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Brokenshire should consider direct rule

James Brokenshire, speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, said he was not thinking about direct rule as an alternative to devolution after the coming election here.

In doing so, he has made a huge tactical mistake by sending a message to our dysfunctional parties that, left to their own devices and with some cobbled-together solution, they will be back in government.

The British and Irish governments clearly do not understand the exasperation of the electorate, which runs far deeper than the RHI debacle.

The principles of the Belfast Agreement are being abused by the largest parties to mould a society in their own image. This cannot continue.

By signalling that a period of suspension and direct rule remains an option, the Secretary of State will allow for an opportunity to fix our damaged machinery of government.

The course of Northern Ireland politics since 1998 shows that left to our politicians, 'physician heal thyself' as an option merely results in more bromide and sticking plasters.

We need a Secretary of State who is prepared to contemplate - and signal - major surgery, if necessary.

OBSERVER

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