Hillary's Ridiculous Northern Ireland Claims

A post at MyDD is shocked shocked that people would challenge Hillary's role in the Good Friday Peace process... Well Nobel Prize winner Lord David Trimble, the former leader of the moderate UUP and was the instrumental figure on Unionist side in the Good Friday Peace process, can't quite remember her involvement and describes Hillary's claims as a "wee bit silly." Talk about British understatement. Trimble adds:

"She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don't want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player."

Lindy McDowell adds in the Belfast Telegraph:

Hillary, however, would seem to infer she went a bit beyond mere cheerleading.

In her autobiography she describes a meeting at a cafe on the Lower Ormeau hosted by the late Joyce McCartan and attended by representatives from women's groups from both sides of the community.

Nothing new there, of course. Contacts between such groups have long been the norm here. Although an outsider mightn't guess that, the way Hillary tells it:

"I remember a meeting that I pulled together in Belfast, in the town hall there, bringing together for the first time Catholics and Protestants from both traditions, having them sitting a room where they had never been before with each other ... "

I know. Don't laugh.

I remember the visit to the cafe (town hall!) well. It was what's known in the business as a photo opportunity. Something to keep the presidential spouse occupied while the actual office bearer was getting down to business.

It was a short, staged event 'pulled together' by local organisers. Amid all the security men and Press photographers it was hardly conducive to real business.

Instead, a bit like David Beckham's recent trip to Africa to play footie with small children thus raising the awareness of UNICEF's role there, the point of the cafe visit was to underline the good work already being done here. Cheerleading just about sums it up.