“the election results reflect a deeply fractured society”

Veteran punk band Stiff Little Fingers played the Ulster Hall on Friday and one of their tracks, Alternative Ulster, provides both the starting point and the conclusion to the Observer’s Henry McDonald’s survey of the political landscape post-election. Given my previous post, it won’t be a surprise that the stand out quote, for me, comes from Queen’s University’s Dr Peter Shirlow who, as Henry McDonald notes, said the outcome did not necessarily entail a move towards historic compromise.

“I think we have seen the emergence of two political movements rather than parties. Sinn Fein and the DUP are working on the basis of [politically] catch-all ethnic groups catering for rival populations. In particular, the DUP are getting a very big vote out of fear of the other side and the growth in Sinn Fein. That huge DUP vote is not about compromise, but tapping into deep insecurity in the Protestant community. Both parties are, in a way, feeding off each other.”

And a musical interlude..