Paisley: will he, or won’t he?

Conor Cruise O’Brien doesn’t think Ian Paisley will do the deal. David Vance however detects “an unbearable pragmatism in the air which will be further fuelled early in the New Year and the portents for a “walk away” scenario as outlined by Conor are poor”. Whilst what Pete often calls ‘futuring’ is often the most futile sport in Northern Irish politics, Vance’s instincts are probably the sharper on this issue. When we get close to a deal (inside or outside of current timetables), watch out for some highly flexible and modular dealing: the hand is often faster than the eye!

  • Dr Strangelove

    DV opens the article with the astounding “I see that Conor Cruise O’Brien has weighed in on the subject of whether Dr Paisley will “do a deal” and allow the IRA into a local Government, early next year”

    Do Sinn Fein know the IRA are putting up candidates… surely this will split the republican vote.

  • Conor Cruise O’Brien has been desperate for the peace process to collapse since it began, since his whole political philosophy is based on the idea that ‘you can’t make deals with terrorists’. He has therefore predicted extensively that ‘the next step’ (whatever that might be) will lead to the ‘collapse’ of the process, leading to civil war, ethnic cleansing, whatever.

    Since these predictions have been invariably wrong, O’Brien has looked increasingly ridiculous in recent years. That doesn’t, of course, mean that this current one is wrong, but it should be borne in mind that O’Brien is arguing from his emotions and his desire not to look even sillier than he already does. Rational thought was not involved.

  • Sorry I couldn’t resist it: some more of Nostradamus O’Brien’s uncannily inaccurate prophecies.

    ‘ he latest phase of the “peace process” launched in 1998 by President Bill Clinton, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair was on the brink of collapse when, in October, the IRA announced that it had put some weapons “beyond use.” In my view, this announcement was an effort by the IRA to prevent the severing of its vital fundraising links with sympathetic Irish-Americans following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. It does not represent an enduring breakthrough: it is simply a tactical ploy, and the IRA will retain the bulk of its weapons well into the future. ‘

    From 2001.

  • kadenza

    Brendan’s right. CCOB has been warning of doom and civil war for 15 odd years now. I’ve read the piece – adds up to nothing.

  • slug

    If you study the DUPs manifestos carefully, they are often written in such a way as to allow them to enter government with a changed Sinn Féin. So they say they “won’t enter government with armed Sinn Fein” or “with unreconstructed terrorists”. However, with decommissioning, and joining the police, supporting the rule of law, the nature of Sinn Fein can be argued to change, so that they can be described as changed.

    The IRA and Sinn Fein have put weapons aside and are about to endorse policing subject to agreement on devolving the police ministry. So this is a big change since the Bank Robbery. But the potential criminal aspects still would be a concern for a lot of people and could be a risk factor for the DUP post devolution. Here the continued role of the IMC would be important.

  • bpower

    I prefer the good ol’ days ( is 2 years already?), when DV was crowing that the days of Unionism giving in to SF/IRA are over, for ever, forget about it because the DUP are in charge now, not the wimpy (and probably gay) UUP.

    I wonder who he’ll be supporting in a few years.

  • Chucky

    “I wonder who he’ll be supporting in a few years.”

    Probably the P.D.s , since a united Ireland is more likely than ever before, especially if the power-sharing attempt fails!!

  • Rory

    It is so cheering to have Dr O’Brien’s prognosis at last. His doom laden view of the health of the patient (the Peace Process) have been unerringly wrong on every occasion so that we have all come to rely on him for his next opinion in order to be comforted that our hope for its healthy development is justified.

    Gawd bless yer, Doctor, where would we be without you.

  • aquifer

    “unbearable pragmatism” Oh dear

    Paisley will have to do a deal to stay on stage. His church is less than half full these days.

    Though don’t all go at once to check it out, you’ll only encourage him to walk out of Stormont and save your sorry souls.

  • aquifer

    He may as well sign up for a deal though, continuity real diehard staunch splinterist gaelic cultural avengers of some complexion are sure to try to blow it up, proving Conor Cruise O’Brien more right than we are comfortable with.

  • merrie

    > His church is less than half full these days.

    Yes, you are right, Aquifer. I visited the Ravinghill church around 8 and 4 years ago for Sunday service and it was less than one third full at the most on both occasions.

    What surprised me was that no-one on either occasion would sit towards the front around the pulpit, but always at the edge of the room. Maybe it is because you can hear perfectly well from that distance, and you may risk ear damage if you were closer.

    There was a difference in Paisley’s preaching. The first time it was hard to tell when the prayers stopped and the politics began. He was cursing Mo Mowlem who was the then pro-consul and he bellowed. The second time he was quieter, did not curse anyone and he had some trouble getting up the stairs to the pulpit.

    Haven’t been there for a while and don’t plan to go again. I hope they have replaced the awful recorded bells (distorted when played so loud) with real ones.