James Brokenshire is in the US to brief senior officials, “influencers” and business leaders. His statement is nearly worth reading, if you have too much time on your hands and your Netflix has been turned off or you are a total anorack, of the type resembling an all covering snorkel jacket.
“Regrettably my visit takes place against a backdrop of political stalemate in Northern Ireland but this is a timely opportunity to brief members of the US Administration, who throughout history have done so much to support our efforts in moving forward the political process… I also want to reassure them that the UK Government is determined to see devolved, power-sharing government restored.”
Must be nice to be James. Oblivious to his government’s single-handed destruction of the Stormont House Agreement. Blind to the DUP Tory side deal. Vacant on his government’s co-guarantee of the Good Friday Agreement. Sticking his fingers in his ears and singing LA LA LA when any international legal body raises the consistent egregious illegality of their responses to state violence and collusion. Yep life is good as he assumes the role of the absentee landlord waxing lyrical to those he figures know no better.
He is in for a rude awakening mind. Any stereotype he might have in his head about Irish Americans being all Quiet Man and no modern-day realities will soon be put to bed. As he says Irish America has been consummately engaged at all stages of our peace process.
Something Irish America has raised and Mr Brokenshire has also managed to ignore was a massive statement of concern regarding the attacks on human rights legal representatives dealing with legacy cases. When solicitors here could find little recourse the organisation Human Rights First based in New York listened and produced a damning report. Just one example of real engagement he could learn from.
America will broach no hogwash or the constant vacuous noise which has substituted for substance from the Secretary of State. Rather than him setting an agenda it is very likely that he will hear concern and demand for concerted progress, which has thus far been lacking.
What he will hear is political straight talking. The British Government will not be allowed to play the interested bystander nor pretend that they are a neutral in the debate on the past on one hand and then invoke the most wide ranging measures of stifling truth recovery under the guise of British national security. Irish America, just as we, understand that this has been a deliberate attempt to secure British state impunity.
This has been brought into stark relief since the DUP Tory pact. No one is under any illusions any more – the Conservative and Unionist Party is happy to play an Orange Card, a National Security Card and any card at all to ensure that the role of the British state during our conflict continues to be hidden and covered up and political agreements can be sacrificed to that end.
Irish America has a huge responsibility this week to take no nonsense. And we here at home need to provide them with information and evidence to ensure that happens.
Our peace process and resolution for victims of the conflict needs Trans-Atlantic shoulders to the wheel at the minute. And every one is up for that.