Nationalist backroom

On the subscription based Irish News site, Brian Feeney is exercised about the forthcoming election (whenever it happens), and in particular the behaviour of the dissidents within the UUP. He writes:

“..they have no intention of being satisfied with anything less than Trimble’s departure and the agreement’s collapse. What makes Trimble’s position even more imponderable is that after the next elections, numbered among his reduced assembly ‘team’, for want of a better word, will be Burnside and Donaldson. Perhaps even unionism’s undead, Willie Ross, may appear. Talk about cuckoos in the nest! In such circumstances no executive could be elected.”

He continues:

“The temptation of the British government in the face of such a prospect is to suspend the workings of the assembly and abandon an election. That would be a mistake. Bruce Morrison, one of the architects of the peace process, pointed out last month in Belfast that devolution is merely one leg of the agreement – but the one unionists wanted. The other leg is what he called ‘bilateralism’, in other words greater involvement of both Irish and British governments through the British/Irish Secretariat in Windsor House.”

“As he suggested, it should be made clear to unionists that if they refuse to operate the leg of the agreement they demanded, then the other leg should operate at full power as laid down in the agreement. Refusing to share power, which means opting out of politics, is merely another way of exercising a veto on change.”