The man who made history happen

Didn’t Nancy Pelosi look small beside Simon Coveney yesterday? Small and waif-like, disguising the fact that if, by some tragedy,  Donald Trump and Michael Pence were to stop breathing and go to a better place, Nancy would automatically become President of the United States.

It was also a bit of a nostalgia-fest to see her address both houses of the Oireachtas, bringing back 53-year-old memories of a youthful John F Kennedy addressing the same audience. Nancy, of course, is in her late 70s, whereas JFK was in his early 40s. And JFK probably had fewer nips and tucks. But it was thrilling to see this hugely-powerful woman tell Irish politicians and the Irish people that if the UK meddled in any way with the Good Friday Agreement, they could go whistle for a US-UK trade deal post-Brexit.

What marred the moment for me was her “Oh, there you are!” to a smiling, thumbs-up Bono in the gallery. She referred to Bono’s Big Moment, back in the day, when he stood between John Hume and David Trimble, and hoisted the arms of both men, as though inviting his audience to compare the sweat-stains of nationalist and unionist oxters . That kind of recognition by Nancy yesterday made it sound a little as though Bono had thought up the Good Friday Agreement wheeze by himself, or certainly had been key to the historic moment. Nothing in Bono’s self-satisfied smile and thumbs-up suggested he disagreed with her.

There’s a wall-slogan at the back of Belfast’s Central Library : “No Topless Sunbathing – Ulster Has Suffered Enough”. I suggest an addition: “No More Preening Bono – Ireland Has Suffered Enough.”

It goes to show you, though.  A terrible taste in music can sit comfortably alongside consummate political skills.

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