The air of political unreality was palpable at Stormont during Wednesday's Budget debate. In classical Northern Ireland political terms, what should have been a major political set-piece debate degenerated into the mundane, the puerile and the irrelevant.
Clearly, the majority of contributors to the debate were out of their depth.
There was no debate, no overriding principles, no economic analysis. Does any member of the DUP believe that, had the Labour Party slithered back in for another term, the cuts in the block grant would have been different?
In the next few weeks, our politicians will again traipse around the country looking for our votes. The DUP will use a mix of sectarian fears - 'Sinn Fein will take the First Minister's post unless you vote for us' - and the political lie: 'All these cuts are the fault of the Tories and the Official Unionists'.
Victory will see the success of the scare-factor and undoubtedly we will see the return of the Robinson/McGuinness partnership; Northern Ireland continuing its fantasy political farce. Northern Ireland may well have a government after the elections, but on the evidence of the Budget debate, it will not be properly governed by the end of May.
That is the damning political reality of Northern Ireland in 2011.
Millisle, Co Down