April 17, 2007

Lord Trimble joins the Conservatives

Lord Trimble has joined the Conservative Party. It is interesting that he has taken this step- partly because he argues that the process in Northern Ireland now has finished- definitely given that he has led one of the parties one would think that he has acheived everything he wants to acheive. Trimble though makes an additional point, which is that he would like a less 'introverted' politics in Northern Ireland. In that sense this strikes me as a positive step- the more that Northern Irish politics is about the NHS and education and all the other issues that we all have, the more that the situation there will improve. A negative thing for the Tories may be that if they are in government say in five years time, with a former Ulster Unionist leader in their ranks (though an accomodating one) it may be more difficult to pose as a disinterested outside facilitator rather than a participant in the discussions in Northern Ireland. It will be interesting to see whether Trimble ends up in Cameron government- one would imagine that as a man who probably won't lead the party (from the Lords it would be difficult) but is definitely a big political hitter and has a lot of administrative experience, he would be a suitable candidate for a cabinet posting of some kind We shall see what happens- but it is an intriguing development.

I have published a more developed version of this article here- the argument though is the same.


Vino S said...

Have just written a short article about this on my blog. I think the UUP is in a perilous state at the moment. Most of its voters have gone to the DUP. In addition, those who take a more moderate view (or aren't as fussed about the national question) seem to be moving to the Alliance (which gained a few votes at the last Assembly elections). If Trimble's move encourages ordinary voters to do so, then the Tories could also hoover up some ex-UUP voters. This could also herald the political breakthrough for the Tories in NI that they have been aiming for for the last 10-15 yrs if they play their cards right.

Matthew Sinclair said...

I think it was always somewhat difficult for us to pose as a disinterested outside facilitator as the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Gracchi said...

Vino yes I agree with you- though I doubt it will have a great impact.

Matt I think it depends on the prominence Trimble is accorded. I think the unionist is often silent these days.

edmund said...

it strkes me as just as relevent partiu if the tories are just short of a majority that the DUP hate him -and are now sadly the domiant force of unionism in Ulster.

how can you be a disntered outside facliator in your own country?