I have been reading a lot about the old Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu recently. Executed….actually pretty much murdered along with his wife after a show trial on Christmas Day 1989….those images of the old despots on the balcony of the Presidentiazl Palace….remain the defining moments….along with the fall of the Berlin Wall….of the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.
Few old enough to have seen the news footage will forget the look on Ceausescu’s face as the Mob turneagainst set him.
I wonder has that point been reached in East Belfast. Memorably in 2010, Peter Robinson “lost” the support of the good folks at the Belmont Bowling Club. It is hard to think that the Belmont Bowlers will have been impressed by the mob behaviour around Alliance Party offices at the Holywood Arches.
Robinson, MLA for East Belfast has not ventured out into the streets of his own constituency and seems to be in a Stormont bunker. He has lost middle class respectability AND now seemingly lost the Mob. Certainly the mood on the DUP-UUP benches at the City Hall last night was sombre.
Is it the beginning of the End? For the Institutions? Certainly Theresa Villiers’ floundering about in TV interviews inspires little confidence. And Robinson and Nesbitt have become invisible.
There are pious statements from SDLP and Alliance that “politics must be allowed to work”. I have some sympathy with this view….not least because the suspension of Stormont would leave the same democratic deficit which we saw in the 1980s and 1990s.
But there is an element of special pleading….politicians have careers and so do staffers, advisors and all the rest of the entourage. And clearly there is a danger that another generation of politician…..Conall McDevitt, Gareth Robinson, Judith Cochrane etc may lose the chance to contribute to Society.
But the SDLP needs to get past thinking that the Good Friday Agreement is the Holy Grail. Yes it was a noble attempt to resolve the Conflict….but fatally flawed by Creative Ambiguity. And compromised by the St Andrews Agreement….and I think it has suffered a slow lingering death by Inaction….on say Victims and the Irish Language. The Good Friday Agreement is on a life support machine and the kindest thing would be to make the decision to turn it off.