Sir Jeffrey Goes To Washington

Over my lunch today I have been listening to the radio, where the product of fine minds attached to William Crawley, Tom Kelly, Malachi O’Doherty and others have been  hashing around what it’ll be like in Washington DC this week-end for the likes of Jeffrey Donaldson, and whether there is a possible economic benefit to be reaped from Joe Biden’s coming visit to Ireland.

They’ve tackled an awful lot of questions. William Crawley assures us that loyalist/unionist communities do celebrate St Patrick’s Day, of course they do, why would anyone ever think they didn’t? The notion of charisma was bandied about, and whether you’d get Joe Biden’s charisma to the same level we got Bill Clinton’s charisma. And what would Jeffrey Donaldson say in this statement he’s scheduled to make very soon today, would he say Yes, would he say No, or would splinters test his tender rear from sitting on the fence?

The one thing these fine-minded men didn’t analyse was, how did we get from NEI being a purely domestic, internal problem for the UK, no business of outsiders, to this point where like it or lump it, the US is and has for decades been a big player in the shape and future of NEI. The Good Friday Agreement, now twenty-five years old, came about only through the deep involvement of US Senator George Mitchell. And of course Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach, played a big and praised part for his involvement in the GFA. As did Bill and Hillary Clinton.

So when did the British government and unionism give up on keeping NEI the exclusive concern of the British government?  Maybe it was in 1985, when Maggie Thatcher and Garret Fitzgerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which gave southern politicians an official toe-hold on events in NEI. Certainly from that point on, the internationalisation of this squalid little NE corner of Ireland became the business of anyone who could help solve it, or even make it less painful.

Anyway here we are in 2023, and Jeffrey and Emma and all are headed for Washington, to do a bit of green-washing.  Does it still hurt, I wonder? Does Jeffrey wince, does Emma flinch as Biden and Neal and others tell them to do the business or get off the pot? As their plane takes them over the Atlantic at 35,000 feet, do they sigh and wish it was the old days, when kick-the-pope bands battered it out at full volume as they passed any Catholic church, and Catholics joined with gratitude in the delightful day out that was the Twelfth?

As the cigarette ad used to say, You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.

5 Responses to Sir Jeffrey Goes To Washington

  1. Michael O'Gorman March 14, 2023 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Jude,

    I hope I find you well..just a note to say it was Sen. George (not David) Mitchell.

    Beir bua!

  2. Jude Collins March 14, 2023 at 3:07 pm #

    You find me well indeed, Michael, although clearly a bit soft in the head. George, George, GEORGE of course….Even as I wrote ‘David’ a tiny warning bell tinkled at the back of what used to be my brain, but of course I ignored it. Go raibh maith agat – I shouldn’t be let out on my own…

  3. James Hunter March 14, 2023 at 3:28 pm #

    Very good Jude

  4. Frankie hutchinson March 14, 2023 at 3:35 pm #

    always a delight to read your peices Jude.

  5. Marie Magill March 14, 2023 at 8:44 pm #

    Wonder will Jeff and Emma find it all too green!!!
    Jude, please tell Pat to stop interrupting so much. Having said that, I still think he is good craic and has an interesting take on things – just like yourself. Love the podcasts, keep them coming.

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