An old couple finally tied the knot in a Stormont dining room yesterday. Though they’ve delayed the honeymoon for a couple until May until the pre-nup gets signed off.
In today’s Belfast Telegraph, Colin Brown makes an interesting prediction. The historic re-launch of the Northern Ireland Assembly will be aligned with Tony Blair’s historic departure as UK Prime Minister. One institution starts up as another stops. Massive leaving party on the steps of Stormont. Might need a rock band (or Brian Kennedy) to croon a tune to send him on his way.
“Tony Blair is planning to use the moment of history in Northern Ireland on 8 May as the backdrop for his own departure from Downing Street.
Mr Blair’s aides said that he saw yesterday’s historic agreement between the old enemies, the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and the DUP leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, as the crowning achievement for the Prime Minister’s 10 years in office and the fulfilment of a crucial objective for his legacy.”
Though Colin noted:
“Mr Blair was clearly keen to avoid the date slipping into the period when Gordon Brown may have taken over, but there is no suggestion that the DUP colluded in the timing.”
But I bet the DUP, Sinn Féin and Downing Street all thought about it.
While both Sinn Féin and the DUP have been wounded by yesterday’s agreement, and some disgruntled members are still leaving over the move, both parties and their leaders are making some encouraging and mature statements about the new way forward.
round diamond table talks Ian Paisley’s talked positively about the cross-community responsibilities:
“After a long and difficult time in the province I believe that enormous opportunities lie ahead for Northern Ireland. Devolution has never been an end in itself but is about making a positive difference to people’s lives. I want to make it clear that I am committed to delivering not only for those who voted for the DUP but for all the people of Northern Ireland ...
With hard work and a commitment to succeed I believe we can lay the foundation for a better, peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.”
“Sinn Féin is about building a new relationship between orange and green and all the other colours, where every citizen can share and have equality of ownership of a peaceful, prosperous and just future ...
I am pleased to say that collectively we have created the potential to build a new, harmonious and equitable relationship between nationalists and republicans and unionists, as well as the rest of the people of the island of Ireland.”
Let’s hope any executive formed on 8 May will live out those words.