I HAVE just thought of an idea to overcome some of the problems with the deadlock in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
As well as designating MLAs as unionist or nationalist, why not also designate them as socialist, conservative, liberal or Green?
For some sovereignty-based issues (policing and justice for example), MLAs would vote according to their "national identity" designation.
However, for a lot of other issues (the economy, agriculture, education, etc), MLAs would vote according to their "socio-political identity".
It seems to me that reasonable progress on social and economic issues is held back by unnecessary squabbling over national identity.
Such squabbling should be limited to those issues directly related to national identity.
This follows the example of the European Parliament, where MEPs are elected primarily according to national allegiances in the first instance, but then join various groupings in the European Parliament primarily according to their socio-political allegiance.