“The brinkmanship that seems inescapable on such occasions has become self-indulgent and self-important too”

The Guardian’s editorial on the Stormont House Agreement has some pertinent things to note about Northern Ireland’s latest deal.  Although, if, as they claim, “the glass is half-full” it is also, by definition, half-empty.  From the Guardian editorial

The talks came very close, after 11 weeks of discussion, to falling apart, as earlier efforts under the chairmanship of Richard Haass had in fact done. It is good that the same did not happen this time. Yet there is precious little else to celebrate in the way the deal was reached. After 20 years of talking, it should not require the UK and Irish prime ministers, let alone the US president, to be even marginally involved in these processes. The expectation that they will should be broken.

The brinkmanship that seems inescapable on such occasions has become self-indulgent and self-important too. It has less and less to do with events of global significance, and more and more to do with mere obduracy. The process appears to irritate public opinion, not to reassure it. Northern Ireland politicians should listen to that irritation and act to reduce it. They should not assume that the special conditions in Northern Ireland mean they are immune to the current anti-political mood across the rest of Europe.

Of course, elsewhere in Europe the public can readily vote parties out of office, and the politicians there know it.  As the people of Greece may be about to do on January 25th…

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