The title should presage a joke, but, to be honest, the impact of the idiot leaders of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom flying to Hillsborough today was nothing short of sickening, as each sought to use the situation in Northern Ireland to deflect attention from their mutually failing regimes each side of the Irish Sea towards the hand of history preparing to bitch-slap democracy and accountability.
Gordon Brown, erstwhile Prime Minister, met with Brian Cowen, floundering Taoiseach, to try to encourage the Sinn Féin leadership to put marginally less time into protecting the identities of pederasts and ignoring victims of sexual assault, and to implore the Democratic Unionists to get over their fear of a responsive and accountable policing and justice regime.
The respective heads of government may well achieve a nice untidy carve-up, to further disenfranchise the moderate nationalist SDLP and pump more taxpayers’ money from the rest of the UK into the increasingly undeserving territory in North East Ulster. With any luck, their thinking goes, they will each have achieved something not entirely catastrophic for their country. With any luck, they are sure to have been thinking in the plane as they swooped into Belfast, they may each have a chance to have something in the history books which isn’t about the fact that each of them presided over the economic circumstances which destroyed their country’s economies, and each became leader of their nation at the point the collapse occurred.
And despite the hand of history hovering uncomfortably over Jonah Brown’s shoulder, he still finds time to try desperately to use Northern Ireland as a political football, accusing the Conservatives in today’s Guardian of endangering the peace process.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with Conservatives seeking to intervene before the election with the Unionist parties to strike deals about the outcome of any negotiations around a hung parliament. It is the sensible thing to do, so long as it has not been decided to enter into any policy agreements with the DUP in advance of the preparation of the Conservative Manifesto. So long as no concessions have been made on policy to the DUP, and so long as agreements are limited only to agreeing not to stand in opposition to one another in key marginal seats, in a way which removes the risk of Sinn Féin taking those seats, then it is an essentially an honourable and reasonable bargain.