As has been observed previously, here in the Northern part of Ireland, a good fist has been made of making the Peace but not such a good job of doing the Reconciliation.
..and the presence this week of Richard Haass, US Special Envoy for the wee six, advertises this(unnecessarily) to the world.
From a Nationalist point of view, arguably, any internationalising of Green Field Number 4 is to be welcomed but it does seem that the British and Irish governments should keep the American cavalry for matters they really can’t sort out themselves. Could the governments (Irish and British) not have simply given the parties a deadline to resolve matters – under the threat of an imposed solution?
Instead, we had a week dominated by reactions to the Haass (draft) proposals – rumours, counter rumours and leaks – and embarrassing whinging about the proposals by the DUP (Gregory Campbell) in Westminster – followed by an embarrassing defence of Haass (“he is an incredibly impressive individual”) by Davey Cameron.
Back across the water, in Green Field Number 4, there was also embarrassment – this time for a couple of flag protesters – even though there is a flag-protest-ceasefire(until the new year).
Firstly, loyalist and ‘flag protester’ Elizabeth Bingham was the subject of media speculation – had she broken the law with her sectarian observations on Twitter regarding the Glasgow Police Helicopter crash?
..and then former UDR soldier, now councillor and defender of the raising of the Union flag, Ruth Patterson, finally had her day in court for her (allegedly) sectarian Facebook comments. Ruth got off with a warning and walked from the court flanked by a relieved DUP – who blamed everybody except the boul Ruth for their red faces.
Note to (female) loyalists: Advertising your bigotry by making sectarian comments on the death (actual or fictional) of ‘Taigs’ on Social media sites may well (deservedly) land you before the courts.
More embarrassment – of a different sort – for another female politician – this time Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín of SF – as the announcement of the granting of planning permission for CasementPark was interrupted by protesters – thus spoiling the photo opportunity for what seemed like excellent news.
(And it was a good week for other stadia development with both WindsorPark and the Brandywell getting the nod.)
From Green Field Number 4 to the killing fields of Flanders, as Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister David Cameron made the first joint visit by British and Irish (3 Green fields only)leaders to commemorate the WWI dead.
Afterwards, and perhaps it was just as well that Davey was not around, the boul Enda, spoke of the ‘senseless slaughter’ – a (blackadderesque) view that is unlikely to be shared by a British (Tory) Prime Minister – who probably regards the horrendous military losses as necessary in the war against the dreaded hun.
… and so with only 3 posturing, blustering, bluffing, counterbluffing, grandstanding and perhaps even negotiating days left until Xmas – maybe the best lesson that can be learned from the Richard N. Haass experience, is that the 2 amigos last seen together mulling over the past in Flanders should perhaps look more to the future and to their own backyard – and start doing their job.