A historic handshake

My wife's family comes from Ireland: several of my close friends and immediate family have had near misses from IRA bombs. I have a perspective from both sides on what it meant when the Queen shook hands with Martin McGuinness today.

It is possible to overplay this sort of thing, but the fact that this could take place was a big deal and the BBC was right to run it as a major story.

There is a lot of work still to do before a fully normal and democratic set of politics has been built in Northern Ireland, but today's handshake would have been unthinkable - on either side - fifteen years ago. To move forward and away from violence we need a greater acceptance of each other, and today proved that we have made some progress in that direction.


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