The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bloody Sunday report imminent

The Saville enquiry into the Bloody Sunday massacre will publish its findings on Tuesday, twelve years after the enquiry began. According to The Guardian, the report will conclude that the fatal shooting of fourteen unarmed civilians by the British Army in Derry in 1972 was "unlawful". The British government has described the Guardian's claim as speculation.

Until the findings are actually published on Tuesday, it would perhaps be premature to draw any firm conclusions. For the time being, suffice to say that the repercussions could potentially be considerable.

If the Guardian has its story right then the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland will be under heavy pressure to put soldiers in the dock for manslaughter or even murder - and this the day after David Cameron promised a "new covenant" with the Armed Forces.

It remains to be seen what will happen on Tuesday but the anonymous unionist MP who described the report as a "hand-grenade with the pin pulled out" may not be too far from the truth.

NB: For anyone unfamiliar with the events of Bloody Sunday, the excellent CAIN web service must be the first port of call.

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