The Stormont Prisoners Dilemma

I blogged the other day about a big question facing the DUP and Sinn Fein; cooperate or defect?

Is there any incentive for both parties to coalesce around a shared vision for this region or is the greater return to be found in thwarting each others ambitions for short term selfish gain?

Back in 2002 Mick Fealty and Trevor Ringland analysed this dilemma within unionism. Nationalism is now in a similar situation. To date short term defection for selfish gain has paid off for Sinn Fein and the SDLP’s long term cooperative strategy has led to electoral defeat. However, it appears we have reached a point where in order to succeed in government and deliver for the people parties need to find a way of cooperating for mutual gain. Is this the UUP and the SDLP’s big opportunity or can Sinn Fein and the DUP find a way of working together?

If the academics are right, in this Stormont Prisoner’s Dilemma, those who choose to reciprocally cooperate should win out.