It’s a shame to miss the football

Dear First Minister Robinson,

Aw go on and enjoy the football. The Orangemen and the protestors will manage without you. It would be a shame to miss the trip for the sake of the Twelfth or the ‘Twalf,’ as it’s more usually known.

After all that ill-will with Martin when the election was on, the trip to Brazil could be ideal for team re-building. Aren’t trips a big part of our official strategy for that sort of thing? Wouldn’t it be lovely to see you smiling with our Martin again? Sport’s great for that sort of thing. That’s how it was when the Giro d’Italia was here – it was smiles all round.

The North didn’t qualify for the World Cup so when we heard you and Martin had been invited we were happy that at least we’d be represented.

The usual begrudgers mentioned the dreaded ‘junket’ word but we appreciate how important it is to strengthen links with Brazil and to encourage inward investment.

It was sad to hear you tell the BBC, “I just think things are so serious that to be out of Northern Ireland at this time would be entirely wrong.”

If there are any incidents that look a bit racist or sectarian while you’re away couldn’t those involved justify it for themselves? They could explain their own actions. They could always say they weren’t being racist and sure wouldn’t they treat someone from “up country” exactly the same. And, if there’s any criticism of a few lads with a ladder putting up flags, or anything like that, sure some of your senior party men can defend them.

So, please fly to Rio and enjoy the experience. There’s no point in missing the VIP hospitality for political ‘leaders’ on account of the “Twalf”.