TV tonight: Trimble documentary

It might be a repeat, but there’s a documentary on BBC Two tonight that some of you might be interested in..David Trimble: Out in the Cold is on at 2320. The synopsis is..

David Trimble risked his political life in a bold leap for peace in Northern Ireland. As leader of the Ulster Unionist party, he signed up to the Good Friday agreement, which for the first time committed Unionists to sharing power with Republicans and Nationalists. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and became First Minister of Northern Ireland.

But over the years that followed, Trimble fought a losing battle to push the peace process forward. Increasingly overshadowed by Ian Paisley, and disappointed by the IRA over decommissioning, in June 2005 Trimble was finally ousted from his party’s leadership and from Westminster, and is now in political obscurity.

So what went wrong for David Trimble? Interviews with Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, Chris Patten, Martin McGuinness, Daphne Trimble and others, reveal a difficult man who many believed could be his own worst enemy – and who was let down by friend and foe alike.

  • darth rumsfeld

    aka “The end of the peer show”?

    I’ll get me sash

  • willis

    What is it about the UUP? Why did they elect Trimble leader? The contrast witt Pailey and the DUP is stark.

  • pedantly yours smcgiff

    ‘The contrast witt Pailey and the DUP is stark.’

    Perhaps not as stark as you might think – DUP finally get around to working the Anglo Irish Agreement. Who knows, in 2018 they might work the GFA.

  • wednesdayschild

    “What is it about the UUP? Why did they elect Trimble leader? The contrast witt Pailey and the DUP is stark. ”

    Is that supposed to be in a negative sense?!!

    Myself, I don’t see much contrast, both were sold out by Blair, Paisley may have been more arrogant but after the joint statement its clear neither were much listened to.

  • Well . . . when he was in the Commons, he lost us, what, 9 MPs by the time he was finished? How long before he pushes us into ‘2nd’ place, behind the Paisleyite sewers, in the Lords?

    Objectively the worst leader of a British political party, ever, Harcourt, Arthur Henderson and Goderich notwithstanding. And as far as Britain beyond the seas is concerned – only Kim Harper was worse.

  • willis

    Yes Yes but.

    Why did the UUP elect a leader like Trimble?

    Were they betrayed because they did not understand what they were getting?

    Did his bravura performance at Drumcree 1 put him in front of Magennis and Taylor?

  • Though a diehard Will Rossite, I freely admit – the other 4 all stank on the day. But the key is: Taylor was never going to get it (whoever you liked, if you didn’t like Bargepole, you loathed him). So Taylor always was going to be second, thus whoever found themselves in the latter stages (of the post-Jim leadership election) with him was always going to win (on the basis of widespread Anyone But Bargepole sentiment).

    If Willie has done it, he’d have been duller than Dave, but we’d still have upwards of a dozen MPs, and Paisley would have retired by now. Oh, and the Provos would have given in (in APNI speak, ‘we’d have had a Peace Process’ anyhow) for the same, entirely incidental reasons to what happened inside the UUP in 1995-97.

  • Karl Rove

    Sorry, lost the ‘ie’ from ‘Willie’: there is probably something deeply Freudian there, somewhere.

  • John East Belfast

    Karl Rove

    “Oh, and the Provos would have given in (in APNI speak, ‘we’d have had a Peace Process’ anyhow)”

    I thought the problem Anti Agreement Unionists had with the current peace/political process was due to their unshaken belief that the Provos still havent given in.
    So you are saying if there had been no power sharing agreement, no deal on prisoners et al we would be where we are now if not further ?

    you live in a fantasy world – or perhaps its just denial ?

  • Ciaran Irvine

    If Willie has done it, he’d have been duller than Dave

    I hereby nominate this as an early contender for Slugger Understatement Of The Year 2006.

  • Peter Brown

    As are you JEB if you deny his ultimate failure and that he almost single handedly destroyed the UUP…..

  • Wednesdayschild

    “If Willie has done it, he’d have been duller than Dave, but we’d still have upwards of a dozen MPs, and Paisley would have retired by now. Oh, and the Provos would have given in (in APNI speak, ‘we’d have had a Peace Process’ anyhow) for the same, entirely incidental reasons to what happened inside the UUP in 1995-97.”

    Thats alot of ifs and none are very convincing.

  • Don’t you mean Kim Campbell not Harper, Mr Rove?

    We can’t begrudge the Turtle his title, given (a) the beastliness of his former constituents for dumping him out of a UU seat held since Saunderson’s day, and (b) that the 2 Johns, Dublin Ken and Dennis all got theirs.

    And let’s not remember the Fianna Failer or Sir Cecil the Silent. But what about Jack and James – were there no sweeties left in the bag? What ingratitude.

    Funny how all DT’s vicarious patronage went to pro-Agreement figures in the UUP. Their successors will have to make do with Wee Reg measuring them up for a new suit.

  • GWB

    That’s a very odd thing to say Karl. Willie Ross would have saved the UUP and destroyed the IRA? Taylor might have, other than that the choice on the day wasn’t really a choice at all. Can you really see Ross, Smith, Maginnis as having been good leaders? None of them would have lasted ten years; none of them would have won 10 seats in 1997 so it’s impossible to say how their successors would have done in 2001 or 2005. Also I find it difficult to have seen devolution anytime before 2010 under anyone else, but I suppose that presupposes your opinion on the merits devolution. Trimble was bad, but the rest (other than possibly Taylor) were bloody awful.

  • Er, Jawn, the UUPer anti-Trimble critique (as you really ought to know) is very, very simple –

    it’s precisely because the Provos had given in that we disliked Trimble making concessions we argued he didn’t have to.

    And for anyone who disagrees with my counterfactual that the Provos would have surendered all the same, regardless of who led the UUP after 1995, please do just one thing: explain to me how the Turtle was the decisive factor in the Provos’ calculations?

  • John East Belfast

    Peter Brown

    “he almost single handedly destroyed the UUP…..”

    Are you serious !?

    The Donaldsons, Smyths and the others who continuously refused to accept the will of the Party had no part to play in all this then ?

    I could go on and include a lot of others but that would be tedious.

    Trimble was about saving the Union not his Party – post Good Friday Agreement that had been largely achieved but some in the DUP are intent on screwing all that up.

    Trimble the man to do a deal with Republicanism was not the man to bring people with him – that’s just the way it was – the kind of person required to face down the No Men and the DUP was a hard hearted cold fish – but he had to be otherwise he couldnt have coped.
    Perhaps he hung in too long but he always felt there was unfinished business.

    There still is but now that has been entrusted to the DUP and I cant see what it is they have actually achieved in the last couple of years.

    Infact they actually do nothing – simply hoping that things will be alright – Ulster will Fight and Ulster will be Right and all that.

    We see the same from Mr Rove above – ie the Provos would have given in anyhow.
    Paisley was saying the same the other night about Unionist’s reaction to Joint Authority – he is way off the mark – if there was another Anglo Irish Agreement tomorrow they would be lucky to get a few thousand at the City Hall.

  • Quite right: I did mean Campbell, not Harper, who is a relatively good egg. And wins elections. Unlike certain ginger nonces I could mention.

    As for GWB – argue with the facts old son: Trimble did destroy the UUP. You’ll be doing well if you spin a convincing narrative for how anyone else could have done worse.

  • John East Belfast

    Karl Rove

    I normally dont respond to your pissing about with my name but I must on this occasion – the last time though

    “it’s precisely because the Provos had given in that we disliked Trimble making concessions we argued he didn’t have to.”

    Not once did I hear that argument being made at any UUC meeting or anywhere else by any anti agreement unionist – or was it some kind of secret for a few in strange organisations with odd customs or something ?

    Talk sense and stop trying to re-write history because you got is so wrong and the people you were backing are going to have SF as Deputy First Minister and share power with SF/IRA anyway.

    People like you were used by the DUP to help them advance the DUP electorally – the result will be the same – Unionists sharing power with Republicans.

  • Careful Jawn, that’s an ugly shade of purple you’re turning.

  • GWB

    John, as someone who used to agree with your version of events, give up.

    Karl, how long would Willie have lasted? Who would have come next? How had the provo’s given up in 1995?

  • BTW, for all the other true believing Trimbleites still out there, other than those in East Belfawst (& where have you all got to anyway? before the general election there seemed to be ever so many of you. Hmmn, have they all lost their ‘researcher’ and press office jobs . . . ?) I don’t want to imply that there was only ever 1 good, non-Paisleyite anti-Agreement argument. Merely that I personally preferred the cynical one cited above.

    The other two main ones, when everything else is boiled away from the surface rhetoric, were – a.) it wasn’t morally right to treat with IRA killers (which it wasn’t) &, still more practically, b.) it wasn’t sensible to think you could cut a deal with such untruthful men (and, er, it wasn’t). Not least because being ‘let down’ by the Provos did us (in the UUP) far, far more damage than it did SF at the polls – and rightly so because we were the one being made to look weak fools, time and time again.

    Re GWB at 20 – please, I was being just a bit intentionally tongue in cheek as far as Willie was concerned. I fully concede that, especially after 1974, the UUP selected for and sent to Westminster a dreadful load of duffers. If you let yourself be led by the 2nd rate, you will eventually start coming in 2nd, if not worse. But that said, I was more than happy to make a case for Ross in 1995, and am more than willing to do so now. And it’s just this: excitement, charisma and dynamism are often very bad things in democratic leaders. They can be destructive and heedless of advice. Far better, imho, to have a John Howard (dull, dry, successful) than . . . well, I find it hard, even after all these years, to understand why anyone found that scurrying, monumentally awkward ginger tit ‘charismatic’ – but go look on this thread at the hold he still has on the cultists. There must have been something there, even if I couldn’t see it.

  • John East Belfast,

    I won’t take the mick out of your name like the machiavellian Mr Rove, but you really have to stop laying blame for Trimble’s failing on the poor man’s personality. There were key moments over those years where he simply buckled under pressure, to the UUP’s lasting problem.

  • willis

    In the end it is a process.

    You can’t expect centre ground politics to appear until a good 60% of the whole electorate are totally fed up with a slanging match from the extremes combined with impotence over education, water tax, rates etc.

    The DUP and SF have to be given their opportunity, after all they have been teling us for so long why everyone else isn’t up to the job.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    A fuller synopsis of the programme is here:

  • Lord Belmont


    I’ll now enter the fray, as i feel i have a degree of knowledge with which i can make an input – im currently doing my uni dissertation on David Trimble.

    Allow me to be brutally frank and honest…

    Without David Trimble there would be no Agreement, there would have been no movement on IRA weapons and the DUP would now not be accepting the Agreement and out-working it as we see at present.

    (Indeed, take note of Peter Robinson’s New York speech – this from the Clontibret Cowboy – Boy has he chanegd his tune… is that a flip-flop or what?)

    Getting back to Trimble, Yes, I accept the man did make mistakes but dont we all.

    The bottom line is that the man took risks for peace and that should be commended by all.

  • Thanks for the link Gonzo, not least as Trimble’s 2 cardinal failings as front rank politician are both there.

    One: he was (over) confident in his own ability when it came to talking to the Provos (and, never forget, by implication, our own dear government). Yet as events have amply demonstrated, Trimble greatly overestimated his own stock of talent. Simply put: 9 times out 10, Trimble was out of his depth at the big table, which brings me to . . .

    Two: Trimble loses his rag. And that’s just it people – if you want to be taken seriously by serious people, act like a grown-up at all times. Do not bawl, shout, huff, slam doors, stalk out of rooms, become peevishly incoherent et-turtle-cetera.

    But as always, Trimble’s vanity and weakness to one side, it’s the people who slavishly followed him over the edge that I will never understand.

  • GWB

    “risks for peace” – give over you tosser.

    Karl, I fully agree, Harper, Howard, both dullards who are successful – but who is our Stephen Harper?! Reg might well be, in time, but not yet. Taylor was probably the right man for the job in 1995, but Trimble was miles ahead of the rest of the field. Ross is no Stephen Harper or John Howard he has a lot of similarities with Maginnis, he causes too many arguments to be a capable leader of men.

    Trimble was too trusting and perhaps got blinded, but I honestly think that he never lied. I think that he made an honest stab at it, and got his fingers burnt. The agreement its self though is now showing its self to be pretty decent in the bits that count (and actually the ones that Empey was credited with). Plenty of vetos to a SF first minister (which the DUP now want rid of), plenty of guarentees against joint authority, which the DUP are now going to lead us into before Christmas. So all in all with his failings I dont think he was a bad spud.

  • Sadly real world now asserts itself over Slugger, but afore I go –

    GWB, fundamentally I agree with you re Trimble not being a bad spud. I’m being dreadfully self-righteous above re his failings, but if it’s any excuse (and it ain’t, I know) I’m provoked into such unpleasantness by the mind-numbing lack of critical distance his fanbase are still victim to.

    Indeed, while he certainly told ‘political’ lies, I think that’s easonable enough, and that, at root, he believed in what he was doing – so, yeah, he was a democratically ‘honest’ politician. In different ways this is not the case with either Adams or Paisley, for instance.

    But surely, to use a phrase of yours, we agree that Trimble himself was never a leader of men? That’s my beef with him – but the tragedy (for the UUP), as I was trying to hint at, through the medium of black hmour at the top of the thread, was that we found ourself with so sodding little talent at the top in 1995? Not least because, unlike you I fear, Lord Bargepole, then and now, inspires not a jot.

  • Lord Bemont


    I fail to see how you can deny the fact that David Trible took risks for peace…

    its there for all to see…

    Yes, post 2001 there was a downturn in the UUP vote, but it is my firm belief and mine only, that what killed Trimble off and the UUP post Nov 2003, was the spat with Smyth, Burnside and Donaldson in the summer of 2003.

    In my opinion, Trimble’s greatest failures lie internally, with his management of the UUP, yet his greatest strengths were externally in his attempts to bring peace and stability to our wee country.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Well said Karl- you must have been standing beside me at the Ulster hall when the purple turtle was elected- it was indeed “anyone but Taylor”, combined with the calculation “which one does Dublin want?” that sank both him and Maginnis.

    Ross would have been another Molyneaux and sucked the life out of the political process at home while trying to use the leverage the UUP had at Westminster over Major’s unstable government-Trimble scandalously threw away that card in the hope of getting an all-singing all-dancing Assembly.

    If the most a political party in NI can realistically achieve by itself is to stymie its opponent’s move -as disticnt from achieve its own agenda-then Molyneaux and Ross succeeded, and would have succeeded for a few more years at least, until Papadoc had retired.

    Trimble always believed he would be the first Unionist leader to see off Paisley, but of course he directly caused the latter to continue in politics. And as for “never lied”- ask the electorate about “No guns-no government”

  • GWB

    Lions and foxes Darth – what the electorate think is no substitute for the truth in debates such as this.

    I think that Taylor would have been more of a Stephen Harper than anyone else in the field that night. For me he had the qualities that you reckon Ross had, without the Maginnis tendancy to do what you criticise Trimble for, getting het up and throwing your rattle out of the pram at any given opportunity. He wasnt brilliant, and I don’t think that he was better than Trimble (on his day) but he was better than anyone else you could offer.

    This all begs the question, is Empey a Stephen Harper? I’ll tell you something, Dodds, loathsome as he is, certainly is.

  • Peter Brown

    I think it is unnecessary for me to repeat all the arguments against Trimble again which have been so eloquently spelt out by numerous other current and former disillusioned UUP memebrs on this thread. I was not a Party member when he was elected so will not comment on that aspect of the programme. Suffice to say Trimble and his now P45ed (with 1 or 2 notable exceptions) cronies did an unnecessary and morally and politically bad deal with too much constructive ambiguity. They then proceeded to at best be economical with the truth and at worst tell downright lies about the content of said deal to the Party (who remembers the acclamation of another peer as the man who had saved the RUC!) and more problematically the unionist electorate (who remembers ‘Understanding the Agreement’ and the 1998 Assembly Election manifesto – two of the greatest works of politicalk fiction of the late 1990s). They then gave ground on every area of constructive ambiguity without extracting anything siginificant for these further concessions and this was when the electorate really turned on us. Find me a voter who stopped voting UUP because of our internal divisions and I’ll find 1000 who now vote DUP because we betrayed the RUC while proclaiming that we hadn’t – it was about trust and that is what Trimble lost – that and 9 Wesminster and nearly 100 Council seats! I’ll see your opinions and raise you the facts!

  • stoopster

    “Find me a voter who stopped voting UUP because of our internal divisions and I’ll find 1000 who now vote DUP because we betrayed the RUC while proclaiming that we hadn’t – it was about trust and that is what Trimble lost – that and 9 Wesminster and nearly 100 Council seats! I’ll see your opinions and raise you the facts!”

    Indeed and yours being one of them if you are the Peter Brown in the party from Ballymena. However, you haven’t factored into your argument the effect of the first rate PR campaign the DUP ran against the UUP and Trimble in particular, find me one voter who actually thought the UUP were dishonest and untrustworthy without being told by the DUP and I find you 500 who think that as a result of the aforementioned campaign

  • John East Belfast


    “John, as someone who used to agree with your version of events, give up.”

    Well what has changed to make you see things differently and how now do you see them ?

  • GWB

    Too many to mention, culminating with the desertion from the cause of c100,000 voters.

  • james andrews

    Now of course unionists are being lead by a man who has got into a position of sharing power with sf or joint rule, brillant so much for a “new deal”

  • Lord Belmont

    James Andrews,

    get real! look at where we are. The political facts are that the Nationalist/Republican population vote for SF, like it or not.

    That is a political fact – do u suggest that we give up, call it a day just because we dont like SF and so bring upon ourselves a form of Joint Authority.

    Currently we have Direct Rule and its a complete shambles, just look at health, education and RPA to name but a few.

    Direct Rule is a bollocks, quite frankly, and the sooner local people get power back into their own hands the better!

  • Keith M

    Trimble has been the most unsuccessful politician in the history of the United Kingdom. He is King Midas in reverse, a man who by his touch can turn everything to dust. In another place or time he would (literally) have fallen on his sword. I can only assume that this programme is the start of a series that will include momumentally unsuccessful politicians, but even Michael Foot, Gerald Ford or Ian Duncan-Smith look like Churchill compared to Trimble.

    Trimble has left one lasting legacy. He has made Paisley the voice of Unionism.

  • james andrews

    Lord Belmont the point i was trying to make was that since the dup now represent unionism,on the back of promising us a new better deal,they have sold unionism very short.

  • Keith M

    James “Lord Belmont the point i was trying to make was that since the dup now represent unionism,on the back of promising us a new better deal,they have sold unionism very short.”

    Have you seen the deal yet? I haven’t.

    Since the DUP took over SF/IRA have apparently dumped all their guns, something which never happened under Trimble. Both governments now accept that SF/IRA criminality (in all its forms) has to end. Yesterday’s events in Meath are putting further pressure on SF/IRA. Who knows, by the time there is a deal they might actually be an excliusivly democratic organisation? Anything is possible.

  • aquifer

    Lots of you guys really don’t like Trimble, do you. His edgy personality did him no favours, but politically he did the business. His cartoon characters on the DUP website do indicate some sort of iconic status. And why not. The Union is saved (for what it’s worth), the RA are being run down. The local economy would go like a train given a chance.

    His party structures were rubbish though, and he did next to nothing about them. All those autonomous branches, Orange sashes to strangle the unwary, and more dissidents than Dundalk Gaol.

    Sectarian personality cults are simpler to manage.

    In case the DUP revert to form, a translation:

    Sold Out Hopeless at politics
    Betrayed Embarrasing at Westminster
    Traitor Not in the DUP yet
    British Protestant
    Loyal Needed for roadblocks
    Union Skyes the limit

  • fair_deal

    I saw a clip of the documentary on the BBC News.

    Trimble certainly doesn’t seem to have developed any humility in his retirement. His comments reminded me of the Steve Martin sketch about accepting an Oscar “It was me, me, me. No one else. I did it all”

  • Keith M

    Acquifier “but politically he did the business.”. No politically he did the UUP. It takes an amazing level of ineptitude to lose 90% of your MPs and turn a party which had been the biggest in the province for over 70 years to a bunch of spectactors in an all but irrelevant third place.

    Why anyone (bar perhaps SF/IRA) would choose to defend his record is beyond me.

  • John East Belfast

    Keith M

    “Why anyone (bar perhaps SF/IRA) would choose to defend his record is beyond me.”

    Why anyone who cannot see that NI is a better place to live in post Trimble is beyond me.
    The latest news today is about the dismantling of the road barriers around Belfast.

    It was never about saving the UUP – it was about saving the UNION.

    Peace, stability, economic prosperity and making the majority of its citisens feel that they were respected and had some say over the people who ruled their lives was the strategic initiative.

    Can anti agreement unionism not see the bigger picture – even now !!

  • Lord Belmont


    I takr your point, DUP have sold us very very short.

    ‘Leadership that’s working’ – I THINK NOT!

  • Tiny

    Why is it that the DUPes stress again and again that Trimble’s biggest crime was in distroying his party, real politics isn’t about party, it’s about society, which politicial parties are meant to improve, did Trimble improve our society?
    The death toll in the past 10 years compared with the previous ten would suggest he made society safer, the rise in property prices would suggest he made society more prosperous, and the difficulties presently faced by Paisley in trying to resist the onward tide of de facto joint authority would suggest that his judgement on the way ahead for Unionism was accurate, if for many un-palatible.

  • willis

    Perhaps it is appropriate that David Trimble and John Hume shared the Nobel Prize. After all both their parties were in better shape before they took
    “Risks for Peace”

  • Mick Fealty

    Excellent retrospective, though it could have done with a slightly wider range of voices, it pulled some otherwise disparate elements together.

    I’m very interested to hear what others make of it.

  • For a moment I thought you were talking about this thread . . .

    More suprisingly, I spotted myself lurking in the background once, but Bro. Darth not at all. Odd that. And why is it that the fictional, ie only-on-TV, Burnside always seems so reasonable and spot-on and just what we need, but in real-life is so consistently %$£&ing *%$£*& ?

  • Lord Belmont

    I found it an interesting programme giving insight into events not known to the average person and perhaps in hindsight if some of these nuances had been made public a few years ago, things could have been a lot different and the electorate may not have been DUPed in the way they were in 2003 and 2005.

    I did chuckle to myself when the quotes from the meetings at Winfield House were discussed and over dinner Trimble turns to McGuinness and with comment aimed at Adams says…

    “Just because you get to know them doesn’t mean you like them any more”

    David Trimble deserves his peerage, he sacrificed his career and nearly his Party for the sake of the country. He will do the job in the Lords particularly well – i’m sure he can show the 3 DUP amateurs, sorry peers, the ropes.

  • Domhnall

    Hard not to feel a bit sorry for Trimble after watching that programme. A complex guy and probably not somebody you would go for a pint with but he showed more courage than somebody like Paisley ever will. The clips of the DUP intimidating Trimble and his wife whilst they got into their car then later on singing “cheerio, cheerio” outside the UUP office were very depressing, how can these people be the main party of Northern Irish unionism?

  • Keith M

    I thought it was a reasonably balanced programme, and no one (especially Trimble) came out of it very well.

    The only thing that grated with me was the lazy repeat of the nonsense the the majority of unionists voted for the agreement in 1998. The majority of protestants may have, the majority of unionists (those that voted for the unionist parties) almost certainly did not.

    When you then see what happened later you get a better perspecive on the thin ice Trimble had chosen to walk on.

  • willis

    Good bit at the very end, where Paisley claims to have been a “Kingmaker” and be responsible for the election of Trimble.

    Good thing he knew what he was doing!

  • Peter Brown

    Yes he took risks but so did Eddie Kidd and I don’t see him in the House of Lords – it’s not about taking risks! Also a number of posters here appear to be attempting to rewrite history and crediting Trimble with bringing peace – the ceasefores predate Trimble and the end to violence had more to do with the Republican movement entering the next phase of the campaign, which he then ironically facilitated and accelerated, than his brief but disastrous leadership of unionism.
    Btw Stooper mine was one of the lost Council seats but unlike other at least that’s not my excuse for turning on him – I was a critic long before that not motivated by pure self interest….and JEB is there anything is my first post that is inaccurate….the programme last night only confirms my long held and expressed belief that he sold us what Tony told him The Agreement meant not what it actually said…..

  • What amazes me is that the Trimble cultists are still at it – and always with their Nos 1 fib, namely that ginger Dave ‘did it for peace’. No he didn’t. As poster after poster on this thread has pointed out, the chronology is 100% wrong. The ‘peace’ the Provos so graciously gave us preceded whatever it was you think Trimble did.

    Far, far more accurate to say, ‘”peace” made Trimble do it’. In other words, the things that Agreementsceptical UUPers like me argued with Trimble about where exactly those things DT did in response to the ceasefires. And that plural really does tell you all you need to know about the Republican movement.

    As for the litany of heaven-sent boons that happened ‘under his watch’, I’d really drop this line, were I a Turtle apologist. One may as well argue that Unionist Goal Nos. 2 (getting rid of Provo weapons) ‘happened under Paisley’s ascendancy, ergo [the same specious reasoning as employed above goes] the DUP is a Good Thing’.

    Unionist Goal Nos. 1, btw, is not merely disarming the Provos (a very provisional achievement that), but getting rid of PIRA itself. And – see murders, robberies, etc, etc passim – they really haven’t gone away you know. But soon enough some Purple fanatic will appear on this thread and inform us that that was because, oh, ‘Jeffrey coughed while David was thinking during an Exec meeting’.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I spotted myself lurking in the background once, but Bro. Darth not at all” unfortunately I did see myself in the background once, but looks like I got away with it.

    As an attempt at self-justification it failed even more than the Frank Millar book. Trimble saved the RUC by trusting Chris Patten’s remarks over a chinese takeaway and did nothing more until the night before the report was published.
    He rang Adams and begged him to let de Chastelain say a bit more about decommissioning t save his skin in NOvember 2003.
    Mallon damns him as being “enamoured of the PM-always a mistake”.
    And saddest of all was the lengths he would go to oblige the programme makers-imagine John major being taken to the office in Castle buildings he used as trimble did- Mjor would say “I am an internatiuonal statesman -film me looking pensive in my library”, not expect to jump through hoops as trimble did, doing walkpast shots outside Leinster House like a parish councillor .

    The tone throughout was unashamed self -pity. The coup de grace was again the IRA’s- McGuinness demolished him in two words-“childish intellectual”, and even condescended to him by musing that he ahd no friends.

  • My apologies for not catching sight of Darth. In my defence I could claim that one BB looks pretty much like another BB, but that would not be strictly accurate.

  • Peter Brown

    I don’t believe I appeared in this one at all – no repeats of the being physically ejected from the launch of the Reunion with Weir thankfully – obviously you two were much closer to the Party Leader than I was at this time….:-P

  • Well at least Daphne wouldn’t have to drag him down the fruit and veg aisle at Tesco anymore, listening to him girning about everyone else.

    Here’s someone who boasted of his academic credentials in a TV exchange with Big Bob in 1998, but who still couldn’t get a simple agreement drafted that stated precisely what the IRA had to do. Even now the man still thinks he got the IRA to promise to decommission by 2000.

  • Dear goodness, ‘you two were much closer to the Party Leader than I was’, I feel faint. I’d sue, save for the fact that I don’t have much of a reputation to defend. Darth on the other hand . . .

    Meanwhile, any maybe this needs a thread of its own [maybe some kindly bearded fellow will consider approaching a born again Paisleyite?], I’d love to read eg a Peter Weir, or suchlike, telling us what it’s been like for ex-UUPers who have gone over to the DUP.

    For a host of reasons I just can’t see myself ever leaving the UUP, and certainly not for a DUP still called that, and still led by a Paisley. But I am genuinely interested in hearing what people who grew up in internal opposition to the DUP (ie Weir, Donaldson, Foster, Darth? et al, all were politically socialised in the UUP) make of the DUP now that they’re in it. Their original decision to become members of the UUP was, obviously, a conscious choice, and given their ages, it had to involve, at least partially, a conscious rejection of Paisley, so what is the trajectory they have now taken? Is it simply that too close proximity to Trimble, and his cheerleaders, drove them out of the UUP, or what?

  • Lord Belmont

    The Watchman,

    The Belfast Agreement stated that decommissioning was to be completed by May 2000. Trimble’s mistake i believe was that decommissioning was “an obligation” rather than a requirement.

    But i think he was right – the IRA hung him out to dry and Blair shafted him. Its simple as that.

    However, you should also note Jeffrey Donaldson’s view which was that Decommissioning should be linked with prisoner releases, but if you follow this line, it is argued there would not have been an agreement.

  • Watchman –

    ‘Even now the man still thinks he got the IRA to promise to decommission by 2000’ – shurely that’s the problem? For while admittedly the Provos never quite promised to do that, the rubric of the Agreement-they-didn’t-actually-sign did. But you’ve got to be right in your wider point. One of the reasons such Trimbleites as there are still are, are so consistently peevish when they e.g. surface here must be that – at some level they feel ashamed of themselves for having so blindly admired such a third rate fellow as Trimble.

  • Peter Brown

    and the reason they were able to shaft him was that he didn’t put it in The Agreement allowing himself to be shafted…but telling everyone that it was in there when he knew it wasn’t – if he hadn’t done that according to the programme there would have been no Agreement either because the Party would not have backed him…it just took most of the UUP 7 years to realise he had shafted us! other knew it straight away of course…..

  • GWB

    “For a host of reasons I just can’t see myself ever leaving the UUP, and certainly not for a DUP still called that, and still led by a Paisley.”

    I constantly give this as my reasons for not having the faintest incling to leave anytime soon. I keep repeating, there will always be something between those who pretend not to be unionists (APNI) and sectarian self serving little ulstermen (DUP). I do not seek to suggest however that that entity could never be what is now the DUP. I, like you Karl, will never join a Paislyite party of protest (as Burnside calls it), but in 5 to 10 years, who knows where we’ll be. All I will say is that it’ll never be in the same party as Willie McCrea!

    I’ve been wondering for a long time who KR and DR are, and every time I get thinking about it I get drawn to South Belfast…….

  • darth rumsfeld

    I too get drawn to South Belfast, but only to Windsor Park. Try again.

    I’ve actually never been to a DUP meeting,so I can’t assist.

  • GWB

    That mixed with the comments of Karl would lead me to North Down.

  • darth rumsfeld

    If North Down were typical of the Union I’d be in the Real IRA

  • GWB

    Ok, well I don’t care enough to go through the other 16.

    Now I’ll turn my attention to whoever it is hiding behind the clever handle of Peter Brown……

  • Peter Brown

    Its a hard one I know but I feel increasingly lonely using my real name – once we were a majority now a tiny besieged minority….too many paralells starting there. And it has caused problems with my name being mentioned at Exec Cttee meetings quoting my posts here. More to the point who or what is GWB?

  • GWB

    I’ll tell you at the Executive Committee AGM. Maybe you’ll get another slugger mention eh?

  • CT

    Just as everytime the BBC runs a show about pop culture in 1979 or 1989 or 1999, Johnny Vegas turns up with a pointless comment, everytime there’s one of these programmes about Northern Ireland recent history, John Taylor turns up to fulfill a similar function. At least the Vegas man gives the impression that he might actually have been there.

  • Keith M

    CT : I actually thought the same about Seamus Mallon. At least we were spared the “Sunningdale for slow learners” nonsense that became an albatros around the neck of the 1998 agreement.

  • CT

    Indeed, although it is no doubt lying on the cutting room floor. Seamus Mallon is surely one of the unsung heroes of the anti-agreement movement.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I’ll tell you at the Executive Committee AGM. Maybe you’ll get another slugger mention eh?”

    I’m guessing GWB stands for Great Wet Bollix..which doesn’t really narrow it down much I suppose. Nor does the other possibility-Giant White Banner.
    But the fact that you can use the internet suggests you’re under 75 years old, which significantly reduces the search.

    “Peter Brown” on the other hand, as any fule kno, is the nom de plume/pomme de terre of Reg Empey, whereby he can express the innately decent commonsense views that occasionally surface from the deep void of defeatism and anti-Puntism, without anyone knowing it’s him, and immediately deposing him as leader of the Stupid party. He has gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain this fiction in Ballymena where he owns his holiday home.
    If you doubt this ask yourself when was the last time you saw Peter Brown and Reg Empey together. And why does Reg’s face always look squished? Obviously because of all the time it spends in the Peter Brown mask.

  • Peter Brown

    I presume the Peter Brown mask is a Hallowe’n creation deemed too scary for public sale – or is Reg in fact Peter Brown wearing a Reg Empey mask….I’ll never live down the “bright young thin” tag from his GMU interview on the demise of the UYUC v1.0 which led to me being christened Smithers by certain former colleagues – does anyone get that joke and can explain it to me? ;-P Last time we were in the same room was now some time ago – at least 2005 so maybe one of us has killed and replaced the other since then…….

  • GrassyNoel

    I’m not a great fan of Trimble’s, but in my opinion this is all a load of unionist blather to find a scapegoat for the fact that unionists have been trying for some time now ( with some considerable success, it must be said) as hard as they can to bury their heads in the sand and turn their backs on reality. ‘Oh it’s all Trimble’s fault, he did this and he did that’ etc. Trimble couldn’t act decisively enough when he needed to because the rest of the Unionist community were too cowardly to turn words into deeds. So in the end, he became irrelevant. Just as Ian Paisley, with each passing day, is slowly becoming more and more and more irrelevant.

    The circus will move on, with or without Trimble, with or without Paisley,…maybe Robinson is finally beginning to realise that and that’s why he tried so desperately to strike a conciliatory chord with that ridiculous speech. Mind you, he had to; he was talking to a bunch of pro-Irish yanks. If he’d reverted to the normal DUP rhetoric everybody would have looked at their watches after about 30 seconds, settled up with each other (I’m sure a book would have been opened beforehand to see how long it would take him to start foaming at the mouth or his cheeks to turn ruby red) and walked out of the room, leaving him standing there talking to himself (which of course is all the DUP and the UUP before them are/were interested in doing anyway). Maybe Robinson now accepts that he cannot afford to wait around for Big Ian to kick the bucket, ‘cos by then it’ll be too late and he’ll be seen as just another old grey-haired, scarlet-faced fogey screaming ‘NEVURR, NEVURR’ while some trendy early-30’s graduate type comes along, does a deal with Republicans and steals the glory, leaving Peadair to reflect on a completely wasted life & career.

    The game is largely up for unionism. it wasn’t Trimble’s fault that things aren’t going well for Unionism in general. He’s a convenient scapegoat. When it became obvious that the line the UUP – and unionists in general – kept drawing in the sand kept being crossed out/walked over and everyone involved in the process insist they stop drawing lines in the sand because everyone outside of unionism accepts unionism has much further to go yet, UUP support collapsed and everyone ran for shelter under Paisley’s giant trenchcoat. But in truth all that has happened is that Unionism has backed itself into an ever tighter corner, with an ever-decreasing number of options. Who will you turn to when the DUP’s support collapses just like the UUP’s did?

    Mind you, the whole obstructionist thing slows the process down so effectively that given enough time, the UUP will have elected a leader by then who will be seen as ‘hardline’ enough for the pendulum to swing all the way back again and the cycle to renew itself…great work lads.

  • GWB

    Your UYUC was at least v2.0 as v1.0 disbanded in the 70’s!

  • darth rumsfeld

    …or are you a negotiator for the UUP-Gurn Whinge Boke?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “….I’ll never live down the “bright young thin” tag ”
    nor indeed the “next Peter Weir” tag-you should have sued

  • truthseeker

    “Getting back to Trimble, Yes, I accept the man did make mistakes but dont we all

    “The bottom line is that the man took risks for peace and that should be commended by all”

    Never a truer word was said, Lord Belmont,
    At least he lived to reach the House of Lords. The big fella Michael Collins was shot by his republicans for also taking risks for peace,.


  • Loyalist

    truthseeker must be Roy Garland!!!

  • GWB

    Its only taken me a month but I think I’ve got it Darth!

    East Londonderry.

    I’m still pretty sure that Karl is South Belfast through. Think I’ll collar my suspect at the next UUC meeting.