Can anybody explain to me why Peter is stuck in the groove of voluntary coalition? And there I am, going on about cutting him more slack!
Sure, we can see that if all other parties ganged up against Sinn Fein, that would comfortably exceed a 65% majority threshold by almost 10%. If however the DUP were put in solitary, the margin would just scrape by but would still be enough, 66%. Even with designations scrapped, why should Peter assume that the SDLP would be more likely to break nationalist ranks than the UUP would desert the DUP in a crunch sectarian vote? C’mon Peter, what’s the scenario? SDLP abstention? You’ve already admitted you hadn’t prepared your supporters enough for power sharing. Now I bet they’re confused about a VC, if they’ve actually noticed. But let’s assume the UUP were to cleave to the DUP after all . Making the generous assumption that Alliance, the Green and the single independent together with the SDLP constitute a cross community vote, who thinks that their 25% aggregate would be enough under any coalition system to amount to cross community consent? Does Peter really think he could get away with a new, weighted majority without a specific cross community component? Or that the SDLP are about to overtake Sinn Fein dramatically, spurred on by his magnanimous offer of reform? The idea’s barmy Peter. It wouldn’t fool a Dervock steer.
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