Trimble again

The First Minister was the subject of some forceful journalism this weekend. Áine O’Neill wonders if:

“The penny might just have dropped with the UUP this week that loyalist violence, and their own perceived ambivalence towards it, is pushing another generation of young Catholics into the waiting arms of Sinn Féin. You could sense that as you stood among the silent young people on the Floral Road at Tuesday night’s vigil, the wind sighing through the fir trees where UDA drive-by killers had murdered a young man walking home after a day at St Enda’s GAA club.”

Jim Dee in the Boston Herald:

“UUP hard-liners are expected to force yet another crunch meeting of the party’s ruling Ulster Unionist Council by October. To survive as party leader, Trimble likely will have to adopt much of the hard-liners’ program, including a UUP Cabinet pullout that will trigger the most serious peace-pact crisis yet. Many UUP-watchers say Trimble knows his days as party leader are numbered and that he’s already eyeing greener pastures in London and the possibility of a plum job with Britain’s Conservative Party.”

Apparently Trimble has dropped hints that Assembly elections may be brought forward to November. Emily O’Reilly hints that the Shinners are winning the peace process hands down:

“Peace has become a weapon and a far more useful one, the IRA has discovered, than any number of bombs and bullets. Peace shattered the gates of Stormont. Peace brought them ministries and power. Peace brought them six Dail seats and the expectation of much more than that next time out. So Sinn Fein can afford to throw compassionate shapes. It won’t stunt their growth; it will only enhance it. They make sheep’s eyes at Trimble and lament his inability to respond in kind. But they have him where they want him, stuck forever in his very own version of Groundhog Day, while the Provos scurry past, busy boys and girls on their way to the completion of an agenda that Trimble is so far helpless to thwart.”