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Let's face facts, the Executive is a dismal failure

Politicians should beware of what they wish for - or not, as the case may be. No matter how much Peter Robinson and his band of placemen pretend, the last thing that he or they want is an election.

Obviously, going to the electorate on a platform of "Keeping Northern Ireland Moving Forward" would be laughable. Even funnier would be a slogan alluding to stability and progress.

Let's face facts: the Northern Ireland economy has benefited little from Stormont and even less from the Executive. Like the emperor's new clothes, devolution under the DUP and Sinn Fein has not ushered in a new era; for all the Press conferences and all the photo opportunities, the DUP/Sinn Fein-led Executive has been an abysmal failure.

Regardless of what way one regards Northern Ireland in 2015, it doesn't live up to the promise it had in 1998, nor does it measure up to "a new day for the children of Ireland" that Ian Paisley spoke of at St Andrews in 2006.

So the way forward? Well, Peter Robinson should do the decent thing - he should resign, not step aside, but resign and retire. The Secretary of State should suspend the institutions for a specified time and cut MLAs' salaries for the duration.

Time-limited talks on the reform of Stormont (including welfare reform) and mechanisms for dealing with paramilitarism should be held.

If no agreement comes in four weeks, the Assembly should be closed and all MLAs should be debarred from office for a period of seven years. Local government powers should be increased and policy should be driven centrally from London.

Otherwise, these talks will be interminable and the same, tired old politicians will come up with the same, tired old solutions to the same old problems.


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