Just the teensiest of footnotes to yesterday’s item which clearly touched a nerve of some kind: the VO this morning (and yes, I have been less than complimentary about some of their offerings and will be again, no doubt) has an editorial which links McDowell, McIlroy and Harrington as being winners who are very good news for Irish golf. I’ll buy that.
Now, The VO also has disturbing reports from last night, when around 100 masked men in East Belfast wearing surgical gloves, armed with stones and petrol bombs set out to express their version of neighbourliness on the people living in the small nationalist enclave of the Short Strand. Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey was on BBC Radio Ulster/Raidió Ulaidh this morning, saying something similar. Ex-Special Branch officer Rev Mervyn Gibson and unionist MLA Michael Copeland spoke of Short Strand nationalists attacking unionist homes from the grounds of St Matthew’s chapel, and of two unionists being shot in the leg.
There’s a need for clarity here. Maybe Maskey, Gibson and Copeland are all three right – there were masked men in surgical gloves attacking the Short Strand and there were nationalists attacking unionist homes. Or there was misinterpretation of what was seen: maybe the men in surgical gloves were doctors on their way to a surgical conference and maybe the nationalists in St Matthew’s grounds were defending it against attack (it’s happened before).
The third possibility is that somebody’s lying: Alex Maskey is lying or Mervyn Gibson is lying or Michael Copeland is lying. Will we ever know which, if any? Mark Carruthers, the BBC presenter, seemed to believe the PSNI would have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He could be right. Or, of course, wrong.