Stormont collapse ensures Northern Ireland cannot [further] exploit England’s Brexit difficulties…

It didn’t escape Nigel Farage or Michael Portillo’s notice last night that Michel Barnier was over pouring sweet nothings into the ears of anyone who could remotely cause Theresa May and the Tories a great deal of trouble.

It’s an acute move on the part of the EU’s chief operator negotiator to exploit the post referendum splits within the UK and a perfect opportunity for him to take notes from the Leader of the Opposition as well as the First Ministers for Scotland and Wales.

It’s a measure of how absorbed the NI media are with our collective outrage over egregious bonfires, that few, if any, serious commentators have given any attention to how not having an FM or dFM has put the part of the UK to be most affected by Brexit at a serious strategic loss.

But given just how seismic the consequences may be for Northern Ireland and the Republic absence of any public voice from such consultations is at best a self-binding into political helplessness.

After the Referendum last summer, when Gerry Adams so memorably said, “you always have to never waste a crisis” it wasn’t clear he only meant up to (but not including) the point at which his own party might have to do some heavy lifting in order to exploit “England’s difficulty”.

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