Why are we all running shy of the hard questions?
The paramilitaries — remember them? I know there is a Pollyannish train of thinking that all that is over, finished, done with for good.
But even aside from the murderous dissidents who continue to demonstrate just how dangerous they are, there’s also the continuing threat from the lunatic loyalists.
And there is emerging evidence of a seemingly significant supply of Provisional IRA weaponry out on the streets. Guns which we were assured, not so long ago, had been entirely put beyond use.
Official strategy is to both condemn paramilitary activity and to downplay it. It’s just Brixton gang stuff. These people represent no one they will find no hiding place.
Except that they have, and as those of us who have lived through the Troubles know, they represent something a damn sight scarier than our own comeback Yardies.
First up in the questions that our leaders and public representatives should be asking is how come the paramilitaries, their structures and such a sizeable section of their armaments are all still out there?
And how come our leaders and public representatives don’t seem to regard this as a major cause for unease?
Maybe the people running the show here just don’t want to hear the answers