By Michael Kerr
In what is their centenary year, the Ulster Unionist Party has been left reeling from the 2005 Westminster general election results. The historic party of the union has but one remaining seat in the House of Commons, and as was predicted, Northern Ireland's electorate has abandoned the centre-ground parties in favour of the extremes. The DUP and Sinn Fein now hold the key to political progress - a scenario almost inconceivable when the Belfast Agreement was signed seven long years ago. So how did the UUP become so out of touch with mainstream Unionist opinion? What could the party have done to hold its vote in the 2005 general election? Why did the British Government abandon Trimble after he had led Ulster Unionism from international isolation to being the driving force behind the Belfast Agreement? In Transforming Unionism Michael Kerr offers a view of the UUP's electoral meltdown from inside Ulster Unionist Party Head Quarters, and unravels the last days of Trimble as Ulster Unionism's leader. Seen through the eyes of the campaign team, Kerr's daily journal, and interviews with the key players, this book dissects the 2005 campaign and the end of the Trimble project. Kerr evaluates where and why the UUP leadership failed, lays out the different directions the party may now take, and offers a constructive analysis of what the Ulster Unionism must do if it is to rebuild its electoral base and emerge from the wreckage of one of the most torrid episodes in the party's 100-year history.
Publication Date: 1/1/2006