Do they not know that the British administration here is making fools out of them all?
Do they not understand that the corrupt hand of the administration is surely tainting them all?
What did Sinn Féin members think they were doing, solemnly intoning that there was a need for ‘security to be reviewed’, even after they knew a complete nutter with a gammy leg had got caught in the revolving doors with an imitation pistol? Do they not recognise a pantomime when they see one?
Or is it because they are being drawn into the performance that they have started to take the proceedings up there seriously and play the part allotted to them?
All a very sound realist reading. But it’s also a bit unfair on Empey, Durkan and particularly David Ford, whose speech was truncated what may turn out to be an eerily portentous moment: “If the prime minister and secretary of state had any integrity, they would close this place.”
He reckons though, that the cost will inevitably paid by unionism rather than nationalism, just as it was under Trimble:
It is quite clear now that if Paisley agrees before an election to share power with Sinn Féin the party will split.
Indeed it is more than likely that the party will face into an election looking remarkably like Trimble’s UUP – some candidates prepared to share power in principle, others prepared to share power if SF jump through certain hoops, yet others opposed to the concept of sharing power at all.
Paisley can gloss it all he likes but when 12 assembly members and MPs – more than a third of his assembly party – sign a document opposed to signing up to power-sharing next March he can’t override them.
Though Allister’s subtle shifting of the DUP’s terms last night would suggest that outcome is less likely than it must have seemed at the beginning of the week.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty