A reader (and retired civil servant) writes
The Secretary of State has it within his gift to determine the timelines and actions to follow. So my suggestion is this
…no immediate election, a (potentially prolonged) period of Direct Rule. That might be dressed up by the NIO, as putting manners on the local political parties, but acknowledging, reluctantly, the relevance of Brexit negotiations and ‘island of Ireland’ implications, and some other Dail associated/non-associated considerations, to create room for private talks about Fresh Start 2.
At the same time, cynically/optimistically/simultaneously offering room to UUP/SDLP to re-establish popular opinion/sympathy. Otherwise these older parties are in danger of being – like Private Fraser in Dad’s Army used to day – ‘all doomed’.