MICHAEL D Higgins, the man who seems to be the only thing capable of preventing Martin McGuinness taking the salute from the Irish army in the Phoenix Park come October 27, is of course the candidate of the Labour Party.

The leader of the Labour Party is one Eamon Gilmore, who joined the Labour Party in 1999 when it merged with his then party – Democratic Left. Eamon’s 57 years old, so he’s been round a few corners. He’s old enough to have been part of the old Official Sinn Féin/Sinn Féin Republican Clubs/Sinn Féin the Workers’ Party cabal of the mid-1970s. Sinn Féin the Workers’ Party went on to become the Workers’ Party went on to become New Agenda went on to become Democratic Left went on to become the Labour Party.

So, not to put too fine a point on this. Eamon Gilmore, the Tánaiste, Enda Kenny’s consigliere and right-hand man, was a Stick. Nothing wrong with that, some of Squinter’s best friends were Sticks, but the Sticks Squinter knows are unashamed – proud, even – of their past, whatever it was. Eamon? He just doesn’t want to talk about it – and so he just isn’t asked.

And neither is Michael D asked about his leader. Even though journalists north and south in the past few days have displayed an insatiable appetite for information about McGuinness’s Free Derry Days, none have asked Michael D about what he thinks of his party having hitched its wagon to the guys who fell out with the McGuinness guys in 1969.

Of course, what the Provos should have done was change their name every lunchtime and not a thing would have been heard of the matter.