IN a world where we can choose spontaneity, joy or surprise, why would anyone choose the opposite? But it's sadly our lot to live in a place where doom, negativity and immovability is privileged.
It seems that the DUP are once again, yet again, entirely predictably, going to say NO to the Windsor Agreement. And did anyone ever think it would be otherwise? Indeed, why would it be otherwise?
The DUP has suffered humiliating election defeats, a humiliating loss of political influence and humiliating loss of friends in high/low places, yet they are the concentrated focus of most political and media attention. “Will this be enough for the DUP?" has been the stranglehold position of our politics since 2003.
Back then, after their electoral successes, overtaking the UUP for the first time, the focus was how to get Doctor No – Ian Paisley – to share power with Sinn Féin in powersharing arrangements. Now, after their electoral losses, the focus is how to get Doctor Nos – the entire DUP party that in the end gutted Ian Paisley – to share power with Sinn Féin in the power-sharing arrangements. You would almost get the impression that they don’t want to.
And it is so bloody boring and predictable. The latest no this week appears to have been made on the basis that Rishi Sunak cannot be trusted with the domestic movement of lobelias and, therefore, political obligation can go hang. None of us thinks it is about the lobelias. We all know it is about the DUP being utterly incapable of political maturity or strategy in the modern age.
Since the publication of the Windsor Framework there has been chatter about the economic benefit of this agreement. That it will place these six small counties in an unprecedented sphere of economic and political influence and wellbeing. If you are a venture capitalist it must sound like whatever tune makes you dance. United Irelanders of course look at the deal and wonder if it copperfastens partition. And it might. But I haven’t seen one oppose the deal or try to impede its acceptance. But they don’t need to. The DUP does all of the work for United Irelanders, demonstrating that this place cannot and will not work in its current form.
But isn’t it wearying and ultimately really, really boring that any such nuance or consideration is not part of our discussion? Wouldn’t it just switch you off that we rely on pages upon pages of repeated analysis of Jeffrey Donaldson’s latest state of statis, or Ian Paisley Jr’s latest utterings, or Sammy Wilson appearing on early morning chat shows – all to say the very same thing. No. Intellectual rigour doesn’t enter the equation. Understanding is impossible. Fear and negativity need no reason.
The rest of us and our considerations do not matter in the current paroxysms. Our votes don’t matter. Our constitutional preference doesn’t matter. Our rights to good and effective governance don’t matter. All that matters is whether the DUP can be appeased.
Or so we are led to believe, going by much media coverage and commentary.
Every parent knows that the crying child cannot always get the dummy. Stamping feet and lying on the floor cannot always stop movement to the checkout. The picture is big and the possibilities endless with courage and principle. It is surely time for non-partitioned politics.