Isn’t it funny how elements of the establishment pick and choose what is prioritised and isn’t it funny what is shelved.
It is a mere two weeks since the ending of the negotiations at Stormont and the world has moved on and interest shifted. But yet the question of the unfinished business remains. The dealing with the past elements of the Stormont House Agreement remain unimplemented.
Last December every party and both governments made a commitment to every single bereaved family from our conflict that they would no longer be an after-thought, no longer pushed to the back of the political priority queue. The Agreement was meant to be victims and survivors being afforded dignity and place – at last. Two weeks ago that was turned on its head. A complete and utter disgrace.
These promises remain unimplemented because of the bad faith of one of the signatories to the Stormont House Agreement – The British Government. The British Government alone is responsible for this ignominy and the shameful disregard of victims. So who is chasing Ms Villiers around Westminster torturing her to answer to victims of our conflict? Where are the scores of cameras camped outside Whitehall waiting for a sheepish government minister to release a statement on when and how they will get back to the table to ensure that the government obligations to victims are fulfilled?
I can give you scores of examples of when it is convenient there is that type of pressure. Let me see… Jeremy Corbyn not bowing enough? Peter Mandelson selling his house? Gerry Adams any day of any given week?
But when it comes to the British Government and its ministers there has been diddly squat in terms of pressure regarding victims in Ireland. And there are victims in British constituencies too who have been let down. Imagine their isolation? Victims in the South of Ireland and on the European mainland would all benefit from the Stormont House Agreement being implemented. All suffer from the agony of unanswered questions and unacknowledged experiences and all deserve a proper robust process that demands accountability from republicans, loyalists and the two states. So again – where is the pressure to deliver?
There cannot emerge a quiet understanding that because it didn’t fly two weeks ago in Stormont that nothing will happen until after elections in May. The media feed this myth and let those responsible off the collective hook.
The local parties need to stand up collectively and say to Ms Villiers to get herself back over here and get this implemented. For the sake of the victims and survivors who live in all of their constituencies they need to forgo any nonsense about May, prioritise victims and survivors and get the deal that is done since last December, up and running.
Victims and survivors are rightly sick, sore and tired of being shunted for other political priorities. So let’s put the blame where it belongs and let’s have a bit of screaming and shouting to deliver.