I find myself in the unusual position of disagreeing with almost everything I read today. I may be in disagreeable form after a certain team lost a certain football match in a sport we dont mention. Anyway, forgetting Laois’s dismal performance, I was reading Anthony McIntyre’s piece on Paisley and I find it doesnt make much sense. While I am aware that I know a little more about the Orange Order than your average woman/catholic/nationalist/whatever, I would have imagined that every body knew one thing about him. The man has the absolute courage of his conviction. McIntyre appears to think that Paisley might be swayed or influenced by either his legacy or his reputation. Neither would be a factor in my opinion, I think that Mr Paisley’s only single standard for decisions is his faith and his own belief. He cannot or will not be swayed by anything else, and if Sinn Fein or anyone else tries to play him at that game, they have lost the plot.
If Dean McKelvey’s sharp rebuke of Paisley in a letter in the Belfast Cathedral Digest was to spark a groundswell of public opinion against the DUP boss, it would be the only lever which would forcibly nudge him into an Executive.
Paisley’s Achilles’ Heel is that the Unionist electorate would turn against him personally. As the hours tick away steadily to Day Zero, his party will paw over every opinion poll to monitor the level of support for the DUP boss. Despite constant rumours his two main political confidantes are his son, Ian Junior, and the Free Presbyterian Gospel-singing cleric and South Antrim MP William McCrea, Paisley has always been a politician who makes his own decisions. If the McKelvey letter became a bandwagon of criticism, Paisley could become worried if the polls confirmed the public would abandon him personally if he did not make a deal with Sinn Fein.
The only way to win with Mr Paisley is to be as honest and committed to your truth as he is to his.