The UUP is simply not being serious, instead, engaging in a bit of grandstanding and showboating. It cannot plausibly claim to have been caught unawares by the PSNI "revelations" that the Provisional IRA still existed. Using that as an excuse for pulling a political stunt is on a par with saying it is pulling its lonely minister from the Last Ditch because Aldi is still open.
Jim Gibney explained it all twelve years ago:
If there is one big lesson coming out of the peace process over the last ten years, it is words like 'certainty' and 'clarity' are not part of the creative lexicon that conflict resolution requires if it is to be successful.
Can anyone point to a period over the last ten years when such words were used and they helped the peace process here?...
Demanding such words causes crisis and paralysis. They clog the peace process engine up with gunge. ...There is plenty of 'clarity' and 'certainty' in a graveyard.
That I can do without. Give me the language of ambiguity. It has served the people of this country well over the last ten years. It has oiled the engine of the peace process. Long may it continue to do so.
Even if in Gibney's convoluted moral universe society is supposed to consider itself better off because Davison and McGuigan are in graveyards rather than clarity and certainty, the UUP has hardly been a paid up member of the clarity club.
Brian Rowan made a couple of observations:
– A decommissioning report that all arms had been put beyond use was challenged publicly almost a decade ago;
– We knew that the IRA met in a Convention before Sinn Fein’s endorsement of the new policing arrangements;
– And, long after the Paisley and McGuinness Executive, the Army Council had not been disbanded.
And Mike Nesbitt was unaware of this?
The UUP cannot hide behind what the PSNI has disclosed about the murder of Kevin McGuigan because the cops have asserted that there is no evidence of the killing being sanctioned by the IRA hierarchy. Unbelievable for sure, but scepticism is hardly a sufficient reason to recall Danny Kennedy.
Shed of the sanctimonious dross, the UUP is pulling out because George Hamilton told it what it already knew. The IRA still exists and has a command structure. The UUP is guilty of what it accuses Sinn Fein of: deceit. It seeks to dupe the public that it has lived in a sterile bubble protected from the hidden truths of the peace process.
Nesbitt's action is not a surgical strike against Sinn Fein but a subterfuge to undermine the DUP. Paradoxically - and the UUP must know this - the move has the potential to bolster the executive rather than collapse it. For the executive to implode it would require one or other of the major parties to pull out. Any advantage that might otherwise have accrued to the DUP were it to quit has been negated by the UUP disincentive. If Robinson jumps now it will look as if he did not jump at all but was pushed by Mike Nesbitt. That creates a pressure to stay inside the tent pissing out rather than leave.
Mick Nesbitt is not unhappy at all, the opposite in fact now that he has an opportunity to happy slap Peter Robinson. Despite the posturing he knows that the peace process has never been driven by honesty but deception. UUP deception is just the latest instalment in the longest running show since The Mousetrap.