Anyone who doubted the value of devolution should examine closely the recommendations of the December Monitoring Round. The fact that a locally accountable minister was in post at Stormont making these decisions means that they can be responsive to the needs of the community in a way that some fly-by-night direct ruler, with their own English, Scottish or Welsh constituency never could.
Whilst it’s obviously true in both Scotland and Wales there are Unionists who believe in the principle of devolution, I do not believe there is one who would use such disparaging language to describe those elected representatives of our nation’s parliament who just happen to come from another part of the United Kingdom; that "fly by night direct ruler" jibe and the implicit separation of Northern Ireland from England, Scotland and Wales could have come right out of the SNP Handbook of Provocative, Separatist Phrases.
"You're surely spaking my language thare Big Man"...
"Glad to hear it Ian, glad to hear it."
What's really disturbing the DUP is that if and when the Conservative/UUP link-up succeeds, then Northern Ireland politics will inevitably be pulled towards the secular, non-communal variety practiced on the mainland; people in Northern Irish constituencies will be voting on the same issues which concern our fellow citizens in English, Scottish and Welsh constituencies. In other words, what is really disturbing them is the risk that politics here may be on the verge of becoming more....British and less Ulster.