Sir, – The reinstatement of powersharing in Stormont has been rightly welcomed by people from every corner of this island.
The MLA members can now do what they were elected (and paid) to do in the first place.
However, the reaction in the media and among politicians has been, in my view, misleading. Some commentators have called the achievement “historic”, while political figures in Dublin, Belfast and London have engaged in bouts of self-congratulation on “their” achievement.
I would argue, however, that the main reason for the reopening of Stormont came down to both the DUP and Sinn Féin being faced with unpalatable choices.
For Arlene Foster, the prospect of again facing the voters in fresh elections at a time of declining popularity, and against the ongoing backdrop of the “cash for ash” scandal, was too much to countenance.
For Sinn Féin, going into our upcoming election as the party that once again failed to revive powersharing in the North was a sure way to lose votes. Spin has become a powerful force in political life, but in this instance, we should remind ourselves that the re-establishment of Stormont owes little to reconciliation on the part of the two main parties and everything to political pragmatism and self-preservation. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I note at a meeting in Stormont, Boris Johnson stated, “Never mind the hand of history on my shoulder”. Surely that should read, “Never mind the hand of history in my pocket.” – Yours, etc,