Friday, 22 June 2012

London To Belfast - The Real Story Behind Queens Handshake With Sinn Fein

London's Buckingham Palace to Belfast City, and even a handshake thrown in for good measure - it's a big ask alright! Rightly many are welcoming the courtesy and humility offered by Martin McGuinness in giving his big answer - an agreement to shake the hand of the Queen of England but some would say why not? She is after all, in the eyes of many in North Eastern Ireland and the South just a visiting monarch of another land, entitled to the same hospitality and welcome as any other V.I.P. A kindly old lady needing to be treated with respect and consideration, albeit an old lady with much establishment and political baggage.

But many are also curious about Sinn Fein's sudden mood of benevolence. Doesn't this outreach often come from those with gravitas, with sway, with the confident flair of winners? These commentators would be bang on target for there is another story bubbling up beneath the Queen's handshake story today and it is bigger and potentially more powerful than a mere monarch handshake. The other story involves the Euro, the rise of the socialist left in Europe, Tsipras, Hollande and Merkel. The mood music is changing in the underbelly of Europe and Sinn Fein have the measure of it and are in tune with a 'painful cry of the dispossessed ' that is so familiar to them, They are on home ground with this one. What is more, their people are increasingly with them.

So we hear that there is to be a potential carve-up of some of the constituencies in Ireland. In circumstances not unlike those of Greece, successive Irish governments are struggling to keep the allegiance of an exhausted and embittered austerity electorate looking with new eyes on a party who is singing the same tune, unheard previously in all the fracas of frenetic Celtic Tiger Ireland. Sinn Fein, with their 'working class hero' message are gaining ground, making headway, biting the heels of the established jaded parties and increasing their Tds and vote share exponentially. Is it any co-incidence that those potential reformed constituency areas  are those closest to the old so-called 'border?' Sligo/Leitrim and Cavan.

In shaking the hand of the Queen, Martin McGuinness is making a warm but shrewd and politically astute move, proffering an olive branch to both Unionists and Southerners. 'Don't be afraid, Sinn Fein is coming to save you from the vultures of Europe.' I wonder has he shaken the hand of #SexyAlexi Tsipras yet?

Update - View From London - Spectator Blog - Not Much Fun For Queen?

Update #McGuinnessQueenHandshakeDay Stunningly Beautiful Golden Green Colour Brands Bright Moment Into The Memory - See The Moment Here
London To Belfast-Handshake And Gallery Looked Fun For All

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