My life in a banana republic-Latin edition

Jambo!

Or as the Romans said “salvete”.

My father and uncle were keen that I should get a good education in my home country, so they handed me over to the nuns when I was four. Then I was educated by the Jesuits at my country’s leading grammar school. Dingle asked me if they were violent. I said no , but the nuns could punch their weight.

So the Jesuits taught me Latin. This has stood me in good stead. I recognise many Latin words in English. The lawyers are particularly fond of it. John Larkin never lets a paragraph go by with out a ‘bon mot’ or should I say a ‘verbum bonum’.

Why all this pretentiousness?

I had difficult questions for Dingle, my friend, part academic, part soldier, part philosopher.

Me: Dingle, the police exist to investigate crime?

D: Yes

Me: So all crime is investigated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland?

D: Not necessarily.

Me: What crimes would the PSNI not investigate?

D: If a police officer was alleged to have committed a crime.

Me: Who investigates that?

D: The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

Me: Is he a policeman?

D: No , but he employs former policemen-and women.

Me: So they investigate the police who are alleged to have committed crimes?

D: Yes

Me: And if they think they have, what then? Does one of these police persons make a report?

D: No the Police Ombudsman makes a report.

Me: But he is not a policeman?

D: Quite so. They can recommend that the policeman is prosecuted.

Me: Who does that?

D: The Director of Public Prosecutions

Me: So he prosecutes policemen?

D: If need be

Me: So what happens if the Police Ombudsman thinks that the policeman should simply be reprimanded?

D: He reports to the Chief Constable, who decides on a punishment.

Me: What if the Chief Constable is reported as having done something wrong?

D: The Police Ombudsman investigates that

Me: So do these three people ever speak?

D: Yes , when the Police Ombudsman produced a very critical report on Loughinisland, the Chief Constable thought it was very good. Although when Mr Justice McCloskey said it was very bad, George said that he tended to agree with him.

Me: Is that it?

D: Oh no. The Police Ombudsman is investigating the Chief Constable as we speak.

Me: That must be embarrassing ?

D: Perhaps. You see, the Police Ombudsman investigated the man called Stake Knife but because there were lots of Brit Spooks involved [which he is not allowed to investigate] he gave the files to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Me: And he investigated it!

D: No he can’t he gave it back to the Chief Constable.

Me: And he investigated it!

D: No he can’t because the courts said that his force is biased in favour of the Brit Spooks, so he gave it to a man called Jon Boucher, the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Constabulary.

Me: And his force investigated it!

D: noooo, he is acting with all the powers of the PSNI and his officers come from all arts and parts and he is being judicially reviewed because he works for PSNI.

Me: But apart from that one, there are no complications are there?

D: Weeelll….

Me: Tell me!

D: Some of the Chief Constable’s former senior officers say that the Police Ombudsman’s report into Loughinisland was unfair towards them.

Me: Why?

D: Audi alteram partem.

Me: Ah! so what did they do?

D: They judicially reviewed the report.

Me: How did the Police Ombudsman react to that?

D: Well, after he had removed the makeup, having appeared in a film about Loughinisland, he objected.

Me: And who won?

D: It’s not over yet.

Me: Why not?

D: The Police Ombudsman has employed the just resigned Director of Public Prosecutions to represent him in front of Mr Justice McCloskey, who many years ago , when he was a barrister, represented some  police in a  case similar to the one he is trying.  Mr McCloskey’s father used to be deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. The just resigned Director of Public Prosecutions and his father before him  used to represent SF/IRA people who wanted to kill policemen. The Chief Constable has said that the inquiry by the Police Ombudsman into his conduct will exonerate him. A man called Bryson has complained to the Department of Justice about the Police Ombudsman appearing in the  film.

Me: Is that a crime?

D: No but it will have to be investigated.

Me: By whom?

D: By the Justice Minister.

Me: But there isn’t one.

D: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

At least I learned Latin in MY banana republic…..

Valete!

 

 

 

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My life in a banana republic:March

Jambo!

Sex,sex, sex!

Forgive me for being shocking and for my absence. I have been writing my dissertation at the Queen’s University and being mesmerised by your sexual obsessions.

Why is it that your “wee country” , so good at soccer and peopled by so many pious people, is obsessed by sex?

Lord Morrow has stopped women selling their bodies for sex.

Now he wants the death penalty, not for having sex, I think…

The Attorney General has intervened [I like this nomenclature, does he turn up at court like Sergeant Wilson and say, “do you think that is wise Dec?”]. He has a thing or two to say about women’s bodies, I have heard. He thinks that abortion is bad.

The First and Deputy First Ministers have told him to intervene about all sorts of things. It must be hard to advise so many competing departments in so many different ways.  Mr Larkin is also exercised about gay discrimination. He has intervened. He should get out more.

As I predicted by me earlier , much money will be spent on these matters, almost as much as is spent on tea and biscuits at the Great Place on the Hill.

Catering and sex would probably pay for a cancer unit but where sex is involved you chaps spare nothing.

Basil McCrea has been cleared about being sexy. William Crawley wanted to know on BBC about the sexy goings on of a footballer. Many people got excited,  including Adrienne.

In my country sex is just a fact of life, like malaria.

Here is what I want to know. Where are your women folk? It must be that large numbers of them respect their man. Does Mrs Allister say: “I’m pretty sure that women should be in charge of their own bodies , Jim, but if you think not, that’s OK “?

I’m told that there is lots of sex on the Hill. Politicians, SpAds, officials, their wives and their children, anything goes. There are even gays in every party. That seems pretty normal to me, like Westminster , Lusaka or Washington.

But you are all in denial.

This excites me, in an academic way.

At present my PhD. dissertation is “Aspects of the diffuse narratives in respect of the disputed territories in the Indo-Tibetan Borderland”

I’m asking my supervisor if I can do “Sex on the Hill”, instead.

That should sell well in Bulawayo.

Jambo Jambo!

 

Handshake

It is said that it originated as a way of showing that you were unarmed.

English barristers do not shake hands because as ‘ learned friends’ that have no need of this display.

There have been many famous handshakes. Hitler/Chamberlin, Nixon/Mao, Sadat/Begin, Rabin/Arafat, McGuinness/ Elizabeth Saxe- Coburg-Gotha.

These have been ground breaking moments.

So why did  George Hamilton , stolid, NIO Gopher, go to West Belfast and shake the hand of  McGuinness, terrorist, gunman, murderer of policemen and others, member of PIRA Northern Command, and sometime member of PIRA Army Council?

What was the hidden agenda? What was the purpose? McGuinness confessed to having been momentarily in  PIRA, like Clinton confessed to smoking dope but not inhaling.

Is there a clue in what was said?

Hamilton  said ” there were serious problems with policing in the past”.

McGuinness said “tonight is another act of reconciliation”.

Leaving aside the  Relate-like language of these two almost former lovers [you don’t bring me flowers anymore], on whose behalf does Hamilton speak? Certainly not those officers killed, maimed or still living daily with their scars.

Certainly not on behalf of my parents, whom he refers to as a “legacy issue”.

Perhaps on behalf of Bryan Harold Harris or Anne Harris? The brother and mother of his deputy, whose father was killed by PIRA on 8 October 1989, on the orders of McGuinness?

Will he look his deputy in the eye on Monday morning?

Is the message from the PSNI that there will be no more arrests of senior Provos? Their head of intelligence Bobby Storey shared the platform. Hamilton had no issue with that.

And what of the other branches of government? Who knows what messages are being whispered into the ears of the judges in the back corridor?

The Secretary of State may not be able to fix welfare reform but there is a lot more on the republican agenda that we don’t see and which can be attended to.

Not all landmark handshakes survive. Hitler, Arafat…maybe we can add Marty and Liz to that list?

But wait! the most famous modern handshake of all! Blair and Gadafy! I’m coming for you soon Tony!