Last week there was a debate on whether asking for Karen Bradley’s resignation would “make any difference”. Some feltthat because she might be replaced with a worse Tory the call for her to go was ineffectual or meaningless.

In her Westminster answer to the MP for South Belfast theinterminably incompetent Secretary of State had caused a storm. In all of the noise of MPs in her ear insisting that something is done to “get our boys (ie British soldiers) off the hook”, Karen Bradley said no state killing was a crime and that all state actions were appropriate and dignified. 

Despite her belated apology Mrs Bradley is not an innocent caught wrong footed. Look at her current workload.

Bradley announced the consultation to deal with the past. She has responsibility for taking the proposals to set up legacy institutions forward. Those proposals are already fundamentally flawed and in their current form may well not deliver to those affected by state violence, due to the heavy reliance on national security caveats that runs through its veins. Sources tell me that she has been heavily engaged in the Conservative Party debate on the internal desire forimpunity for state actors to be made into law. 

The men who advise her, have written every single response to the European Court on Human Rights and UN committeesin relation to outstanding violations, and the human rights failures of the British government over the past twenty years, through all administrations. For the past three weeks those men, and Mrs Bradley, have been engrossed and engaged in the decisions from the UK Supreme Court regarding a public inquiry into Pat Finucane and the local Department of Justice regarding inquests. 

The same people are in parallel engaged in the internal government debates on state impunity for conflict actions. 

At the meeting with RFJ and PFC last week the families were assured that moves towards state impunity related to recent conflicts and not our conflict. As though those families would draw comfort from the denial of the rights of Iraqi or Syrian citizen. Even so they were not believed.

The question of whether it makes any difference if Mrs Bradley resigns only occurs if you do not value the experiences, rights and dignity of victims of state violence and collusion. Those words cannot be apologised away in the context of the British government’s concerted attacks on victims of the state. 

Week in week out in the House of Commons families are dismissed as “only 10%”, diminishing those affected by direct state actions and making invisible the hundreds of deaths through state collusion. 

Week in week out the Ministry of Defence is found to be in default of its obligations to local courts. Systemically failing to disclose materials. Systematically destroying files. Systematically destroying evidence, from guns used on Bloody Sunday to the car used in Loughinisland. 

They know they committed crimes, but they believe in their justification. But they know no one else on God’s earth will see it like that so they cover it up and protect their own. And victims of the state and collusion are treated with contempt in that pernicious policy. 

Karen Bradley’s contemptuous remarks is the final end of the pretence but none of us can be complicit in her retaining her position after that admission. If we do, we become complicit in her words.


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