Today our news report quotes an anonymous senior DUP figure as saying that the Stormont negotiations are “dead in the water”.
Officially the party and the UK government are insisting that there is still a possible agreement. But it is hard to see how this will happen.
London can no longer resist direct rule. This must happen despite the howls of protest that will come from nationalist Ireland, and it must happen by adopting the strict legal minimum consultative role for the Republic.
While the immediate course of action is clear, the outcome is no cause for celebration.
Sinn Fein, which has demonstrated clearly that it has no interest in the wellbeing of Northern Ireland, has caused left no-one ultimately in full charge of schools and hospitals. Its ability to do this raises serious questions as to whether mandatory coalition can ever be resurrected in the Province.
From a unionist perspective, there are multiple perils ahead, including the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn government. But it would not have been wrong to buckled to blackmail on the basis of fear and counter-productive too, showing the such tactics work.
As we look ahead however, serious questions need to be asked as to whether any one political party can tackle the scale of the challenges ahead. If ever there was a time for unity and goodwill among unionists, it is now.