The DUP is very lucky that the next Assembly election isn't until May 2022.
If it took a hit over the cash-for-ash scandal, then any imminent Stormont poll would surely be a complete car crash for Arlene Foster’s party.
On the eve of the centenary of the Northern Ireland state, the Union will look increasingly precarious in the eyes of many unionists following the agreement between London and Brussels on the new Irish Sea border.
Staunchly loyalist Larne will become a border town in 2021.
The DUP issued an unusually long statement yesterday evening in relation to the Brexit developments.
Notably, it was from the party centrally and not in the name of Mrs Foster or any individual representative.
It welcomed some aspects of the deal and was critical of others.
Given the potentially grave implications for the Union, it was moderate and measured in tone.
There wasn’t a single angry adjective in the 800 words.
The DUP knows that making a song and dance of the latest betrayal by the Tories would draw attention to its own ineptitude and incompetence in this saga.
It doesn’t want a forensic examination of how Northern Ireland arrived at this position, nor what can be done to escape it.
The party was warned time and time again over recent years, by friend and foe alike, that Brexit and its dalliance with the Tories would end this way, but it refused to listen. The DUP’s reputation for strong leadership to keep the Union safe is now under pressure like never before.
Its rivals will not be shy in hammering home the scale of what is at stake.
“We have been pushed into a waiting room for Irish unity by EU calculation and the indifference of the British government,” said TUV leader Jim Allister.
Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey said it was “a bad day for Northern Ireland”. He described the protocol as “the biggest strategic mistake unionism has made since partition in 1921”.
By throwing its lot in with the ERG Brexiteers, Mrs Foster’s party cannot deny the role it played in the long sequence of events that led to yesterday’s outcome.
Perfidious Albion struck again. Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and their Tory friends threw the DUP under the bus and then reversed back over it.