Friday, March 31, 2006

Groundhog Day again?

The Northern Ireland Assembly is to be recalled, in the latest attempt to form an Executive and force agreement between the parties. An emergency bill is being rushed through Westminster to change some of the Assembly rules.

I have a feeling that all that will happen is that Sinn Féin will complain the basics of the Good Friday Agreement are being breached, the DUP will continue to huff, puff and "refuse to have anything to do with terrorists" (not that the DUP have ever been consistent on that), Alliance will continue to whine about any arrangement that requires a "majority in both communities" and not much progress will be reached. And so the same cycle played out throughout the last decade will be repeated once more.

Sometimes I look at Northern Ireland in despair, wondering if any form of devolved government could ever work. Is Direct Rule going to be forever? Or is it time to consider completely integrating Northern Ireland into the United Kingdom and have rule from Westminster, perhaps with a UK wide political system? Could that be the only way forward?

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