‘Failure’ is the political buzz word of the day; used in different sentences by Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann.
Used also by Michelle O’Neill and Gerry Adams.
Failure on a Stormont day when the governments (players not referees or spectators in this process) did their best to take the bad look off a bad day.
Yet another bad day on a 2017 calendar of many such days.
Where are we?
Where this process began in January in a standoff over rights issues – language, marriage and legacy.
Is it over/over or just nearly over?
That will depend on the quality of any further dialogue – whether it is considered meaningful.
“Endless talks without conclusion are not sustainable,” Ms O’Neill said.
Think back to December last year in the midst of the RHI fallout when, after a day of pantomime at Parliament Buildings, we thought Sinn Fein was going to give this place more time.
Within a few weeks, Martin McGuinness had resigned and the politics of Stormont was in free fall.
It is still falling – to a soft or hard landing, we still don’t know.
Adams spoke on Wednesday of going off to reflect: what his party did last December.
To get a deal done on the terms and conditions set by Sinn Fein, would require a triple somersault with several degrees of difficulty on the part of the DUP.
We see no sign of such political gymnastics.
Credibility has been drained out of this process.
If that is the message Sinn Fein hears in its period of reflection, they could be pushed towards tougher lines than those we heard on Wednesday.
The talking requires a step change, a march to a more credible place.