FOR every action in the political process, there is an equal and opposite reaction(ary). As the Three Governments are currently trying to strike a cosy balance between the need to bribe/coax Sinn Fein onto the Policing Board and the need to persuade the loyalist paramilitaries to wind up without taking everyone with them, the opinion of the weakened centre seems to have been bypassed somewhat. With Irish presidents hugging UDA leaders on golf courses, probably, and the prospect of post-Agreement loyalist prisoners getting out (because ‘themmuns’ are getting something) by the British, won’t someone think of the moderate unionists?!
Kidding aside, disenfranchised and powerless, or the new MOPEs?
Course, the SDLP aren’t exactly throwing their weight around much either, I suppose.
However, some cross-community consensus across the centre can be seen emerging in issues such as ‘On-the-runs’ and restorative justice, here and on Westminster’s opposition benches. It will be interesting to see what level of influence can be exercised on upcoming legislation – Blair may be prepared to ignore the centre ground at Hillsborough, but the Tories and LibDems may make him think twice about proceeding as planned in Parliament.