The original Good Friday principles offered grounds to hope that we at last had a government willing to force the Unionist parties to accept that the key to a peaceful Northern Ireland was that all sides had to seek compromise and to take risks.
So why, then, as Mr Trimble and his colleagues began to waver, did Mr Blair think that trying to woo them with amendments and platitudes would work. Surely someone in the Northern Ireland Office could have pointed out the past success rate of such tactics?
And where are the people of Northern Ireland left now? With a peace process in ruins, democratically elected representatives with nowhere to exercise their influence, and the familiar sound of the word "No" in our ears. Well done, Mr Blair.Reuse content