The Burkean –
Stormont looks set to be getting a lick of green paint with Sinn Féin now officially overtaking the DUP as the statelet’s premier party.
Riding on the back of demographic shift and a political crisis within unionism, the Shinners romped home with an impressive 29% ahead of an erstwhile DUP at 21%.
While the sectarian zero sum game of northern politics normally leads to little change each election season, the Sinn Féin triumph alters the apple cart of Stormont if only for psychological effect.
A major symbolic wound for mainstream unionism in the form of the DUP, the result will no doubt add fuel to the fire to the identity crisis of post-Brexit loyalism.
Flanked by moderates in the form of the UUP and Alliance the militants of the TUV saw a marked tripling of their share largely at the expense of the DUP.
Overall there appears to be a tendency of middle class liberal unionists opting for Alliance with the fortunes of Eastwood’s SDLP continuing to wane.
With a protocol-fueled storm brewing in East Belfast as evidenced by the disturbances near the Port, such a shift in loyalism spells badly for the future of that movement as the decade proceeds.
Loyalism has existed for centuries as a sort of political insurance policy for Britain, but now with Sinn Féin transformed into a generic Atlanticist liberal party working within British institutions, the necessity to keep Orangemen on the books diminishes.