After the shambles of the latest round of talks it is surely time for unionists to consider where we are going and what the long-term vision for Northern Ireland is.
Consider the last 10 years. The executive couldn’t meet for months on end because Sinn Fein demanded that policing and justice be devolved. Once it was there was months of deadlock over welfare reform.
Once that hump was got over we had the Cash for Ash scandal.
No sooner had that broken but we had demands for Irish language legislation.
In the middle of a major republican-manufactured crisis the prime minister calls a general election and against all the odds the result thrown up for the first time ever means that unionists in Northern Ireland decide who the occupant of Number 10 is.
What does the DUP do? Does it say we need to change the system of government so that we live in a democracy meaning that those who can agree form the government, the same as Scotland and Wales and indeed Westminster?
Do they take away from Sinn Fein the power to bring Stormont down the only way they can be stripped of that power— by amending the 1998 Northern Ireland Act to remove mandatory coalition?
There’s not even a suggestion that they ever asked for that.
Contrast that with Irish nationalism when they were in the same position 100 years ago.
Did John Redmond say to the Liberals, “Forget about Home Rule. Give us money and we will support the government. After all, most people in the UK didn’t support Irish nationalism and it was still one nation?”
Of course not.
He demanded radical constitutional change in the shape of Irish Home Rule and would settle for nothing less.
Think about the contrast.
When you have thought about it ask yourself this — if when the DUP are in a position to change the way Stormont operates they don’t even try what does that say about their long term vision for Northern Ireland?
If in 2017 the DUP were on the verge of agreeing an Irish language act isn’t it worth asking what they will be discussing with Sinn Fein in 2027?
Ask your local MLA that question and see what answer you get.
Samuel Morrison, TUV Dromore, Co Down