Of course a lump comes in my throat as I see him amble across the stage to collect his scroll.

More than six foot tall with long indie-band hair he cuts a typically diffident figure.

But he’s one of only six in his faculty to get a First Class honours and, like hundreds of other parents crammed into the hall, I’m bursting with pride.

I see the little quiet boy who starred in the primary school football team but not necessarily the classroom.

The difficult mid-teen years kid whose odds on reaching this day would have been pretty high.

The late blossomer who hid his shyness by singing and playing guitar in bands in pubs and dives across the south coast.

And now the graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast sipping champagne on the lawn with his grandparents looking not altogether convinced of the gown.

Thankfully for him the mortar boards have been dropped on health and safety grounds, the edges believed to be as potentially dangerous as Kung Fu stars once thrown in the air by joyous students.

Last year we all decamped to London for his elder brother’s graduation and, as then, I am moved beyond all words by the talents of the young people around us. And more than that their comradeship and generosity of spirit.

The ignorant have had a lot to say recently about the supposedly gilded youth of our universities protesting about their lot post Brexit as a nasty strain of anti-intellectualism spreads.

But these kids are just seeking to improve themselves, taking on hideous amounts of debt to do so, and do not want their horizons limited by the retro-nationalism that is now rife.

For now though we meet his friends, more well spoken and polite than the surly student I was back in the 80s, and discover the musicians, scientists, business leaders, film makers and poets who will inspire us in the years to come.

The excitement and trepidation of the start of a journey in an increasingly uncertain world is clear in their eyes.

After a fantastic dinner in one of Belfast’s many great restaurants the wiser of the elder heads repair to the hotel.

But I’ve imbibed a huge draught of youthful joie de vivre (and, in truth, too much of the restaurant’s excellent Merlot) and am not ready to call time on this day yet.

Soon we are ensconced in the comforting womb of a city inn and I seem to be buying an ever-expanding round of drinks.

My son’s friends want to talk, to debate and I suddenly find myself as the sole spokesman for the generation that has sold them out.

They are genuinely nonplussed that so many people took a leap into the unknown the week before.

Although they all voted to stay it never really occurred to them that so many would see the European Union as the root of our troubles. For them it simply represented future opportunity either in their own country or abroad.

And of course in Northern Ireland there were other worrying issues that would have troubled few of us in England.

Decades of hard-won peace in the province are predicated on the acceptance of either Irish or British identity.

The removal of the symbols of a border are important in this. Now it is inconceivable some form of border control between the north and south won’t have to be re-introduced.

And for some on the extremes of republicanism this will be an opportunity, a chance to remind waverers that all that peace has really delivered is a fresh reminder of partition.

For the young of Belfast, having never lived in conflict, a move backwards to anything remotely resembling what their parents experienced is a tangible fear.

As the drink continued to flow I steered the conversation back to them. For on that day the celebration of what they had achieved had to take precedent over what the next years may hold.

So it was music and studies and careers that took centre stage. As the lights went up at closing time the young headed to a house party to take them into first light the next day and I staggered back to the hotel with the reflection that whatever we might throw at them the future will still be safe in their hands.

The Argus: Tony Blair and George Bush

Mohamed Atta and his bunch of crazed loons knew that by flying hijacked planes into New York’s twin towers in 2001 they were heading for eternal infamy.

The act itself resulted in slightly less than 3,000 deaths. There have been hundreds of thousands more killed by terrorism and wars on terror since but none has become as symbolic as 9/11.

The power of what Al-Qaeda did that day and the success of their attempt to ferment a deathly final struggle between themselves and the West is hidden between the lines of Lord Chilcott’s quietly devastating report.

For Tony Blair bought into this doomsday scenario, was so convinced after the Twin Towers that this was a fight to the finish that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were crowbarred into his mission with no allowance for dissent nor a cold-eyed examination of the evidence.

The terrorists had turned Blair and Bush into zealots. They got their victory.