I know that the official line is delight at the ‘progress’ allegedly represented by the presence of Martin McGuinness, in white tie and tails, standing to toast the Queen’s health at a banquet in Windsor Castle. But what an odious sight.

Firstly because the idea that this constitutes some important step is all post-hoc prevarication. The steps that Martin McGuinness has taken in the last ten years were all open to him forty years ago. But he chose to turn them down then and pursue the IRA’s path of violence and murder. Pursuing that path should have caused him the worst imaginable problems; instead it has brought him only rewards.

You still sometimes hear people say – David Cameron, for instance, is good at this tune – that ‘violence never pays’. On the contrary, the career of Martin McGuinness shows that violence pays very well. It was the peaceful Republicans who McGuinness managed to push aside in his ambitious rise. It was the non-violent and anti-violent members of the Catholic communities who he managed to whizz past in his race to the top of what turned out to be the British Establishment.

It makes one wonder where people like Michael Adebolajo went wrong. Perhaps if the killers of Lee Rigby had not just killed one British soldier but instead lead an organisation that killed hundreds might they too be invited to a banquet in Windsor castle in the years to come?

Incidentally, I see that McGuinness has tweeted his regrets and condolences over the death of Peaches Geldof, a death which he had nothing to do with. Will the day ever come when McGuinness comes clean and tells of his regret for the hundreds of lives – young and old – that he and the IRA brought to the cruellest ends imaginable?

Tags: IRA, Lee Rigby, Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland, Terrorism