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Trimble leaves the UUP…for the Conservatives April 16, 2007

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Northern Ireland, Ulster.

No slow news day as evidenced by our posts here.

Just caught on Channel 4 News the news that David Trimble is departing for sunnier climes in the Conservative Party.

Two thoughts strike me. Reg Empey, so much the nearly man, must be wondering just what he did over the years to deserve this. Well, perhaps that’s partly down to some degree of friction between the two men post 2001 over the direction of the party, or perhaps it’s a lesson not to trust anyone who has been in more than one political party in their lives – which would of course count for either of them!

Hard too, to envisage a greater vote of non-confidence in the UUP. A shattered and demoralised party slumps further. The logic of all this? Well, perhaps the more liberal sections of the UUP are making eyes at Alliance while keeping their fingers crossed that Jeffrey Donaldson may change the DUP before it changes him.

And it’s not difficult to suggest that the Conservative Party was perhaps a more instinctive home for David Trimble over the years, long, long before today. The impact of that on the course of the Peace Process is intriguing. For example, the now largely discredited Stormontgate affair of 2002 saw the plug pulled on the Assembly. Would a more confident leader have acted more assertively and attempted to keep the show on the road?

Still, all hypothetical now, as Baron Trimble of Lisnagarvey (formerly of Vanguard) slides along the benches to his spiritual home.

Isn’t this one of those events that when you first hear about it is surprising but then the more you think about it it seems almost predictable?


1. Mark P - April 16, 2007

I’m curious about the political desinations of some of the people Trimble used to have around him. Take the also recently ennobled Paul Bew (no really, take him…) for instance. Has the long march from the Workers Party through Democratic Left and the UUP finally come to an end in the Conservative Party too?

For that matter does anyone know the current political views of Patterson, Gibbon or any of the rest of that generation of Stickyish professors?

On the main point, this is a particularly vindictive kick in the balls to what remains of Official Unionism. See under the death scene of Little Nell.


2. WorldbyStorm - April 16, 2007

Bew certainly made a long hard trip from the left. Although he wasn’t a member of the WP IIRC. More a camp follower.

Bew etc seem to be tied up with the Cadogan Group for more on which see https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/post-nationalism-3-the-cadogan-group-or-just-why-is-that-unionism-doesnt-believe-itself-to-be-british-nationalism/


3. smiffy - April 16, 2007

I haven’t seen the news, so I don’t know what reasons were given for this. However, isn’t it possible, if not necessarily likely, that this move might be less an ideological one and more tactical? Trimble is still relatively young, and may still harbour some political ambitions, albeit limited ones. Being a Conservative Peer may open a few more doors in the coming years (particularly in the event of a Conservative government coming to power in 2009) than remaining a Unionist Peer would.

Just a thought.


4. WorldbyStorm - April 16, 2007

That’s a good point, I should have added in it would be interesting to see if Trimble, having worked with SF would moderate the Conservative Party as regards it’s instinct to lash Republicanism (I have a post brewing on an NI debate in the House of Lords which is eye watering in the way the Tories seem to channel 1993).


5. Ed Hayes - April 17, 2007

I don’t know if Bew was actually a member of the WP but his pal Henry Patterson certainly was, as was Ellen Hazelkorn with whom they authored ‘The Dynamics of Irish Politics.’ Bew also wrote extensively in WP publications for a long time. The mind boggles when you think of Patterson, Bew and co and the Lagan Social Club on a Saturday night…presuming they ever went there of course.


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