As our politicians, north and south, leave us in peace for a few months and a welcome summer silence falls gently across the island, it might be a good time to reflect on the state of Ireland and its two Irish states.
What lessons can we take from the quietest Twelfth of July in years? How can we, as a society so deeply in need of healing and generosity of spirit, now move forward? More particularly, how can our political leaderships build on the not so minor miracle of the past week? Such questions come to mind as we reflect on a Twelfth when the sunny weather resonated with the general lack of tension rather than enhance the prospects for rioting and mayhem.
BEFORE the communist empire based in Moscow collapsed in ruins, there was a category of journalists and academics known as Sovietologists, who kept an eye on things for the enlightenment of people in the capitalist world.
I mentioned during a radio interview a few days ago that I thought that the present and final phase of the political process was coming to an end and that it was, “increasingly likely that the institutions, along with the Good Friday and St Andrews agreements, would come crashing to the ground.
AS the ozone layer over Belfast begins its long recovery before next July's Eleventh night bonfires, it would be churlish not to pick through the ashes and acknowledge that this week's Orangefest was the quietest yet.