Then again, whilst he has confirmed there will be no pre-Christmas Stormont poll, there’s heavy money ‘H-H’ will bring forward legislation at Westminster in the New Year after the festive recess to ensure there’s no election at all!
The word is that this decision is coming directly from 10 Downing Street itself and the latest Tory administration is going to make Northern Ireland suffer via the cost of living crisis as a punishment for the DUP stabbing former PM Theresa May in the back over the then Withdrawal Agreement regarding Brexit.
At that time, Conservative PM May was locked into a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with the DUP to prop up her Tory Government. Many Tories feel the DUP stabbed her in the back politically by not supporting her Withdrawal Agreement.
It has been suggested that had the DUP backed the Withdrawal Agreement, there would never have been a Northern Ireland Protocol.
In late 2022 and early 2023, the Tories will now make it clear that the Province is suffering economically because of the DUP - all aimed at trying to persuade the DUP to blink politically and perform its own U-turn by triggering the power-sharing Executive at Stormont by nominating both an Assembly Speaker and a deputy First Minister.
The bottom line is that the Protocol has been totally destabilising for Northern Ireland, which is probably why Sinn Fein is so enthusiastic about the Protocol as the republican movement’s mouthpiece sees it as a lever to nudge the Province out of the Union.
In addressing this issue of the negativity created by the Protocol, we need to set aside the debate about whether people voted remain or leave and whether Brexit has been good or bad for the United Kingdom, for Northern Ireland specifically, and indeed, the entire geographical island of Ireland.
What the Protocol has really put at stake is the future of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the entire peace process which so many people have worked to achieve and maintain over the past quarter of a century.
We cannot ever again allow a situation to develop in Northern Ireland where because of a political vacuum that we see a return to violence. Democracy and the ballot box must always be the winners.
It would be an insult to the memory of the 3,000 people who died in the Troubles and the many tens of thousands more who were affected by those Troubles if we as a democratic society allowed the gun and the bomb to take centre stage once again.
But we must also be realistic. Whatever its political conception, the Protocol has negatively impacted on Northern Ireland. Indeed, the trade debate as to whether Northern Ireland businesses have benefited or been hindered by the Protocol has descended into a farcical political game of ping pong as each side in the economic debate scrambles to find data to justify their respective positions whilst at the same time denying the reality - the Protocol has created a dangerous political vacuum in Northern Ireland.
I do not intend to get this very necessary discussion bogged down in mud-slinging with economic statistics from the various bodies who are pro or anti the Protocol.
The Protocol cannot be marched away on the streets; it can only be negotiated away through constructive debate. To have that democratic debate and influence, we in Northern Ireland need one vital pillar - a fully functioning devolved Assembly with our power-sharing team of Executive ministers carrying out their duties.
In finding a constructive way forward which will benefit all the people of our community, political representatives must put principles before party dogma.
In this specific case, we must implement a strategy which helps our people - especially those living on or below the poverty line - through the cost of living crisis. This is not the time for a blame game.
This is a time for elected representatives to step up to the mark and get the Assembly back to full power. We don’t need elections, whether they be at Stormont or Westminster. We don’t need political point scoring. We need MLAs to have the opportunity to do their jobs for the people of Northern Ireland.
We need all parties, whether they be based at Westminster, Brussels, or the White House, to recognise that the Protocol is holding the people of Northern Ireland to ransom - politically, socially, economically, and financially.
If we are to truly help our community through this challenging cost of living crisis, then all the stakeholders in this debate must recognise - the Protocol must go. It is not about saving the Union. It is not about implementing Brexit.
Do not be side-tracked into thinking Unionists - and especially the DUP - do not want to form a power-sharing Executive because they do not want to work with republicans.
The Protocol must go because it is harming the future of ordinary people, many of whom in this cost of living crisis, will be forced into making tough decisions as to whether they have a decent meal, or keep warm.
Do not view the negative impact of the Protocol through the Unionist versus nationalist debate. See it in human terms - see the impact of the Protocol on whether people heat or eat, or as we enter the cold winter months - whether people live or die.
This is not political sabre-rattling - this is the hard reality of life now in Northern Ireland. For the sake of our pupils, patients and pensioners; indeed, everyone in our community, we have to put people before Protocol.
But supposedly mature elected representatives must equally recognise that the Protocol cannot be scrapped with the mere sweep of a pen. We know it will be a gradual process of negotiated deconstruction, not immediate demolition.
Do elected representatives want it on their consciences that they allowed our people to starve or freeze? They are not hurting the people in Westminster, Brussels or Washington - they are hurting our own community.
As an act of good faith, we must see the full implementation of the Stormont Executive. If MLAs do that, Westminster and Brussels must return that act by finding a solution to the Protocol impasse which does not hurt our people, and equally importantly, maintains the benefits of the Good Friday Agreement and the entire peace process.
As a third-generation, card-carrying Ulster Unionist since 1977, as a democrat, as a human being and born-again Christian, I never want to hear these words from the hard men of the loyalist community - ‘you democrats have had your turn, now move over and let us have a go at the Protocol!’
The Protocol has the capacity to create a vacuum which, if not resolved, may be filled with another generation of sectarian atrocities. Is that the future we want to leave for our children and grandchildren? I hope not.
Politics generally is about the art of compromise and agreement, and Irish politics is about the art of making the impossible a reality. If the Protocol was a positive for Northern Ireland, we would not be here today debating its impact on our community.
For the sake of political stability, for the sake of peace, for the sake of people’s livelihoods and surviving the cost of living crisis, the Protocol has to go.
Hunger and hypothermia are not Unionist challenges; they are not nationalist challenges - they hit everyone in our community. For the sake of peace, the future prosperity of our people, political progress, I simply conclude - end this Protocol madness now.
Follow Dr John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter
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.