David trimble

Trimble may prove to be Unionism’s last statesman

David Trimble, who has just died, has rightly been praised for his courage. History may prove him to have been Unionism’s last statesman. But the well-known people who sincerely eulogised him this week – Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Jonathan Powell – all helped end his career. There are many good things to be said for the Belfast Agreement, and no one said them better than David, but it achieved at least one big, bad thing: it undermined moderation in Ulster politics. By persuading Trimble to move so far, Blair and co separated him from his political roots. This broke Trimble’s Unionists and empowered the much more sectarian followers of Ian

The David Trimble I know (1998)

David Trimble, Northern Ireland’s first minister from 1998 to 2002 and leader of the Ulster Unionist party from 1995 to 2005, has died aged 77. In 1998, Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote about the Unionist leader from a Catholic’s perspective. On a wall in David Trimble’s Westminster office is a cartoon of a bunker, complete with tin-hatted soldiers poking their rifles over the sandbags. I was dealing with someone with an intellectual life outside academia and politics ‘Ulster,’ says the caption. ‘Probably the best lager in the world.’ I laughed when I saw it, and Mr Trimble grinned and gestured to a 1929 election poster behind his desk, featuring Lord Craigavon glowering