The real danger now facing Ulster
The danger for Ulster, therefore, is that it will shortly trade sectarianism for socialism. This is despite the evidence that the astonishing emergence of the Republic of Ireland as an economic force to be reckoned with has been on the basis of rampant Thatcherism. Low tax rates and a benign entrepreneurial climate explain why prominent companies have, or are considering, relocating their head offices from London to Dublin. The last thing that Northern Ireland needs is the peace dividend it is about to receive to be squandered in a shared orgy of spending by DUP and Sinn Fein ministers out of Stormont.
The core question facing Northern Ireland’s politicians of all stripes once devolution returns is whether the model for the Province should be Eire or Scotland. For permanent peace might prove surprisingly easy to achieve, while permanent prosperity may be elusive. Exchanging sectarianism for socialism would be the ultimate, deeply unfunny, Irish joke.