There is an interesting, almost throwaway line at the bottom of Gerry Moriarty’s study of South Belfast today. It’s from Alex Maskey on the DUP (subs needed):
“The DUP’s last Assembly manifesto was for a fair deal, not for no deal. They could pay a high price if they fluff this opportunity because, the unionists I have managed to engage with, I am very, very sure that they want the Assembly up and running.”
Brian Feeney explores a parallel to that line of thinking when he notes that:
Blair does not intend to exit Downing Street a few weeks after being faced down by Ian Paisley. How ignominious an end to his wretched premiership would that be? We are not privy to the dire warnings Blair has given Paisley but you can be sure that unionism will pay dearly if Blair is humiliated.
There will be an election unless Paisley has the guts to say he will not share power with Sinn Féin.
He will not do that because, like Blair, he wants to go out on a high note, to crown a career of dangerous, negative, incendiary rhetoric with a period in office whatever the price.
So what is likely to concentrate such apparently disparate minds?
According to one senior journalist Slugger talked to this morning, the post election phase will see a shift to the door of No11 Downing Street. And it is likely to be a very different affair to the Blair/Powell ‘Tell us what you’d like for Christmas’ Show.
We understand that the ‘austere and prudent’ Chancellor may insist that further requests for additional revenue will need to made, not in terms of narrow party interest, but in terms of the joint interest of any prospective government.
Interesting play, if it comes to pass…