The impending ‘crisis’ over the Stormont justice ministry is one which could have been predicted from before the ink was even dry on the Hillsborough agreement.
The flawed architecture of our system of government, whereby all parties of a moderate size are in the Executive as of right, is by its very nature dysfunctional. This is the roots of bastardised democracy that was put down by the Belfast Agreement and copper fastened by the DUP’s shredding of all their principles at St Andrews.
At the time of the Belfast Agreement some may have felt that extraordinary measures needed put in place to kick-start the government. That, I suppose, is understandable. Why we would need a system of such perverted democracy almost two decades after the Belfast Agreement is beyond comprehension.
The DUP ran their deceptive election campaign with one clear message- vote for us to keep Sinn Fein out! Yet the final ballot was hardly cast when already the DUP and Sinn Fein were back in bed together. One of the first acts of the new assembly was for the DUP and Sinn Fein to horse trade for the speakers positions.
The UUP’s move into opposition shone a light on the sheer arrogance of the DUP and Sinn Fein. Both reacted with fury that anyone would dare to have an opposition. Their dictatorship version of democracy would better suited to North Korea rather than a civilised western democracy.
Of course as partners in government the DUP won’t even sit on the same side of the house. Why not? That’s how democracy works- one side of the house is the government and on the other is the opposition.
The DUP want to keep up the pretence that they are the enemies of Sinn Fein, when in fact they are the sustainers of Sinn Fein in government. They should sit shoulder to shoulder and let the visual image beamed from the chamber reflect the reality- a vote for the DUP was a vote for Sinn Fein in government.
Now that the happy couple have found themselves in another conundrum they want to bully the Alliance party to ‘do the right thing’. Why should the Alliance party dig the DUP and Sinn Fein out of such an epic hole? No, the Alliance party should do the right thing and let the DUP and Sinn Fein fall right into that deepening hole and let the people of Northern Ireland see the reality of the fatally flawed system of government that hangs like a millstone around the neck of genuine peace and democracy.
The Alliance party have no mandate for government. They should not be in government and they most certainly should not prop up the DUP and Sinn Fein. Let them sort their own mess out.