THAT bloke from the Harvard School of Politics has been back on the phone...
– So, the Ulster Unionist Party has drawn a line in the sand and walked out of the Executive because it refuses to do business with active paramilitaries or parties linked to them, is that right, Mr Squinter?
– Not quite.
– Well, for one thing, it’s quite happy to do business with the PUP and the UPRG which are the political wings, respectively, of the UVF and the UDA.
– Yeah, I heard that. They got their pictures taken with them at Camp Twaddell.
– Actually they did a bit more than that.
– They did?
– They most certainly did.
– How much more?
– Well, they entered into a formal political grouping with them.
– Yeah, the United Ulster Unionist Council, I heard about that. But come on, that was 40 years ago.
– No, actually, it was the Unionist Forum and that was a year and a half ago.
– But they’re inactive, aren’t they?
– Not according to the police.
– Drug-related stuff, I suppose.
– Well, yeah. There’s that. And attacking immigrants.
– And killing people.
– And extortion.
– Okay, I get the point. What about the DUP? Do they reckon the IRA’s still active too?
– They do, they most certainly do.
– So they’re walking out of the Executive too, right?
– They’re staying?
– Well, for now, anyway. But they say it can’t be business as usual with Sinn Féin.
– Okay. So they’ll probably stop saying hello in the corridor, refuse to get into lifts with them, that kind of thing.
– Hardly. They already do that.
– So what are they going to do?
– Your guess is as good as mine.
– That was a big surprise about the IRA, wasn’t it?
– Which bit?
– The bit the police said about them still running around killing people.
– That’s not strictly accurate.
– It’s not?
– In fact it’s not accurate at all.
– So put me right.
– The police said IRA men were involved, they didn’t say it was the IRA.
– Same thing, isn’t it?
– Not really, no.
– Big Geordie said the IRA didn’t order it and that they’re not involved in terrorism.
– Really? That’s not what we’ve been hearing over here.
– You do surprise me.
– If all this is true, then why did the UUP decide to leave the Stormont Executive?
– Take a wild guess.
– Party politics?
– You’re getting warm.
– Unionist party politics?
– Very warm.
– Next year’s Assembly elections?
– You’re roastin’.
– Is that why the DUP’s spending more time attacking the UUP than attacking Sinn Féin?
– You’re getting good at this.
– How come nobody in loyal Ulster knew up until now the IRA still existed?
– Oh, they did. They most certainly did.
– Who did?
– The International Monitoring Commission said it in a report in 2008.
– Top secret report, eh? ‘Prime Minister’s Eyes Only’-type deal.
– No, no. All the parties got it.
– And the unionists went crazy, right?
– That would be stretching the truth.
– What did they do?
– Strange. Hey, I seem to remember they also knew about the on-the-runs years back too and didn’t lift a finger about it. Am I right?
– You’re not wrong.
– Can these guys not read?
– Oh, they can read just fine.
– When they want to.
– Couldn’t have put it better myself.