A crucial part of the proceedings is of course the number, if any, of his Assembly members who defect to the ‘No’ camp of the Agreement.
Although at Westminster Ulster Unionist MPs are split and Paisley’s DUPs have gained the South Antrim seat, this is of no immediate importance to Trimble and his UUP, until, of course, the expected Westminster general election next year, when, if further losses occurred, it would jeopardise not only his and his party’s position but the Agreement itself.
This would be a catastrophe indeed, to risk plunging both communities into a repetition of three decades of mayhem, death and destruction.
I question whether the Belfast Court which refused the request for an injunction to stop the BBC Panorama programme on the Omagh bombing had its thinking cap on and whether the BBC had thought the issue through.
In view of the fact that the Secretary of State commented that he saw the broadcast and thought it was well done, with a powerful thrust, does make me wonder if there was a hidden intention in allowing such a broadcast at this time.
Tony Blair has had discussions on the situation with Bertie Ahern (who was opposed to the broadcast taking place) and both governments are engaged with the issues.
If the republican movement, who claim to have the ability to assess and analyse political issues, realise that they have a crucial role in progressing the Peace Process they could and should, in order to sustain the spirit and text of the Good Friday Accord, activate themselves further in the Decommissioning Commission.
The next three months are critical so perhaps one might hope that by Christmas some high level summitry, pace the April 10 1998 effort, will help us enter 2001 with a resurgence of hope of real progress.
All through the last thirty years the call has been for dialogue or, as Churchill once said, “Jaw Jaw is better than War War”.
However, there comes a time when the talking has to give way to agreement, compromise and action. Now is the time for more of the same as was achieved on April 10 1998, the ball is in both courts. Let’s stop the game at 40 all and proceed to another win win situation.
©: Samuel H. Boyd, Cwmbran.
Samuel H. Boyd