Have I told you the joke about acceptable levels of violence?

Orde makes idiotic gaffe 
and needs to apologise
Looks like Sir Hugh Orde has done a wee gaff. The Belfast Telegraph reports that Hugh was speaking at Oxford as President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)

The former PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde gave an 'outside-in' assessment of dissident activities in Northern Ireland.

While the Bel Tel gave a fairly rounded report of what he said, and I can't find his speech anywhere (if you know where please let me know!), it did smack a little of an aloofness and callousness and he should have known better.

What, you ask, did he say?

The Bel Tel reports that he said,
"To borrow a phrase from the past, we may be at an 'acceptable level of violence' - albeit at a far lower level than when the phrase was first coined."
To put it in some third hand context, the Bel Tel said that he meant if the dissidents cannot be persuaded to stop, then there must an acceptance that the threat will remain - and violence will continue.

I can understand where he is coming from. If people living in our communities are determined to ignore the democratic and peaceful feelings of 99% of the people living in Northern Ireland and determined to bully, maim, and murder against the wishes of 99% of the people, then terrorist violence will continue.  But does that mean we have to accept it?

To use the phrase 'acceptable level of violence', a phrase used stupidly in the 1970s by Reginald Maudling, then Home Secretary, is in itself not acceptable.

What it means to a lot of people in safe places is, 'we are happy to be able to contain any unruly nastiness to Northern Ireland'.  The people of Northern Ireland deserve more respect than that. 

It states to those who have lost loved ones during the Troubles that their loss was 'acceptable'.  Those left behind, or left to care for survivors , deserve more than a repulsive quip.

It is one of the most unfortunate phrases to ever be used by so-called intelligent people. Does that mean that our police forces have an acceptable level of burglary? or rape? or car theft? or paedophilia? Does Hugh Orde really find these other crimes acceptable, so long as not too much of them go on?

No level of violence is acceptable.

The President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, especially one who was the Chief Constable of the PSNI, should know better and be very aware of the sensitivities that such language can cause real offence to people.  

Orde should come forward and apologise for using this inappropriate and offensive phrase.


Anonymous said...

Watch my lips.


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