The penny still hasn’t dropped.
An Executive before an agreement is putting the cart before the horse.
There should be no surprise about how swiftly and emphatically Sinn Fein dismissed the latest Arlene Foster proposal to form an Executive immediately and then, within a time-limited period, to bring forward legislation to address culture and language issues.
If this failed to win cross-community support, then the Executive would cease to exist.
The Executive cannot afford to fail again.
Not after the political mess of past months.
If the Executive is to be restored then the only way is on a basis of certainty and clarity.
The Foster proposal does not meet that test.
In the past week there has been much focus on the Irish language. This is but one issue.
Important, crucial to any agreement, but a jigsaw piece. Marriage equality, a Bill of Rights and a credible legacy process are other pieces.
Some half-baked or halfhearted approach won’t work – can’t work.
Politics would be laughed off the stage.
This time, this has to be right. Another breakdown would be disastrous.
Nor is there a Plan B as simple as direct rule.
Not anymore. The politics of this place has changed too much for that. In the last General Election, the republican/nationalist community turned its back on Westminster.
No deal will mean some London/Dublin understanding will be required – whatever that is called and however it is presented.
For now, Stormont is still upside down.