At least it has made Norneverland ‘s politics momentarily interesting. This business about the Ulster Unionist Party going into opposition with the latent hanging notion that their leader, TV Mike ‘s seemingly desperate act to stay relevant , might actually force both the SDLP and Alliance to break the logjam and join an Opposition with him. That raises the conundrum of who will then be voted in as Justice Minister, a role already generally pre- designated to Alliance by the notion that they are the only real cross-community party(albeit a “light” unionist one). By the general terms of the Good Friday Agreement this balance of power between nationalists and unionists must be upheld at all costs ,favouring neither ultra nationalists nor ultra unionists and that is the one thing that has helped both the DUP and Sinn Fein to rub along together even thought they would each rather live on the moon than work together.
So if the Alliance Party decide to jump ship and join an Opposition ,it leaves the entire edifice of local governance in something of a quandary. Neither Sinn Fein nor the DUP would prefer to see their opposite number in charge of “JUSTICE”. It’s another one of those bete noirs much like the idea of a Nationalist becoming Supreme First Minister of Norneverland . It simple is beyond conception for some and the DuP only two weeks ago fought an election on that very fear and premise..Of course when you think of it , the threat was always there. Alliance might enjoy this moment of holding the balance of power, in their sticky hands ,for a day or two , but a hard choice will have to be made very soon. Sinn Fein’s easiest way forward is for Alliance to bite this bullet and take the Justice Ministry and they will do everything they can to encourage that but will blame Alliance for crashing the entire scheme if they refuseto play ball. I’d say the DUP would see it as a way out too.
You can’t help but wonder had the mandarins in the darkened backrooms of Whitehall already figured out every twisted and convoluted turn of this plan some twenty years ago in that this cats’ cradle of a Norneverland Home Rule would be constructed in such a way that its potential demise would always be blamed on the one party that refuses to play the game and is first to throw its cards on the table and walk away.
Nobody here would have thought that Alliance might well be manipulated into taking the blame like this should they rattle the cage.