Continuing with Frank Millar’s book, one of the most striking passages early on is the almost random way Trimble seems to have come into his kingdom. As many of his internal critics would probably recognised it seems to have relied more on gut instinct than and forward calculation.His rising media profile, gave him a key advantage over the other candidates – not least that famous jig in Portadown. He’d also calculated that, barring John D Taylor, he was the most able candidate on offer to the party at the time. But the trigger he recounts to Millar was when:
One woman delegate bumped into me around lunchtime really upset, ‘What on earth are we going to do, if you don’t go for it?’, she demanded. ‘You have to.’ I was left in no doubt that she regarded it almost as part of the contract I had made with the party to be available for it. So all of that left me feeling not only that this could happen but this is highly likely to happen.
Previously: the slow pace of reconciliation
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty