During the Assembly elections in 2003 I remember Ian Paisley saying something like, 'David Trimble leads a party which is torn from top to bottom with divisions over his leadership and UUP policy on the Belfast Agreement'.
Skip forward 18 years and it is the DUP which is divided from top to bottom over Edwin Poots and the strategy required to end the NI Protocol.
Poots will be ratified as leader: not on a wave of adulation or confidence in his abilities, but because the DUP doesn't want the epic embarrassment of a brutal coup against Arlene Foster followed by the farcical removal of a leader-designate who hasn't even moved his personal effects into the office.
His in-tray, which was already enormous, increases by the day. The latest LucidTalk poll suggests he is less popular than Herod at a maternity ward and, at 16% support, it is the first time in almost two decades the DUP does not account for a majority of the unionist vote.
While his personal instincts are to protect devolution and the Executive — knowing that direct rule under Boris Johnson would do unionism no favours — he is facing pressure from the Orange Order, the LCC, a younger section of loyalism and the TUV to let the Assembly collapse if the Protocol isn't removed.
Worryingly for him, the LucidTalk poll also suggests 74% of DUP voters think closing the Assembly is a price worth paying to force Johnson's hand on the Protocol.
You have to go back to May 1969 — when James Chichester-Clark replaced Terence O'Neill — to find a unionist party leader who enters office weaker than Poots looks right now.
On Thursday the front pages of all three local newspapers carried separate stories about the DUP's travails: Arlene Foster's constituency association issuing a statement of support for her; former MLA Sammy Douglas claiming she had undermined the union; and rumours that Mervyn Storey was shying away from the First Minister role because he didn't want to be Poots' ‘mudguard’.
Each one very damaging in its own particular way. And each one signalling new levels of division within and across the party.
Before he can act with authority he needs to plug the leaks — which may well be coming from half of his MLA/MP team and some of his local councillors — and construct a frontbench team which looks and sounds united.
He should also be concerned that some of the people who voted for him a couple of weeks ago seem to have gone to ground. Which suggests they may be weighing up their options and reassessing where their loyalty really lies.
There is no point in him trying to agree policy until he sorts out that problem. Had he won by a comfortable majority — in the region of 24 to 12 — he would have had room for manoeuvre and enough people willing to rally around him. He has neither.
I know from my time in the UUP that it is not possible for a divided party to push what is supposed to be a united policy. Indeed, trying to do so, while trying to pretend all is well, only exacerbates the difficulties.
He needs to be strong enough to stand up to his external opponents and rivals; not least that section of younger loyalism and the TUV which wouldn't shed any tears if the entire structures of the GFA were brought down.
I asked a young loyalist what the primary consequences of shredding the GFA would be: "It might stop the yammering in the south about unity anytime soon. They don't want to take responsibility if we're not getting on up here."
Hmm. He may have a point, I suppose, but he seemed more sheepish when I asked him about Johnson and direct rule and what happens if the Protocol remains. He had no answers.
Poots also has an unexpected problem: a new UUP leader who seems to be more popular than he is. A leader, in fact, who seems strong enough and willing enough to rebuild support for the party and present a very real electoral challenge to the DUP.
Which means that any potential negotiations about electoral pacts — and the DUP is desperate to keep the First Minister's role — won't be as one-sided as they have been in the last decade.
And, of course, the TUV also seems to be growing in popularity and Jim Allister has already set out a possible 'pre-election, pan-unionist' pact involving all three parties.
Whichever way he turns and whatever strategy he favours, Poots is going to have problems.
He has to make a clear call on where his party is going, not least because an early election can't be ruled out.
He can't rely on the TUV and UUP having his back in that election.
And nor can he rely on the Orange Order et al rowing in behind him for the 'greater good of unionism’.
He has one thing in his favour: neither the TUV nor UUP, let alone all his other opponents, have a solution to the Protocol, either.
Ironically, he may yet be saved by the very thing which looks like his greatest hurdle.