The £1.2m is little enough, compared to the big whack of public largesse the UDA has been in receipt of for years now, so much so that the Good Friday process has pretty much seen armed loyalism’s grassroots put on the payroll of the peace industry, without much accompanying reduction in the UDA’s nefarious activities. What is interesting is the blatancy of Hain’s move. This money is not being dressed up as “community development”, but openly handed over to the UDA, via its front organisation the UPRG. What we, the punters, are supposed to get from this is also a little opaque. The money will be ploughed into six areas, which may or may not coincide with the UDA’s six brigade areas. And this investment of £1.2m will create a grand total of twelve jobs.
Here’s a thought. Why not forget about auditing procedures, and just hand over suitcases of cash to the UDA Inner Council? Oh, hold on.
And all this is supposed to be part of a series of “confidence-building measures” for the Protestant working class. If the Brits wanted to build confidence in Rathcoole, maybe they would be helping the working-class community there to get the UDA off their backs, instead of subsidising paramilitary rule.
Another thought occurs to me. As no doubt the UPRG will testify, £1.2m is a tidy little sum to get a small political party off the ground. (I would have thought it falls foul of the law on political party funding, not to mention Section 75, but that’s just a lay opinion.) Couldn’t People Before Profit score themselves a grant? It’s obvious that the left have been remiss all these years in not setting up armed wings.
More on this theme on the Socialist Unity Blog.