So the polaroid gambit was a phase (or phrase) too far. The BBC’s Kevin Connolly probably summed it up this morning as well as anyone when he talked of the gap not being wide but deep. On Morning Ireland Tommie Gorman talked of neither party having quite developed the cattle market ability to close a good deal.That is, he explaned, one which leaves both parties feeling that they got something out of the transaction. He went on to suggest that both parties have had baggage. In the case of the DUP a tendency to walk away at crunch moments, and Sinn Fein and the IRA a consistent reputation for coming up short and offering ‘post dated cheques’.
It will not be clear where any of this leaves the two parties until the Governments’ documents are published – widely expected this afternoon. The various position papers delivered by the parties are also expected to be made public.
After months (yes it is that long since Leeds Castle kicked this phase off) of a phoney war, journalists will finally get to examiine the substance of the negotiations and what is or isn’t actually in the the government’s deal outline.
It should make a pleasant change from having to the interpret the increasing runic utterances of party press offices and public statements.