The ‘centre’ in the North November 14, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Mr Nesbitt put forward himself and Mr Eastwood as an alternative to the DUP and Sinn Féin led by First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
“Vote me, you get Colum. Vote Colum, you get me,” he told the conference. “Vote Colum and me, and you get a whole new middle ground politics, dedicated to making Northern Ireland work, whatever our different motivations.”
It’s a fascinating development, but what does it mean? Well most immediately it points to the dominance of the DUP and SF in the polity. But beyond that it suggests that some creative efforts, however cosmetic, are now being made to get around that dominance. And furthermore it suggest that cross-community (not sure I like that term, any better gratefully accepted) alliances are now the norm of Northern Irish politics. It suggests a shift, if not necessarily an evolution, away from the pan-party power sharing that was the first iteration of the GFA/BA and to competing alliances.
How this works out on the ground, in elections and so forth is a different matter, though isn’t it? Though, given that parties compete almost exclusively in their own communal pools of support who knows. Perhaps there might be some intriguing side effects.