“Senior Irish and British officials currently sound like prophets of doom..”

In the Guardian, Henry McDonald on the deadlocked Northern Ireland Executive and the mother of all DUP-Sinn Féin battles to come in September.

The mother of all DUP-Sinn Féin battles to come remains the policing and justice question. According to reliable sources Peter Robinson and his team met a senior delegation of Ulster Unionists at Westminster last week during which the first minister spoke in rather hardline, belligerent terms about the issue.

He, and indeed Gerry Adams (who has also hardened his rhetoric over what he regards as DUP intransigence) could be bluffing. Both parties enjoy the limited power they exercise and in all likelihood know that it is the only show the British and Irish governments will tolerate.

But, like politicians and economists accused of talking their countries into a recession, the two parties are in danger of sleepwalking Northern Ireland into another crisis – which would only add to the woes of a population already enduring the miseries of the credit crunch, rising food and fuel bills, and a rain-sodden, damp-soaked summer.

As always, go read the whole thing.