“The longer I live, the more convinced I am that this planet is used by other planets as a lunatic asylum.”
-George Bernard Shaw
One of the oddly comforting things about NI politics is just predicable it is, compared to politics in the south and over the last few years in the rest of the UK which has suddenly taken in the feel of AR in some bizarre shape shifting arcade game.
The current nervous breakdown within the Conservative party is preoccupying them to the extent that very few folks in London be it within the governing elite or the media have spent much time thinking about the half made situation finds itself in.
Under legislation as things stand (devolution means Westminster can and frequently has changed the rules to suit almost any contingency that arises) an Assembly election will have to called in December. To what end, you might ask?
Other parties point at the DUP and ask, why don’t they not just relent? The DUP need a deal that relieves the pressure on SMEs currently shipping admin costs to bring goods east west. But that’s not happening until unity breaks out in Westminster.
An election in December would further radicalise both the nationalist and the unionist vote. And perhaps that’s why it will be allowed to go ahead and allow a levelling up so the DUP can swallow the TUV protest vote and narrow the gap with SF.
This is the St Andrews peace settlement (which basically abolished any real competition between the two major designations and put tribal strength as the only acid test for success) at its usual work. [So the usual mad stuff then? – Ed]. Indeed.
I don’t expect any prospective election will settle anything until there’s a deal between the UK and the EU, and it is increasingly hard to see how or even why the EU would take a chance on the current UK administration before the next General Election.
And how else are our political parties going to put their time in in November and December but knocking doors in the freezing cold?
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