Political paralysis in the North risks the awful prospect of a return to direct rule
Colum Eastwood, MLA for Foyle, plans to challenge Dr Alasdair McDonnell for the leadership of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). He is 32 years old, Dr McDonnell 66. He has called for "a new brand of progressive nationalism" in Northern Ireland.
Since the North needs new brands of almost everything, especially in the political and administrative spheres, you have to welcome the contest. You also have to welcome the way in which Mike Nesbitt has breathed a touch of new life into his Ulster Unionist Party, long since reduced to a mini-party by the rise of the Democratic Unionists.
But it will take more than one leadership contest to overcome the deplorable condition of the region, which is generally described as "political paralysis".