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I had never realised Trimble was a conservative as such until I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in 2001. There, on top table at the gala dinner, were Dick Cheney, Chief Buthelezi, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jesse Helms, Charlton Heston and... Lord Trimble.

Is there any wider signigicance to this- the Tory party in NI hasn't exactly been stellar in its performance, and the UUP aren't enjoying the best of times either.

Does that mean he's not going to vote Lib Dem at his London address at local elections any more?

We all hope to welcome him to the Lagan Valley Conservative Association here in Northern Ireland. Although he has crossed benches we are not aware which Conservative Association he has actually joined.

Excellent news for us - he's one of the outstanding figures of the 20th Century, but very sad for the UUP?

Under Trimble's leadership the UUP sank like a stone - not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Conservatives' new recruit!

This is excellent news. David is one of those rare people who can be described as a great leader.

It was his leadership skills that helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

He was not afraid to give his supporters some hard facts and that his policy of talking to other people was the best way forward for North Ireland.

A well deserved award.

I cannot believe how some people here are sniping at David Trimble. Believe it or not there are more important things in politics than winning elections.

Trimble did great work moving towards peace in NI. Are our memories so short that we forget a time when bombs in London and Belfast were common events? His actions may have made him (and his party) less popular with some unionists but that does not diminish their importance.

Was Churchill any less of a great man because he lost the 1945 election?

Get a grip!

Tim, that is pretty unfair. The UUP sank like a stone because of Tony Blair's 10-year policy of appeasing Northern Ireland's extremists, especially Sinn Fein/IRA. The SDLP sank like a stone for the same reason. Seamus Mallon recently summed up Blair, accurately, as a man who brought a moral dimension to everything and applied morality to nothing. Trimble made the fatal mistake of assuming that Tony Blair's word is his bond.

I'm not doubting Blair's derogatory efforts in the last 10 years, he carries a lot of the blame too. Yet Trimble was led by Blair and Adams down the path that any sensible Unionist would have recognised as leading to Sinn Fein advancing without having to concede on policing and decommissioning. His strategy was duff and his political leadership and awareness were lacking...a far cry from the Trimble who showed political guts and visionary leadership at Drumcree!

Unreserved welcome. He came and spoke to a meeting at a London constituency Conservative Association meeting back in the mid to late 1990s and was clearly a Conservative then, and one of a very thoughtful and intelligent hue. I am sure he will join an Association in England, presumably London, rather than one in NI as the point of this I am sure is not to oppose his former UUP colleagues, but to participate more fully in national politics in the House of Lords. A definite possible future member of a Cameron cabinet?

I am not sure I understand the editor's comment about liberal interventionist foreign policy - if this means supporting foreign escapades rather than condentrating on defending this country's interests in the traditional Tory pragmatic way, then it doesn't sound too like David Trimble to me. But then I tend to forget that the editor seems to operate on the principle of ConHome/RepublicanAbroad.

James Cleverly, you usually write some sound comments on here, yet putting Trimble on a par with Winston Churchill is going a bit over the top!

Tim, there is a lot of truth in what you are saying but Trimble was put under massive pressure by the British and Irish Governments to sign the Good Friday Agreement, at a time when millions believed that Blair walked on water. Those members of the UUP delegation who could see where things were headed and departed from the official script (notably, Jeffrey Donaldson) were immediately smeared as closet Paisleyites. Trimble made the fatal mistake of believing Blair, not to mention Ahern whom the late unlamented Charles Haughey described as one of the most cunning Irish politicians of the lot.

Blair may claim to be a Christian, but his treatment of Trimble indicates he has no conscience.

There, on top table at the gala dinner, were Dick Cheney, Chief Buthelezi, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jesse Helms, Charlton Heston and... Lord Trimble. - Donal Blaney

With friends like these...

Good news - I've always liked David. If he actually joins the Party (which he will have to as a Conservative peer), he will have to vote Conservative at all level across the United Kingdom, inc. N. Ireland!

We will never know, Justin, it's a secret ballot after all ;)

Excellent news.

Any chance that we could get their only MP to defect as well?

"Any chance that we could get their only MP to defect as well?" - A big NO! The silly cow is more likely to defect to NuLab!

Why do you object to her, Justin?


Trimble and Conservatism - James O’Fee’s View

Tuesday April 17th 2007, 8:46 am

Filed under: Lord Trimble, Conservatives Northern Ireland, Conservative Party
In the spirit of openness we are, here, presenting an alternative response to Lord Trimble’s apparent defection to the Conservative Party. Comments welcome.

By James O’Fee (from his blog) We, as Conservatives in Northern Ireland, have always claimed that Northern Ireland needs to be fully integrated into the political system of the United Kingdom, with Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats playing their full part here.

Trimble has never said that - even though he accepts that “parties are the life blood of British Parliamentary democracy”. Here, he presents his move as one of personal ambition alone, as fulfilling his desire to be involved in ‘national politics’.

He has told us that he will no longer “campaign” for the Ulster Unionists. Trimble does not say that he will, henceforth, campaign for the Conservative Party.

Trimble has not revealed whether he has ceased to be a member of the Ulster Unionist Party. And, from the statement quoted from the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Sir Reg Empey, Trimble’s associate and successor, the Ulster Unionists are giving Trimble’s move a fair wind.

The Conservative Party tells us that Trimble is joining the Conservative GROUP in the House of Lords. Neither the Conservative Party nor Trimble have claimed that he is joining the CONSERVATIVE PARTY as such. Trimble will accept, it would seem, the Conservative Whip in the Lords.

But the Whip will not require Trimble to become a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party. I suspect that there are many Tory peers who remain outside the Conservative Party. I have heard from the lips of Tory peers that they never bothered involving themselves with the local Party. Indeed, I suspect that there have been Tory MPs who have never, formally, joined their local Party.

A reliable source informs me that the Lagan Valley Conservative Association has received no application for membership from any of the Trimble family. Dual membership with another political party is, of course, prohibited by the Conservative Party.

Finally, Trimble holds forward the prospect of the restoration of the ‘historic relationship’ between the Ulster Unionist and Conservative Parties. This ‘historic’, and pathetic, relationship amounted to the affiliation of the Ulster Unionist Council (though not the Ulster Unionist Party) to the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations. The National Union - which is no more - used to organise the Conservative Party Conference and, through this affiliation, a handful of delegates from the UUC were entitled to attend and speak at the Conference - including, indeed, David Trimble in his time.

Furthermore, a leading Ulster Unionist, Danny Kennedy, held out the prospect of some sort of relationship between the UU and Conservative Parties - although not the ‘historic’ relationship. The local Conservatives responded as follows…

“The Conservatives have today rejected an offer by UUP Deputy Leader Danny Kennedy to ‘review a future relationship’ between the two Parties following the restoration of devolution. Mr Kennedy made the ‘offer’ earlier today.

“We are not interested in a future relationship with the UUP – not now, not after the devolution situation is clarified, nor at any time in the future,” said Jeffrey Peel, Vice Chairman of the Party in Northern Ireland.”

As John Strafford, a member of the Beaconsfield constituency party and a longstanding supporter of the Conservatives in Northern Ireland commented recently -

“Anyone can see that the Ulster Unionists are finished. Join the Conservative Party!”


As Area Chairman in NI I'd like to clear up a few things:
1. Lord Trimble has LEFT the UUP
2. Lady Hermon is very proud of the number of times she has voted Labour 'more than any other unionist MP'
3. There will be no 'link up' with UUP - our party is open to all who support our values. We welcome members in all parts of the UK.

Thanks. I did not know about Lady Hermon's voting record.

James O'Fee is not being entirely fair to David Trimble, in the extract from his blog that Justin Hinchcliffe has highlighted.

David Trimble (and BTW I am delighted that he is joining us) gave an excellent speech at the Conservative Party conference in 2001, which included the following:

"But more is needed. The Assembly is limited. It has to operate within the context of the overall economic and social policy of the national government. If the Assembly is all there is the people will not feel that they are properly involved in politics. Taxation, expenditure, defence, foreign policy, are still determined in London. Unless there is a sense of involvement and accountability on those issues, the electorate in Northern Ireland will not be satisfied.

"This problem does not exist with regard to Scotland and Wales. There the people can vote for the national parties who decide these matters. I do not think we will have a healthy political system until the people of Northern Ireland have a similar opportunity to "turn the rascals out". And it is in the interests of the people of Great Britain, and in the interests of the people of the Republic of Ireland to encourage the development of healthier politics in Northern Ireland.

"There is another aspect too. The present structures prevent a person in Northern Ireland participating in British national politics. The last two governments contained Ministers from Northern Ireland. But Sir Brian Mawhinney and Kate Hoey had to leave Northern Ireland in order to be able to participate.

"It reminds me of the comparison between Belfast and Bangkok. The question is what can you do in Bangkok that you cannot do in Belfast? The answer of course is join the Labour party. Northern Ireland is the only place on the globe where you cannot join Labour. It is a civil rights issue.

"This is not something that is going to change overnight. It is not on the agenda today. But it is something we should think about. It will probably be on tomorrow's agenda. It is right that it should for in a sense it is just filling in the British dimension to the Agreement. When the time comes I believe this party will be ready. I hope mine will be. Together I think we can meet the need. The real challenge, however, is for New Labour and Tony Blair.

Why do the Tories continue to stand in NI, thus taking votes away from Unionist parties and in doing so making it more likely that the nationalists will get in?

I hope your comment is tongue in check!
Why do the Conservatives stand in Scotland?
Moreover, given the level of support for the Lib Dems in the SW of England why do we spilt the anti Labour vote in the SW?
Answer. Because we are the main centre right party of the entire UK.
Why do you want to maintain old style unionism in NI? Are we not fit to be treated as equal citizens of the UK?

Hardly surprising, now that he's London-based and constituency-free, and considering his involvement with The Henry Jackson Society (when are the Labour MPs signed up to that going to defect?).

But I never understood why he took a peerage. He could have just waited for some aged Knight of the Shires to die, sent his CV to the local Conservative Association, and breezed in, assuming that no one else with a Nobel Peace Prize had applied.

He would then have become Leader of the Conservative Party, and the much-trumpeted, but actually non-existent, Tory Revival might actually be happening in the electorally key areas of Scotland, Wales, the North, the Midlands and the West Country.

For that matter, merger with the UUP would also have forced Labour and the Lib Dems to contest seats in Northern Ireland, all of which Trimble has long come close to advocating publicly.

Ah, well, it was not to be. So at looks as if he'd be Leader of the Lords in a Tory Cabinet instead.

The Surrender Continues.

Legislative devolution is one of the main political weapons of the separatists

If you support legislative devolution you cannot be a Unionist.

Oxford minidictionary:

"union n. uniting, being united; a whole formed by uniting parts"

"unionist n. one who favours union"

I believe that considering his past achievements and political acumen it makes an almost perfect match.

The NI Tories are an utter joke who are kidding themselves if they think the DT will activly work against the UUP. They majored on the UUP/PUP group in the NI Assembly, and look where it got them, was it 0.1% more vote share?

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