Since the Police Ombudsman's unmasking of the RUC as a corrupt entity, unionist opinion has been muted or steeped in denial.
Over the last few days, Lord Maginnis has provided the loudest voice of opposition to Nuala O'Loan's investigation.
The Ombudsman's report noted that, between 1991 and 2003, RUC Special Branch paid £79,840 to a prominent UVF member who was acting as a police informer. They protected this informer (cited as Informer One) and other informers, and facilitated situations in which informants were able to continue to engage in paramilitary activity. Informer One was involved in ten murders, ten attempted murders, the targeting of an individual for murder, a bomb attack in Monaghan in 1997 and various paramilitary attacks, drug dealing and other criminal acts.
In the course of her investigation, the Police Ombudsman noted that several retired, high ranking officers either refused to cooperate, lied, attempted to obstruct the investigation or gave "farcical" answers, illustrating a "Contempt for the law".
Important documents went missing, were lost or destroyed. Evidence was withheld or concealed. Sham interviews with informants were conducted by Special Branch handlers, misleading interview notes were created and informers were released without charge. On one occasion, Special Branch officers discovered munitions at an informers home and did nothing about it. Junior officers were instructed that records should not be completed and forensic exhibits were destroyed.
On another occasion, after witnesses noted the killer of Gary Convie and Eamon Fox had a goatee beard, Special Branch officers allowed Informer One to shave off his goatee while in police custody.
In short, following in the footsteps of Stalker, Stevens, Cory and Barron, Mrs O'Loan has demonstrated what many already knew or suspected - that the RUC was routinely colluding with loyalist paramilitaries.
Confronted with this damning expose, Lord Maginnis has been barking and bullying his way though a series of TV and radio interviews, demonstrating that he is unable to construct a single, coherent argument to support his accusations that Mrs O'Loan is wrong. Instead, he shoots the messenger, attacks the integrity of the Ombudsman and accuses her staff of ineptitude.
In his apparent role of loyalist totem, through which all unionist psychology is channeled, Lord Maginnis dismisses the report as republican propaganda. His protestations are akin to those of a sex offender who refuses to accept he has done anything wrong, despite clear evidence to the contrary. Such is the nature of the unionist psyche.
Unionists seem unable or unwilling to accept the truth - that their empire was built on discrimination, corruption, collusion and cover-up. Instead of facing up to the realities of the past, Maginnis and his cronies clutch at straws, shriek with unfocused hysteria, point fingers and defend the agents of depravity as their vile little world frays at the edges.
"We've a great deal more experience than the Police Ombudsman's staff," shrieked Maginnis, during a TV interview on Monday. Quite who this "We" refers to is unclear, although it must be noted that Maginnis is an ex-UDR member, an organisation which was riddled with loyalist paramilitarists and had nineteen of its members convicted of murder.
The finding of the Police Ombudsman can not be allowed to be swept under the carpet. It is important that a full, public enquiry be conducted into this issue and that criminal prosecutions follow. The RUC should be stripped of its George Cross and Sir Ronnie Flannigan, Chief Constable of the RUC during the period of the investigation, should be held accountable and sacked as HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Detractors howl in derision at the notion of a public enquiry, citing the cost as prohibitive, although one can only guess how much money is spent on terrorising the citizens of Iraq, where former RUC officers, made redundant as a result of the Patten reforms of policing, now serve as private security contractors.
Indeed, one wonders if the disgusting tactics of the RUC have been exported from these shores and are now alive and kicking in Basra, Fallujah and Baghdad.