Letter: Who lost the peace?

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The man who has made the gravest political miscalculation in Northern Ireland is not David Trimble but John Hume.

Against the instincts of some in his party, he pursued pan-nationalism and engagement with Sinn Fein. He assumed, I think, that the main beneficiaries would be constitutional nationalists, who would hold the balance of influence against a divided Unionist camp. The outcome instead is a dramatic increase in influence for the republicans, best illustrated by the SDLP's fatal dithering over whether or not they would ever vote to expel Sinn Fein from the assembly.

Clearly the SDLP now has very little influence over any eventual settlement, which will now be fought out between the republicans and a Unionist camp which is beginning to look more united that it has for a few years, because of the decommissioning issue.

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