WE’RE a wee country renowned for its hospitality and craic – a place where banter is the standard operating system in almost every setting. Except for one setting: politics.
Here the average exchange between politicians can whip up gale force winds in teacups.
While identity has always been a thorny topic to be exploited for political gain whenever possible by each side there is a tendency to want to tell the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Féin to get over themselves once and for all.
Michelle and Arlene’s mini-row in Manchester was exploited mercilessly by media types, overshadowing the chance to extol the culinary delights and health benefits of a hearty Ulster Fry.
Thankfully the coughs and P45 joke during the PM’s speech distracted everyone from the breakfast time spat over identity. We offer Ms May our thanks for her selfless dedication to Northern Ireland’s plight.
One hopes that selfless dedication will also involve bashing the collective parties’ heads together to finally finish off the talks.
Tantalisingly we are told every few weeks that an agreement can be achieved in a few weeks. We’ve assiduously checked the calendar and it has already been more than a few weeks – it’s now October and time is ticking by.
And we’re facing bankruptcy. The anguished cries of groups fearing yet more cuts, the fears of structural changes that will be a challenge to reverse and a public sector that is running like Usain Bolt just to stay still are becoming louder each day.
Maybe before a challenge to Ms May’s leadership emerges Secretary of State, James Brokenshire can see fit to get HM Treasury to lend us a few quid to tide us over.
But that may have an unexpected downside. If we were to get a few quid the pressure on the politicians to actually agree something will be pushed further down then hill from Parliament Buildings.
After diligent research – we asked a few people wandering around Belfast City Hall – we found that the overwhelming majority want some sort of decision. Either say yes and get down to business or say no and hand the reins over to Mr Brokenshire.