Almost a year has passed since the DUP-Sinn Féin Executive collapsed. We can almost look back on the May 2016 – January 2017 Assembly mandate with nostalgia: on the ‘big two’ parties agreeing a Programme for Government, the UUP and SDLP forming an official opposition.
Since then an argument over a botched energy scheme descended into our standard unionist-nationalist tug-of-war. Even if the political pieces are put back together before Christmas, how long will it take before the next fall-out?
At this point, what would a stand-alone Irish language act, accompanying safeguards for Ulster Scots or legislation compassing all things culture achieve?
By all accounts 2017 has been a lost year in Northern Ireland politics. It seems that the state of our economy and public services have been an afterthought for politicians amidst the stand-off. Providing convenient backdrops are 1) a Westminster government propped up by the DUP and 2) a Brexit episode watched with intrigue by Sinn Féin.
If the DUP and Sinn Féin do manage to strike a deal, do you hold out much hope for another fresh start?
If politicians won’t share power with generosity of spirit, what hope do we have that our post-conflict society will live and share together?
Unwilling to compromise, bringing politics back to zero-sum games whilst failing to tackle paramilitarism, how can our society expect to move on?
Also published on Medium.