing part of the Withdrawal Agreement. And the good news was? That the law-flouting would be done in a “specific and limited way.” Next time I’m stopped for speeding, I must remember that one: “Yes, officer, I was breaking the speed limit – but only in a specific and limited way.” I expect he’ll be impressed.
Several British governments since 2001 have been dodging around Tony Blair’s promise of a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. Seeing the need to erect a roadblock on the road to justice, the Johnson government has again pushed Brandon Lewis on-stage. “You’re our most experienced liar” Boris Johnson is said to have told him. “We’re putting our full trust in you.” Brandon was tempted to dispute that compliment, but something in Johnson’s eyes told him maybe better not.
So Brandon stands up in parliament and says “It is plain that the levels of state collusion in the Finucane case, made clear by previous investigations, are totally unacceptable.”
You may feel that this is like a man whose father had chopped up and eaten a baby saying that as far as he was concerned, this was totally unacceptable behaviour. Did Brandon need to tell us that state involvement in the murder of a lawyer in his own home, with his wife and family watching, was “totally unacceptable”? Maybe you’re missing the point here, Brandon. The Finucanes and the Irish people and quite a few American lawmakers want what was promised: a public inquiry. Will they get it?
“I am not taking the possibility of a public inquiry off the table at this stage, but it is important we allow ongoing PSNI and police ombudsman processes to move forward”.
Is this man for real? Or deaf? Or just deeply stupid? Or all of the above? The PSNI can swallow their disappointment. The police ombudsman can find other work. And if Lewis thinks anyone will be impressed by his weasel words about not taking a public inquiry “off the table” , or will decide to give the whole thing a bit more time, he’s wrong.
And if anyone in any political party ever had any doubt that the British authorities, when faced with their misdeeds in Ireland, will lie, lie and lie again, those doubts must now be gone. British rule in this part of Ireland has had a hundred years to prove itself.
It has just declared itself morally dead.