Northern Ireland is often cited as a model for conflict resolution and an example of how former enemies can share power.
It is true that life in the Province has improved immeasurably since the Troubles and that there has been a degree of stability at Stormont latterly, and even some progress when it comes to passing legislation.
Sinn Fein should be thrashed at the polls on both sides of the border for their hypocritical, populist, self-righteous, irresponsible nonsenseNews Letter Morning View
But at times the Assembly is so dysfunctional that it is an embarrassment, and a model for nowhere on Earth.
And there is no question that this is due to the fact that Sinn Fein must at all times be in government. This in turn is due to the fact that most nationalists vote for them.
An extraordinary example of the failings of mandatory coalition will play out today, when Sinn Fein join picket lines in support of strikers (alongside the SDLP).
What an utter farce. What a disgrace to democracy.
We already know that there is no collective responsibility in the Executive — no adherence to the fundamental principle that members of a government must defend its policies publicly, even if they privately disagree, or else they must resign.
But what happens today is even worse than the shambles of ministers doing their own thing within government. This morning a swathe of public workers will strike in protest at government policy, and half the government will back them.
This newspaper has rehearsed the arguments against this strike. But, even setting those arguments aside, when such a strike against a government does happen, the very last people to support it must be the government.
This could only happen in Northern Ireland. Unionists have tried to work the system of forced coalition. Even the Conservative Party — the party of the British establishment — is not prepared to support an alternative.
Sinn Fein should be thrashed at the polls on both sides of the border for their hypocritical, populist, self-righteous, irresponsible nonsense. They won’t be of course. That is the tragedy.