THE trouble with political accommodations is that they require a degree of accommodation on both sides. 17 years ago when nationalists and republicans took the historic decision to throw their lot in with a policing service and justice system from which they were thoroughly estranged, the hope was that a new era of cooperation and respect would open up.

What we have seen instead is a determined effort by the PSNI to prove to their new-won supporters that dissident republicans were right back in 2007 – that the PSNI could never and would never step out of the dark shadow of the RUC. That effort by the PSNI has now paid off. In cahoots with the NIO, the policing body tasked with serving and protecting us has paid tribute to the discredited RUC  in the best way it knows how – by ensuring that the truth about the murder and mayhem the RUC engaged in both directly and via loyalist proxies will never see the light of day. The NIO can’t be made to feel public wrath; the PSNI can. 

The effective cancellation of the entire coronial system on Tueday via the scrapping of 35 inquests as part of the Legacy Act of Shame is a provocation of such magnitude that it shakes the very foundations of the consensus that support for the peace process as we know it is a given. And it forces a vast number of people to ask themselves whether the necessary lie required to keep policing here operational – that the PSNI is an ordinary police service worthy of popular support – demands at the very least a hard rethink.

The PSNI remains a force that fails grotesquely to reflect the composition of the wider community it serves, and it is for that reason that it has failed disastrously to appreciate the acute stress its actions have put upon the conditional support given to it by non-unionists. Its sinking of massive resources into a determined campaign to block access to facts and files about the RUC in its possession are such a flagrant provocation that one wonders now, looking back at the Herculean efforts the PSNI have made to hide the truth, how that 2007 compact between the police and the people has lasted this long.

None of which is to say that nationalist and republican support for policing should be withdrawn. It is simply to reflect a simple truth – that the nuclear explosion placed at the heart of the police and justice system this week will inevitably have a profound and debilitating fall-out. 

After a long, terminal illness, the death of a loved one still comes as a massive shock.

Similarly, while we’ve known for some time that the British government and the PSNI had placed a death sentence on the truth, the public execution on Tuesday still came as a brutal assault on the senses.

One signatory to that 2007 policing deal has shown an extraordinary patience which this week has been shown to be blind optimism. The PSNI, on the other hand, has shown that it is content to be viewed by the nationalist and republican people with the sullen resentment and suspicion previously reserved for the RUC.

So be it.