Just rip it up and start again…

On the other hand, Tom McGurk in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post is more pessimistic than Hayes. He shares the view with some of commenters that the last four years of careful negotiation should be undone, and the British tell the DUP they have to accept the will of a simple majority of the parties in advance of the election.

If the DUP and some others, who may represent a minority in the Assembly, succeed in flouting the majority, why was the whole political superstructure erected?

Would it not be appropriate for the parliament in London to legislate that a simple Assembly majority in favour of power-sharing would trigger the process? Then those who refused to abide by that democratic decision would not be allowed to serve in any power-sharing administration.

It seems simple and democratic and, were it to be signalled in advance of the election, surely it would sort out what the North’s voters cannot see now: the backwoods from the trees.

Hmmm… interesting idea: except some of us Northern political fetishists have been noting that the current legislation locks the British government into the same conditions as the parties it has spent those four years plus negotiating with.


  • Greenflag

    McGurk may be a pessimist but the question is are his facts right?

    ‘It is also evident that unionist politicians have failed to see where the North is going.

    True – I would add neither do they know where they have been going for so long now that the words objective or destination are no longer part of their vocabulary.

    ‘To the south, there is an increasingly prosperous Celtic Tiger economy whose closeness to, for example, Newry has already created something of an economic and property miracle there.’

    This is old news from McGurk .

    ‘One look at’ the figures for Protestant involvement in education should set unionist alarm bells ringing, even in terms of five to ten years hence. Some 60 per cent of Queen’s University undergraduates and 55 per cent of University of Ulster undergraduates are Catholic.

    Once again this academic year, 35 per cent of the North’s Protestant third-level students went to universities in Britain and statistical evidence suggests that a huge percentage of them never return to live and work in the North.’

    Is McGurk correct with these numbers . Has any leading Unionist politician /statistician refuted them ? If not why not ?

    ‘The figures for working-class Protestant involvement in third level education are even more alarming, with evidence mounting that they are now lower than they have ever been.’

    Again this is accepted conventional wisdom but were these figures ever ‘high’ ? and how much lower can they go ? What if anything is or can be done to reverse the trend ?

    ‘With the Catholic proportion of the population increasing, Belfast itself may soon have a Catholic majority.’

    Is this true and even if it is Belfast will still be divided between the Orange East and Fenian West .

    ‘Levels of unemployment and social deprivation in unionist working class areas are higher than any time since the Second World War.’

    Not sure about this . What about the improved NI economy . Why are tens of thousands of immigrants pouring in to NI ?

    ‘The era of unionist majorities is ending and – with the educational, economic and cultural indices for the newly emergent Catholic population rising all the time – unionism appears trapped in the headlights.’

    Not to mention stuck in gear and the handbrake is stuck in the on position .

    ‘If ever there were a time to do a deal and attempt to create a new society, now would seem to be the ideal time to do so.’

    New society ? McGurk has flipped here .

    ‘However, there does not seem to be a sense of this crisis among unionist politicians.’

    What crisis ? Stiff upper lip and it’ll all go away !

    ‘There is nobody looking ten or 20 years down the road, as political unionism seems to stagger only from today’s crisis to tomorrow’s.’

    And the next day’s etc etc etc .

    Is McGurk’s pessimism justified ? Can anyone out there deny McGurks ‘findings ‘ ?