New Decade, New Approach? A socialist analysis
January 2020 saw government institutions in the North of Ireland end their three year hiatus after local parties signed up to the British government’s New Decade, New Approach agreement, which outlined the basis for the resurrection of power sharing in Stormont. After a prolonged period of no government, which was triggered by the RHI crisis, a time categorised by huge levels of frustration among public sector workers over issues of pay, pensions and the more general running down of services, as well as anger around the denial of civil and individual rights, including Irish language rights, equal marriage and the right to bodily autonomy. The resurrection of the Stormont institutions led to a fleeting sense of positivity across society. But almost as soon as the ink dried upon the pages of the New Decade, New Approach agreement, cracks began to appear in the new dispensation, which has all the hallmarks of another weak and unstable marriage of convenience between Sinn Féin, the DUP and other establishment parties.