“The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry”. As Robert Burns said……And the best laid plans of press officers, conflict resolutionists, special advisors and their allies in the Media and Blogosphere. As it turned out the enduring image of yesterday is not Martin McGuinness and Elizabeth Windsor shaking hands. The most enduring image from yesterday is of three police officers standing on top of their land rover as it is caught up in severe flooding in South Belfast.
There are at least ten threads on another website discussing in one form or another the great historic moment. None as yet on the Flooding. Loadsa reasons. Flooding is not a suitable subject for nerdy political interest or gossip. Flooding is for…ordinary people.
Flooding can be dismissed as an act of GOD. Although when just about every shower of rain over the past two years seems to produce flooding somewhere…..and South Belfast has had more than its share….it suggests that there is a degree of under-funding and incompetence in the responsible agencies.
The control of yesterdays Royal Visit…..and the compliance of the media…..was of course to produce another “feel good” moment for the long suffering Norn Iron people. Just like the Titanic and like every upcoming “historic moment” in this “historic decade”. Bread and Circus. The best “feel good” people in Norn Iron could have is the assurance of basic things that make us feel good……living in fear of your house being flooded or having to abandon your car is actually a bigger issue than Martin McGuinness and Elizabeth Windsor.
Of course you cant eat a flag (John Hume) but all those cheering crowds waving flags at Stormont yesterday should have shown up to help their neighbours in South and West Belfast. Perhaps even used their flags to soak up the flood water.
The Circus moves on. Elizabeth Windsor moves on. Yesterday she met Martin McGuinness. Today she unveils a memorial to RAF Bomber Command…the royals must be good at small talk…….discussing things like colateral damage and how the deaths of civilians including women and children is unfortunate and unavoidable. And anyway our cause was “just” and the other side started it anyway.
Of course the IRA and its apologists will be outraged that they are compared to the British War Machine.
Of course the RAF and its apologists will be outraged at any comparison to a terrorist organisation.
I dont know how the civilians killed by both feel. I declare an interest. My great uncle was married twice, the first time to a Belfast Presbyterian,. They emigrated to USA in 1910, where they had three children (two sons one daughter). Widowed he returned to Dublin in 1923 and his children raised as Presbyterians in Belfast. The daughter married a German in 1938 and after the War, her husband informed the family that she had been killed by a direct hit by an allied bomb.
Of course this week we have been told that Mrs Windsor had a relative killed by the IRA. Well indeed I know some folks killed by the IRA. But I also had a relative killed by the British or Allied bombers. And quite possibly that gives me a relationship with Mrs Windsor…..surely some of her German relatives were also killed by RAF Bomber Command.