Talking to the Taliban equips you for dealing with this lot

Radio 4 has just jogged my memory. I’ve found the perfect governors for a new bout of direct rule.

Questions still remain as to what exactly Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple were doing in Helmand. The Irish national, Michael Semple, works for the EU. He has the appearance of a man who could have stepped out of 19th century colonial Afghanistan. He is a bearded, Dari speaker, known for wearing traditional local clothes. His 18 years of living and working in Afghanistan brought him many friends, and no doubt many enemies.
The British national, Mervyn Patterson, is from Northern Ireland and works for the UN. He is an expert in northern Afghan – particularly Uzbek – affairs, who would bring together spies and warlords, westerners and Afghans

Listen to Michael talking to the BBC’s own prophetic figure Fergal Keane, former NI correspondent on Radio 4’s Taking A Stand today. Trouble is- aren’t they both Prods? OK I’ll overlook it just this once.

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