Expect the Executive’s reputation for incompetence to be exposed to a rigorous full inquiry. It cannot come soon enough.
It links effectively to the burning issue igniting public fury. The combustibility of an Assembly unable to accomplish sustainable government. Power sharing is on its knees.
The electorate are demanding an immediate end to the pretence politics playing out at Stormont. The punter knows a spade from a shovel and can see the MLA’s digging a deep hole. People are alert to the wet pundits spinning fantasy stories of togetherness at the top. It is not the place ordinary voters wanted to be twenty years on from the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.
Reliably the Northern Irish antenna signals that the tolerance of the fool’s paradise of power sharing is exhausted. The mood music is orchestrating a crescendo that had it not been for Covid-19 the Assembly would have been mothballed by common consent.
That such precipitable action would be welcome poses the hardy annual dilemma . ‘Where to now?’
Unionists remain the headcount majority political force. It is they who must accept the mantle of leadership and responsibility as custodians of the Union to produce a positive realistic way forward proposal. Can they do it ? Of course they can ! Only when it is understood that in a unionist fortress the economy, social cohesion, transparency and governance is transferred from unionism to Northern Irishism.
A successful Northern Irishism breaks the mould of sterile selection posting of Protestants as British/unionist and Catholics as Irish republicans. Make that transition and you begin to build a better future encompassing the true Northern Irish.
50 years miss-rule was a nationalist rallying call for Catholics to follow into acts of civil disobedience. As a Young Unionist activist in the early seventies at the same time I was listening to another tone and form of reasoning from Catholics. Thinking back, it begs the question – have we had 100 years of miss-rule or missed opportunities?
I met with groups of serious constitutional Catholics working conscientiously in the background appraising unionist leaders of their thinking, hopes and aspirations. I was privileged to be confided in, such an important sharing of minds.Their message was clear.
It could take decades for them to be ,if ever, attached to party political card carrying unionism. They needed to know were they wanted or was detachment their future.
The message has never left me, “scale the hurdle of misrule and we can sell inclusion”.
As then, it presents today the worthwhile challenge of a lifetime.
Stemming the flow of failure is the new starting point of the examination with which unionism must now test itself. The message to nationalists is the exploration can only begin when unionism establishes its rights and reasons to be influential in its own country.
As a great and historic cause deserving of respect not sabotage – unionism matters. Justifiably unionists feel betrayed and cheated in finding that the nationalists with whom they combined to deliver the Belfast Agreement were closeted republicans, who turned into masses of shinners which is why unionists will insist on a written assurance guaranteed by Parliament that by refusing to sit in government with Sinn Fein, the protection and sanctity of the Union will not be prejudiced.
Bold as it must be ‘Northern Irishism’ can deliver a settled society where the compromise is on equal terms. The fix it factor rests with establishing an identity common to who we are – ourselves the Northern Irish.
A final settlement , well who knows ? Where to now for us all ? So hands up, who is ready for a comprehensive exclusive inclusive Northern Irish deal ?