“I’m sitting by the telephone/Waitin’ for a call from you” - aren’t those two lines from some old song - Fats Waller, maybe? Anyway they’re true of me this morning - I’m sitting here waiting for a call from the Nolan Show. (Which, like Fats Waller’s call, may never come. Life’s like that.)
If I am called, the topic for discussion is this request by Tourism Ireland that Buckingham Palace go green for St Patrick’s Day. I gather they’re not actually talking about Buck House being given a paint-over: the play of several green lights on the building should do the job.
What will I say? Well, if I get the chance I’ll point out that the whole aim behind this request is to boost tourism figures. Under that heading, it’d be a considerably cheaper option than QE2’s visit to Dublin. Like the greening of Buck House, the royal visit was sold to the Irish people as a way of generating increased tourism. Yes, it’d cost the state somewhere around €25 million euro, but think of the money from increased British visitors, who’d flock to follow their monarch’s footsteps. Except that what actually happened over the past year was, British tourism to Ireland went down 3%. Oops. Sorry about that €25 million, folks.
It’s not just Buck House that’s been asked to go green on Paddy’s Day. Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Little Mermaid statue in in Copenhagen, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio - all are going to go green. And if it’s good enough for Christ the Redeemer, you’d think it’d be good enough for Queen Elizabeth.
The objection that’s being raised is that the queen doesn’t do commercial stuff. Right. Like, monarchists don’t keep telling us how useful the Royals are in drawing tourists from around the world? And we’re forever hearing of various members of the royal brood heading off to somewhere “on a trade mission”. Though I would have thought the sight of Prince Andrew would be enough to stop the strongest trade deal square in its tracks.
But it’s here, in our own tormented little corner, that the main opposition will surely come. Having Her Majesty’s residence lit up all in green! How dare they. Where’s the respect? And what about those of us who don’t subscribe to a green agenda?
Relax, guys. I’ve thought this one through. If Her Maj does give the thumbs up to green spotlights on Buck House come Paddy’s Day, that could be counterbalanced by having it bathed in orange on the Twelfth. All right? Even the Alliance Party could hardly improve on that - perfect balance. And in the intervening months, Buckingham Palace will be its normal creamy-white self. So that’s green, white and orange. Sunds like a nice combination of colours to me.