TO judge by what Ian Paisley said when Northern Ireland's Assembly reconvened on Monday, there is no need for the British government to wait until its announced deadline of November 24 by which the elected Assembly must have agreed to resumed its power-sharing functions. When Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, rose to propose that Mr Paisley should be First Minister with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness as First Deputy Minister, he provoked a snorted “Certainly not” from the reverend gentleman. But it was Mr Paisley's subsequent explanation of his reaction that showed beyond questions that Northern Ireland will never get its own power-sharing government while he remains in politics: “Are we going to have in the government of Northern Ireland those who are terrorists, those that condone and even planned murders, who robbed banks, who committed criminal acts and who will not support the police?” Mr Adams might have suggested that if he has evidence to support those accusations Mr Paisley should hand it over to the police. However, it would have been pointless to do so because the leader of the majority Democratic Unionist Party does not want to share power with the main Catholic party and will advance any argument to avoid having to do so. If he is not challenged within his own party the inevitable outcome is that, come November 24, the chance of devolved government in Northern Ireland will once more have been lost.