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Voters need to punish motionless politicians


Newton's first law of motion and energy has it that an object will retain its current state of motion unless acted upon by an external force.

This appears to apply to negotiations to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland, with calls for the involvement of an international statesperson of standing to force agreement being a theme.

This clearly has worked in the past - though not with the most recent involvement of Dr Haass - but it represents an acknowledgment of the sheer immaturity of our political institutions and the politicians who work them.

If no agreement is concluded by Good Friday, the general message of Newton's third law could also come into play: that is, the complete disdain which politicians have shown for the March 2 voters in stubbornly refusing to work together should be matched by an equal reaction of disdain in the opposite direction.

However, recent evidence suggests this won't happen: judging by the results of March 2, voters in Northern Ireland, regardless of how horribly parties have performed, still opt to reward them and elect according to the dead weight of habit.


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