Belfast Telegraph

With the DUP thrust front and centre, it's time they showed a broader outlook and help deliver a good Brexit deal for NI

Editor's Viewpoint

After a remarkable upset in UK politics, the DUP has moved centre stage to help prop up Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government.

The resurgence of its vote has resulted from the scare it received in the last election.

The huge DUP mandate brings the responsibility to win the best deal for Northern Ireland. It is also an opportunity to show a broader outlook, and to demonstrate an outreach which they had been criticised for not showing.

With a pragmatic approach, there is the possibility of a good Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, and to establish with Mrs May a strong commitment to the Union.

Sinn Fein also showed a resurgent nationalism, but its voice will be absent from the Westminster Parliament, which matters during the current absence of our Assembly.

The stark contrasts in the political map here will affect power-sharing. A Green west and an Orange east underline what Seamus Mallon has described as the "Balkanisation" of Northern Ireland. The reality is more complicated, but this stark partition is depressing.

Some 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement, it appears that we are as separate as ever and living with little or nothing to share culturally.

None of this bodes well for the return of the Assembly, and this is to be deeply regretted.

It is also sad to see the demise of the middle ground parties, including the UUP, and the SDLP. There will be a prolonged analysis of what went wrong for these parties in failing to find relevance and asking if there is indeed a way back.

The SDLP may look South for its future, but the UUP is at present in a political no man's land.

Significantly, the clock is already ticking on power-sharing and with less than three weeks left, there is much to be done.

This is a time for hope and for hard-headed reality.

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