Monday, March 26, 2007

Ourselves Together

Green And Orange Unite

Who ever thought we would see this ? Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams on the same platform - even if it is symbolically divided in the corner.

I wonder if they have yet spoken to each other in private - or whether they ever will.

The surprising thing is that the grumpy,dour Paisley probably has more of the social graces when mixing with people informally. Immediately he is away from the public domain, he adopts a fatherly smile and can easily pass the time of day.

I say that his approach is fatherly, even though I am just 10 years his junior - for that is how it felt to me. My room in the Commons was on the same corridor as that of the genial Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church. So we regularly chatted when we met. I immediately knew why those of his constituents who are Catholics have found it easy to take their constituency concerns to him.

That It Should Come To This - Training To Kiss Babies

I did not get to know Gerry Adams as well as this. He refused to take his seat in Westminster and only occasionally used the facilities which were eventually provided for him. I heard him address meetings and press conferences and asked the occasional question.

I did, however, have a detailed conversion with him in an empty Commons Central Lobby on a serious case involving the consequences of certain PIRA activity. Without his accepting responsibilities, this went well. He displayed all his abilities as a leading politician and delivered.

I just wonder whether Protestants will be able to turn to him on case work as easily as Catholics do with Paisley. But if ever the two of them start to enjoy some typical Irish/Ulster crack, then I am sure the old man can teach him a trick or two.

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