Sunday, 7 February 2010

It’s the end of the world as we know it and we feel fine

TO paraphrase rock band REM, it’s the end of the world as we know it and we feel fine…after all who would have thought that the devolution of policing and justice would finally be on the horizon.

With interminable breathless reports from reporters variously chilled and thrilled by yet another night at the gates of Hillsborough Castle, and tweets posted by respected journos hoping for a glimpse behind the curtains of negotiation, it was with a heavy heart of cynicism that one wondered would a ‘deal’ ever be done?

Yet, finally from the ashes of defeat the DUP grasped a flickering ember from the fire to emerge on Thursday night announcing that (without the need of Noel Edmonds cry of ‘deal or no deal’) they had reached a….well they’d reached a deal. To stretch the analogy a little further one might wonder that the ‘Banker’ a.k.a. Shaun Woodward’s threat to withdraw the multi-million pound offer had on the final decision.

Such thoughts are, of course, churlish. There is a process now laid out that will, subject to a slip between cup and lip, be in place before the Westminster election. After that, well the parties will prepare for the 2011 Assembly election; tactics to be agreed subject to May’s share of the vote.
And the Northern Ireland cheerleaders have emerged…

The two premiers have been there off and on, Gordon and Brian doing all they could, even when it seemed as if the game would be up.

But no less than El Presidente, Barack Obama has emerged from the sidelines, pom poms raised and smiling the smile of a man who can piggy back on the victory of others. Now, stop being so po-faced out there. Such behaviour is expected, nay demanded of every US President since the Boston Tea Party started the end of the whole colonial shebang.

The holiday called St Patrick’s Day will, for once not only be marked by drunken student riots, but with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness raising a glass (Robbo will have the Orange juice…) with Obama at the Whitehouse.

Ah, sure there’ll be a few votes in the Assembly before then, but ‘begorrah’ and ‘bejaysus’ sure there’ll be no DUP or Sinn Féin MLA wanting to spoil the show, and those party whips can be vicious when needed.

Which, all seems a wee bit weird…

There’s a deal on policing and justice; there is seemingly party unity within both the DUP and SF camps….has anyone checked yet? Is the world about to end? Has Armageddon been announced? Are Peter and Martin trying to play nice before they meet their maker?

Answers on the back of an envelope… ‘Til then, all together now: ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.’

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