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.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty