The whole week’s commentary in Northern Ireland seems to have been bent towards one event; the meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council, which may or may not decide the fate of their reform-minded leader, David Trimble (more here, here, here, here and here).
Whatever happens this weekend, it is unlikely to be the end of what is becoming one of the longest running Soap opera plots in the recent history of Northern Ireland.
But I’ll leave the final word to voice of a once implacable opponent of the Union, and still one of the most vocal critics of the Belfast Agreement, dissident Repubican Anthony McIntyre, who writes:
“Trimble, being, as Adams said, very good at what he does a skilled politician, was too astute not to realise the defeat he had inflicted on republicanism. He would later shrewdly comment, the only consolation republicans have today is the sight of our self-destructive displays of division. It is on this basis that they sell the process which has a partitionist reality at its core.”
And he finishes:
“Yet, as ever, there remain unionists who seem determined to amuse us by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Trimble safeguarded the union and forced republicans to accept the consent principle. He presented his party with a Northern Ireland shaped cake. Attacking Trimble on the colour of the cake – basically the configuration of the internal solution – does demonstrate that for some unionists having that cake is not enough, they want to eat it too in an act of self-devouring political cannibalism.”