A meeting of the Atlantic Archipelago
So the first British Irish Council meeting is to take place at Stormont next week. The attendant hacks can expect Gordon Brown and a fair bit of red tape. The Assembly Commission has agreed that "security arrangements similar to 8 May's events would apply". I am intending to be off on leave next Monday, but if all goes according to plan Martina Purdy should be blogging away here in my absence.
So I shall let her tackle the linguistic minefield posed by BIC meetings. Ian Paisley has just said that the "East/West summit will involve all the administrations within the United Kingdom, including Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey". However the last three on that list will swiftly point out that they are not part of the UK, but federated dependencies.
I have just talked on Radio Ulster's Talkback about the summit bringing together all parts of the "British Isles". But I have since been reminded that the Irish government doesn't like this term. So is it the "Council of the Isles"? This gets around nationalist sensibilities, but doesn't help much if you are trying top explain things to someone who lives in the Canaries or another archipelago.
Which brings me to "the Atlantic Archipelago" - a term coined by some geographers. It avoids all political controversy, but would provoke blank looks so far as most people are concerned.
Perhaps the only answer is to repeat the words "British Irish Council" without seeking to explain it any further. Unless, of course, any of archipelago dwellers can come up with useful alternative suggestions?