Politics ends terrible week lost in the rough
This has been a terrible week for devolved government in Northern Ireland as we stumble from crisis to crisis.
Sinn Fein has continually been blocking meaningful discussion on budgets and welfare cuts, while jobs are lost and ordinary people, including their constituents, are suffering.
Meanwhile, the party continues to imperil meaningful political leadership here while it cherishes its long-term prize of a united Ireland. There is nothing more depressing than the sight of Gerry Adams, who no longer has any personal political mandate in Northern Ireland, telling an American audience that his party is prepared to collapse the political institutions here.
Given this background, how can anyone continue to believe that Sinn Fein is prepared to make coalition government in Northern Ireland work, except on its own exclusive terms?
Sadly, the SDLP is hardly more encouraging or inspiring as it appears to have gone missing, and hangs on pathetically to the coat-tails of Sinn Fein while its own brand of nationalism proceeds towards meltdown.
One of its senior figures Dolores Kelly failed so lamentably on the recent BBC television programme The View to explain her party's policy, that she may have wished that she simply had not agreed to take part.
It should also be noted that Sinn Fein, which controls its public relations rigidly, flatly refused to appear on the programme to answer legitimate questions which were being asked on behalf of the public.
To put the tin-hat on this spectacle of political chaos, as library workers are paid off and the financial crisis deepens, where were the First and Deputy First Ministers?
Instead of taking part in a crisis meeting, which the Alliance leader David Ford and others suggested, they were at the Ryder Cup drumming up support for the Irish Open over here.
As an example of political sensitivity, this takes some beating, especially as every political intuition should have told them that their priority was to stay here to tackle the crisis. All of which adds up to one of the most depressing weeks imaginable for Northern Ireland.