“I’m sure the Queen, who must feel a bit constrained in her day job, will understand the tug.”

The Guardian’s Michael White covers a lot of ground in his post at the Big G’s Politics blog – including the crisis in the eurozone.  But here’s a, lengthy, excerpt to start with.

If Gaelic had a word for chutzpah (perhaps it does?), the Sinn Féin president, now an Irish TD (MP), would win the chutzpah prize every time. He was on his best behaviour for the Queen’s trip – even he can see it has been a modest success. Not daft, Mr Adams.

So he stressed his own republican credentials (in the broader constitutional sense) but also acknowledged the “affinity to the English crown” of many Irish unionists. The Queen’s apology for past colonial wrongs had been sincere, though it could have been done “more directly”, he said. It was still a work in progress.

John Bruton, the former Fine Gael taioseach, was also on Radio 4’s Today, saying how splendid the visit had been, and long overdue. Adams was a bit equivocal on that point. But, amid the pleasantries, he was also working hard on his “poc a poc” agenda.

Ireland was still a divided island, and the Brits could do more to fully implement the Good Friday Agreement. What, for example, about their involvement (alleged) in the [1974] Dublin/Monaghan bombing, a loyalist attack in which 34 people died? Clearing that up would turn another page.

“We need to go on writing the next page and the next page and the next page,” he said. Poc a poc.

Well, that’s true. But history is also about rewriting past pages in the light of subsequent experience and current priorities.

It’s what Salmond is skilfully trying to do in recasting Scotland’s history, and he was being very conciliatory at Holyrood on Wednesday.

What Adams wants to write about the Monaghan bombings is not what plenty of other Irish people, on both sides of the border, would regard as a priority. They’d like more frank answers than they get from folk like Adams about what Sinn Féin/IRA did in the Troubles.

In making such points, I don’t seek to be snide, as some posters predictably complain when – here this week – I tease Salmond for playing a double game, moderate and maximalist. Of course he plays a double game – most good politicians have to do that sometimes because they know that many voters are ambiguous within themselves, torn in two directions.

Read the whole thing.

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