Ian Paisley and a born again media

I’ve only met Ian Paisley face to face the once. That occasion was memorable partly for the moment I turned my back to walk away, when gave his distinctly unwhispered advice to a colleague, that he should never trust the press because however pleasant they are to your face, there’s always a sting in the tail.

A noteable change in the last year has been the press’s attitude towards him and his party. Last night Chris Thornton talked about a born again Paisley, but he could also be talking about markedly more respectful media establishment, now the big man finally has power of real constitutional moment.

  • peteb

    Lovely, a “more respectful media establishment”.

    That’s not exactly what I’d call progress, Mick.

  • An Bearnach

    This is a true story about Ian Paisley and the media: I was there. In Armagh in late November 1968, Paisley and a counter-demonstration stopped a civil rights March getting in to the centre of Armagh from the Moy Road where it formed up. The march broke up quietly at the police lines below the Shambles, and then Paisley held a Prayer Rally in Market Square. There were a couple of thousand supporters and Martin Bell was there with a camera crew. Paisley said: “There is a man in this square today who is no friend of the Protestant and Loyalist people of Ulster. That man is Martin Bell of the BBC, or the PBC as I call it – the Papish Broadcasting Corporation. [Applause]Now I am not suggesting that any man here should offer violence to Martin Bell of the PBC, but [he paused and then slowly pointed] he’s standing over there in a sheepskin jacket.”
    After Bell had got a few digs, he said: “Now, brethren, let us bow our heads in a silent prayer for deliverance from our foes.”

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    How Paisley’s supporters and those who apologise for him here can describe him as an old man who never had anything to do with violence astounds me to this day. He was quite happy to do the pointing.

  • aquifer

    If respectful soft-soaps the blustering bully to reason, then do respectful. You all helped broadcast his ranting and grandstanding over the years, you owe us.

  • Declan

    Quite right Roger. Paisley has provided the rhetorical backdrop to violent loyalism. This actually makes him worse than the Provos because after the deeds were carried out that he inspired, he turned his back and walked away. He has much to repent himself.

    BTW, did anyone see the news coverage today after the DUP meeting with DeChastelain; Paisley refused to take back anything he said about the IRA’s ‘bloodthirsty monsters’. Robinson and Dodds on either side of him looked very uncomfortable… I think they’re beginning to wish that Paisley would just hurry up and retire or die so they can do a deal.

  • willowfield

    I hardly think sectarian or bigoted ranting is “worse” than murdering people.

  • Declan

    True Willow, but Paisley’s inflammatory comments led to people being murdered. The Provos admitted that they killed people; Dr. Paisley has yet to recognise, or apologise for, the impact of his ranting and inflexibility on the death toll here.

    Remember that former loyalist paramilitary prisoners have stated in the past that they wish they had never heard the name of Ian Paisley. I wonder why?

  • willowfield

    True Willow, but Paisley’s inflammatory comments led to people being murdered.

    I’m not comfortable with arguments like that. Blame for murders lies squarely with those who ordered and committed them: they made those decisions and they have responsibility.