I got a few scoffing emails, mostly from idiots, on my suggestion on Sunday that Arlene Foster could be appointed First Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive.
I think this is a good move for a number of good reasons, and for me massively improves the standing of the DUP. First of all, and least important, the presence of an extra X chromosome at the negotiating table might inject some welcome commonsense and lateral thinking into the justice and policing catastrophe.
Second, she has an instinct for commonsense and reason, and those are not commodified resources in Northern Ireland. She knows the devolution of Justice is a political reality. She has the intelligence and chutzpah to pull it off.
Third, she has a history in support of the Armed Forces. People should and will trust her not to sell out the PSNI and justice. She has no politician’s yin to negotiate for the sake of politics as the art of the possible, but she is dogged and intelligent enough not to take any crap or gaming from the mendacious Martin McGuinness.
At the end of the day, I suspect the other parties may not let it rest as it is, and there’s no clearly defined sense in which this move is, [over the long term], constitutional. But this may be a rare opportunity for the DUP to outflank Sinn Féin, and that’s always a crowd pleaser.
UPDATE: I had forgotten the section on incapacity, which allows someone to be nominated to step in for up to six weeks. Nicely handled by the DUP. Hence the sections in this post in square brackets.