Terry Wogan is a very funny man. Sorry, slip of the tongue there, Sir Terry Wogan is a very funny man. He was made an honorary knight in 2005, but they changed the honorary to ‘substantive’ when he became a British subject later that same year. That gave a kind of retrospective validation to Terry’s appearance over the years at the Eurovision Song Contest. You remember – he’d make all those droll remarks about the funny East Europeans, and he’d refer to the British entry as ‘us’ and the Irish entry as the Irish. So the British knighthood and the British subject thing showed which side his loyalties lay with, not to mention which side his bread was buttered on. Mind you he did it all with a twinkle in his begorrah eye and a scamp-of-a-lad Limerick brogue to his voice, so you could say he straddled the Irish Sea.
And it was this same straddling, chuckling British subject that turned up at the Irish Embassy in London last night. To have a yarn with his erstwhile fellow-countrymen? No, no. You see, the heir to the British throne was there with his lawfully-wedded wife Camilla; and while Buckingham Palace hung back and wouldn’t say the hooley at the embassy had anything to do with QE2’s plans over the next twelve months, the good knight had no such inhibitions. ‘I’ve been in Ireland a lot this year doing a documentary for BBC television on Ireland and there is a lot of anticipation. You’ve got to understand that despite 700 years of oppression, starvation and immigration, the Irish still have an enormous affection for the English. This is an historic thing. The queen will undoubtedly get a fantastic reception in Ireland’.
Maybe you think Sir Terry’s presence at the Irish Embassy wasn’t a strong enough signal that QE2 is getting ready to steam towards the southern four-fifths of this island? Well hear this then. ALSO in attendance were Patrick Kielty, Bob Geldof, Eddie Jordan and Val Doonican! So just stop that ‘What about the north?’ muttering this minute. If fine, important, SUCCESSFUL Irishmen like Patrick, Bob, Eddie, Val and Terry are giving the QE2 visit the thumbs-up, your pathetic views have as much chance of survival as a partridge caught in the crosshairs of a Para rifle.