by Kevin Meagher
James Brokenshire has an unfortunate surname for a man who presides over the collapse of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in office for barely seven months, has not exactly covered himself in glory thus far.
Last week, he was obliged to announce fresh elections to the 90-member Northern Ireland Assembly following the collapse of the cross-community executive, triggered by Martin McGuinness’s resignation as deputy First Minister.
The row centres on Democratic Unionist First Minister Arlene Foster’s quite ridiculous refusal to step aside and make way for an investigation into the £500m Renewable Heat Incentive fiasco she was responsible for in her previous post as enterprise minister.
The ‘burn to earn’ scheme saw massive payments to encourage companies to switch to wood pellet boilers, entitling them to make vast sums for heating empty properties.
Last week, police in South Armagh raided an empty heated barn assuming it was a drug factory.
Brokenshire finds himself tasked with picking up the pieces.
Yet this crisis is the result of a classic, almost textbook slow-motion political collision.