The loneliness of a long distance politician…

David Trimble is upbeat, and given the nature of past events, verging on the statesman-like going into the Leeds Castle negotiations, saying that he hopes this will be the last lap of talks before a final and stable agreement.

  • peteb

    Upbeat Mick?

    It is a stateman-like view but it also suggests that any failure to deliver this time will be due to party-political considerations – “But it really depends on whether other parties and the government are prepared to face up to their responsibilities.”

  • Mick Fealty

    To be fair to the man, that is probably a reflection of political reality.

  • peteb

    I wasn’t questioning the ‘statesman-like’ part Mick, just whether it should be viewed as “upbeat” – which carries the obvious implication that he is optimistic about the talks.

  • willowfield

    We’ve been waiting six long years for Provisional republicans to verify that they’ve given up violence.

    Are they going to deliver at Leeds Castle? If so, what “concessions” are they going to wring out in return?

    It is morally obnoxious that PSF have been able to use the existence of their death squads to hamper the establishment of properly accountable democracy and seek to gain more and more concessions. Will Leeds Castle end this nonsense? I’m not hopeful.

  • davidbrew

    careful Willow, you’re starting to sound like Reg Empey-or as Shakespeare would have it ” a thing of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

    Leeds castle will only end this nonsense if Ulster Unionists accept that the baton has passed to the DUP-to adopt Reg’s slightly disingenuous analogy ( I would have said he had been fairly subbed by the manager after a woeful game)-and give them assistance and support; secondly the DUP has to remember that old cliche “no deal is better than a bad deal”, which must mean that there is to be an acceptance that the gravy train stops for everyone now if the price to be paid is too high;and finally all Unionists must accept that the the broader realignment of Unionism must continue, with the leadership of the right, as we tried -and failed- to do in the UUC. Exotic flowers such as Nesbitt, McGimpsey and Cooper are add-ons of dubious value, not the engine of Unionism.
    Since only the second of these eminently sensible aspirations is presently possible, you’re right about the prospects for Unionist success, so let’s hope our negotiators have the wit not to be manoeuvred into a worse position-and that’s probably the reason for the flurry of atypical DUP statements recently, in my completely outsider’s view

  • willowfield

    Leeds castle will only end this nonsense if Ulster Unionists accept that the baton has passed to the DUP-to adopt Reg’s slightly disingenuous analogy ( I would have said he had been fairly subbed by the manager after a woeful game)-and give them assistance and support

    Like the DUP gave assistance and support to the UUP, you mean?!! You are right, no doubt, but such hypocrisy for the DUP to expect assistance and support after 30 years of doing precisely the opposite! (Not sure what difference it’ll make, mind – the DUP are capable of reaching a deal on their own: they represent a clear majority of unionists.)

    secondly the DUP has to remember that old cliche “no deal is better than a bad deal”, which must mean that there is to be an acceptance that the gravy train stops for everyone now if the price to be paid is too high

    Unfortunately the DUP will find, like the UUP before them, that they have no control over what price is paid. If the government wants to give concessions to the Provos, the DUP has no power to stop them.

    and finally all Unionists must accept that the the broader realignment of Unionism must continue, with the leadership of the right, as we tried -and failed- to do in the UUC.

    “Leadership of the right” – what does this mean, and why does it need to continue? Of what relevance are left and right politics to unionism? Or do you mean realigning to traditional ethnic unionism instead of liberal civic unionism? In which case I disagree. There is an imperative to build a strong, liberal and civic unionism for the long term security of the Union. Relying on the volk is a strategy destined for a sad end.

    Exotic flowers such as Nesbitt, McGimpsey and Cooper are add-ons of dubious value, not the engine of Unionism.

    Which contradicts your earlier statement that the DUP needs their support.

  • davidbrew

    Like the DUP gave assistance and support to the UUP, you mean?!!

    -well actually I recall at the very outset of the talks a joint meeting of Paisley, Trimble & Bob, ad a joint approach agreed by all about chairmanship-within 48 hours Trimble had unilaterally reneged, and from that trust began to break down. Of course the DUP threw everything at the UUP to be top dog, but that didn’t make it right then, opr now- and aren’t the UUP supposed to be above that sort of thing? Well not if you look at their press releases lately-all Paisley-bashing, never a mention of SF/IRA.

    Leadership of the right” – what does this mean, and why does it need to continue?

    simple-it means core values need to be maintained-the overwhelming view of the Unionist constituency is what might be called traditional-including a large number of UUP voters. Unionism has been led since at least 1998 by those who are more accurately classified New Irelanders. The place which exists for them is in the rear passenger seat, not the driver’s seat nor the navigator’s, given their track record.

    Maximising the Unionist vote means preserving the core and sweeping up the pro-Unionist, and possibly post-Unionist voters. It does not mean marginalising the base in the hope of attracting converts or envigorating the apathetic.

    Bangor Unionists are needed because they have votes, money, and common values with British citizens elsewhere in the UK, but they are not more valuable than Ballymena voters with their quaint Free P thrawn 12th of July world view. Someone should tell Sylvia

  • willowfield

    -well actually I recall at the very outset of the talks a joint meeting of Paisley, Trimble & Bob, ad a joint approach agreed by all about chairmanship-within 48 hours Trimble had unilaterally reneged, and from that trust began to break down. Of course the DUP threw everything at the UUP to be top dog, but that didn’t make it right then, opr now- and aren’t the UUP supposed to be above that sort of thing?

    As I said above: “you are right, no doubt”. The UUP should set aside differences and support a common unionist position at the talks. But the point remains that the DUP did not do this in the previous talks and it is hypocritical to expect the UUP to do the same.

    Well not if you look at their press releases lately-all Paisley-bashing, never a mention of SF/IRA.

    They must be copying the DUP.

    simple-it means core values need to be maintained-the overwhelming view of the Unionist constituency is what might be called traditional-including a large number of UUP voters.

    So you are talking about “traditional unionism”. What’s that got to do with “right” as opposed to “left”?

    Unionism has been led since at least 1998 by those who are more accurately classified New Irelanders. The place which exists for them is in the rear passenger seat, not the driver’s seat nor the navigator’s, given their track record.

    That’s your description. Ironically, the DUP, of course, is now following these “New Irelanders'” policies! The “New Irelanders”, as you call them, have set the agenda and the DUP is following.

    Maximising the Unionist vote means preserving the core and sweeping up the pro-Unionist, and possibly post-Unionist voters. It does not mean marginalising the base in the hope of attracting converts or envigorating the apathetic.

    Indeed. But it is the responsibility of Unionist leaders to pursue a strategy in the long-term interests of the Union and educate the core about the merits of this course. Unionist leaders should not be content to follow a strategy that is against the long-term interests of unionists, just because it is easier to sell to the core in the short-term. That’s just stupid.

    Trimble had the right strategy – or the essence of it at least – he failed to communicate or educate its merits to the core that you talk about. … But, Trimble’s personal failings aside, the DUP and Trimble’s dissidents made this task impossible anyway, by constant opposition and undermining. Now the DUP and the former dissidents find themselves accepting the very strategy they opposed, albeit disguising this fact with a few fig-leafs of disagreement.

    What should have happened, of course, was that the DUP should have signed up to the strategy in the first place, instead of spending six years pretending to oppose it in order that they could become top dog and have to pursue it anyway.

  • Peter Brown

    But the point remains that the DUP did not do this in the previous talks and it is hypocritical to expect the UUP to do the same.

    Actually wasn’t it the UUP who broke ranks and went into the talks without DUP & UKUP?

    Trimble’s personal failings aside, the DUP and Trimble’s dissidents made this task impossible anyway, by constant opposition and undermining.

    Actually isn’t it the electorate who have done the damage? He has ignored the DUP and dissidents but cannot ignore the results…

  • willowfield

    Peter Brown

    Actually wasn’t it the UUP who broke ranks and went into the talks without DUP & UKUP?

    David Brewster already said that.

    But the point remains that the DUP did not set aside this point of departure and weigh in behind the UUP during the talks, so it is hypocritical to expect the UUP to do the same now.

    Actually isn’t it the electorate who have done the damage? He has ignored the DUP and dissidents but cannot ignore the results…

    But the DUP should have been honest with the electorate, instead of pretending that the GFA was unnecessary and could be overthrown. They should have supported Trimble instead of undermining him. Now they find themselves pursuing the same goal as Trimble, having told everyone they were opposed to Trimble!