A market researcher was here yesterday, asking all sorts of random questions, for a range of different companies. One of her questions was “Have you heard of the G8 coming to NI?” We both fell about the place laughing.
A bit like London before the Olympics, the G8 is the only story in town. The protests. the thousands of extra police, the imported water cannon, the temporary holding cells and judges working overtime. Then there’s the empty shop fronts covered with decals to look like thriving businesses, the gallons of extra beer, and Girl1 hoping that her school bus won’t make it on Monday morning.
The G8 is not being held in Belfast. It’s going to Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh- home to the McSpec family for 20 years. World leaders in Enniskillen. I wonder will the internet and phone signals be improved as a result?
Of course, Enniskillen has been in the news before. After the First World War, a younger Churchill spoke of the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone still causing problems, despite all the changes in the world order. Some of you will have seen the devastation caused by the bomb on Remembrance Sunday 1987. Queen Elizabeth called in last year, and crossed between some of those steeples.
I have mixed feelings about it all.
Enniskillen is beautiful, and any possible boost to the economy and infrastructure is a good thing. But Dave didn’t choose Enniskillen because of the pretty, or to boost local business, or to improve the roads.
The venue is remote, last outpost of Empire stuff. More easily managed security (one road in and out, surrounded by a huge lake). Despite politics and geography, Dave thinks that the UK is one country, and that he owns all of it.
I can’t escape the feeling that part of the agenda for choosing Enniskillen is less “promote this area, change the world’s perceptions of NI” than “Didn’t we do well? Look how wonderfully we have managed NI.”
Yup, that could be the source of my unease- I’m feeling more than a little patronised.
Of course, it could just be that Dave annoys me every time he opens his mouth…