Charles Nevin: Circus at Stormont

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The Independent Online

This space tends to dwell on matters of less vital consequence. Today, though, our Editor has asked me to break with tradition and address the matter of the resumed Northern Ireland Assembly.

I never argue with any Editor (note the capital), and particularly not one who is an Icon and Irish as well. Besides, his point is that, faced with the tirelessly proportion-oblivious and elephantine-memoried arrangements of Northern Irish politics, the only sensible reaction is to laugh, as the crying has been going on too long.

So what was there to laugh at yesterday? Well, the usual, including the determined showing of the gospel-singing member subject to tabloid allegations of a massage nature. I liked the theory that Peter Hain is running things deliberately badly to encourage them to do it instead. And I really enjoyed this: "Assembly members are expected to cut short business to enable unionists to attend a garden party at Hillsborough Castle involving the Prince of Wales."

Marvellous. Might I suggest, relying on one-sixteenth of Irishness, that the solution is to counter the island's curse-blessing of beguilingly awesome articulacy and have silent sessions during which members ponder these wise words of The Editor: "Nobody else here, baby. No one here to blame. No one to point the finger. It's just you and me and the rain."