Trimble: Biography of an enigma

Just finished reading Henry McDonald’s biog of Trimble (US). One of those last minute impulse buys waiting for an early morning flight out of Aldergrove. And still Trimble largely remains the enigmatic creature he was before. However the book is a useful reference for some of the action we’ve had since April 1998 (though it cuts off when the end-game was still in it’s early stages). Several things leapt out at me: 1 The key influence that several Catholic/former Nationalist … Read more

Stop, go again

The story of the peace process post Belfast Agreement seems to have been one of deadlines. Despite the apology from the IRA the UUP still intend to stick to theirs on 24th July. But, in this ‘theatre-in-the-round’, nothing is as planned and predictable as it once was in Ulster, and the main players are more interdependent that than they would sometimes like. Meanwhile, David McKittrick applauds the change in language and tone from the IRA, but goes on to point … Read more

Census 2001: Some preliminary thoughts

There’s only weeks to go before the results of the 2001 census are announced, we’ve not heard much in recent times about the demographic timebomb that awaits the Northern Ireland electorate. Though the proportion of the electorate voting Nationalist has risen exponentially in the last 30 years, the implications are not as clear-cut as it may seem on first sight. One Unionist politician I spoke to recently was at pains to point out that everyone is behaving as though the … Read more

IRA apology

As you might imagine the big story of the day is the latest statement from the IRA. Most punters are predictably split on what (if any significance) it has for the ‘ailing’ peace process. The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern welcomed the statement, whilst David Trimble immediately countered it with the suggestion that “the apology from the IRA tonight may have been prompted by the investigative pieces on which some journalists have been working for the anniversary of bloody Friday in a … Read more

Conservative policy

Simon Heffer believes Trimble has no choice but to move rightwards. Conor Cruise O’Brien pops his head above the parapet for the first time in a while and gives more immediate counsell: “What Trimble and all other unionists should be doing right now is keeping the spotlight on Colombia and the IRA’s links with FARC. In this way he will embarrass both Sinn Fein and the British and Irish Governments.” Meantime, in yesterday’s debate in Westminster the Lib Dem’s Northern … Read more

Weblogs

For those that still aren’t sure what it’s about. Here’s an article on weblogging. Check out Blogger to get started.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

D’fhág an BBC agus BSkyB agus TG4 as an áireamh i bpacáiste úr digiteach a bheidh á thairiscint acu sa Tuaisceart agus sa Bhreatáin ón fhómhar ar aghaidh.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

The trouble in and around the Short Strand comes in for some attention. Anthony McIntyre asks for the hyperbole to be taken down a notch or two, suggesting, “replacing the need to state what is with a penchant for the ridiculous only invites ridiculing of the needs of people going about their daily lives in a climate of adversity.” There are signs that Unionists of all shades are taking up the idea of Civil Rights to boost their own political … Read more

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

First of all, prize for the most eye-catching headlne of the year has got to go to Police Praise IRA, and Rosie Cowan’s article in the Guardian last Saturday. There have been a few rumblings about the border/link with Britain poll in the last few days. Newshound reprint an Andersonstown News (agus i nGaelige) story by Concubhar Ó Liatháin, whilst Trimble seems confident that the next Assembly elections will share the billling with a referendum on the issue.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Interesting piece on one of Northern Ireland’s largest and most ignored natural assets, according to Gary Grattan. “LOUGH Neagh – at 152 square miles the largest inland area of water in the UK – is not being exploited to its full tourism potential. “Sensitively and sensibly handled, the marketing of Lough Neagh as a recreational waterway is not in any way detrimental of ecological aspects of the lough. “The development will also create wealth in the surrounding areas via the … Read more

Monday, July 15, 2002

Following the widely trailed violence on the Springfield Road, the PSNI believe that this twelth was a relatively relaxed affair. Though Henry McDonald suggests that the Orange Order need to take a long hard look at itself. Others within the Order like George Patten apparently agree. John Coulter highlights an impending collapse in confidence within the Yes-camp unionist camp, and further suggests that Trimble has no choice but to make a serious shift to the right: “Strategically, Trimble is holed … Read more

Friday, July 12, 2002

“…courtly yet testy; an eloquent speaker yet a poor communicator; atavistic yet sophisticated; stubborn yet not quite sure of where he wants to go.” Brian Walker believes Trimble is the perfect paradigm of contemporary Ulster Unionism.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Today is known as the Glorious Twelfth for many in Northern Ireland, celebrating a history of civil and religious freedom. For others it an opportunity to break and head for the hills of Donegal, or other more tranquil spots. Of the many parades that take place each year, most pass off with little comment and even some with the active approval of the local Catholic population. This from Irish Times journalist Theresa Judge on the annual parade in Rossnowlagh, Donegal … Read more

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Deireann Ian Malcolm: is mor an trua é nach bhfuil an dá thaobh ag Droim Crí ábalta teacht ar chomhréiteach a thaispeánfadh go bhfuil muid uilig ag fás aníos trí scáthán phróiseas na síochána.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

More criticism of Trimble in the Guardian. The leader in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph calls for Nationalists to understand the perception of the outworking of the Belfast Agreement amongst Unionist voters is vastly different to their own: “It serves no purpose for nationalist politicians to berate the unionist leadership for failing to fully embrace the Good Friday Agreement, with all its ambiguity. For them, it has delivered on equality, but for David Trimble and a majority of unionists it has failed … Read more

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Ciaran Irvine urges the debate on the future of the whole island to focus on what can be done with that future rather than to get caught up in bemoaning the miseries of the past.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

David Trimble seems to be at the receiving end of lectures from just about everyone these days. David Lister at The Times suggests that: “Mr Trimble, who has vehemently denied suggestions that he will stand down as party leader before the election, needs urgent help to win back Protestants who have lost faith with the peace process. The basic problem for Mr Trimble is that, although his compromises in taking Unionists into a power-sharing Assembly and talking to terrorists have … Read more

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Mary McAleese reckons there is a significant shift in the way that violence is perceived in the post ceasefire era. “…she said she was more hopeful about the North situation today than she has been at any other time in her life. The current focus on sectarian violence and intolerance would not have happened during the Troubles when, every day, people were “absorbed with issues of death”, she said” But as the first comments on yesterday’s survey of attitudes come … Read more

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

For a sense of historical perspective, Timothy Lavin hunts back through the archives of the Atlantic magazine, and unearths some real gems from: Brian Moore commenting bleakly on the future of Ulster as seen in 1970; Henry Massingham writing in the very immediate aftermath of the 1916 rising; and Padraig O’Malley on the marching season of 1996, amongst others.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Not exactly Ireland, but Andrew O’Hagan grew up in that unsettled extension of Northern Ireland’s political and cultural norms, the west of Scotland. This piece for the London Reveiw of Books is an excellent account of what it takes to be a dissident to your own (footballing) tradition. John Lancaster kicks off his reminiscence of the latest World Cup re-visiting the McCarthy – Keane stand-off, whilst Niall Quinn is rewarded for his efforts with an honourary degree. If you can … Read more