Monday, August 01, 2005

Good news in Ulster

Typical. I'm away from the Internet for a few days and loads of stuff happens... The most important is obviously the IRA statement that the war is over. This is something that I'm actually rather excited about. I've had my expectations raised and dashed so many times that you'd think that I've learned, but this feels different. I've not felt this positive since the heady days of the Good Friday Agreement and I really hope that the full potential comes out of it. It relies very much on the co-operation of the unionists, and that isn't going to come easy, especially not from the DUP. If this statement had come immediately after the Agreement, when there was a greater mood for give-and-take from the unionists (and the UUP were still the largest party) it would have had a much better chance of being accepted, I think. However, I'm still hopeful that this will lead to something major.

In other news, I've been away on holiday in Cornwall (and had a fantastic time) but I travelled down on Thursday. The police presence at Exeter train station was huge and a lot of them were armed. Being of dark skin and carrying a rucksack, I was expecting to be noticed and I did, indeed, get stopped. They asked to take a look in my rucksack and I decided that under current circumstances, it would be expedient to be as polite, helpful and non-threatening as possible. Thanks to this strategy, I didn't get shot in the head. Another bunch of police officers took an interest in me as well as I was standing outside the station wondering how best to spend the hour and a half before my train arrived, but they were most polite, if not helpful, since they weren't local. Anyway, that was the sum total of excitement on that holiday, although I did see a very picturesque fishing village, the supposed birthplace of King Arthur and the Eden Project. It was a wonderful holiday.

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