The election dust settles

Sinn Fein's Gearoid O'hEara congratulates Mark Durkan at last night's count. On right is DUP candidate Gary Middleton. DER1815MC122

Sinn Fein's Gearoid O'hEara congratulates Mark Durkan at last night's count. On right is DUP candidate Gary Middleton. DER1815MC122

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The dust has settled, more quickly than expected. We can see the picture and it’s a nasty one.

The dust has settled, more quickly than expected. We can see the picture and it’s a nasty one.

Gregory Campbell MP signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Gregory Campbell MP signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

First, it’s no change locally. Mark Durkan had a resounding victory over the formidable Gearóid Ó hEára. So, John Hume’s old seat remains with his former party. Gregory Campbell remains the double-jobbing MP for Cúil Raithin agus Léim an Mhadaidh (Coleraine and Limavady) otherwise known as East Londonderry.

Elsewhere in the North, Mike Nesbitt’s Unionists appeared to do well in winning two seats. It could be a pyrrhic victory as the smaller unionist party is indistinguishable from the larger one and looks on course to be swallowed up.

Of course, politics in the Six Counties remains all about Orange versus Green. After the so-called Leaders’ Debate on local TV, commentators expressed surprise that there was hardly a mention of the economy. Political debate here isn’t about the economy, stupid. It never will be until the national issue is resolved.

On the British scene the election marked the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom. Left dominated Scotland won’t hang together with austerity promoting Tory dominated England.

For Ireland, the result presents a scary picture. It confronts us with the prospect of new Tory cuts and brings an in/out referendum on the EU, here in the North a step closer. David Cameron is committed to it. For the North to leave the EU with the south remaining in, would be disastrous. Do you fancy the prospect of going through customs and producing your passport just to nip up to Muff for petrol?