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March 1997 (The Independence)
"WHY UNIONISTS MUST SUPPORT INDEPENDENCE" -David Trimble

"We have been turned into an internal colony. "

IN 1988 David Trimble, the present leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, published a document emitted What Choice For Ulster? in support of independence. This month we are printing extracts from that document in the hope of reminding David Trimble and his unionist friends of "the grim reality before us." Although Trimble seems to be embroiled in unionist rhetoric these days, the arguments presented by him against devolution and integration in favour of independence are as valid today as they were nine years ago.
In the opening pages Trimble noted that: "The diktat remains and remains open to the development republicans desire. Meanwhile that continued existence, is a constant reminder drat the government at Westminster has disregarded the views of the people of Ulster on a matter of vital concern to them and, having apparently got away with it. will do so again.."

This statement is poignant in the light of the Anglo-Irish Agreement which is not only still in place but has been reinforced with the advent of the Downing Street Declaration and the Framework Document. These combine to promote Irish nationalist desires including a North/South governmental body and an all-Ireland referendum on the future constitutional status of Ulster. Furthermore the signs in 1988 which led Trimble to believe "...that London is prepared to sacrifice us in pursuit of its own interests and that the object of same elements of the establishment in London is to prepare us gradually for absorption into the Irish Republic, " still exist today. Could it be that the selling of Ireland as a single entity by the tourist boards North and South is a device "to prepare us gradually for absorption info the Irish Republic"?  It is strange that in highlighting (and even correctly predicting) what would happen after 1988, Trimble has not moved towards independence but stepped backwards into the old unionist policies of devolution and lion. An even greater oddity is the fact that Trimble actually provides the reasoning why the people should reject these policies;
On devolution:
"...there are I think three objections which cumulatively make ANY form of devolution impossible. "

And on integration:
"To persuade the London establishment to return to integration is to try and set the clock back 100 years... it is not a realistic option... Moreover the diktat has underlined how any form of integration is the potential vehicle for the exercise of dictatorial powers over Ulster."
He concludes by recognising that: "...despite the emotional pull of integration and its academic attractions it is a will of the wisp', a distraction from the grim reality before us."

For the David Trimble of 1988, devolution, integration and direct rule were all rejected on the basis that with these options power would stiff be retained in Westminster with the potential of more treachery by the British; "We cannot therefore continue to allow London to misgovern us but must now take steps to govern ourselves." To those who doubt the economic viability of self-governing he presents the following argument:
"Many fear independence in any form because of the fear that `we could not afford it'. Well, can we afford not to do it? Any unit is viable ...l am confident that we can be a prosperous country, especially if we achieve stability. "
This stability is achievable as "the years of violence in Ulster have been the years of Westminster control. The years of comparative peace were those when Ulstermen were in control. Why? There is a simple answer. Republicans have good reason to believe that if they keep up the violence, Westminster will eventually give in: they know that WE will never surrender."

As well as providing peace, stability and prosperity, independence, according to Trimble, will also provide clarity. "To simple minds it then can seem that our part of the United Kingdom is an improper intrusion into Ireland and that we are merely the agents of British imperialism. A move towards independence would clarify that position." No longer could the 'un-Irish' amongst us be seen as unwanted visitors in our own country, rather we will be reinforcing our right as a nation to self-determination, free from London and Dublin interference. All this would create a problem for the IRA as "It would thus deprive the IRA of its emotional power house, namely the desire to drive out the British `army of occupation'... and when the 'occupation forces' are gone and replaced solely by native Ulstermen, we will see confusion, uncertainty and double speak in their minds."

Trimble's message is clear - independence is the only way forward . and "...when we come to agree on the inevitability of some form of independence we can shape our political offensive." For the future of this country we can only hope that the unionist family and Trimble will listen to his own rationality and "come to agree" soon before it is too late. We have had the warning signs of what the future will hold if we are not prepared to assume responsibility; erecting 'Ulster Says No' banners is simply not going to influence a British government which takes every opportunity to turn a blind eye to the aspirations and rights of our people.

"..it is now time for the unionist community to seriously consider whether the best way of protecting its vital interests is not some form of independence."

 

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