Unionism and Loyalism should conveniently dismiss all the ‘Vote Joe Again’ spin in many of the speeches, especially Biden’s desperate appeal to the Ulster Scots lobby in the United States by suggesting he had an English heritage.
Any Unionist or Loyalist who concludes these remarks represent a softening of Joe Biden’s staunchly pro-Irish nationalist stance is living in political cloud-cuckoo land. Biden is a committed constitutional Irish republican and the most pro-nationalist President to occupy the Oval Office since John F Kennedy in the 1960s.
Unionism and Loyalism should be genuinely fearful of one key line from his speech in the Dail: “The United Kingdom should be working closer with Ireland.”
Taken in conjunction with all the hype about the Biden billions in terms of American investment if the Stormont institutions are restored, this Biden remark was not a political gaffe or ‘off piste’ remark.
It was an assuredly deliberate broadside at the British Government that if the DUP does not agree to restoring the Executive and the Assembly, then Westminster and Dublin should work together to implement joint authority.
But the DUP is a politically ‘thrawn’ Ulster Scots movement. The party needs to be led by the hand back into Stormont, not shoved physically through Parliament Buildings’ revolving doors.
Realistically, no matter how cutting the Armageddon Budget proves to be, there will be no moves by the DUP on restoring power-sharing until all the votes are counted following the 18 May local council elections. Electorally, it will prove to be a ‘feast or a famine’ poll for the DUP.
If the DUP increases or even holds its tally of councillors, its Stormont boycott over the Protocol and the Windsor Framework will have proven to have been a big hit with the pro-Union community. Project Fear will have notched up another victory! That’s the feast result.
The famine result will be the opposite - losing seats to the hardline TUV, protest votes going to Alliance and the UUP, and even voter apathy among the pro-Union community as Unionists and Loyalists register their opposition to the boycott policy by staying at home - a tactic which could see nationalist and republican candidates win seats in traditionally pro-Union District Electoral Areas (DEAs).
Likewise, there will be no going back into Stormont until at after Black Saturday - the last Saturday in August hosted by the senior Loyal Order, the Royal Black Institution, which traditionally marks the end of the Marching Season.
Ironically, this post-election ‘time of reflection’ by the DUP is really about who controls the party - the Westminster contingent run by the original Paisleyite faction, or the modernising devolutionists, run by the UUP blow-ins.
Whichever faction comes out on top after the sashes, bowler hats, gloves, banners and bannerettes are neatly put away for another Marching Season will dictate if devolution in the form of the current Stormont Assembly will be restored, or mothballed for at least another generation - or maybe even resurrected to mark the half-century anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in another 25 years.
In reality, I’d say the DUP has until the start of the new academic year in September - no matter what the outcome of May’s local council elections - to at least privately within the party decide whether to walk back into Stormont, or admit to Westminster that Parliament Buildings needs to be locked up permanently in terms of a fully functioning, power-sharing devolved administration.
Like the Protestants who endured the Siege of Londonderry in 1688/89, the DUP must calculate how much the pro-Union community - indeed, the entire Northern Ireland community - is prepared to suffer as many families (not just working class, or those on the poverty line, but also many middle class families) face the hard financial choices in the current cost of living crisis.
What many in the DUP’s pro-boycott camp have yet to explain is what their workable alternative is if Stormont cannot be restored. Taking Biden’s Dail remarks as a benchmark, there’s no guarantee for Unionists and Loyalists that Stormont will be replaced by old-style Direct Rule from London only.
Likewise, even if it is called ‘Direct Rule’, it may not be a form which existed for decades after the original Stormont Parliament was prorogued in 1972, with MPs from the Westminster parties taking over the various portfolios at the Northern Ireland Office.
The best the DUP could hope for is an NIO staffed by Northern Ireland-elected MPs, the so-called Molyneaux Solution, as favoured by the late Jim Molyneaux, the former UUP leader and staunch integrationist.
In the Eighties and Nineties, the Northern Ireland Conservatives lobbied successfully to have their constituency associations formally recognised nationally by the party - but that was in the hope that the pro-Union community would elect Tory MPs to many of Northern Ireland’s Unionist-held constituencies.
That ideal crashed and burned along with the equally disastrous Ulster Conservative and Unionist - New Force General Election pact.
Anyway, with Sinn Fein MPs continuing to operate their outdated abstentionist policy from 1905 by refusing to take their Commons seats, there’s little chance of Westminster allowing an NIO ministerial team made up of only those parties who formally take their Commons seats.
This would be especially true with Sinn Fein currently being the largest party in the Assembly, and if it comes out top again after May 18 as the party with the most councillors in Northern Ireland, as well as win a significant number of TDs in the Dail and becomes a leading player in a Southern coalition government.
So enter Biden with his joint authority push, presumably supported with his billions. Biden will push - dangling the inward investment carrot - for a system of government in Northern Ireland which gives Dublin a far greater influence than any cross-border bodies, the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference, or indeed the Maryfield Secretariat of the mid 1980s.
Biden will effectively be prepared to bankroll joint authority with all of nationalism, republicanism, liberal and civic Unionism backed up by ecumenical Protestantism signing up to this ‘Irish Unity by the backdoor’ deal. Unionism will again have been outmanoeuvred by a lack of constructive ideas.
Then the elephant in the room becomes whether the British and Irish intelligence communities can outwit sections of Loyalism who will attempt to reciprocate the atrocities of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan no-warning bombs which murdered over 30 innocent people, leaving hundreds more wounded.
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.