Is it pretend and just shake?


A nice little old lady belonging to an institution lacking real authority shakes hands with the deputy leader of an institution lacking any credibility, and we are told history has been made.

There was symbolism in this meeting for some, and sensitivities have to be respected.

Personally, I see it as a smokescreen, up there with Euro 2012, the Olympic Games, etc., diverting attention from the real issues affecting Ireland, north and south.

The meeting has perhaps drawn attention to the question of a united Ireland. Would lamentable Stormont amalgamate with the Dublin parliament of disrepute? Or would Dublin accept the jurisdiction of a class-ridden Westminster parliament? How many people care?

This week’s events should show us that narrow nationalism, British or Irish, is past its ‘sell by’ date.

Who will answer the big questions? For example, how did the debt of the banks become everybody’s debt? How can cutbacks in health and social services and in education be justified? Can we not build a society where nobody dies of a curable illness, where everyone can get a suitable education, where everyone can have decent housing?

What can be done about cuts in social benefits? What can be done about rising prices? What is being done about unemployment? What about law and order?

Should we all just shake hands and pretend that all is well?

Yours faithfully,


(name & address supplied)