The United Kingdom goes to the polls today in one of the most important general elections since the Second World War.
Even when the nation-wide result of the contest seemed a foregone conclusion weeks ago, it was a highly significant poll because its outcome will shape Brexit negotiations, the result which will affect the UK for decades.
But now the seemingly assured victory for Theresa May and the Conservatives is very much in doubt. The prime minister has not had a good campaign, and her challenger Jeremy Corbyn could well deprive the Tories of an overall majority.
If Mr Corbyn wins enough seats to cobble together a rainbow coalition he could stop Brexit. He has no enthusiasm for the EU, but might be persuaded to try to halt an EU departure if that is a demand of the SNP , Lib Dems, SDLP and others.
Mr Corbyn’s premiership will be a disaster for the UK on economic grounds. He is open about wanting the nation to take on even more debt, but his spending plans will cost much more than he says and if he tries to implement them as they stand, high taxes, inflation and ruin could follow.
Mr Corbyn’s association with the IRA at the height of its terrorism and his attitude to present Islamic terrorism (he did not even support shooting to kill such murderers in a Bataclan Theatre situation) or nuclear weapons (he would not fire them) is also evidence of his ill suitedness to Downing Street.
But however bad is Mr Corbyn, Sinn Fein is worse. And indeed the republican party, since its electoral gains in March, is the most unpleasant it has been for years.
It accuses unionists of bigotry at every turn (Michelle O’Neill described the DUP as such early on in the UTV debate, Michelle Gildernew said as much about Tom Elliott) while behaving with shocking bigotry itself, and celebrating past IRA terror and backing vindictive pursuit of the security forces.
Sinn Fein has been citing its large vote to demand a border poll. The party is out to destabilise Northern Ireland.
Rarely has it been more important to return unionist MPs. We urge people to vote today for such candidates.