The whole row over tuition fees highlighted for me (though not for the mainstream press) that those who have elected Sinn Fein candidates to Westminister have condemmned the rest of the Northern Ireland electorate. Had Sinn Fein taken their seats at Westminister it is fair to say that that would have been another 5 no votes on Thursday night. Lookng back it wouldn't have been enough to prevent the legislation passing but prior to the vote it sure would have given the government a mighty headache. Governments do not like to be defeated and will negotiiate to the death to ensure they get the right result.
We will never know what concessions Northern Ireland may have been able to secure had all 18 of our MP's been able to present a united front. It may have been nothing on this occasion but there will be others and once again, our position will be weakend by Sinn Fein.
I respect the right of Sinn Fein to exist and fight elections and also to sit in government. I also respect Sinn Fein's position of not taking up their seats at Westminister. They have been honest about that and the electorate decided that was acceptable to them. As such it is Sinn Fein's voters I hold to account. It is a selfish and spiteful vote to elect a representative that not only is entirely ineffective in that office but also condemns the rest of Northern Ireland to suffer a weakend negotiating position. Politicians will not often turn on the electorate but it's about time someone did.