Sleep walking or bluff?

From here in London, judging from the coverage national and regional, (though I’ve haven’t been catching the newsjocks) we’re either sleep walking to collapse or we believe it’s bluff. Apart from a comment wrapped in Wales from the Guardian’s Mike White, the UK nationals have hardly bestirred themselves. Yawns are coming at me from Belfast – are they trying to tell us we’ve been here before? Some raised an eyebrow over Marty topping that Bel Tel poll (but the size of the sample and the scores didn’t impress). A pay rise for MLAs pulled, another damaging deadlock this time over the new education board, and true enough, Gregory’s latest stink bomb. But these are all symptoms rather than the disease itself . That is being shrugged off, apart from two other pieces of deeper analysis in the whole of the press as far as I can make out. Liam Clarke, a qualified admirer writing in the Newsletter advises Peter that his chess tactics are short sighted. The Irish Times’ Gerry Moriarty believes the DUP has more to lose than Sinn Fein ( the chance, even the likelihood, of Sinn Fein coming top in an emergency election). Contrast that with Tom McGurk already noted, that Sinn Fein would take the bigger hit. It depends on what you’re referring to. Gerry scores on the election point, Tom has a case if the Assembly collapses. The DUP ‘s default is always the Union which continues to exist, and a united Ireland doesn’t. But what sort of Union is that? After a decade of stop-go and all that effort and energy, the consequences of Assembly collapse are unpredictable but are unlikely to be benign. The DUP’s apparent complacency over a return to direct rule could be as misplaced as the neocons’ fatal belief that the invaders of Iraq would be welcomed with open arms.

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

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