So QE2 plans to visit the south of Ireland next Spring. That's something to look forward to, isn't it? As we struggle through January and February, the cuts biting ever deeper, weary from the rains of March and the showers of April, we can turn to each other and say "Don't forget - Her Majesty is coming!"
The way the English commentators see it, it's really a question of people growing up - or to be exact, the pesky Irish doing so. “After writing so much over the years about fighting, divisions and enemies, perhaps the next chapter in Anglo-Irish history will be entitled simply 'neighbours'”.
See? You thought it was about political division and domination when all the time it was really just a neigbourly difference of opinion. What’s more, we must thank no less a man than David Cameron for paving the way for QE2. It seems his speech in the House of Commons was so open and honest about Bloody Sunday, it’s washed away all the ill-feeling and sense of grievance on the part of the Irish. All right, Cameron did argue that Bloody Sunday was an aberration and other than that the British Army did a sterling job in the north during the Troubles, but sure people were clapping so hard by then, they probably didn’t hear that bit.
So that’s it – all friends now and don’t mention you know what and get out the red-white-and-blue bunting from the attic. There’s just one slightly dark cloud. If Richard Bruton had succeeded last week in his little heave to remove Enda Kenny as leader of Fine Gael, he would very probably have had the privilege of meeting QE2 next April. In which case he’d surely have found a way of smuggling in his brother John, the former Taoiseach. Your remember John Bruton? He was the man who, as Taoiseach, welcomed Prince Charles to Ireland and declared it to be “the happiest day of his life”. One can only imagine the orgasmic delight he’d have taken from an encounter with QE2.
Still, not to worry. There are sufficient Irish politicians with similar passion for royalty ready to take his place. I just hope Her Majesty is understanding and forgiving about that silly neighbourly spat we had in 1916.