A new form of participatory democracy is being planned for Northern Ireland, which is hoped will finally allow us to avoid seeing Sammy Wilson continually.
Under the bold scheme, the controversial Petition of Concern will be replaced with referendums on contentious subjects, so that they can be resolved within months, rather than dragging on for years.
“As things stand, when we start a debate something about like abortion or gay marriage, you can be pretty sure that we’ll still be arguing about it two or three years later,” says Professor Pauline Station from the Institute for the Study of Electoral Dysfunction.
“As a result, we’re forced to continually look at Sammy Wilson’s big face getting progressively redder as he rants about things he only vaguely understands.”
“The only alternative is to change channel and listen to some three-year-old Shinner who can barely speak but has been co-opted as an MLA in a safe seat, whining on about equality after opening a community centre named after a hunger striker.”
“Let’s face it, the Petition of Concern was put in place to stop one community forcing things on the other, like a law demanding a particular flag was tattooed on every child’s face at birth. However the whole demographic has changed since the Good Friday Agreement and the chances of that happening are pretty slim.”
“Maybe if we just had referendums on this shite, we could get that shower back into Stormont and persuade them to make the occasional decision about stuff like hospitals.”
The first vote will be held in August, when the public will be asked if they want to give local politicians a good boot up the hole. It is understood that there will only be one option on the ballot paper.
“To add ‘no’ would be a waste of ink,” says Professor Station.