Could Brexit’s divisions lead to a United Ireland?

BEING chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is a job that calls for a willingness to offer acts of contrition for the many crimes and continuing failures of trust that come with this particular piece of colonial territory.

The PSNI is an instrument of the British imperial state and, as such, offers satisfaction to the victims of the many historical injustices in that part of Ireland only reluctantly, only under duress and only in rationed portions.

Five Catholics died when the so-called Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) opened fire on a bookie’s shop on Ormeau Road in February 1992.

One of the weapons involved in the attack was a Browning pistol that had been given to the attackers by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (as the body charged with keeping the Queen’s peace was designated in those days).

Such was the intimacy between the Ulster Defence Association and the RUC that the UDA quartermaster William Stobie — himself a police agent — had surrendered the weapon to the RUC and had it returned.

The weapon was later used in other armed actions. Another weapon used, an assault rifle, was reported as “disposed of” but found its way back in to official hands before its new location was revealed — via a Panorama programme — as an exhibit in the Imperial War Museum.

These events add a new dimension to the notion of the “evidential chain of custody” regarded as so important in judicial circles.

One chief constable apologised for this and promised to do better. His successor now is obliged to offer further apologies for the latest investigatory failure.

Only an incurable optimist or a political naïf can believe that this will be the final revelation of complicity between the state and loyalist paramilitaries or, indeed, the final apology.

The redesignation of the RUC as the PSNI illustrates the many-sided character of the present bargain struck with and between the contending political forces on the island of Ireland.

It brought a temporary stabilisation of the inherently unsustainable consequences of partition which, in essence, entailed a compromise that left unchallenged the basic imperial framework of relations between Ireland and Britain.

This compromise is unravelling with the breach in ruling class unity that the Brexit referendum has revealed.

The partition of Ireland will come to an end sooner or later. It institutionalised the division of the working class and separated out the forces that, in a united Ireland, might have made for a more democratic state.

We forget that in the insurgent conditions following the Great War of 1914-18 partition brought to an end a revolutionary process close to the heart of British imperialism and closed off for generations the possibility of political and social advance in all of Ireland.

It was a compromise that both nationalist and unionist, business and farming interests could accept and which a Tory government could sell if only because it secured both parts of Ireland for continuing imperial domination.

On both islands the formal instruments of government — the British Parliament, the Stormont Executive, and the Dail — maintain a sometimes lively existence but with much executive power migrated to EU and with the Irish Republic, imprisoned within the eurozone, without even the remnants of sovereignty that its own currency might protect.

People in Wales, Scotland and England have no interest in maintaining partition. Brexit has ruptured all the long-standing conventions that govern relations within and between our islands and offers both our nations the tempting prospect of recovering sovereignty, a united Ireland from Britain and both nations from the European Union of banks and big business

With many thanks to: The Morning Star for the original story





Brexit planners could use martial law against civil disobedience

Brexit planners are examining the possibility of martial law in Britain in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, it has emerged.

Whitehall officials are looking at how to use powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to stop civil disobedience after the UK leaves the EU.

According to a report in The Sunday Times, the legislation gives ministers the power to impose curfews, travel bans, confiscate property and deploy the armed forces.

A source told the newspaper: “The over-riding theme in all the no-deal planning is civil disobedience and the fear that it will lead to death in the event of food and medical shortages.”

The newspaper quoted another source as saying that planners were using the disruption caused by the volcanic ash in Iceland during 2010 as a model for possible disorder.

The source added: “Although there is nothing that can replicate the scale of chaos threatened by a no-deal Brexit, which will be about a thousand times worse than the volcanic ash cloud crisis, this is about the closest example we have in modern British history.

“The only other thing that would be comparable would be something like a major Europe-wide war.”

Responding to the news, Labour MP and Best for Britain campaign supporter David Lammy said: “This is a full-blown crisis.

“The government is recklessly drawing up plans for a colossal act of self-harm.

“Through continuing on the path to Brexit, despite having achieved no consensus on a deal in parliament, the government is preparing to declare war on itself.

“The idea that the government has any mandate for this catastrophic scenario is ludicrous.

“The Leave campaign promised a stable new trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, not total isolation and soldiers in our airports.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Respecting the referendum decision means leaving the EU.

“The PM has said that there will be disruption in the event of no deal, but as a responsible government we are taking the appropriate steps to minimise this disruption and ensure the country is prepared.”

Also, the government is seeking to extend MPs’ working hours in order to get Brexit legislation completed before the scheduled withdrawal date of 29 March.

Parliament’s February recess will be cancelled, and MPs will have to start earlier and finish later on sitting days.

Meanwhile, defence minister Tobias Ellwood broke ranks and insisted a no-deal scenario must be ruled out by the government.

Mr Ellwood wrote in the Sunday Times: “It is wrong for government and business to invest any more time and money in a no-deal outcome which will make us poorer, weaker and smaller in the eyes of the world.”

But in the same newspaper, Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said efforts by some backbench MPs to kill the no-deal option via a series of Commons amendments on Tuesday were a “thinly veiled attempt to stop Brexit”.

Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to take the prospect of a no-deal off the table, after her withdrawal agreement deal was rejected at Westminster by an overwhelming 230 votes earlier this month.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford is to table an amendment on Monday calling on Mrs May to note the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Commons all voted “overwhelmingly” to reject her deal.

The SNP will also seek an extension to Article 50 – the mechanism which triggered the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – call for a no-deal Brexit to be ruled out, and demand that Scotland should not be taken out of the EU “against its will”.

A government spokeswoman said: “We are leaving the EU on March 29. The choice is between a deal or no-deal. It’s time for all MPs to get behind the Prime Minister’s deal and avoid a no-deal.

“We are engaging extensively with businesses and people in Scotland, as well as with the Scottish Government.”

The amendments will be voted on by MPs on Tuesday.

With many thanks to: LBC Raidio for the original story

Sky News 2019: Brexit planners could use martial law against civil disobedience



George Hamilton, Chief Constable, announces retirement

Chief Constable George Hamilton was appointed chief constable in June 2014. The North of Ireland’s top police officer is to retire later this year.

George Hamilton, who was appointed chief constable in June 2014, said he informed the Policing Board of his intention to leave the service in June.

A police officer for nearly 34 years, he said the greatest privilege of his career “had been to serve as chief constable”.

He said NI was a “much more peaceful and progressive society” than it was when he began his police career.

The announcement has come as a surprise to the chief constable’s senior colleagues and members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

He had been expected to accept a three-year contract extension that was offered when he met the board last week.

His decision to decline the offer followed discussions with his wife and four children over the Christmas period.

Sources say George Hamilton broke the news to his senior command team this morning and then informed the board chairman, Anne Connolly.

He told them he is retiring to spend more time with his family.

No current member of the PSNI command team can apply to succeed Mr Hamilton as chief constable.

The current eligibility criteria states that an applicant must have completed a national senior command course and served at least two years in a police force outside Northern Ireland.

After joining the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) – the predecessor of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) – in 1985, he worked in a number of roles including a stint as assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police.

“I am privileged and humbled to have led the dedicated officers and staff of the PSNI and to have worked in partnership with so many people committed to public service in Northern Ireland and beyond,” said Mr Hamilton.

He said that there were challenges in the months and years ahead “but we have overcome greater challenges in the past and there is nothing that cannot be achieved if the police, our partners and the community continue to work together”.

Image caption
Anne Connolly says the board needs to put in place a process for the appointment of a new chief constable

Anne Connolly, chairwoman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, said the board respected Mr Hamilton’s decision not to accept a three-year contract extension last week.

She said recruitment for a new chief constable would be considered at a meeting on 6 February.

The Policing Board was established as part of policing reforms after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which helped bring about the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

George Hamilton’s police CV
1985: Joined Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
1994: Promoted to RUC inspector and seconded to England for development programmes
1997: Returned to uniform patrol in NI and subsequently worked on Patten policing reforms
2002: Worked as a senior detective in PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
2007: Appointed district commander for south and east Belfast
2009: Joined Strathclyde Police as assistant chief constable
2011: Returned to NI as PSNI assistant chief constable
2014: Appointed PSNI’s fourth chief constable

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

Revealed: The 189 police officers convicted of crimes including murder, child pornography and drug dealing since 2013

Police forces confess 944 officers have a criminal record | UK news | The Guardian

Creggan bomb attack police officer speaks for first time – BBC News

Met Police officer faces the sack after he is caught pleasuring himself | Daily Mail Online

Police officer Terry Malta (pictured) was reportedly caught with his hands on his genitals, attempting to hide it with the cover on the back of his seat.

Greater Manchester Police Constable Steven Halliwell stole paedophiles’ seized phones

Halliwell made £4,800 selling the stolen devices but lost “hundreds of thousands of pounds” in lost wages and pension, the court heard.

A former police officer who admitted stealing seized phones and computers during investigations, some containing indecent child images, has been jailed.

Liverpool Crown Court heard it was initially thought Steven Halliwell, 43, from Bolton, was a paedophile as he had downloaded hundreds of illegal images.

But Judge Andrew Menary QC accepted the downloads were incidental to the thefts over a five year period and he deleted images before selling the devices on.

Halliwell was jailed for 12 months.

The court heard Halliwell, of Lee Avenue, Great Lever worked in the high-tech crime unit at Greater Manchester Police and his job was to examine mobile communication devices seized during investigations.

‘Someone like you’
Halliwell, who made at least £4,800 from selling the seized devices, pleaded guilty to stealing 22 electronic devices including mobile phones, iPads and MacBook Airs seized between 2011 and 2016.

Twelve items were found at his home during police searches, four had been sold to a friend of his wife and others he sold on eBay.

Halliwell also admitted four counts of making indecent images in all three categories of seriousness, involving more than 400 indecent photographs.

The judge told him: “It is very sad indeed to see someone like you in the dock… someone who has performed commendable work as a police officer.

“For purely financial reasons you took those items… intending to re-format them and supplement your income by selling them on.”

The judge who described the offences as a “serious breach of trust” said he accepted he did not have an unhealthy sexual interest in children but he automatically had to order him to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.

Halliwell’s barrister, Michael Brady, said the images had only been created while he was deleting material from the devices.

He said it has cost him “hundreds of thousands of pounds” in lost wages and pension and had impacted on his and his wife’s health but “he is the author of his own misfortune”.

With many thanks to: BBC World News for the original story.


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