“moral vacuum at the heart of the process”

After delivering his speech to the party’s annual meeting [no, not that meeting.. the other one] UUP leader David Trimble spoke to the Irish Times’ Dan Keenan and called on both the Irish and British Governments “to act to save the very morality of constitutional politics”The opening paragraphs of Dan Keenan’s article –

It is time for Ahern and Blair to act to save the very morality of constitutional politics, David Trimble tells Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

“The Taoiseach is the leader of the Irish nation and he should, therefore, be giving leadership to all those who regard themselves as Irish nationalists. There is a desperate need, not just for political leadership, but for moral leadership as well.

“We are standing here only a couple of hundred yards from Magennis’s bar where Mr McCartney was done to death a few weeks ago. If that sort of situation doesn’t call for a leadership that does more than comment, a leadership which acts, what could?”

Speaking privately after an understated centenary meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council, David Trimble insists quietly: “We can’t have a moral vacuum at the heart of the process. Governments ought to be the guardian of the process, they ought to be the guardian of the legal and moral integrity of the process. I know what they’ve said in terms of condemnation – I’m saying I think it needs to go further than that.”

So there you have it prime minister, there you have it Taoiseach. The appeal could not be clearer and the language could not be simpler from the unionist who sees himself as having done more than any other to secure the Belfast Agreement.

Republicans, he believes, have failed to deliver on the most basic of democratic criteria and are therefore excluding themselves. Other democrats should not have to continue to pay the penalty for Sinn Féin failures and IRA refusals to go away. The British and Irish governments, by keeping a toe in the constitutional door, are ignoring the “moral vacuum at the heart of the process”.