What a difference a day makes.
Think of the focus on Stormont just 24 hours ago – the watching cameras, the listening, the
recording and the writing up of the day’s events.
Dramatic, different, some would say, defining.
A day when the McGuinness resignation was underscored, emphasised, in the Sinn Fein decision, not to renominate for Deputy First Minister.
The day an election date was set for March 2nd.
A day also of reserved spaces for the media organisations in Stormont’s Great Hall; packed for the political play that brought the Executive down.
Yet, there was no such attention today. No need for those tight, reserved camera spaces; the Great Hall more like a Ghost Town.
The talk today is about Brexit, and about the March 2nd Assembly election here with a reduced number of seats, and a thinking out and a talking out about, what next?
Will Martin McGuinness run in the election?
As yet, there is no answer to that question. Gerry Adams is understood to have told a party meeting in Dublin yesterday that:
“Martin will decide what he’s going to do…and in the time ahead there’s no point guessing about it.”
The other guessing and thinking out loudly is about what will happen after the March 2 election.
Listen to the political commentary starting to point to “protracted” or “substantive” negotiations – more talks involving parties and governments.
Listen also to concerns about the likely tone of the election campaign – the fears about how bruising and brutal that could be and, then, how difficult it will be to lift politics out of its brokenness.
We are also seeing battle lines being drawn on legacy issues; fears expressed about investigations and what they could mean for soldiers who once served here.
No such fears when it comes to the investigation of republicans and loyalists.
On the question of the past and a legacy structure, politics has been going round in circles for the best part of a decade. Now it will be a scare issue in this next political battle.
Not just the election battle, but an issue that will then become part of that next “protracted” and “substantive” negotiation – words that suggest a long period of talking before any consideration is given to forming a new Executive.
After the drama of yesterday, the media will leave the fine detail of that for another day.
The Great Hall has cleared – left looking like that ghost town.