The News Letter’s city edition gave Alasdair McDonnell MP a new position today, Deputy Leader of the DUP. However, considering the manner and tone of the attack on Sinn Fein the sub-editor could be forgiven for the error. McDonnell argued:
Peter Robinson and the DUP are running rings around Sinn Fein in the Executive, blocking them at every turn on every major issue. So Gerry Adams has resorted to the politics he knows so well, the politics of the solo run and side deal…The fact is that the Sinn Fein project has hit a brick wall in the form of Robinson. We are wasting a lot of time politically over issues like policing and justice which Sinn Fein did not nail down at St Andrews. It’s quite clear Sinn Fein was outmaneourved by the DUP at St Andrews and Sinn Fein have been paying the price ever since.
His comments also highlight the problems with an instrumental (partial) rather than constitutive (full) approach to deal-making. An instrumental agreement is easier to achieve but harder to implement and a constitutive vice versa. With the Northern Ireland process into its second decade it has become a classic case of the flaws of instrumentalism. Maybe leaving issues outstanding at St Andrews was not such a wise decision.