David Trimble may have started his visit to Derry yesterday by paying a generous tribute to John Hume, but his remarks on the city's proposed name change and his decision to implicitly link the initiative with the former SDLP leader were intemperate.
There will be many opinions over the city's title, and Mr Trimble is perfectly entitled to express his views on the issue bluntly.
However, his claim that the motion passed by Derry City Council represented 'crude sectarian triumphalism' and that a mask of reasonableness has slipped on the nationalist side was completely excessive.
Parity of esteem must work in both directions and, irrespective of the latest debate, it can hardly be maintained that unionists have never been guilty of triumphalism over symbolism and termino-logy in Derry.
It is particularly hard to understand why Mr Trimble went out of his way to drag the name of his fellow Nobel laureate, Mr Hume, into the controversy.
Mr Hume retired as leader of his party over a year ago and throughout his long career has never been a member of Derry City Council.
The idea that Mr Hume could hold some form of veto over the district authority, even if he wanted to, was a curious one and did not reflect well on Mr Trimble's judgment.