October 31, according to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, should have seen the establishment of the Executive for Northern Ireland. But David Trimble said 'NO' citing the absence of decommissioning by the IRA as the reason. This in the knowledge that the IRA will not decommission. Indeed he neither wants or expects them to. He simply 'does not want a Fenian about the place.'
With the Executive formed, both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, reputed by British Intelligence to be long-standing members of the IRA Army Council would have been on it. Self evidently, with the IRA in government, 'the Protestant state for a Protestant people' and with it the reason for being of Unionism, would come to an unpleasantly abrupt end.

Rather than be judged by history, (or more pertinently by the likes of the Red hand Defenders) as the man who betrayed the Union, Trimble, very deliberately painted himself into a corner. Thereby confronting Blair with the conundrum: 'To save the Agreement you must save me - to save me you must sacrifice the Agreement. Our Nobel Peace recipient believes this to be his 'win-win' scenario.

As part of this ploy, Trimble persuaded Mowlam to recognise the LVF cease-fire (now operating under a new nom de guerre), who immediately offered to surrender weapons, on a quid pro quo basis with the IRA, on a ratio of one to ten. Ironically, far from IRA arms being the obstacle to peace, in reality it is only because of the armed struggle that there are negotiations. And it is because republicans are aware, to paraphrase a famous military strategist, that 'it is unreasonable to expect a man who is armed to negotiate with one who is unarmed' that they will be the last to blink.

BIG ISSUE PREDICTION: not a single bullet.

Reproduced from RA vol 3, Issue 4, Dec '98/Jan '99