What was in it for Hillary?

I remain puzzled as to why Hillary Clinton bothered. What was in it for her? And yet in a whistle stop between Saturday-it –must- be- Zurich for the Turkish-Armenian patch-up, Sunday stop-overs in London, Chequers and Phoenix Park and Tuesday in Moscow on Iranian sanctions, she spent the longest period in one place in Belfast yesterday. Yes, I understand the drive for peace gave a fresh focus to Irish America that Bill was able to exploit in 1992-3. Today she still wants to keep that in play. I know too that the Americans like to point to one international crisis centre, however minute, where they can claim their pressure succeeded. Even so, with Hillary it seemed at least partly personal, judging from the warmth of her comments and her body language which suggested she was actually enjoying herself, even all that damp huggy-kissy. What was in it for us is clearer. 20,000 jobs since 1994, she said. And what ‘s less well known, a cool $500m from the US Congress alone over 20 years. BTW it’s frustrating to be unable to find to decent round-up of the whole visit in pictures taking in Queen’s and the City Hall in the very expensive BBC website. BBC NI’s “the visit in pictures “ turned out to be 8 stills, pretty miserable for a broadcaster. Not even Newsline on iPlayer at the end of the day. This was a big deal event, just one down from a visit from a US President and called for more imagination and effort. BBCNI needs to put fresh energy into the local website which offers a pretty poor back story service to exiles and others wanting a decent look back.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London