First its government collapsed. Then austerity began to bite. Now fresh elections are set to be cancelled, and tens of thousands of workers are going on strike.

This is Northern Ireland in 2024 — a land of political deadlock, public sector cuts and mass labor unrest, with neither British ministers in London nor local powerbrokers the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) willing to do what is needed to restore a coherent government in this ever-divided corner of the United Kingdom.

Nearly two years after the DUP first sabotaged the Northern Ireland Executive — the cross-community government at the heart of the region’s decades-old peace process — its leadership appears no closer to ending its boycott on cooperation with Sinn Féin. The Irish republicans overtook their DUP opponents as the most popular party at the last Stormont election in May 2022, but have been waiting ever since to lead a government under a power-sharing system the DUP refuses to revive.