A familiar gripe from the Trimble Unionist days was that Tony Blair consistently lent his good ear (ie Jonathan Powell) to Sinn Fein, but rarely to their own concerns. Even if this exaggerated, it is undoubtedly true that contact between No 10 and SF was both frequent and informal. And it seems that some of those key relationships have stuck, even now the Peace Process™ has finally ground to a halt. When news broke of an invitation to Martin and Gerry to attend Jonathan’s wedding, Sinn Fein was rather coy in a report published last month which hinted (just count those double negatives) neither would be attending. Yet Slugger understands from a senior Conservative MP that in fact both did turn up on the day to take part in the happy couple’s celebrations on “the croquet lawn at Fritham Lodge (built in 1635 as a hunting lodge for Charles I, now owned by Powell’s advertising guru brother Chris)”. The former PM was Best Man.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty