It’s very likely. We have a drifting budget and a UK government that will very shortly be going into Purdah. Simply put, there’s no time for negotiations anymore. It’s hard to argue with Colum Eastwood’s statement about Mrs May’s disdain for NI in:
…calling a snap Westminster election in the middle of intense efforts to restore power sharing government to Northern Ireland.
I’d question how intense those efforts have been, or their likelihood of success. But the truth is now that there’s a short corridor of time left for either a resolution domestically or the Secretary of State calling an Assembly election for the same day.
If it’s the second, it will ensure that something happens in the NI space whilst he’s fighting to recover Ted Heath’s old seat in South London that he doesn’t need to manage. It will come with caveats: ie, either sort out a government or choose to bring down powersharing.
If, as is generally expected, this is going to be a bad day for Labour, an overall majority of anywhere between65-75 seats will likely mean an end to any serious obligation that the Tories owe the DUP in terms of narrow Commons votes.
In the Assembly, survival will be the name of the game for the smaller parties with SF and the DUP looking to love squeeze (“can’t let themuns beat us”) their rivals to within an inch of their political lives.
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