The price of having Paisley as leader

Interesting thoughts on the role of Ian Paisley from the N Irish Magyar blog. Paul notes that whilst Paisley has come out well in not believing anything the Republican movement has said in public, he still stands accused of having weakened Unionism in the cause of making himself the role of undisputed leader.

  • maca

    An interesting article.
    Paisley, the voice and face of Unionism for the last 30+. Ye poor feckers.
    If unionists ever want to create an NI for all Paisley is one of those dinosaurs ye must get rid of. Few will give Unionism any respect with religious nuts like BigI at the helm.

  • Keith M

    Personally I think that unionism will be better off when Paisley leaves the political scene. Yes, he took the right position since 1998 and I believe he was also right about Sunningdale and the Anglo-Irish Agreement, but the overt linkage between unionism and fundalmenalist religeous beliefs does not do the pro-union community any good.

  • barnshee

    The price of paisley as leader is the price being paid by the catholic community for their 80 year war against the protestant. you get what you pay for.

  • spirit-level

    A good idea would be to stuff / pickle Ian Paisley when he finally dies for future generations to visit the old dinasaurs rogue gallery.. maybe have a wee video in a booth for the youngsters to watch on school visits to know their history

  • fair_deal

    Regrettably this is the standard whinge about Paisley. Regrettably Paisley’s role has been more complex than the standard analysis and it falls into the trap that the Belfast Agreement = Sunningdale omitting significant changes in the All-Ireland aspects (The one part of the agreement that the Trimble did a reasonable job in negotiating.)

    The leadership cult stuff is just plain wrong that cult has been with Unionism since Carson.

  • fair_deal

    Regrettably this is the standard whinge about Paisley. Paisley’s role has been more complex than the standard analysis and it falls into the trap that the Belfast Agreement = Sunningdale omitting significant changes in the All-Ireland aspects (The one part of the agreement that the Trimble did a reasonable job in negotiating.)

    The leadership cult stuff is just plain wrong that cult has been with Unionism since Carson.

  • maca

    Barnshee
    “The price of paisley as leader is the price being paid by the catholic community … blah blah blah”

    Actually the Unionist community is paying the price too. In fact, everyone in NI and many beyond are paying the price, no matter whether they are pro- or anti-union.

    Heard you the first time fair_deal 😉

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jesus, am I alone in being a little disturbed by some of this guy’s stuff about “the enemy”? Or have we not yet reached the stage where we can acknowledge the link between violent rhetoric and real, actual, nose-bloodying, widow-making violence?

    Which brings us on nicely to Paisley.

    Barnshee.

    “The price of paisley as leader is the price being paid by the catholic community for their 80 year war against the protestant. you get what you pay for.”

    Are you serious? I’ll assume you’re joking. That this is a clever send up of Protestant Telegraph editorials or something. It’d just be too depressing if you were serious…

    What do we think drives Paisley? I mean, I know there will be predictable answers – some will say devotion to his people and to the Bible, others will say visceral bigotry and hatred. All these factors are partly true. But has there ever been any serious work done looking at the possibility that class plays a part?

    I mean, Paisley’s hatred for the big house unionists and their colonial delusions it well recorded. I just think he has the look of a man contorted with violence and rage at the suggestion that he is somehow lesser or inferior – a suggestion he can’t quite rid even himself of. It explains why his biography has been about replacing the UU as leader of the tribe with his own, much earthier band of oligarchs.

    Perhaps even his hatred for Catholics is more a by-product of this rather than a fundamental. After all, no-one ever got ahead in unionist politics by being less sectarian than the other guy.

  • Alan2

    There are quite a few ex-Catholics in Paisley`s Church. May I suggest listening to Sermon Audio. Ya mighn`t like what you hear but it is about doctrine not people.

    I know quite a few Free P`s and they are nearly always preaching down South. Hardly the place to be if you “hate Catholics”.

    I believe some of the Free P`s were out and about in Monaghan town at the weekend.

  • Alan2

    I see the Doc was out helping to promote the Junction One International North West 200 to be held on Saturday 21st May 2005.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Paisley’s hatred for the big house unionists

    You ever seen his house in Cyprus Avenue ? It’s flipping huge.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    That’s quite interesting what Billy says. Some commentators have noted that even though he has the reputation of being slightly to the right of Attila, quite a few DUP policies are, well, almost socialist in their thinking.

    Would it be fair to say that sometimes Nigel Dodds’ position on houses for Protestants in North Belfast can drown out the calls from Gregory Campbell to control housing development on the north coast so local first-time buyers can actually afford to live there?

    Curiously, others in the DUP feel much differently about development on the north coast, but that’s another story.

    But Paisley is not easy for many to fathom. Depending on your viewpoint, his famous speeches – from “Never, never, never”, right through to “sackcloth and ashes” – will leave you either seething and vengeful, or proudly patriotic. He divides us like black and white, yet, it is impossible to ignore his force of character. And his charisma. The talks since the Assembly election have been done with an eye on Paisley’s health, as many firmly believe that he can deliver unionism in a way that Trimble could, or Robinson might not be able to.

    Many also thought that Paisley was starting to seek out his place in history at Leeds Castle, and I am willing to bet he prayed long and hard about making a decision, but I think he was forced to make a difficult decision at some point, one way or the other. You can decide if he made the right one, or perhaps outside forces made it up for him.

    I don’t know if any of you have ever met him outside of the public glare, but I think there is a public and private side to Paisley. It is bizarre that a “hate filled bigot”, as he is frequently described, can be so disarmingly personable in private.

    He does seem genuinely interested in people, and while he will says what he has to say, whether you like it or not, the hostility seems to be reserved for the cameras mostly. Just as Paisley is acutely aware of how to tap into people’s fears and prejudices, so he can engage them in his own, sometimes perhaps eccentric, manner.

    I remember seeing him in action at a funeral of a friend’s grandmother, who had died in a coach crash along with several other DUP members, and how he spoke to people seemed appreciated by the bereaved.

    It might strike some as odd, but Paisley can listen to people too. Maybe not as often as he should, but I know that he has listened to others outside the DUP he has some respect for. Paisley’s bigotry seems to have changed over the years.

    Once he seemed comfortable individualising his hatred for Catholics, with his reading of addresses of Catholics in the Shankill in the 50s or 60s (houses later burnt). Now it seems somewhat mollified and generalised, apart from special occasions, and I haven’t heard a sermon in a while.

    The man has amazing drive and was born to lead. It’s just a shame his enviable talents and messianic zeal channeled his tremendous energy down such a sectarian road, where his undoubted ability to influence others led to horrendous violence and worse in the past.

    So in summary, yes Billy, I think the Doc is more complicated than most of us give him credit for. That’s neither compliment nor criticism, and I know he wouldn’t be offended by that.

    He’d probably laugh, offer some advice from Psalms, or call me an eejit or something.

  • maca

    “… I think there is a public and private side to Paisley … whether you like it or not, the hostility seems to be reserved for the cameras”

    Gonzo, you seem to be almost excusing what he is just because he may be a decent bloke in “real life”. 😉
    It matters not what Paisley is like in real life. It’s the public face of Paisley which is the important one. It’s this face which has made many Southerners believe unionists are little more than bigots, it’s this face which has fuelled hatred throughout the island, it’s this face which has caused the deaths of catholics.
    Paisley deserves zero respect from us, though I doubt that bothers him too much.

    p.s. was Paisley ever arrested or charged with reading out those names of Catholics in the Shankill? He should have been locked up for that.

  • Alan2

    Some very good points Gonzo. If you think Paisley is a simple bigot then I would advise you to read some of his books or listen to his sermons on Sermon Audio (many of which were lectures at Bob Jones University in South Carolina).

    Personally I don`t think Paisley seeks to make his place in history as that would be “worldy”.

    Personally I believe Paisley would work for ALL the people of Northern Ireland if he were First Minister.

    What is needed is conclusive and convincing dismantling of the UDA, UVF, IRA and all the rest.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    maca

    I knew that this is how some people would interpret that post. I guess it’s hard to explain. I just thought yous might like a more mixed opinion and whatever personal insight I can offer, since he usually brings out bile and fawning in equal and opposite measure and force.

    Paisley is a politician and a preacher, but also a person. And like any of us, he’s far from perfect, but he is rarely analysed in the latter respect, as I think Billy was doing. In no way am I excusing his beliefs or prejudices.

    Unfortunately, he is by far and away the most popular and influential politician in the area I grew up, and couldn’t really be avoided!

  • maca

    No Gonzo. I understood the point of your post and I appreciate your opinion. Indeed, I have heard much of that before. I understand there is more to the man that what we see on tv. I just take the view that that side of Paisley is irrelevant.

    In other times Paisley might actually be a decent person and someone worthy of respect. Unfortunatly we don’t live in other times.

  • Davros

    Interesting and well thought out contribution from Gonzo.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Related link.

  • maca

    If you scroll further down the page you’ll see the quote:
    “Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners; and the massive discrimination in employment and shortage of houses for Catholics were simply because they breed like “rabbits” and multiply like “vermin”.”

    ;))

  • Ziznivy

    It is irrelevant Maca. Stalin could be quite a personable and charming chap as well.

  • twinkilcooleywithcoxsdemesne

    Paisley is to the DUP, what the IRA are to Sinn Fein; his mutterings akin to their bank robberies.

    Without Paisley and the IRA; who are so usefully played as the “demon bogeymen card” when required, both parties would be exposed for being the self-serving, power hungry, inadequate bunch that they all so cleary are.

    He’s not gone away you know…….

  • barnshee

    “Are you serious? I’ll assume you’re joking. That this is a clever send up of Protestant Telegraph editorials or something. It’d just be too depressing if you were serious.”

    Don`t shoot the messenger -the rise of the DUPERs and Paisley is a direct result of the perceived conduct of the catholic community and its armed wing-as Newton said every action has an equal and opposite reaction –catholic violence has put back Irish unity generations –another three generations of prods totally opposed to the concept.

  • maca

    Chicken and egg Barnshee.

  • aquifer

    How did the Unionists manage to marginalise themselves when liberal democratic and capitalist values rooted in the historic experience of protestantism have been triumphant in the world.

    A peculiar genius.

    Aligning Unionism to protestantism is an ongoing error fatal to the values Unionism exists to serve.

  • aquifer

    A classmate of Paisley recalled him as unimpressive.

    If he wants to be a martyr like his heroes he will resist any compromise. Not a problem for him, but maybe for us if we expected him to act politically, seeking worldly power.

    Too often I hear people on both sides here cherishing ‘little tales of victimhood’, sectarian talismans to resist the false charms of the other side. Its not that far from this to supervictim, perpetrators citing some historic experience to justify crimes in the present.

    And with all this victimising and fear making, is it surprising we look for superdaddies, big brash or violent and calculating males to make us feel better. It never surprised me that so many lefties seemed soft on Saddam.

    Enough nursery talk.