Now it's Trimble's turn to say never

Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble has joined DUP leader Ian Paisley by saying he will never share power with Sinn Féin.

Speaking in Belfast, Trimble also said if republicans wanted to be part of any future negotiations, they would have to show a complete change of heart.

He claimed the Irish and British governments had failed to push republicans hard enough and had left it up to the UUP to ensure the IRA went out of business.

Looks like we can all forget a devolved Assembly.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    If anyone comes across a direct quote let me know. Until then I’m reserving judgement.

  • Henry94

    He has nothing to worry about. There are no Shinners in the House of Lords.

  • Dessertspoon

    “Never” Very constructive Davey boy anyone would think you were scared of losing your seat. This doesn’t really sit well with your PPB – all about the future and how good it would be if people didn’t vote for the extremes and now you are one of the extremes so you’ve just told people not to vote for you!!! What is this reverse psycology?

  • Circles

    I’d just like to belatedly thank the Nobel Committee for its foresight and judgement all those years ago – unfortunately they also had to give one to Trimble too.

    I suppose thats the downside of positive discrimination.

  • Paul P

    Does Trimble think that the unionist electorate cannot remember….he really has no intuitiveness of grass root Unionism.

  • fair_deal

    Desertspoon

    “This doesn’t really sit well with your PPB”

    Agree, the UUP message in thei election gets ever more confused and its only the second day of official campaigning.

  • fair_deal

    Beano

    What he said, again a similar spin on his comments as there were on Paisley’s (The UUP website)

    “In our view the Unionist electorate would not support, or tolerate now or in the foreseeable future the formation of an Executive that would include Sinn Fein.

    So where do we go?

    First we do not intend to re-enter an Executive that includes Sinn Fein. If republicans wish to be included in talks then it must rebuild its credibility by doing all the things it should have done and present itself as a purely peaceful democratic movement with no private army.”

    Furthermore past experience indicates that IRA statements are ambiguous; that decommissioning is used to cover the inadequacy of the words.

    So I must advise republicans that this time they must demonstrate a complete change of heart. Their statements should be unequivocal. There should be no doubt that they now see violence and crime as things of the past. Decommissioning should be equally clear and transparent with full details of inventory and methodology.”

  • George

    Looks like Trimble knows what’s definitely coming next in the choreography, a piece of IRA decommissioning.

    He of course needs to portray it as irrelevant as there is no chance he will get to see methodology or inventory because this time around it looks like it will be a unilateral IRA action, not dependent on the UUP, DUP or whoever, working to reinstate Stormont.

  • kitty

    “In our view the Unionist electorate would not support, or tolerate now or in the foreseeable future the formation of an Executive that would include Sinn Fein.”

    Jeepers Davy, is your seat in that much danger?

  • fair_deal

    Kitty

    Yes

  • Alan2

    Ok they are saying the same thing as the DUP but who do you believe? Trimble on his track record?
    Lord Molyneaux is reported in the News Letter today as calling for Trimble to resign.

  • fair_deal

    Good advice (pity he hadn’t the sense to do it earlier in his own career).

  • Circles

    I believe neither of them, as the daily grind of real politik (and more than a little vainity) would have both Dave-boy and Dr No at the table before you could say “it was bold and it was beautiful”.
    Election bluster, like the morning mist that fades away as the post election sun climbs overhead.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “In our view the Unionist electorate would not support, or tolerate now or in the foreseeable future the formation of an Executive that would include Sinn Fein.” (Trimble)
    “Ok they are saying the same thing as the DUP but who do you believe?”(Alan2)
    As I pointed out earlier the UUP have been saying that for months.

    I don’t know about the rest of you but “in the forseeable future” hardly constitutes ‘never’. To me it suggests a time frame to determine if the republicans are serious, which based on previous events will presumably be quite considerable.

  • Cirlces

    Now I wonder how republicans could actually inject a seriousness clause into their pre-conditions?
    Decommission Dr No?
    It would be laughable if it weren’t so terribly serious – the “block” that wants progress least, happy with the status quo and direct rule, are actually taken seriously when they demand some kind of seriousness test from republicans.

    How can republicans be sure that either the DUP or UUP are seriously interested in reaching an agreement at all to ensure the re-establishment of the institutions?

    (bit of a rambling post, but had to sneak that one in from work!)

  • Alan2

    Happy enough with a more accountable direct rule mate, a direct rule based on equality for all.
    What we need however is local input into that direct rule.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    The DUP’s supporters are probably largely happy with DR, but I’m sure the DUP reps (as with any other party) would love to get back in the assembly, get their hands on the power and get the full salaries again.

  • Alan2

    Your forgetting Pailsey`s Calvinist leanings…you can`t take your money with you you know.

  • fair_deal

    Direct rule should not be Unionism’s aim.

  • slug9987

    It seems that SF have decided that decommissioning is now right for their own self-interest. That means that unionists have to move on too.

    Therefore its right for the DUP to look for other ways to advance their interests. There is no point in them making decommissioning the key if republicans have accepted the need for this. The DUP serves their interests badly if they do not look for new objectives to negotiate for – particularly the type of powersharing (whether ministries are allocated by mechanistic or negotiated means and so on).

    You can call it changing the goalposts but not to do this would be pretty foolish. Parties have to keep themselves relevant.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “Direct rule should not be Unionism’s aim.” I don’t have a big problem with direct rule per se, largely because the local ‘politicians’ we have are by and large a useless shower of *****s.

  • Circles

    Slug – this may come acroos as a naive post, but bugger it, I don’t care.

    When you say “Therefore its right for the DUP to look for other ways to advance their interests” what in your opinion is their interest? What can be gained by constantly upping the ante?
    If the IRA disappear, and then another “decontaminition” (don’t you just love that word?) period is imposed, which will in any case drive nationalist voters mad with furstration, what is to be gained?
    The day will still come when they’ll have to sit down and work with republicans. Why delay this? The can’t simply demand Sinn Fein out of existence.

    The status quo is way too comfy for unionists to want to change it. Thats why they did not start the peace process and have dragged their feet all the way. I doubt whether their really is any serious desire, at least in the DUP, to ever reach an agreement with republicans – ever. Which, IMHO, is more of a stumbling block to progress than whether we have a few kodak moments of arem destruction or not.

  • Circles

    Sorry about the spelling there – lesson is “Don’t work and post!”

  • George

    Who’d have thought it?

    Many aren’t I admit but many Unionists of all hues are now also virtually happily admitting Northern Ireland is a “failed political entity” and direct rule is the preferred option for the forseeable future.

    Looks like Charlie “flawed pedigree” Haughey was right all those years ago when he coined the phrase.

    Small-minded Partitionists on both sides of the border will be delighted at the news as the one thing that direct rule will ensure is that Northern Ireland will stagnate even further thus making it day by day a bigger and bigger burden on whichever taxpayer is responsible for it.

    The metamorphosis from ungovernable to unfinancible continues.

  • Alan2

    Hardly. Let the normalisation process continue and let the flourishing commercial centres continue to flourish. It may not be the Celtic Tiger but the NI economy is hardly bad. Get rid of the Assembly and the thousands of unneccessary civil servants and quango`s and go to accountable direct rule.

  • fair_deal

    There is no such thing as accountable direct rule

  • Circles

    As if they’d have a clue in London about what we in Ireland want – direct rule with a silent “mis”.

  • George

    Alan2,
    not only are you missing the point, you are believing the hype that Northern Ireland is going somewhere.

    Northern Ireland’s GNI was 79.0% of UK GNI in 1997. At the end of after seven years of boom it stood at 79.2% of GNI.

    Why? Because the boom is a public sector driven boom to pacify the locals and no wealth is being generated.

    At this rate it will take Northern Ireland a mere 735 years to catch up with the rest of the UK and over a 1000 to catch up with the Irish Republic.

    You’re easily pleased.

  • George

    end of 2004.

  • steve48

    “Lord Molyneaux is reported in the News Letter today as calling for Trimble to resign.”

    Actually we reckon the story is at least 3 months old and likely more than a year old.

    Someone at the Newsletter doing a bit of their own stirring

  • slugg9987

    Oh Circles, the DUPs interests I won’t specify. The point I was making is that now that the IRA have decided that decommissioning is in their own interests regardless, there is little point in unionists making that a priority in negotiations. There are other things that unionists would like, such as the way in which the Exec and Assembly would work, so it makes sense for them to move on and have fresh demands. Parties have to move on.

  • Alan2

    steve48 – the article definitely says yesterday.

    george – yes that maybe true but what about every other country in Europe? Apart from the Republic they are mostly terrible. Sure things could be alot better but they could also be alot worse and then again cost of living and housing is also less. It costs £10 to go to the cinema in London.

  • slug9987

    Circles

    “The day will still come when they’ll have to sit down and work with republicans. Why delay this? The can’t simply demand Sinn Fein out of existence. The status quo is way too comfy for unionists to want to change it.”

    Basically you are right that unionists are in a strong bargaining position because of these factors – my advice is they should bargain hard soon for a good deal. The fact that decommissioning is something that that IRA say they want to do ANYWAY means that unionists should not anylonger make decommissioning a priority. It will happen anyway, so they should focus on some other things they care about. Sinn Fein want to be in government north of the bodrder so the DUP can shape the terms of this. The DUP I am sure have plenty of issues of concern and I am no expert on them but I would hazard a guess that they would include keeping as much control as possible in the Assembly (minimising the role of the Irish Govt), and shaping the NI institutions the way they would like (e.g. allocation of ministries by negotiation rather than D’Hondt).

  • Circles

    Slug – I agree with that basic analysis. The unionists negotiating position is much stronger than that of republicans simply because they have almost everything they want, and there is no real imperative to deal.
    I believe though that this is also a major weakness of unionism as it has lead to stagnation and a paucity of vision and ideas.

  • George

    Alan2,
    you seem to believe that Northern Ireland is not that far off other European regions which is understandable considering the level of subvention there masks a lot.

    But, and this is a big but, the difference is that in most European countries the budget deficit is lower than 3% of GDP, the level for entry to the eurozone.

    I believe the Northern Ireland deficit at the moment runs at 60% of GDP.

    The economy is based on subvented jobs that generate no wealth. It is like having a capital city with no hinterland, all administration no product.

    The burden on the British taxpayer will either grow and grow or the subvention will drop over time. Northern Ireland will have no say in this decision.

    Either way, Northern Ireland will be a hostage to others for the forseeable future, unable to provide for its own citizens itself and unwilling to make the changes necessary to break the downward spiral.

    This is the good life at the moment for some NI citizens so they should enjoy it while they can. The rest? Tough.

    The only way to break the spiral is for a “government of national salvation” as some countries call them or a grand coalition of unionists and nationalists to sit down and thrash out how they’re going to turn the place around.

    This doesn’t look like it will happen in the near future with Trimble also moving away from consensus so I predict cuts in subventions and the NI economy becoming more dependent on the Irish Republic as a market (currently 25% of exports) as southern and Northern capitalists look on the place as their very own cheap Eastern European style labour source.

    This is why I can’t understand why so many unionists are so happy with direct rule, which for me is death of the union by a thousand cuts.

  • barnshee

    “NI economy becoming more dependent on the Irish Republic as a market (currently 25% of exports)”

    Here we go again –cobblers -the balance of trade is heavily in favour of the Republic–Booze is the big import. NI exports ?? to ROI mostly fuel-which is smuggled north. Check with Customs the rreal winner in the trade is the ROI

  • JD

    But, and this is a big but, the difference is that in most European countries the budget deficit is lower than 3% of GDP, the level for entry to the eurozone.

    I believe the Northern Ireland deficit at the moment runs at 60% of GDP.

    Jaysus. 60%?? If the numbers vary to such a huge degree, then it is only sheer wishful thinking that manages not to see the writing on that wall.

  • mnob

    George,
    Be wary of quoting facts because they may come to haunt you.

    So you are really saying that the average income in the ROI (GNI) is greater than that of the UK when the amount earned (GDP) of the UK is higher than that of the ROI …. who’s subsidising who ?

    Your calculations as to catching up with the rest of the UK are too obtuse to even begin commenting on – to which part of the rest of the UK do you mean ?

    Your attachment to GNI (income) as opposed to value (GDP) are also telling …