A new First Minister has been crowned, and fast falls the Sword of Damocles on Edwin Poots for his temerity. Less than a month after a bitter and public backstabbing that saw Arlene Foster toppled, her successor has suffered the same fate.
The first rumblings of dissatisfaction were made public when an email was leaked Thursday morning that saw the DUP’s representatives in Westminster request clarification on, and “express their alarm” at, the deal Mr Poots agreed to with the Shinners and the British Government.
Sinn Féin, for their part, did what they always do, and asked Westminster to legislate for them. Where first it was same-sex marriage, then abortion, and now they ask the Crown to give them an Irish Language Act if the DUP fail to bring one forward.
Given that all the decisions affecting the Irish people in the North happen in Westminster and the Shinners love asking for English legislation, one expects SF to take their seats and swear their oaths eventually. But that is a story for another day.
For today, we commemorate the career of Steady Eddie Poots, a man that talked a big game and fell to his own side. Edwin went after Arlene with much gusto, and has been cast off with the utmost ease.
While I did not, and do not, accept the musings of left-liberals in the Irish and British media about how the DUP retrenching towards social conservatism would lead to their inevitable demise, it is hard now to see any way that the DUP mends its schism or intends to function going forward.
Any new leader that does not honour the commitments under the NDNA will fall at the first hurdle, and Sinn Féin will not nominate a Deputy First Minister. Anyone that honours the NDNA will be cast out of the party in the same unceremonious manner as its last two inhabitants.
It is difficult too, to see who can (or would even want to) replace Poots, given the horrific blood-letting and the likelihood of losing one’s own scalp no matter which direction you go. The DUP has already been hemorrhaging its hardline support to the TUV and Jim Allister, and its moderate councillors to the UUP.
Even then, and with Little Jamie Bryson “threatening” (if one could call it that) to bring a Loyalist protest into the South next month, I believe we should rejoice that Unionism is eating itself alive — the sooner the monolith is dead, the sooner Partition is ended.