IT is with a complete sense of boredom that we report on another week without agreement on the devolution of policing and justice.
With thousands of air miles clocked up, the not-so dynamic duo of First Minister Robinson and deputy First Minister McGuinness continued their shuttling back and forth between Stormont and Downing Street.
It has now become impossible to count the times that devolution of the said powers has been close…Queen’s University, Belfast are opening a Masters Degree in Maths based around the probability theory on just how many times two people can talk about the same bloody thing. This will complement their advanced probability on the Executive ever agreeing on education…
Meanwhile Robinson and McGuinness were taking the deal to their parties. The former was consulting with ‘Executive colleagues’, demanding clarification and the wonderfully titled ‘Tory-proofing’. The latter’s party colleagues have all said no problem to the cash deal and plan.
While most of the population are thoroughly bored with this, it must be a matter of vexation for the First Minister. If he holds out a wee while longer, he can present himself as a tough negotiator…albeit one who takes a very long time to negotiate!
He wants to be able to fend off TUV attacks on the devolution of policing and justice…the old unionist ‘we’re harder than you are’ argument.
But therein lies the rub. Should Sinn Féin feel that they are being given the runaround, the temptation for them will be to collapse the Assembly and hold an election coinciding with the Westminster poll.
With the unionist vote split (at least) three ways in most constituencies, McGuinness must fancy his chances of gaining the First Minister monicker and ditching the deputy tag.
Meanwhile boredom strikes even the political hacks…