Here’s today’s ‘big’ story on the Northern Ireland ‘talks’ over parades and flags. Here’s a report from yesterday. A deal over something or other is “extraordinarily close’, some American bloke in a suit says. Here’s a story from a few days ago, when the same bloke was apparently flying home. But now he’s back again. The bloke has a professor of some sort with him. She’s working hard on her colleen look. They’re both engaged in all the brinkmanship, missed tea-times, working at Christmas and New Year, staying up really late and everything, that you’d expect of Northern Ireland talks. We’re all really gripped by it because it’s really important, it has implications for us all; it’s the Nothern Ireland Peace Process. Right?
Well, no, not really. For years, at a time of great economic growth and social advance elsewhere, folk in Northern Ireland were busy slaughtering each other and more than a few outsiders. The path to peace was long and the eventual outcome was remarkable. It was super for those of us not in Northern Ireland when they stopped murdering each other because that meant we could stop sending young men women to stand between them and get killed.
Now it’s all about flags, marching, flutes and whatnot. Well that’s just fine. It really doesn’t matter if the bloke in a suit and the pseudo-colleen keep putting out press releases aimed at making them look important. It doesn’t really matter that the Northern Ireland Assembly still isn’t able to sort its own problems out. All that really matters now is that they’re not threatening to murder each other, or us, anymore. So it’s a wee regional story and that’s the end of it. And that’s good news.