Thursday 17 June 2010

What's to enquire about Norman?

Norman Tebbitt wants a public enquiry into the bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984.  He doesn't say what this enquiry would be designed to find out.  The facts of that act are all well-known - some people planted a bomb in the hotel; it went off as planned while Tory politicians were staying there; a number of people were killed or injured; the people responsible were tracked down, tried and punished. The people who did it acted in the cause of getting the British state out of the north of Ireland and reunifying the country.  It is at best arguable whether such an act of extreme violence brought either goal one iota closer.

Tebbitt seems to want this enquiry to give "parity" to the victims of Brighton 1984 with those of  Bloody Sunday 1972.  He says the victims of Bloody Sunday have been given "preferential treatment".

Some "preferential treatment"!

For 38 years the British state was happy to let the world believe that the Bloody Sunday victims were carrying weapons, that they fired on the troops, that they deserved everything they got, that the soldiers of the Parachute Regiment had behaved entirely properly.  The state said all this despite knowing it was all lies. They said it knowing that this was not the first time the Paras had murdered unarmed civilians at will
And of course, the families of the Bloody Sunday dead have never seen anyone put on trial for what happened on that day in Derry (and likely never will).

Now as far as I know, none of this is true of the Brighton bombing, though no-one would deny the suffering caused to the injured and bereaved.  So much for "preferential treatment".

So what would a public enquiry into the Brighton bombing achieve?

Well one thing might be to show how witnessing the events of Bloody Sunday led so many young men and women from Derry and West Belfast into the arms of the IRA. How Bloody Sunday led to the Brighton Bombing.

But I wonder if that's the conclusion Norman Tebbitt is really looking for........

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