Paul Bew said on radio yesterday that David Trimble had ridden his luck for longer than he could have expected but that it ran out decisively on Thursday last. Today Maurice Hayes argues that although Trimble is seen as today’s victim, history will judge him more kindly than some of his more successful contemporaries.He argues that Trimble was let down by two groups:
One was the unionist middle and professional class who came out to vote for the Agreement in the referendum, then retired to their leafy suburbs, denying him the support he needed to build a strong pro-Agreement assembly party. The other group was the republicans, who denied him the prize of decommissioning, to which he thought they had committed themselves in the Agreement, and which would have enabled him to quieten the sceptics in his own party.
As for the latter, Hayes believes that the price of settlement may be going up:
SINN Fein will find that the price has been raised considerably by Trimble’s successors, and a weakened Tony Blair may have less time and appetite for the affairs of Northern Ireland.