September 12, 2005
The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP
10 Downing Street
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
As Provincial Grand Master of the Metropolitan Province of the Loyal Orange Institution of England which covers the South of England, I, my fellow officers and members of the Orange Institution soundly condemn the acts of violence seen in Belfast and surrounding area over the weekend. There can be no excuse for the attempted murder of police officers and members of HM Forces and no excuse for the senseless acts of indiscriminate rioting and lawlessness witnessed on the streets. Those who have perpetrated these acts must bear the full weight of the responsibility for them. In condemning the wanton acts of lawlessness and destruction I must, yet again, raise my voice in condemning the Government, a Labour Government, for abrogating its responsibilities to secure a just and peaceful society in Northern Ireland.
As a Party Member, former Secretary of Gloucester Constituency Labour Party and present Treasurer of Gloucestershire County Labour Party, I find having to criticise my Party over Northern Ireland issues very unpalatable. Yet if I do not speak out then your head long charge into further troubles is assured. I have spoken to you at Party Conference in Bournemouth and I congratulated you at that time on the Peace Process but cautioned about Para Militarism. I had hoped through my constant updating of my MP, Parmjit Dhanda, of the situation in Northern Ireland, particularly from the Loyalist perspective, that reason and fair play would prevail. I am sorry to have to level an accusation against you but I now believe that you have lost sight of fairness in your rush to appease Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA.
In his condemnation of the Orange Order in Belfast, the Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde, agreed and highlighted that the people, in the areas where rioting took place, feel disenfranchised. Who has perpetrated this attack on their rights and well being? The Labour Government. By your actions and the actions of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland your headlong rush to further appease Provisional IRA Sinn Fein, the already abandoned and dejected Protestants and Roman Catholics in the troubled areas, and all over the Province, feel even more dejected when they see that the peace process in Northern Ireland is and was all but dead before these recent acts of violence. In the FT Magazine, 2 April 2005, in the article "A liberal dose of stupidity" by Ruth Dudley Edwards, the question was posed, "WHO IS TO BLAME? The answer, "Three well meaning governments who let themselves be taken in by a small group of paramilitary criminals."
In government you have an obligation to protect the people that you serve and that also means sometimes protecting them from themselves. The people are frustrated, they call for the paramilitaries to be removed yet it is well documented that the PSNI ignore the daily criminality of these monsters. As a former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, I am only too well aware of the entrenched position of so called Loyalist paramilitaries into the protestant working class areas and I know how deeply entrenched the Provisional IRA are in the Roman Catholic heartlands. The paramilitaries are on both sides draining the very life blood from the decent people, enforcing regimes of terror and fear, racketeering, drug pushing and all manner of evil criminality. Yet where are the prosecutions? Paramilitaries are released from prison and go onto the streets and swagger about back in the areas that the Royal Ulster Constabulary removed them from, brought them before the courts and they were justly sentenced to terms of imprisonment. The Government threw all that away and has perpetrated, aided and abetted the criminals to wreak havoc amongst the communities from which they were removed.
I believe that you still, according to insiders, think of Adams and McGuinness as friends, mordernisers, New Republicans. In spite of your PIRA/Sinn Fein nickname "the Naive Idiot", it is still not too late to actually do something that will prove to the decent law abiding people of the Province, the vast majority of Protestants and Roman Catholics, that you are a man of honour, integrity and a man who can still be trusted. I know that you have a strong Christian belief and I know, having listened to you on many occasions, have only the best interests of this country and its people in your heart. It is time for you to face up to the reality that you have been duped by Adams, McGuinness and the so called Provisional Sinn Fein. You have been lied to by so called Loyalist Paramilitaries. Personally I would not believe a word that any of these people would swear. Yet time and again you have been, through a passionate yearning for peace and reconciliation and a driving Christian consciousness, been blinded and sent off course by deceitful unscrupulous men and women. I pray that our Saviour guides you through the coming days and strengthens your resolve to rid yourself of all evil corrupting people who are presently within your camp.
I ask you to:
Round up and return to prison all those former prisoners, who whilst on Licence, have been actively involved in their former criminal enterprises within their paramilitary groupings. The intelligence is available to allow this action to be carried out.
Allow the PSNI to do their job unhindered by Government selected advisors who apparently order that infractions of the rule of law in certain areas are the responsibility of the alleged political representatives in that area. This is political interference with the rule of law and is objectionable, unconstitutional and illegal.
The thorny subject of the Parades Commission must be addressed and the most obvious solution will be to declare that this Commission and its members are no longer providing solutions to problems but creating them. In the interests of all it would be wise to dismantle this Commission and to do it now. Parades will always be contentious but if it is a Government declared objective to return to normality then the Police Service should be the arbitrator of all things to do with Public Order. Not a faceless, unelected, unrepresentative body who blatantly ignore and ride rough shod over reasonable requests from communities and organisations without so much as a backward glance. Time and again this Parades Commission have proven themselves to be contentious and overbearing and have created more problems than they have resolved.
We are staring into an abyss.
The time for action is here, now. The policies of appeasement have failed. In Gods name I ask you to raise your voice and help those who have no voice. Help the defenceless, disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of decent Protestants and Roman Catholics who yearn for peace. They want peace, stability and normality but not at any price. The price being exacted by your obsessions is too high. The very freedoms and democracy that you, as a Member of Parliament, are sworn to uphold, lie in the gutter. Ordinary working class people of all religions and none, see the folly of the appeasement to paramilitaries. Stop now before it is too late. The spectre of further conflict, strife and Civil War is a reality. You and your colleagues in government will bear a heavy burden if Northern Ireland slips into that abyss.
Yours Sincerely and Fraternally
Rt. Wor. Bro. Garry Mills
Provincial Grand Master
Metropolitan Provincial Grand Lodge, Circuit No. 7
Loyal Orange Institution of England
Enclosures: Leaflet – The Orange Order in Southern England