Not now, Not yet, Not Never

As we wait for a decision by the DUP on the future of devolved government – or whatever alternative is decided on by the British and Irish governments – this issue focuses on some of the significant impacts of wishful thinking by many of those involved.

The DUP and many others in the unionist community appear to be set on an objective that everyone else thinks is unachievable. The idea that either the Tory or a new Labour government are going to abandon the Windsor Framework and reopen serious conflicts with the European Union to meet the DUP’s seven tests is clearly wishful thinking. All that can realistically be achieved is some meaningless legislative or governmental commitment to ‘protect the Union’.

There are also some wishful thoughts in other parties to the current Assembly talks. Like the other devolved governments in Edinburgh and Cardiff they face demands from London that they raise more from regional taxation and charges than they have become accustomed to. And they have very few arguments to deploy to avoid what has been put out for consultation on regional rates and water charges.

Waiting for a new Labour government may seem more attractive. But the mood music at Westminster does not promise a much more accommodating Treasury position or indeed anything different on prioritising relations with the European Union. There is no-one in the Shadow Cabinet with anything like the interest in Northern Ireland of Tony Blair’s New Labour.

The interviews in this issue with six leading Irish politicians with aspirations for unification reveal a similar lack of realism on what may be needed to achieve any immediate progress. Like people in Great Britain they are not really interested in what happens here or in making any significant changes to their domestic agendas. ‘Not now, not yet but hopefully sometime’ might best describe their views.

Overall there not much to look forward to other that a more realistic appreciation of what can be achieved to restore a measure of political and financial stability in the next few years.

View Issue 492

Issue contents

Politics

Aaron Edwards Deal or no deal? Paddy Hillyard Santa bearing gifts Feargal Cochrane Waiting for Labour Rory Montgomery Ireland unshared Philip McGuinness Party questions on unification Natalie Merrick A people powered transition to net zero` Brice Dickson The Supreme Court and Northern Ireland Tom Hadden War and peace in Gaza and Ukraine

Arts

Frank Ferguson Still rhyming on weavers Réaltán Ní Leannáin In full bloom Sorcha Shanahan ‘Planted’ Edel McCormick The long and the short of it Kate Campbell & Omima Ahmed The Anaka Art Group

Reviews

Scott McKendry Damian Smyth Irish Street Stephen Hopkins Richard O’Rawe Stakeknife’s Jennifer O’Leary The Padre

Poetry

Angela Graham Colony