Real breakthrough in Northern Ireland may for “Independent thinking…”

Some thoughts on a micro theme arising… You have to remember that all parties are stretching… Not far, but for the larger parties there has to be some wastage as the DEAs they are competing for now can be a size and half larger..

Two, possibly transient, thoughts:

– The TUV are getting council seats. Not all in one place. Mostly out in the sticks, the choice of social conservatives feeling at odds with the way things are going. Abortion was an important issue in this in the campaign, and it even forced some generous commentary out of Jim Allister on Noel Traynor’s intervention moment with a wandering from the flock SDLP. In other words, people who need a voice but not necessarily a threat to the settlement…

– The new independent councillors on the Republican side are free radicals, not tram-lined by the outline of past conflicts. In themselves and in their numbers they are not that significant in terms of the wider politics. But it may indicate on the Catholic side the irascible impulse to break out of an iron clad collective narrative (and I’m talking SF and SDLP) has returned.

Ironically these two groups probably cannot stand each other. But their twin disruption of settled narrative may have some socially beneficial uses beyond the mundane objects of party politics…

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