Listening to Sinn Fein’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin talk about the possible visit of the British queen, he made an odd point, saying that her role as commander in chief of the British Army made her unwelcome. This is purely a symbolic role, in that she does not actually makes decisions. But if he does believe that the symbolism is of importance, then surely the fact that the vast majority of Sinn Fein elected representatives are paid by the British government means that, symbolically, most shinners actually work for Mrs Windsor? But then, as the Stakeknife affair proved, that isn’t really much of a surprise.
I’ve never understood the obsession with her visiting. We did actually win the war of independence, and as such, having the head of state of another friendly power visit isn’t that big a deal. I actually think Sinn Fein are smart enough to recognise that whilst they will formally object, if only to keep their knuckle dragging wing happy (the sort of people who would have a fight with an English muffin) they’ll probably keep a low profile during the actual visit, as having her hit by an egg (or something worse, like a 7.62mm round) will not actually do them or the country any good. They’re smart enough to realise that, as in the UK, some of the queen’s most enthusiastic supporters tend to be working class. Don’t forget, this woman has spent 57 years of her life doing this, and if there was to be a row between Sinn Fein and the aul wans of Dublin, I know who I’d put my money on. Having said that, watch as the whole “curtsy” debate kicks off. Should female ministers curtsy? I say no. It’s not our tradition, and it is, after all, our country. It’ll also be funny to see if Brian Cowen does a Paul Keating and slips an arm around her.