David Ervine: biography

IN review of the book in this month’s Fortnight magazine, Newton Emerson of the Portadown News, says of his subject :

“David Ervine played a key role in delivering the loyalist ceasefire. He negotiated directly with Albert Reynolds to secure promises essential in securing the Good Friday Agreement promises which have been kept. He humanised unionism before the American political establishment. He stopped Mo Mowlam undermining the consent principle. He did all this under fire from mainstream unionism and under a very real IRA death threat. None of this is any secret, but it is important to be reminded of it.”

He muses:

“Reviewing Ervine’s contribution, in full and in one volume, is sobering. It bids the question: ‘If only our elected representatives had such imagination’. But then the question turns around ¾ ‘If only people with such imagination could get elected’ and we’re back to square one. Ervine could make his remarkable personal journey, but he couldn’t bring enough people with him.”

But he concludes:

“A little less reliance on class war clichés could have made all the difference for the PUP. It would certainly have made all the difference to this book.”