Monday, October 23, 2006

Blogging from Belfast

In Belfast for the 33rd Plenary Session of the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body. My first meeting of this odd creature, whose purpose seems to be the creation of a forum where politicians from the North and South can talk to each other. In theory this is a good idea - but the politicians from Northern Island don't turn up.
I enjoyed meeting up with Peter Brooke who started the whole peace process off in the early 90s, when none of us even knew it was happening. Today's reletive peace in Northern Island is Tony Blair's biggest success. His particular brand of charm and use of slippery language has worked wonders. He would have been remembered for this if he not invaded Iraq after lying to the British people about the threat.
Can also report that the spat between Peter Hain and Elfyn Llwyd is still festering. When Peter had finished his speech and Question Time, Elfyn was the only delegate not to applaud - not even the merest gesture.
I have to say that despite the bitter rivalries of Irish politics, the degree of politeness exercised in debate made the National Assembly look like a kid's playground.

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