With that insouciance and practised air of effortless ease , Tory Grandee-in-the-making, Tobias Ellwood appeared in front of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in September.
He was accompanied by an official from the FCO, Mr Dart.
It should be explained that the Committee is about Paddies.
The subject matter was irksome and somewhat tiresome. Why had every other nationality been compensated for Libyan Semtex murders except those from the United Kingdom?
Cue Tobias. Ex Royal Greenjacket.
First up. No, he had not read the transcript of the evidence from the previous week. He had “scanned through it”. [stuff about Paddies is as interesting as diesel carbon emission statistics].
Second , having scanned through it, he had come to the immediate conclusion that evidence given by experienced lawyers was wrong.
Third. The deliciously named Mr Dart dropped him in it by telling the Committee that the decision not to espouse the victims’ claims was a political one.
Fourth, he had no clue about the value of frozen Libyan assets.
Fifth and most astonishingly, Tobias agreed with Mr Dart that the holders of the frozen bank accounts were entitled to be paid the annual interest accruing. He even indulged in a conversation about this with Ian Paisley.
It will come as no surprise to you, Dear Reader, that the Treasury has told me today that Dart and Ellwood [do I think of sunglasses at this point?] are completely wrong.
The point about this sorry tale is that Tory ministers pay scant attention to Northern Ireland and can’t even be arsed to pretend.
Let’s hope that those relatives of the victims from Tunisia understand where Perfidious Albion’s interests lie.
It is not with the victims of terrorism then or now.