Malachi O’Doherty argues that the people we can least afford to listen to after the apparent failure of the peace process are those individuals that pursuaded the bulk of the population that the Belfast Agreement would bring the IRA in from the cold. Indeed he believes that key players, like John Hume and Albert Reynolds have too much invested in the past, to be trusted to rise above their own narrow political interests.
The ball he believes is with the SDLP. And the challenge:
…is that they will be left looking as if they have left unionism to take the moral lead against criminality in government if they push now for further negotiations. A great clarity will descend if they simply accept that the project is over now, that Hume-Adams, from their perspective, was a brave and honest effort that failed.
And he suggests the action that should be taken:
Durkan should do to Hume what Kruschev did to Stalin and be done with the legacy. He should say in the clearest terms that he does not trust Sinn Fein and that he would not have the gall to ask anyone else to. Then he should fight them with unabashed vigour in local government and in Westminster elections, offering to nationalists a party leadership that supports the police, believes in good government and isn’t spying on them.