I have been so groggy all day. I don't know what the deal is.
The Northern Ireland Assembly elections have finished: the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party - generally anti-Good Friday Agreement, radical unionists) made some very strong gains at the expense of the smaller parties and the UUP (Ulster Unionist Party - generally pro-agreement, moderate unionists), while Sinn Fein (the primary nationalist party, generally radical and pro-agreement, often accused of being the IRA's political arm) made strong gains at the expense of the SDLP (Social Democratic Labour Party - moderate nationalists, generally pro-agreement with some exceptions) and the fairly small Alliance Party (a bridge between the unionist and nationalist sides). This spells gridlock unless the UUP, Sinn Fein, and the SDLP can all get together and work on the peace process together. The DUP (the party of Ian Paisley - about whom I will not rant here) is absolutely dead-set on dispatching with the original accords altogether and starting anew. While I admit that the issues regarding transparency on weapons are disturbing, the rhetoric delivered by the party maintains Rev. Paisley's view: that since Sinn Fein is the political manifestation of the IRA, they're not worthy of negotiations, and will therefore not have any part in a deal. This is hard to stomach, since Sinn Fein actually came second in total first-preference votes: it's impossible to dismiss them when they were only 15,000 votes behind the DUP. Also, their position is counter to that of the government in Britain: they have already affirmed the constitutionality of Sinn Fein as a valid party in the Northern Ireland elections, so the DUP is effectively running at cross purposes with Her Majesty's government.
In summary, the UUP is in a precarious position. I believe that unity in both nationalist and unionist camps is necessary for progress, and while the nationalist camp has become vastly more unified, the unionists need to address the split that's been created. To that end, the UUP must choose whether to throw their lot in with the DUP or keep working with the nationalists on the major issues at hand.
Anyhow. My brain hurts for some reason. Maybe it's all the acronyms. O_o
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