ALLIANCE Assembly member Seamus Close MLA has said that a ‘truth commission’ would be more likely to lead to greater public cynicism in this era of political spin than to actually getting to genuine facts.
Mr Close said: “Any talk of a truth commission would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Can anyone even begin to think that such a body could be successful? The very essence of truth has been severely damaged in Northern Ireland.
“Truth is defined as having qualities of being true, not false, nor fictional, nor illusory, but being genuine and factual. This is indeed a rare phenomenon and as such where does it exist in Northern Ireland? If we look at ‘authority’ or at those whom the people are expected to look up to, it appears to be devoid of truth, but overflowing with fiction, spin, deceit and smart alecs.
“The authorities are guilty of promoting cynicism in today’s society. How many people today believe the Prime Minister or the Government? Just look at the record; Labour whips apparently have had to convince MPs that the Prime Minister is not telling fibs.
“How many people believe everything that the churches tell us, where there have been scandals, cover-ups and even attempts to distort the word of God. What about the police and army, where there has been a diet of spies, informers, tribunals and more cover ups?
“In today’s society, people think that it is ‘smart’ to take an oath with their fingers crossed behind their backs, whilst there are others who will look you in the eye and lie through their teeth.
“If we can’t believe authority, can we really be expected to believe those who built their lives on terror and have become today’s pseudo-democrats and pillars of equality? I am afraid a truth commission would not work, because today in Northern Ireland the truth has become disposable. And the problem is we don’t know how to deal with the rubbish.
“As the Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn said*: In our country, the lie has become not just a moral category, but a pillar of the state.”
*Quoted in Observer (London, December 29, 1974).