Stormont: here we go again

So is today really the Fresh Start so many people have been yearning for? When Johnson and Varadkar appear at Stormont today, will they speak the equivalent of King George V’s words, when he opened the first parliament here 99 years ago?

“I speak from a full heart when I say that my coming to Ireland [Not  Northern Ireland, you note] may prove to be the first step towards the end of strife among her people, whatever their race or creed.In that hope, I appeal to all Irishmen to pause, to stretch out the hand of forbearance and reconciliation, to forgive and to foreget , and to join in making for the land which they love a new ara of peace, contentment and good will.”

Long answer short:no.  Arlene on Saturday sounded her reconciliatory note, but made sure to emphasise that there was enough blame to go round everybody. Um, Arlene – Martin McGuinness didn’t set up and flog off to party-friendly punters the RHI scheme.Martin didn’t call the DUP reptiles. And it was Michelle O’Neill at Martin McGuinness’s funeral who reached out and shook hands with Arlene, not vice versa.

As I type it’s not raining, but there are grey clouds overhead.  A  pretty good metaphor for the new Assembly. It’s not as ghastly as it seems, but the DUP still can’t bring itself to make room for an Irish Language Act (remember those crocs),  the Assembly will meet in a building that reeks of unionism in its every core and cranny, and the DUP, if they believed in lighting blessed candles,  should have one per cent of the annual budget set aside for the lighting of same, that Saturday’s soft words may continue while at the same time the uppity Shinners are kept in their place. They might also thank their Maker that that more-than-capable man, John O’Dowd, has been confined to the role of Sinn Féin’s chief whip.

Stormontt Sinn and DUP

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