Sinister forces at work in Northern Ireland

In his novel  “1984”, George Orwell wrote:

“Hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak-‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used-had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.”

A recent Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism campaign encouraged law-abiding citizens to look through each others’ bins to check for “suspicious items such as chemical bottles and to report any troubling findings to the police” Fake blondes-hide that peroxide bottle! I’ve struggled to find the Troubling Findings Act.

China’s Ministry of Supervision has a discipline watchdog which opened the “unified informant hotline” for the public to report discipline offences of civil servants and officials.

Eavesdropping and informing on each other to the Stasi was a way of life in East Germany.

Stalin’s regime relied on “mutual surveillance” urging families to report on each other about ‘disloyalty’.

So how grateful must we be to live in a liberal democracy.

Not so. This blog is not about the programme of informers during the Troubles. Like Scap, Donaldson , Sean Maguire and Brian Gillen, they got their money and , those still alive are living a comfortable life, protected by the British State.

This blog is about what is happening in our communities  now. It is about democracy, freedom of speech and the ability to protest.

Many Loyalist areas of Belfast have taken the Queen’s Shilling in return for compliance. The Greater Shankill is an example of that. The killing of Bobby Moffett has been swept under the carpet so long as  the locals support the GFA. The Spectrum Centre doles out nearly a million pounds  each year ,to the locals in wages. The UVF and Arlene are at peace.

Other communities are not GFA supporters. The result is that they are subject to harassment by the PSNI, as an arm of the State. Frequent use of the Terrorism Act 2000, in dubious circumstances. Searches of legitimate community facilities for “loyalist paraphernalia”. The stop and search of  individuals on a regular basis, in breach of the codes of practice. Stops by ‘Road Policing’ with bogus allegations of no insurance or road tax.

It’s not a crime, of course, to oppose the GFA.

Or is it?

Lets read a new document. It is entitled:

“THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE (ON BEHALF OF THE TACKLING PARAMILITARISM PROGRAMME BOARD)

Building capacity in communities in Transition Project (2017-2021)

Information Memorandum

Tenders are invited to support the delivery of this project.”

The programme “is committed to promoting the use of peaceful and democratic means and upholding the rule of law across all communities”

So consider this , Dear Reader. In the proposals which tenderers can make , is the requirement that they show an “outline of how information will be shared with police on individuals who do not support transition”

“Transition” is not defined anywhere.

The Board is chaired by the Department of Justice and is comprised of civil servants and the PSNI.

So , if you want to get your community nose  into this particular trough you will have to undertake to snitch on those who are not supporting “transition”.

“Feed your Snout-be a Tout” might be the catch phrase.

Of course , the document is keen to espouse the rule of law.  The rule of law encompasses ‘no punishment without law’.

What law is being broken which requires the citizen to “share information” with the PSNI about an individual who does not support transition?

The answer is that this programme , aside from offering monetary bribes, further undermines the rule of law. The PSNI willingly particpates , not only by harassment but by being part of the supervising body. The Stasi would be impressed.

The lesson is that you can be a paramilitary as long as you are a State approved-GFA loving paramilitary. Otherwise you are in big trouble.

It’s unlikely that any mainstream politician will put his/her head over the much funded parapet about this.

Approximately  one third of the workforce depend on the State for their mortgage. In addition, vast swathes of the middle classes , including journalists ,are paid fees by the BBC, the Housing Executive and every other public body for services rendered. The country is in the grip of the Security Service, forget about Brokenshire. Even Stalin would be impressed with such a compliant body, when it is allied to the likes of the Greater Shankill Partnership Soviet.

It’s hard not to conclude that democracy  and freedom of speech died in Northern Ireland years ago.

 

 

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The Greater Shankill Scam

The Greater Shankill Partnership [“GSP”] is masterminded from the Spectrum Centre.

The Greater Shankill Neighbourhood Renewal Plan was ‘declared’ in 2007.

[NB. It is always important to apply imposing names to these matters.]

Who and what is the ‘Greater Shankill’?

It’s an area of North Belfast, mostly the Protestant bit, though 12% may be Roman Catholic. Its population is 18,028, at the last census.

In the last year that figures are available, the GSP spent £974,000 on wages.

It has produced an “Action Plan” for 2017-2018. This plan has achieved legitimacy because it was approved by the “Greater Shankill Community Convention” and adopted by “the area’s Neighbourhood Partnership”.

So there! When I think of the Convention I think of Revolutionary France. How those delegates in the Spectrum Centre must have questioned the management!

Before examining the plan , let’s examine some statistics.

The percentage seeking jobseekers allowance has increased from 7% in 2003 to 10.8% in 2014. Much greater than the general populace.

Income support has also increased compared to the outside world.

Education

Those in the area achieving Key Stage 1 level 2 or above in maths fell from 92.2% in 2005/6 to 85.4% in 2011/12. The national figure in 2011/12 was 95.8%.

In English, on the same basis, the GSP figure for 2011/12 was 82.3% ; the national figure was 94.8%.

Not so bad , you might think. But consider the next statistic.

At least 5 GCSE passes at A*-C including English and maths. In 2007/08 the GSP figure was 18.9%. This showed a significant improvement to 36.5% in 2012/13. But the national figure that year was 65.9%, almost double.

The GSP don’t even bother with A level statistics.

How many children are we talking about? It would appear that the figure of those of school age is significantly under 2,000, perhaps 1,700.

So, what’s the plan?

Well, this organisation which employs over fifty people and spends nearly one million pounds a year on wages, doesn’t really have one.

Here’s their action plan for 2017/18.

They are going to “engage in conversations with 100 children and young people”. They are going to “audit ” services. They are going to give “sustained support co-ordinated for 100 children and young people”.
They are going to “Establish a platform for the Zone’s development and implementation”, and continue working with QUB.
At this point in time , Dear Reader, your bullshit detector may be tweeting.
Don’t you love a “platform” “implementation” and the addition of a pretty discredited university?
You are correct. There is not one word as to how this plan will be measured for success or not.
Meantime those fifty plus people, including some who are paid well above the national average, will keep their jobs, slaving away in the Spectrum Centre.
That’s over £500 for every child of school age on the Shankill.
If you desire some acupuncture it’s free but if you want your child to avail of the summer programme for moving to secondary school, it will cost you £10. This must say something about the management.
But there is worse!
Glenwood Primary School is yards from the Spectrum Centre.
The Education and Training Inspectorate report conclusion in January 2013 stated:
“In almost all of the areas inspected, the quality of education provided in this school is inadequate; the areas for improvement outweigh the strengths in the provision. The inspection has identified significant areas for improvement in leadership and management, standards, and learning and teaching which need to be addressed urgently if the school is to meet effectively the needs of the all the children.”
A subsequent report , in May 2104 , concluded:
“In the areas inspected, the quality of education provided by this school is now good. The school has important strengths in most of its educational (and pastoral) provision. The inspection has identified an area for improvement which the school has demonstrated the capacity to address.
There remains the need to:

• continue to raise the standards achieved in literacy and numeracy and embed the good practice which has begun.

The Education and Training Inspectorate will monitor, through district inspection activity, the school’s progress on the area for improvement.”

It is truly astonishing that those who were governors of this school in the relevant years, allowed it to sink to a position where the ETI had to intervene.

So let’s wait a year and see what the Spectrum Centre produces for those 1,700 or so children of the deprived Shankill.

Aside from their own salaries and pensions.