Crisis deepens..

Trimble is by several accounts preparing for a serious split with John Reid:

“Mr Trimble’s confidence in Dr Reid is believed to have fallen sharply after the MP for Upper Bann suggested a security initiative after a break-in at Castlereagh police station in March, for which the Provisional IRA has been blamed. Mr Trimble’s advisers said that he expected Dr Reid to relay the information to Tony Blair but, they say, he was surprised several weeks later to discover that the Prime Minister had not been told.”

One senior aide to Trimble said:

“He has become a problem to the process, but it’s up to Downing Street to sort it out, not us. He’s just not pulling his weight. It may be that officials in the Northern Ireland Office are misrepresenting the situation to Reid himself, but he’s just not expressing Unionist concerns to Downing Street. That’s the fundamental problem.”

Gerry Adams keeps the pressure on from the other side: “The Catholic community and other people of goodwill want to know when the killing of Catholics is going to stop”. Danny Morrison, gives a Republican reading of the political events of the last fortnight:

“Tony Blair stated that any future breach of the ceasefires would be met with a “rigorous’ response”. He refused unionist demands that the power of decision be removed from the Secretary of State and invested in an ‘independent’ arbiter (that is, someone sympathetic to unionists). If last Wednesday’s announcement from Blair has been perceived by unionists as a defeat for them and a victory for Sinn Féin, then the only possible interpretation of Trimble’s observation about August being a bloody month is that the violence would be coming from loyalists.”

He goes on:

“Roll on his [David Trimble’s] resignation as First Minister – and a bonus would be his resignation as leader of his party. Let them have a new leader. He or she will still be facing the same problem of whether they can accept the principle of equality and share power. I don’t even care if the DUP emerges as the largest party on the unionist side after next May’s Assembly elections; that is, if we have elections. They will all face the same dilemma: do we despise nationalists more than we love ‘Ulster’?”

If the crisis does lead to resignation and a crashing of the institutions, is David Burnside the man to lead the UUP in the mess that will inevitably follow?

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