THE death of John Hume on Monday sent me home. To Radio Ulster. I grew up in the Province, on the Abba-hating side if you know your Derry Girls (NB, I don’t hate Abba). When I was 12, back in the 1970s, I’d be getting ready for school while Radio Ulster would be reporting on the violence that had happened the night before.

John Hume’s, then, was one of the most familiar voices I knew growing up. His and Ian Paisley’s. The ying and yang of my home country. The yes and the no, if you like.

Hume’s role in the history of Northern Ireland is immense and the peace that we have there, equivocal and uncertain as it is, owes much to him. “Hume is as important to the future as he is for his record in the past,” the political commentator Mick Fealty pointed out on Monday.

That might not be obvious to the London media, though. And so, on Monday, while Emma Barnett on Radio Five Live was covering travel issues in the wake of Covid-19, I popped over to Radio Ulster to the Nolan Show to hear tributes from Unionists and Nationalists alike. Ian Paisley (fils) was one of them. He told stories of how his father and John Hume did much to bring European money to Northern Ireland. “They worked very hard for Team Northern Ireland,” he pointed out.

“I remember once in Strasbourg having tea with dad and John and just the banter between them was mighty.”

The RTE broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan summed Hume up simply as the “greatest Irishman ever.” There were plenty of Westminster voices paying tribute too, and many of them on the BBC all day on Monday. But it was notable that by 5.30pm on Five Live the story had slipped to third in the news schedule.

Listen Out For: Billy Sloan, Radio Scotland, tonight, 10pm. Moving to Scotland in the early 1980s, Radio Clyde was the go-to radio station. Billy Sloan was required listening back then. He's still keeping busy on Radio Scotland.