If we thought the Northern Ireland Assembly had deep divisions over the Protocol, spare a thought for politically battered French President Emmanuel Macron whose centrist party and policies have just taken the mother of all hammerings in elections to France’s National Assembly.
Essentially, the Macron bubble has finally burst in spite of winning an impressive second Presidential term comfortably again defeating his Far Right rival Marine Le Pen of the National Rally party (formerly the National Front).
Just as it will require a political miracle to kick-start the Northern Ireland Assembly as the DUP firmly refuses to budge on the Protocol and is firmly digging in its heels on not nominating a Speaker, so too, with big gains in the French National Assembly for both the Far Left and Far Right, Macron has become a lame-duck leader and will require a miracle ‘rainbow coalition’ if he is to keep what was previously a rock solid majority in the French National Assembly.
Given the massive boost for the Far Right - up from less than 10 seats to almost 90 - it fuels the perception that his Presidential victory was not so much ‘we want more of Macron’, but the bitter reality of ‘vote Macron to keep out Le Pen’!
In the run-up to that French Presidential victory, Macron had styled himself as one of Europe’s leading foreign affairs diplomats, eagerly try to reach a solution with Russian boss Vladimir Putin to get the war in Ukraine ended.
But with French politics now thrown into chaos, Macron may have to focus much more closely on domestic issues rather than swanning about Europe trying to be a ‘top dog peacemaker’.
This could provide a much-needed opening for British PM Boris Johnson to steal Macron’s diplomatic thunder, especially with Putin threatening to deploy his notorious Satan II missiles.
The size of the recent Tory rebellion during the bruising vote of confidence motion in the party has left BoJo with a massive political migraine. BoJo badly needs a resounding victory on the diplomatic front to ease the Westminster pressure (or at least deflect it!) on his premiership - and what better way to reassert his authority in Parliament than by announcing a breakthrough in the crisis in Ukraine.
In reality, could his supposed buffoonery bamboozle Putin into calming down and doing the unthinkable - pulling his forces completely out of Ukraine as the old Soviet Union was forced to do in Afghanistan?
With Macron’s centre ground collapsing in France, and with BoJo attempting to take centre stage in Europe - and also avoiding an economically disastrous trade war with the European Union over the Protocol - more pressure could be heaped on the DUP in Northern Ireland to enter an Executive by firstly nominating a Speaker and then a deputy First Minister.
BoJo taking over the crown of King Peacemaker in Europe could mean the DUP can no longer hold either the peace process or BoJo himself to political ransom.
If BoJo can get through the traditional Marching Season in Northern Ireland without any serious rioting (indeed, any rioting at all!) from militant loyalism, then he could call the DUP’s bluff come September or October with another snap Assembly poll.
As the Protestant Unionist Loyalist community munches on their tea and sandwiches during the Twelfth and Royal Black parade summer season, could that community be thinking - who really runs the DUP?
Is it the modernisers around party boss Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, or is it the so-called ‘Old Guard’ of Paisleyite originals in the DUP executive who are constantly looking over their shoulder electorally at North Antrim MLA Jim Allister’s hardline Traditional Unionist Voice and the 65,000 odd first preference votes which drifted to the TUV in May’s Stormont showdown?
With Macron now on the ropes politically, and with BoJo set to take full advantage of Macron’s misfortune, could the DUP find itself backed into a very tight political corner whereby the Sir Jeffrey-led has no other option but to blink and nominate a Speaker or face electoral humiliation either in an autumn Assembly election or next year’s planned council elections?
If the DUP cannot win back the majority of those 65,000 TUV votes, could Northern Ireland’s councils see significant gains for hardline Unionist candidates in the local government showdown?
Indeed, with Macron significantly weakened politically in France, would the EU be less tough on the UK if BoJo can use his new found ‘glory’ as King Peacemaker to get a resolution to the crisis in Ukraine?
In that scenario, BoJo can play the Protocol Bill card with the DUP any time he wants. Key question - can the DUP stomach the delay?
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Listen to commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 10.15 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online.