An open letter to George Hamilton

Dear George,

I’ve just got around to reading the full text of your speech of 15thMay.

Straightaway, you mention transparency. That doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because since I started communicating with the PSNI in 2002, your force has been opaque.

But let’s leave that for now.

I’m glad that you agree with me that something untoward was happening in policing during the Troubles and that it was not restricted to a few bad apples.

But then I’m puzzled. You say “In the absence of any regulatory framework for managing ‘agents’ police officers were left to set their own standards.”

Then  you say that “there was no law”  a few lines  later you say “ there are [sic] a range of charges that can be brought”

You see, George, the persons who murdered my parents, whose names you can find on my blog, most of them had a handler and some of those handlers were police officers and you know who they were. Those officers knew, if not before , then certainly afterwards, the identities of the perpetrators. They , the police officers, committed most of  the range of offences you enumerated above.

Records: lets dwell on that for a second. Prof Lundy and other academics have commented on those records which you say the Police Ombudsman has “unfettered access to”. No he doesn’t. Are you telling the public that the Ombudsman’s representatives roam the stores at Sprucefield and Seapark at will? What about your gatekeepers? The old SB guys. What about your chief spook, Drew Harris? Don’t they keep tabs on the files? What about the ‘difficult’ files which the Security Service has removed from you and now stores at Loughside?

Although you admit that you know of no legal definition of collusion, you say that it “signals malevolent intent”. What’s your authority for that proposition , George?  I know why you say it. The secret is in the next bit. You want us to think about all the brave officers. It’s not about bravery , George.

You can give me no lessons on what a brave officer looks like.

It’s not long before you return to your old unapologetic self. You say that the police were operating in a vacuum. The police had no “framework, guidance or legislation”

I’ve news for you , George. The Human Rights Act of 1998 simply put on the  British statute book  the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which had long been recognised by British courts and a good read of it by senior officers might have given a hint about how to police. Anyway, allowing an agent to kill doesn’t take  much of a look at a moral compass to know that it is wrong .

Frankly, I got weary of the same old words at this point, George. Why? Because for almost twenty eight years your force and its predecessor and every chief constable has lied to me.

So, on close inspection, I’m as unimpressed by this speech as I have been by all the rest.

Take your own advice, get out of your own comfort zone, be selfless and open the files on James and Ellen Sefton.

Yours sincerely

Peter Sefton


My life in a banana republic:argot


My second cousin has been visiting me from Zambia. He wishes to learn more English and perhaps , one day to pass the exam that would allow him to enter this Great County. He needs to answer many tricky questions  on our constitution , such as when was Antrim North last held by someone who was not a family member. So I took some time off from CRAP to attend to his needs.

I met him at the airport called after that George Best person. My relative’s first words were “why him”? I was puzzled. He told me of a man called Jack Kyle. He said that his grandfather said that he was the greatest rugby out half ever in the world but more importantly a very good doctor who had helped thousands of his friends in Zambia. He wished to know why there was no Jack Kyle Airport. I could not help him.

Then he launched into the Rugby Rape Trial. My second cousin wishes to be a social worker. I said that I knew little about it. He wanted to know why the whole world knew lots about the innocent players but almost nothing about the complainant. This was a mystery, I said. “Does she tweet, does she like threesomes, is she middle class, does she go to coffee shops on Sundays?” I told him that one could go to jail for such talk and to leave it be.

“So what is the local argot”, he said. Ignoring this tautology I arranged for him to meet my dear friend Dingle, who said that he would teach him.

“When you go into a restaurant, you will be a ‘folk’, so when the waitress approaches you she will say “hello folks”.

You reply “hello”.

She will first ask you “are youse gettin'”. This is to enquire as to whether or not you have been served

She will then ask you if you are having a “wee drink”.

This is not to describe the drink, such as a whiskey, but simply to ask you if you wish to imbibe.

After you have ordered your wee drink, you may be asked if you wish to see a “wee menu”…you may now be getting the idea that the noun can be happily dealt with on its own and that there is not a big and a small menu.

“Wee” continues throughout these conversations. Such as “who’s having the wee lasagne”?

My second cousin began to get the hang of this.

Did Paddy say “would you like a wee threesome”? he asked.

We told him to be quiet as we were in a South Belfast coffee shop.

“Tell me more argot” , he implored Dingle.

“Well” said he, “whatever you say, say nothing.”

“Is this about Paddy”? he asked.

“No”, said Dingle, “it means to be on your guard.”

“But it is contradictory”, said my relative.

“Nope, plain as a pikestaff” , said Dingle.

“Why is a pikestaff plain”?

“Possibly because it is very big”

“What about a wee pikestaff”?

“Aye dead on”

“Who is dead?”

” ‘Dead’ is used in the same sense as ‘dead reckoning’, which helped sailors find their ports, so if you are ‘ dead on’ you are correct”.

“But I detected a note of sarcasm in your voice Mr Dingle, as if to say that I was wrong”

“Aye , right”

“Is that a yes or a no”?

“It’s me you’re talking to”

By now my young relative was most puzzled and not a little agitated.

“Can we start with forms of address, as in how I might be greeted” ?

“Bout ye”?


“I am asking after your health”


“How’s it goin’ ”

” I don’t know”

“Stickin’ out”

At this juncture my dear relative felt that he was over loaded. He insisted in paying for the drinks. He went to the bar.

“Bout ye? Could I pay for the wee drinks at table four , please? Only twenty quid? Happy days!”

Dingle and I exchanged looks….

Jambo! [or as they say in the banana republic of norn iron] “See ya”