Preface - by Michael Gove, Assistant Editor, The Times

David Trimble is a remarkable politician. His gifts: of moral courage, intellectual power and personal persuasiveness elevate him above the ordinary ranks of most politicians in these islands. He has been likened to a prophet, insufficiently recognised in his own land, but garlanded elsewhere, most notably in the award of the Nobel Prize. It is my hope that this book, which collects together for the first time in one volume the most notable of his speeches and articles, will allow a better assessment of his record by all who wish to see Northern Ireland enjoy the stable, democratic government its people deserve.

All true friends of Ulster will benefit from renewed acquaintance with Mr Trimble's thought. His determination to put an end to the politics of coercion, and his insistence that democracy in these islands depends upon the decommissioning of terrorist weapons, has exposed him to criticism from those in our society who are always happiest traveling light down the path of least resistance. But no fair-minded reader of his arguments can be left with anything but admiration for his capacity to articulate the case for adherence to principle.

Mr Trimble's understanding of Ulster's history is informed by his acquaintance with the thinking and practice of some of the most admirable of these islands' politicians. From the philosophy of Edmund Burke through to the practical politics of Sir James Craig, Mr Trimble draws appropriate lessons for us all. But while Mr Trimble's first care is always the health of Ulster, his arguments have a resonance beyond Northern Ireland. He is in the finest tradition of those British politicians whose vision is not bounded by their origins. Mr Trimble's example is a help to all those of us who wish to see the United Kingdom face a series of contemporary challenges by cleaving to those principles of consent, liberal practice, due process and stoicism in the face of threat which have made our country envied in the past. There are challenges ahead which will require bravery from all of us who wish to see our country remain united. In practice and in its adherence to principle, Mr Trimble has in this book, helped provide new weapons for democracy's arsenal.

Michael Gove,
Assistant Editor, The Times

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