To the US for a five-day speaking tour of ten cities from Boston to Texas. On the penultimate day I arrive in Houston and stare at the luggage carousel board. A member of the airport staff approaches helpfully. "Where have you flown in from, sir?" she asks. I look at her blankly before admitting, "I'm not sure." She looks at me in a kindly manner.
On the final day I fly from Chicago at 5.30 in the morning to speak in Florida at 10am. The morning slot is kicked off by Herman Cain. I am sorry when he subsequently leaves the presidential primary race. But there is no escaping a fact that has been clear across the country: all Democrats are disappointed by Obama, but hardly any Republicans are actively keen on their alternatives. The Republican party's "last man standing who hasn't made a gaffe" competition should never be the way to nominate the leader of the free world. But in any case it is a terrible field.
I go to Prague for a conference but am back in London in time for the launch of my new book — Bloody Sunday: Truth, Lies and the Saville Inquiry — in my publisher's offices, which face Parliament. It is a wonderful evening, with nearly all of the people I admire from the Northern Ireland conflict there, including David Trimble, Sean O'Callaghan, Lord Bew and Ruth Dudley Edwards (the book's dedicatee). We are also joined by the brilliant Northern Ireland Secretary, Owen Paterson, and his wife.
The evening reminds me of one of the oddest phenomena in Northern Ireland's politics over the last decade: almost all of the good people got shafted and almost all the bad ones got rewarded. The rest of the world isn't nearly sceptical enough about conflict resolution as taught by the British.