(From Yorkshire Post)
THERE is something at once romantic and deeply saddening about railway platforms. Stand at one in York Station, with its multiple-span shed, older than the only similar stations, at Newcastle and Paddington, its intricate luminous spaces creating light and openness, and it is possible to feel quite tender.
But the role of railway platforms in real life is more basic. It was back in the summer of 1997, those warm, far-off days of New Labour, that Tony Blair told a huge audience in Belfast that the devolution train was now leaving the station and if Sinn Fein was not on board, that would be their choice: the train would depart in any case.
Two years later, the Scottish Parliament opened for business and the Northern Ireland Assembly was about to be suspended in spite …