I salute Fair Deal on the last of his magisterial contributions. I marvel at his ability to bring so much insight to what seems to me the politics of the dead hand. Politics in NI is a blood sport, is how he sees it. Perhaps, but this blood sport resembles more a bag of struggling ferrets than the primordial passions of bullfighting. Its long overdue for this blood sport to come under pressure to wrap up, like all the rest. On what exactly will the DUP now consult its electorate? Are they now intent on building a new stockade entirely out of their own insecurities? The threat (to them) of Irish unity, while never so transparent, has never been less looming. Fair Deal touches on another legacy of the election. Dynastic politics have surely been dealt a hammer blow. Where Mrs Dodds stumbled, Ian Paisley junior may well fall humiliatingly flat on his face. The DUP barons gathered up jobs like priests of doubtful sanctity accumulated benefices for their illegitimate children in the age of Cardinal Wolsey. Who will be today’s Thomas Cromwell to lead the new Reformation? A final thought. Did the written media (BBC on line included) pull their punches on the local impact of the expenses crisis and indeed the threat from of TUV? Good factual reporting from the likes of David Gordon in the Bel Tel and plenty of workmanlike analysis aside, the sense of a gathering storm was strangely muted in the local media, unlike the UK nationals on the Westminster scene. Im not a regular listener, but Im told growing public feeling it was raised in the usual group therapy sessions of Nolan and Talkback. Why the hanging back in the journalism? Fear of losing increasingly scarce readers or complaints from politicians? Or did they just fail to appreciate the scale of the story?
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London