Accelerated State Visit

Idle reading suggested that I should try the BT Broadband Accelerator in the hope that it might speed up our snail-like broadband. An investment of £5.99 seemed worth a try. The result has been a welcome and significant increase in speed from 0.5 to 0.7. Perhaps it’s the moment to mention that the corresponding speed in rural Crete was 5.

This is a really serious issue for all of us who live in rural Scotland. It matters to anybody who wants to develop business and create employment. It matters to us as a church – if we want to meet on line rather than spending time and money travelling – and if we want to develop on line delivery of training programmes.

Anyway, the first benefit of even this meagre increase in broadband speed was that we were able to watch this delightful take on the State Visit of Irish President Michael D Higgins … without it stopping in the middle

Ireland has now produced three outstanding Presidents in a row. Michael D – as he is universally known in Ireland – gave a display of raw political courage in his pre-visit interviews. Deputy First Minister Martin Maguinness was congratulating himself on his decision to accept the invitation to lunch with the Queen at Windsor Castle – not as bad as it sounds because he was performing the vital political task of explaining to his constituency why he was making this significant move at this time. But Michael D weighed in with a bit of reality-speak:

Asked if he believed the victims of violence deserved an apology, he replied: “Oh yes, of course I do, on all sides.”

The president said that many involved in violence had sought to establish a distance between “versions of themselves and actions they deemed necessary at the time,” but they could show a “great deal more” humility.

He was asked if it was possible to have a lasting and meaningful peace without addressing the past.

He said: “No, I think you have to address the past… You can’t allow yourself to be crippled by the past. You have to be able to address the past in a way that doesn’t cripple you, in the present, or damage you into the future.”

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