Trimble: “Devolution is not sufficient…”

The Newsletter has David Trimble’s statement on his resignation from the party he led for ten years, and his decision to move into the politics of the UK national mainstream. Reg Empey, it seems, is happy for him to go…

Devolution to the Assembly is desirable to give people here responsibility for local issues. It is necessary in order to provide the only possible locus where each section of society here can work together within an institution to which each will feel equally committed and which each can regard as truly “ours”.

But devolution is not sufficient. The major issues of politics, taxation, expenditure, the broad thrust of public police, defence and foreign affairs will be decided at Westminster.

I know from my experience in the Commons that a handful of opposition backbenchers rarely have enough influence. My move today will not change that. But my move draws attention to my view that the people of Northern Ireland will need to have more influence and can only really do so if they are more fully involved in the national politics of the United Kingdom. This would require a direct link to the major parties of the State, namely, in alphabetic order, the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats. For parties are the life blood of British Parliamentary democracy.

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  • Bob Wilson

    Lord Rogan and Sir Reg seem to have missed the point. This is not a case of a ‘leading UUP figure cooperating with the Conservatives’ Trimble has left the UUP and join the Conservatives.
    You cannot be a member of the Conservatives and a member of another rival party.
    Trimble has long recognisded the limitations of six county unionism and has acted upon it.

    There will be no ‘link up’ with UUP. Conservative suppporters are welcome to join the Conservative Party

  • It is hard to see how the cooperation talk can ring true as the Conservatives run their own political party here and would look to draw their support away from UU traditional support.

  • So he is doing it for the people of Northern Ireland and not out of any self-interest eh? Its reminiscent of Alderdice’s decisison to effectively ditch The Alliance Party and take the Speakers position at The Assembly as part of his own great personal career plan…

    Prepare now for a different type of manouevering on the Nationalist side, as I hear the demands for a formal merger (as opposed to link) between the SDLP and Fianna Fail are growing among several prominent members of Mark Durkan’s team.

  • Christopher Eastwood

    [i]”But my move draws attention to my view that the people of Northern Ireland will need to have more influence and can only really do so if they are more fully involved in the national politics of the United Kingdom”[/i] . . .

    Obviously, as a Unionist he is precluded from even considering it, but isn’t there another option? Surely the power of the Unionist block would be proportionately much more significant within an all-Ireland situation . . . .

  • BonarLaw

    Christopher Eastwood

    ” Surely the power of the Unionist block would be proportionately much more significant within an all-Ireland situation . . . . ”

    It would be even more significant if we entered a union with Andora. Which is probably more likely …

  • The SDLP / FF merger could be a real possibility. The SDLP (like the UU) have been in decline electorally for the last few years and are being overtaken in positions of power by SF – 3 Ministers to 1 in the new assembly. SF also take great store in proclaiming that they are an all Ireland party and advertise this at every opportunity – e.g. Mary Lou at the famous Paisley/Adams photo.
    It could well be that, with no prospect of recovery left to their own devices, that the only way they can see any prospect of regaining support in NI is to join FF and use the resources of the Soldiers of Destiny to rebuild themselves in NI, maybe before the next Westminister election.
    What chance a Fianna Fail MP being elected to Westminister and would they take an oath to the Queen?
    Sad if the SDLP were to end like this….and where would the blame lie?

  • Gum

    The SDLP will be swallowed up by FF – it wont be seen as a merger by Bertie, Brian and Co. But why would the SDLP join FF? They would be admitting defeat. FF are a right wing party interested in big business. Nothing wrong with that but its so far from what the SDLP claim to be that if they were to join FF they would admit that they lost the argument.

    While FF have already taken an oath to the Queen, they wont again. Would be handing SF a pr victory.

  • Gum

    Sorry – didnt mean that to sound like a prediction – I doubt they’ll join FF but if SDLP did I dont think it’d be a merger of equal partners.

  • Gum

    Being pedantic maybe – but that sould also have read – ‘FF have already aken an oath to a British Monarch’. It was to a king De Valera swore allegiance.

  • Christopher Eastwood

    Bonar Law

    “[i]It would be even more significant if we entered a union with Andora. Which is probably more likely[/i] . . .

    But, of course, entering a Union with Andorra would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. A completely artitrary alliance, with no historical precedent or future rationale.

    An island united, on the other hand. . . 😉

  • smcgiff

    “Devolution is not sufficient…”

    Who would have thought Lord Trimble has quite a lot in common with Republicans. 🙂

  • BonarLaw

    Christopher Eastwood

    “A completely artitrary [sic] alliance, with no historical precedent or future rationale” – my thoughts on the Irish Anschluss exactly!

  • Genuine Snapshot

    Bob, you’re welcome to Trimble, inasmuch as you have him. The rest of us will amuse ourselves thinking back on a.) all the things trimble used to say about the ‘mainland’ Conservatives & b.) all the things the ‘local’ Conservatives used to say about? or perhaps you’d like to tell us yourself, when did you finally realise that trimble was the greatest thing since sliced bread? plenty have heard you say different . . .

  • Christopher Eastwood

    Bonar Law

    Craic aside for the moment, you do a great disservice to your own point of view when you rhetorically equate a Union of the north and south of this island with a Union between N.I and Andorra. Put simply, the very fact that the former is a contentious debate and the fact that you may be the first person ever to propose the latter, both emphasise my point. That yours is ridiculous! 😉

  • Julian Robertson

    Genuine Snapshot

    We’re just taking lessons from Ian and Gerry…..

  • Genuine Snapshot

    No but seriously Julian, do tell us when you first realised that Trimble’s dead brilliant, so he is? Hours? minutes? seconds?

  • Bob Wilson

    I made no comment about the value of otherwise of Trimble I was merely pointing out the facts and correcting others mistakes.
    I’m sure Trimble has had reservations about many ‘mainland’ Tories – so have the NI Tories – but we have stuck at it and the current leading figures have a much more positive opinion about the development of politics in NI – doubtless this has influenced Trimble’s position.

    With regard to what NI Tories think of Trimble who was it said just because someone has a past means they cannot have a future? Trimble has always felt we cannot have normal politics until the constitutional question is resolved. We have always thought the development of normal politics would help resolve the constitutional question.
    Lord Trimble now believes that the constitutional question is sufficently resolved to enable the development of national politics in NI so we may now largely be in agreement.

    We are certainly in argument that devolution and NI only parties are not enough

  • Aaron McDaid

    Why are FF considered as the only options for the SDLP? Why not FG or Labour?

  • darth rumsfeld

    Bonar Law- shurely we should be amalgamating with our friends in Gibraltar?- we could even be “Great Britain beyond the waves”, getting rid of that confusing “Ireland” bit of our name- and solving the national stadium question- I’d rather go to Gib than Plug Poots’ Maze -though it would be a bit of a mouthful to chant “We’re not Brazil we’re Great Britain beyond the Waves”

  • Genuine Snapshot

    So let’s say I, for the sake of argument, produced some well reasoned, utterly sincere critiques of David Trimble by the likes of, oh, you, and Bob Wilson et al, why that’s just water under the bridge? Fish and chip wrapping. Nothing to take seriously. Move along there, nothing to see. 4 legs good, 2 legs better. I think we get the drift: how very Cameroonian of you!

  • I wonder how Trimble’s reasoning squares with this story:

    Tories planning cross-border split for party

  • heck

    i seem to remember a episode of question time which was broadcast before the Iraq war. There was a question about the build up and trimble replied that everyone knew that Sadam had “weapons of mass destruction”, that he was a threat to Britain, and that Honest Tony and Bush were justified in launching an illegal war.

    I guess the people of britain will now benifit from his great judgement, his opposition to violence and his belief in the “rule of law”.


  • páid

    Bob Wilson and Co. are British Nationalists like Scottish, Welsh and English Tories. They look like them , talk like them, and waddle like them.

    They have a well-established centre-right look on life.

    It is entirely logical that the Tories be well represented in NI, and I would suggest they will end up being one of the larger parties as they have a logical position on the Union.

    They may, in time, expand into all of Ireland. But they will remain a significant force for decades east of the Bann.

  • dub

    how sad and pathetic this is… having spurned the politics of the state i.e. national british politics for the duration of the troubles and now that the uk is visibly falling apart a prominent unionist declares his belief in “national” politics….

    with enemies like these….

  • Aldamir

    Darth – is Outremer really such a good idea?

  • Genuine Snapshot

    Yeah, the UK’s falling apart, if it ever existed at all, and Unionists should stop kidding themselves their British, and yaaaaawn, I’ve just MOPEd everyone reading to death.

    One day soon a(n) (Irish) nationalist must tell me how exactly Scottish nationalism {aka ‘just coz we’re all on one fookin island it doesn’t mean we all have to be in the same fookin country’) vindicates them.