Biden Blows into Belfast. And Boy, did it Blow

biden, USA, Belfast, Ireland, UK, Telecoms

Business Disruption in Belfast

So Joe Biden rolls into town a few weeks ago to remind the world that it was an American Democrat who supervised the peace accord in Northern Ireland 25 years ago. Or did he come to secure the vote of Irish descendants in the US for the upcoming election? No wait, perhaps the trip was just to denude His Majesty’s government of £12 million by hosting him? Try as I might, I can’t think of a single leadership-driven reason for him to have upset Belfast with his presence. Except disruption. To headline ‘Belfast suffers business disruption’ is something of an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I like Joe. But let’s not kid ourselves. At best, his presidency is a relationship with an America on the rebound from, you know, that other guy. At worst, it’s a long service award for Mr. Biden’s political career.

But after a few vague speeches about his own ancestry and the occasional confused nod towards Northern Ireland’s neighbors to the south swiftly followed by another confused conciliatory gesture to the Crown and I have to report, I’m at a loss.

Land of the Free. Home of the Arrogant

I was in Belfast a day before Joe arrived and left a few days after his departure. I was a participant in the disruption to business caused by his visit. Three city blocks closed down. Ridiculously over-sized police and military convoys first practicing his safe passage from airport to city, then practicing his potentially unsafe passage. It didn’t help that Rishi Sunak also felt the need to put his own convoy through some dress rehearsals. Which in iteself was a bit disturbing.

It felt like absolute chaos. Distracting in the extreme. And I’m not sure what aspect of this colossal commercial disruption was sadder. The fawning of the home government. Or a less than shining example of America’s insistence they still command the most respect in the world.

Brexit Is UK’s Best of Both Worlds

Northern Ireland is in a unique situation at the moment. The oddities of Brexit have resulted in this UK enclave having unhindered access to both British and European Union markets. Hence, Belfast is primed to become as important a commercial hub as it was in the days when it built the Titanic.

And speaking of which, I visited the Titanic Museum a day or two after Biden left the city. Not only was it an emotional rollercoaster but something very funny yet suspiciously in sync with my visit (and Joe’s) happened.

A meme popped up on my phone with a beautiful picture of RMS Titanic.

That wasn’t what was funny. What was funny was the accompanying text:


“There is no iceberg.”

“We won’t hit an iceberg.”

“I knew it was an iceberg before anyone else did.”

“No one knows icebergs better than I do.”

“The penguins brought the iceberg here.”

“No one could have predicted the iceberg.”

“We cannot allow an iceberg to stop our ship.”

“The crew is spreading fake news about icebergs.”

“Some of you will have to die.”

“I am the best captain, ask anyone.”

And to think the Titanic was lost because of a missing pair of binoculars. That’s what happens when you have no clear vision.

Good luck on your re-election, Joe. Don’t misplace your binoculars.

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