IT appears the new day has dawned and some key players in London have decided that using the DUP as sandbags in negotiations with the European Union about the Protocol is no longer of value.
This casting aside of the most loyal sons and daughters of Ulster could have happened much sooner of course. Theresa May would have cast them aside in her first negotiations in a heartbeat, except for her disastrous general election which gave the political zombies unrestrained influence. It could have happened when the British Government negotiated a deal accepted by the DUP, but the internal bad faith of the DUP knows no bounds. (And when I say no bounds I mean none, nada, zero!)
The DUP tore themselves apart in an escalation of their insecurity and hysteria, casting aside two leaders and pulling themselves out of Stormont, creating the illusion of crisis. Johnson could have said 'Knock yourselves out lads,' he in theory had the numbers, but he relied on the English political pygmies’ support as details of his corruption and antics during lockdown became revealed and somehow the minority faction of loyalism threatening violence had the ERG’s ear.
But nothing lasts forever. The DUP has marched itself up too many hills and Britain, attempting in tiny steps to resemble having a government of adults and trying in tiny steps to recover some fiscal control after the economic shock of the Liz Truss economic suicide mission, will let the Jacks and Jills of the DUP fall down their self-constructed hill.
Of course, we all knew this day would come. Although in this case it is far less Tiocfaidh ár lá and more tempus fugit. Time waits for no-one, least of all those who wish to hold it back.
So once the “agreement” happens and the marching dust settles there will be an attempt to resurrect Stormont again. We all need local government, which is as far away from the madness of Westminster as possible. We need locally elected politicians making locally accountable decisions. Health, education and criminal justice in particular need it.
The Times, Financial Times and Guardian have all called on Rishi Sunak to face down the DUP & ERG.— Deirdre Heenan (@deirdreheenan) February 23, 2023
Times notes DUP opposed Sunningdale/Anglo- Irish Agreement/ Downing Street Declaration/GFA & (NI) Protocol.
The DUP are “unworthy ally” who cannot be allowed to wreck a deal. pic.twitter.com/EsK94Yj2MA
I have no doubt that there will be some attempt to make out that, like Christ on the third day, Stormont’s reestablishment is the triumph of the Good Friday Agreement. And let’s face it, if after all of this disagreement and falling out we can reconstruct the Executive, it is a bit miraculous. But only a bit.
Fundamentally there are consistent problems. Last week the DUP insulted us all, but in particular Dáithí Mac Gabhann and his family, when they accused us all of trying to blackmail them back into doing the jobs they are elected – and paid – to do. They snubbed democracy and little Dáithí. The next day the same DUP engaged in a sleight of hand to get their commemorative partition stone enshrined in Stormont. Some jobs can be done. This is not the thinking or modus of good faith partners.
Some want to pretend that issues of rights, equality and constitutional aspiration can be pushed to the side for the 'greater good'. Side-lining rights was never for the greater good – no matter how comfortable or convenient for some.
I welcome any new dawn with an open heart, but also open eyes and hope for courage because the political zombies remain unchanged.