Interesting comment by David Trimble’s former advisor Dr Steven King in the Sunday Business Post at the weekend:
"If Sinn Féin had taken all the nationalist seats while boycotting the House of Commons, and the DUP all the unionist seats, the government in London might have concluded that only a condominium solution to the problem was possible."
"The threat of joint authority – as unionists and some in the Republic might have seen it – has been averted."
One for the Sinn Fein election literature in 2009, perhaps?
In the same paper, Brian Feeney looks at the consequence of the fact that Sinn Fein did not wipe out the SDLP in the same way that the DUP defeated the Ulster Unionists.
On last Friday’s showing, neither the SDLP nor the UUP would have ministers after a new Assembly election. Resurrecting the Assembly would be to grant the UUP and SDLP the greatest comeback since Lazarus.
The DUP’s triumph has other serious consequences for an Assembly. As the full scale of their defeat dawns on UUP councillors and Assembly members, many will defect to the rampant DUP, perceiving no future amid the ruins of their own party. The result will be an Assembly dominated by one unionist party in which Sinn Féin will gain at most three ministers under the d’Hondt system. It would look nothing like the pattern which emerged after 1998.
The fact that the SDLP won three MPs will complicate the prospects for any move into the north by southern-based political parties. Nevertheless, Suzanne Breen had this to say in the Sunday Tribune:
Some SDLP figures believe a merger with Fianna Fail is now definitely the way forward. Discussions between the two parties are likely to take place over the summer.