Jim Allister: The perversion of the word ‘collusion’

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I met the Secretary of State yesterday, where I raised the perversion and misuse of the word “collusion” as an aid for those rewriting their terrorist history.

To any sensible person “collusion” denotes active involvement on a joint enterprise basis in crime, but not in the world of rewriting the terrorist narrative.

From the days of Judge Cory it is abused to mean much less.

Maybe, it is time to import a proper statutory definition into any framework purporting to deal with “the past”.

I also pointed out that while we now have an opposition and that is welcome it faces two huge barriers.

Firstly, there is the matter of funding.

While DUP/Sinn Fein can rely on 16 Special Advisers and the whole Civil Service, there is no adequate funding for the opposition parties. This puts them at a huge disadvantage.

Secondly it is vital that an opposition is able to present itself as an alternative government.

However, due to mandatory coalition even if the UUP and SDLP were to perform well in opposition and beat DUP/Sinn Fein at the next election it would not mean that both or either of those losing parties would be removed from government.

Thus, creating an opposition is only one step in democratising Stormont.

Additionally, I used the meeting to raise the future of Ballymena Electoral Office.

Of course I commended the Secretary of State on the role she is playing in the campaign to liberate the UK from the EU. On that issue at least we see eye to eye!

Jim Allister, MLA North Antrim

Ben Lowry: The growing myth of loyalist collusion