Sunday 4 December 2016

Sinn Fein boss 'taking the soup' offers hope of a boundless future

The President and the Queen echoed what most want for British-Irish relations, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 13/04/2014 | 02:30

SYMBOLIC: David Cameron, Enda Kenny and Martin McGuinness at the banquet in Windsor
SYMBOLIC: David Cameron, Enda Kenny and Martin McGuinness at the banquet in Windsor

THE best joke I heard about the Irish state visit was from a Derryman.

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"Will Martin McGuinness be offered a choice of starters at the banquet?" he enquired. "Or will he have to take the soup?" (Runner-up was the Telegraph cartoon of a valet enquiring: "Will sir be wearing his formal, evening balaclava?" The Guardian deserves a special hilarious-error prize for reporting that in Westminster Higgins "name-checked the Magna Carta and Daniel O'Donnell.")

As in other ways, the Queen made life easier for McGuinness than it might have been. Soup wasn't on the menu. Mind you, vanilla ice-cream bombe was, but that wasn't a jibe at McGuinness.

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