Commons Sense Has to Prevail: Direct Rule is Back on Cards

John Coulter with a column from the Irish Daily Star. It featured on Newshound today: 7 October 2014.

Controversial MEP and Ukip boss Nigel Farage may have accidentally brought Ireland back from the brink with his quip that Northern Commons MPs should not take part in English-only matters at Westminster.
With Stormont looking doomed, and the horrific spectre of Direct Rule from London looming again, taking Nigel at his word, the Brits should make Northern MPs solely responsible for issues in the North.

If Stormont shuts, after next year's General Election, the Gang of 18 could be running the North.

Ooops! I forgot, the Shinners won't have any say as they continue their ancient and ludicrous abstention policy at Westminster.

Sinn Féin MPs prefer to aimlessly roam the Parliamentary corridors hoping someone will notice them, but refuse to take the oath, their Commons seats and crucially their vote.

The North could be run by their 18 MPs. The Stoops have three seats; the Shinners five; the DUP nine and independent Unionists one.

If the dramatic slide in the SDLP vote continues, Sinn Féin is on course to end up with half of the North's Commons seats, snatching the Stoops' three plus one DUP, with the DUP and North Down's Independent Sylvia Hermon taking the rest.

The Easter Rising centenary is in 2016, it also marks the 30th anniversary of Sinn Féin's historic Ard Fheis when the party voted to ditch Dáil abstentionism.

If they can repeat their 2014 Southern European and council vote in next year's Dáil general election, Louth TD Gerry Adams will likely be Tanaiste in Leinster House.

Shinners need to stop playing the romantic Mother Ireland card when it comes to Westminster.

They need to keep Stormont afloat so they can boast of being in power on both sides of the Irish border.

But that will only be a reality if Stormont survives the welfare reform crisis. In spite of all the pleading from Dandy Dave Cameron, it's in the interests of Unionists to collapse Stormont.

Direct Rule means London will impose welfare reform cuts, and as Sinn Féin won't enter the Commons, its MPs are silenced. Game, set and match to the Unionists!

The Direct Rule nightmare for Ireland is that MPs from Britain – unelected in the North – will decide the fate of health and education services. These MPs won't worry about the reaction from Northern constituents as cuts won't affect their voters.

Direct Rule could also spell the end of Robbo's DUP leadership after losing his Commons seat to Alliance's Naomi Long.

The Dáil shouldn't dismiss Direct Rule as a Northern crisis either. If Stormont falls, so will the influence of the North-South bodies eroding the Republic's say in the North.

Shinners need to get real and send Marty McGuinness – the Royals' favourite republican – back to Buck House to agree some words which Sinn Féin MPs can sign up to so they can park their bums in the Commons.

Instead of a DUP/Sinn Féin coalition running Stormont, we'll have a DUP/SF coalition of MPs running the Northern Ireland Office from Westminster.

The big question is, will it be DUP's Sammy Wilson or SF's Paul Maskey as the next Northern Secretary? The ball is firmly in Sinn Féin's court. .

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