Malachi O’Doherty is the first one I’ve seen to evaluate the gains and losses made by each of four main parties through the events of the last fortnight. It’s an interesting exercise, but one that may prove misleading in a process that has become more long term, where many expected early closure.
Indeed it is these parties that O’Doherty pinpoints as the main losers. The winner, he declares is the DUP, repeating his observation of last Sunday that Peter Robinson looks like a man with a plan. Indeed, Robinson chose the evening of his resignation last week to break with past DUP policy of not appearing on TV with any members of Sinn Fein, when he appeared on UTV’s Insight programme with Martin McGuinness.
Something clearly not lost on McGuinness himself:
It is obvious that some unionists of all descriptions who previously were absolutely opposed to Sinn Fein are now beginning to come to terms with the reality that Sinn Fein are here. It is important to point out because it has been a significant development over the past seven days that anti-Agreement Unionists are beginning to come to terms with the reality that Sinn Fein is not going away.
I think they are also beginning to come to terms with the reality that the Good Friday Agreement is not going to go away and if the institutions are suspended against Sinn Fein`s wishes, there is going to be no renegotiation of that agreement.”