“It adds that they hope to agree on a potential minister before Christmas.”

At best the news that the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers have written to MLAs, inviting them to nominate candidates for the post of Justice Minister by next week, might represent the hint of blue sky that a cooling down period would allow in. They then propose “to meet the other party leaders to consider which candidates are likely to get cross-community support.” [Is that the end of the manufactured “crisis” – Ed]. Well, it’s worth noting that the Department of Justice Bill places no time restrictions on nominations before the Legislative Assembly decides, by cross-community vote, who is to be Justice Minister. [Adds – Neither does the Bill specify the involvement of OFMDFM]. And we’ve known the identity of an agreed potential Attorney General since November 2008…