The eyes of the world are on Northern Ireland. Joe Biden’s arrival for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement underscores what a historic moment this is for the region, which is no longer a byword for dysfunction and violence.
This is truly a moment to savour: the Good Friday accord has been one of the most successful peace deals in history, and a generation has grown up in Northern Ireland freed from the constant threat of violence.
It is a great shame that the political institutions set up by the pact are not operating as they should – but Northern Ireland is not alone in having a political system which is out of sync with its population’s priorities.
That Westminster has spent the past few days arguing over Labour’s attack ads, rather than the substance of how best to address the serious problems facing the UK, is yet another sign of the depressingly narrow horizons that British politics now seems to operate within.
With any luck, the global focus on how Northern Ireland pulled itself up from the depths of despair will be a lesson to the UK Government and Opposition.
This week will also be another opportunity for Rishi Sunak to try to strengthen relations with the US. Deeper transatlantic ties were supposed to be one of the great dividends of Brexit, but leaving the EU has done more to stoke tensions with America than it has to bring these two old frenemies together.
A quarter of a century on from the Good Friday Agreement, the UK takes a moment to look back; and hopefully to look forward with renewed energy, focus and drive. We can dream, at least.