Trevor Smith is the Liberal Democrat party spokesperson for Northern Ireland in the House of Lords. He has sent us this comment on Tom Griffin's recent post - given his experience the signal he is sending deserves a full post - Anthony Barnett
Tom Griffin's analysis is spot on. The current crisis can't be exaggerated. The impasse over transferring Police/Justice to the Northern Ireland Executive is at the root of the problem. The Robinsons' troubles are more a symptom than a cause - they have just brought things to a head. Shortcomings on the part of legislators need to be remedied by more democracy, not a retreat from it. That's why the transfer is vital. The problem is that a Brown government struggling with its own survival will not take the necessary steps to implement the transfer, while an incoming Tory administration may well be disinclined to do anything positive, particularly if a small parliamentary majority makes it reliant on Unionist support in the Commons. Northern Ireland political leaders must now move swiftly to agree the transfer in the immediate future.