Published Tuesday, 04 June 2013
Forgive me if I felt like Bruce Forsyth yesterday on my return to Stormont after nine months.
People were incredibly kind and I felt very humble.
It was back in early October at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham when my diabetes related illness floored me.
Three bits of surgery, a by-pass and a toe amputation later, it was back through the doors of Stormont.
With the experience of six and a half months in a wheelchair, perhaps a different perspective as well.
Of course, after a few minutes, it was as if I had not been away at all.
The SPAD Bill was on the floor of the Assembly
The tensions between the SDLP and Sinn Fein were as tense as ever.
In contrast, Jim Allister had manged to unite the Unionist parties around the issue and the Alliance Party was lending support as well.
Now as a political animal, my tolerance of political knock-about is high.
But the protracted debate was tough going at times.
Sinn Fein's Daithi McKay spoke for two hours and you have to admire his stamina.
The result however, was never in doubt, once Sinn Fein failed to obtain the 30th signature on a Petition of Concern.
It was a political triumph for Jim Allister although the matter could well end up in a court of law.
So an interesting first day back.
But during my absense, of course, I watched matters closely and I can't help feeling issues concerning the past are playing an increasing role in our politcs.
It is something the politicians will know.
How to deal with it, is another matter.
For the moment, it is nice to be back.
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