Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The first crisis since the last one? And devolution is supposed to be working?

There will be slaps on the back all round when Stormont makes it through its first full term next year.  Assuming, that is, that its latest mini-crisis can be overcome.

The prospects of the DUP and Sinn Féin striking a budget have supposedly deteriorated, with the provos threatening to throw some toys out of the pram because they haven't yet conducted their customary behind-closed-doors showpiece with the British government.

That’s ok by Peter Robinson, but the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, is insisting that the Northern Ireland Executive do the work at hand, without the optics.  It’s sound advice.  There’s a Conservative led coalition government in place.  Things are going to be done a little differently now.

An apparent crisis, hot-house talks and a raft of supplicants descending on Number 10, at every cut and turn, is no longer on the agenda.  Thank goodness for that.

Meanwhile, back at Stormont, haven’t they all done well?  After all, if this does develop into a stand-off, (and already the budget is substantially late compared with other devolved regions) it’s the first one for nine whole months.

It's absolutely vita for the two larger parties that any eventual decision is accompanied by as much brinkmanship and playing to the gallery as can possibly be managed without finally toppling the entire edifice.

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