Hearts and MInds: The return of Processing edition…

The most memorable line from tonight’s Hearts and Minds came from Arlene Foster, when she suggested that the public did not want to hear that first Mr Robinson pulled out of a planned interview for the programme, and then a few hours later Mr McGuinness followed suit; when that was precisely the most informative thing to come out of the scramble between Five Politicians in Search of a Plot that constituted the first segment of the programme. If they were actors then – by their separate accounts – none seemed to be in the same play as any of the others. Alex Attwood (playing Statler to David McNarry’s stilted Waldorf) said it was a plot by the DUP to turn the clock back but that, nevertheless, it was still all Sinn Fein’s fault. Then later he said it was just the two (semi detached polit-bureau) parties stirring up a false battle to stir up votes for next year’s Westminster election. (Actually the whole thing is just too embarrassing to have been cooked up by otherwise serious politicians).

John O’Dowd said it was all a plot to go back to one party Unionist rule, then conceded that it was no such thing (after Alliance’s Stephen Farry pointed out that 65% approval was beyond the capacity of any one party). Oh, and he threw in Pete’s reference [cheque’s in the post Pete – Ed] to Mark Durkan’s ugly scaffolding speech along the way.

It was back to Peace Processing™ at it’s very worst best!

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty