Brian John Spencer is a writer and artist living in Belfast, writing about being British and Irish, drawing people and politics. Brian also works and writes for veteran Irish journalist Eamonn Mallie at eamonnmallie.com, writes his own blog here and tweets and tumblrs a lot. Read more about Brian on his website, www.brianjohnspencer.com
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a disaffected people in possession of a dysfunctional government must be in want of an alternative. A lame government is a dead government. Not in Northern Ireland. Naomi Long said ahead of the election, "The public will not forget the time squandered in delay, deadlock and division."
She is articulate and assertive, and she can dispatch a determined opponent with a withering glance and stinging retort. She straddles a corner of European politics and commands respect from adversaries and allies alike. This isn't Nicola Sturgeon or Angela Merkel, but another strong and popular stateswoman - Arlene Foster.
Our great challenge is to make transparent the great deceit and conceit of the religious. When will we unmask the cyclical charade of religious resistance and the idea that religious ideas are inviolable and unalterable when history shows that they are violable and alterable; and that as in the past, that which is considered presently unconscionable will in the future be quite conscionable.
You could be downcast, or you could look at the opportunities. Yes Ezra and Felix are right to counsel, but know this: don't wait to be asked; don't cross your arms; don't ask for permission, just do it. Here's the secret: dogged determination and a resolve to never stop.
It's simple: "The only way of living in a free society is to feel that you have the right to say and do stuff." Said Salman Rushdie. Go figure. Let truth and falsehood grapple. How do we know what is right if we don't know wrong and the case that is made for wrong. Ideas may be distasteful and deeply disagreeable, but we cannot airbrush and disappear that and those people that we disagree with.
If it's Scotland's pound, as Alex Salmond said, it's the people's Scotland. Let us stay together, all of us. Just as Britain is the product of collective endeavour, so Scotland is the product of the shared effort of these islands.
This is a divided, vivisected Northern Ireland. This is the inheritance of Paisleyism, a noxious, nefarous ideology that broke and bankrupted Northern Ireland for decades and which now stands firm against reconciliation and a plurality of views.
We're left with a leader that is devoid of leadership capacity, lumbered with the charisma of a damp rag, the vision of a mole and all the on-camera tact of a 14 year old pubescent man-child. A sepulchral sod. Goodness knows the manner off-camera. So let me say it again, it's the man, not the House, who's no longer fit for purpose.
Northern Ireland needs to enter the British consciousness. We especially need the Irish diaspora, unionist and nationalist, to feed into the process. At present it's just a troublesome cousin. But we're more than that. We're not just a troublesome side issue.