Amid the ascent and ubiquity of dance music in the early 1990s, The Smiths-who had disbanded acrimoniously in 1987, appeared to have become deeply unfashionable. The fading reputation of The Smiths during the 1990s might, therefore, be attributed to the actions of fans and critics alike. The advent of the twenty-first century has signalled a remarkable reversal in the fortunes of The Smiths. The resurgence of guitar-based music, heralded by bands like The Strokes and The Libertines, has ensured that the Manchester group is now deeply fashionable, even more so perhaps than in their 1980s heyday. The increasing influence of The Smiths has stretched of course well beyond the parameters of popular music. When invited on the long-running BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs, David Cameron selected 'This Charming Man' as one of his indispensable recordings.
The consociational mode of government envisaged by those who framed the Belfast Agreement proves to be emblematic of a broader concern to build an equitable and inclusive social order in Northern Ireland. The dispute over 'guns and government' inexorably served to harden and polarise political opinion in Northern Ireland. The ramifications of the critical imbalance within the peace process would become readily apparent when it came time to initiate the principal institutions conceived under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). During the period of the troubles the gnawing disaffection of workingclass nationalists was evidently the most palpable source and emblem of the political instability prevalent within Northern Irish society. The persistence of ethno-political prejudice in particular suggests the need to exercise a little caution before speaking of Northern Ireland as a place that exists 'after the troubles'.