Monday 25 January,
Got phone call from Perm Sec’s office, telling me to get to Aldergrove airport and make sure there is no red carpet. DUP don’t look amused that my tie is green. Apparently thery’ve been up all night practicing the scowl and the ‘never’.
Apparently they’ve been delayed, and they may fly in to City instead, in order to make sure the teeshuck (sp) doesn’t have a chance to spy on the RAF base. Picked up a neutral tie in a charity shop on the way.
The Prime Minister and the Tioaseadhch have arrived and are enjoying some sandwiches that I picked up from a bakery in Lisburn. Was very careful not to get O’Briens. The Perm Sec was quick to point out to them that the sandwiches came out of the North South Ministerial Council budget. Prime Ministers eating alone. DUP are in the Plough and the UUP are in the Hillside. Sinn Féin got Dominos delivered. Another first for Hillsborough Castle.
Hillsborough is filled to the gills with boorish louts, and that’s just the Southern Department of Foreign Affairs. They’ve shipped seventeen staffers in, and they insist on brewing that vile Barry’s Gold Blend instead of the decent Duchy Originals tea we normally serve here. Third secretaries trying to give me orders for food, I told them they could fend for themselves. Only one of them has a card that’ll work in the ATMs.
Breakthrough, as Martin McGuinness finally leaves the Sinn Féin room to propose a plenary to discuss his party’s issues. Apparently these are:
- Peter Robinson to give over with the silent sobbing
- Peter Robinson to stop making prank phone calls to the Lock Keeper Café
- Peter Robinson to stop pacing the OFMDFM corridor with a knife
- Sammy Wilson to stop singing ‘Would you like a pasty supper, Bobby Sands’
- Policing and Justice to be devolved
- If Arlene Foster is to stay on as First Minister, she has to let her hair grow out
- Simon Hamilton MLA to stop calling bomb scares in to the Department of Employment and Learning to test their reaction time
- DUP to stop talking to other Unionist parties
- DUP to stop referring to the proposed Irish Language Act as ‘An Acht Ghobheldaígúch Éireannach’
- Christopher Stalford to stop faking ID cards pretending to be an MLA
- That hot brunette Emma what’s-her-name to stop doing whatever it is she does, because it’s distracting. Hot, but distracting.
Breakthrough from the DUP as Peter Robinson, between angry, tearless silent screams admits:
- Policing and Justice not a problem, everything else non-negotiable.
- Asks politely for Gordon Brown not to mention the NI economy, as it’s buggered enough already
Ulster Unionists keep demanding to be admitted to the talks. DUP offers to leave the talks. Sammy Wilson offers to take Martina Anderson out for a picnic somewhere nice and secluded, clothing optional.
David Forde (Alliance) demands to know when he gets to control the nee-naws and bang a gavel. Politely told that nobody trusts a man in a beard
Brief hiatus for Peter Robinson to sob in a foetal position and Sinn Féin MLAs to sign deed polls for party members who might benefit from a change of name. Nobody wants an unglamorous name on the Sex Offender’s register.
DUP off to the Hillside, Danny Kennedy suggests UUP calls in with Jeff Peel for dinner. From a mile and a half away, Jeff can be heard telling him to fuck off.
David Trimble has started prank calling Peter Robinson, apparently the joke is that he got the circular about someone having an affair with his wife. David Cameron to intervene.
Peter Robinson points out that the deal is done and politely asks Messrs Cowen and Brown to leave. Brown can’t face going back to London, since growth figures are out tomorrow. Cowen just can’t face going back to explain again to An Tánaiste what exactly her job is. Again.
Shaun Woodward opens the cocktail cabinet. DUP not amused
David Cameron has asked David Trimble to stop harassing Peter Robinson. Has agreed to stop, has decided to prank Gerry Kelly instead. Christ knows what that entails.
All staff sent to bed, in preparation for another day of Brown and Cowen tomorrow. Hope it’s more eventful than today.