So the consensus appears to be that the “New Start” is a mutual humiliation of both the DUP and Sinn Fein.
Apparently, according to some commentators, this is a good thing; at least they have both been slapped down equally.
So what about the ordinary people of Northern Ireland, where do they fit in?
Personally I, like the vast majority don’t actually care too much anymore, as long as I can have a relatively safe existence, decent access to a modern health service and my children get a reasonably well funded modern education, I’ll be happy.
So the question is will the “New Start” give me any of that?
For a start what about the he safe bit? Well probably not – for all the fine sounding words, nothing in relation to para militarism, or political parties linked to para militarism, seems to have changed. The IRA, UDA, UVF et al, remain armed and active.
Sinn Fein still denies the IRA Army Council continues to exist and the DUP, having resigned on the basis of the rumour that the IRA was continuing to murder, returned to Government, on the basis that the rumour was confirmed as accurate!
Then of course, I am looking for a modern health service; clearly nothing in the so called agreement will address the fundamental problems in our health service.
Yes we will continue to prop up those on benefits, but the burden for this unjustifiable bailout will fall on the NI block grant, and inevitably services, including health services, will suffer.
And the same goes for education. Unless you are part of the “special category education systems” there will be no more money! New builds will be delayed, renovations stopped and basic interventions, like enhanced reading schemes and classroom support, will not be funded.
However what is most interesting about this deal is its centre of gravity. This is a deal solely about maintaining the status quo and ensuring neither the DUP nor Sinn Fein have to face the electorate before May next year.
Everyone knows Stormont is broke, everyone knows it’s not fit for purpose but everyone also knows that when it comes to the DUP and Sinn Fein “our interests alone” appears to be the only mantra that either party care about.