Ian Paisley: From old cow’s tongue to big St Bernard…

Dean Godson asks, with some panache, just what were the last forty years of bating Prime Ministers and leaders of the Ulster Unionist parties all about? Others like Steve Bruce might reply that he never trusted political elites.

  • fair_deal

    This what was it all for analysis is all getting rather tiresome.

    What it was the conflict all about? People trying to achieve their Plan A by fair means and foul.

    What has the ‘peace’ process been about? People trying to achieve the best Plan B that they can.

    The only foolishness is the achievement of a liveable Plan B is couched in the terminology of achieving Plan A.

    There are other problems as well.
    1. Ian Paisley is NOT nor ever has been a member of the Independent Orange Order.
    2. He didn’t ‘split’ the Presbyterian Church either. The impact of the establishment of the Free P’s was peripheral to the Presbyterian Church other than in the immediate local area the controversy began. The Free Ps essentially mopped up a large amount of the ‘gospel’ hall types not cause significant schism in Presbyterianism.
    3. The importance of Andrew Hunter’s views are seriously over-estimated.

  • pith

    One answer would do away with the “What was it all for?” question, wouldn’t it?

  • Nevin

    I see an eagerness to milk the Exchequer, not to do a deal with the Sinner parapoliticians.

  • slug

    In my congregation we lost some members to the Free P but recently some have come back.

  • Philip

    Good performance he did in Parliament this afternoon – Speaker of House turned the mic off

  • susan

    lol, Philip. The news of the microphone didn’t surprise me near as much as the reports in the Guardian and the Telegraph today that Paisley and Blair have been swapping books on theology over the past year.

    From today’s Telegraph:

    “Meanwhile, the Guardian today revealed Mr Paisley and Mr Blair have been sharing theological books over the past year and held discussions which ” had gone well beyond politics”.”

  • susan
  • merrie

    A more valid question would be just what were the last 80 or so years all about. If the Brits had done the democratic thing way back then, Ian Paisley would not have objected to the Irish flag being displayed in a shop front, there would have been no Burntollet, and so forth, no discrimination favouring housing for Prods. And nowadays no differentiation between the needs of the Prod poor and the Taig poor.

    And no need for a Slugger website.

  • hotdogx

    merrie,
    I’d just like to say i agree completely with you. Funny as it happens but its all going to end the democratic way afterall 50%+1, i wonder if this means anything. There are no anglo irish in the republic who have a problem with their IRISH identity. This speudo british identity seems to have appeared after partition. This is the main reason why i believe unionists would be quite happy living in a UI with their anglo irish identity once they have adapted to the idea. Fear is what powers unionism and with out fear unionism has no reason to be. Unionist politicians always try to point out that a UI would be a cold-house for anglo irish. Why do anglo irsh in NI feel that they cannot be part of an irish nation. I think for alot of people the status quo in NI has become acceptable or even comfortable like old leather. This opinion might not be so difficult to change with so good cross boarder cooperation and maybe FF organising in the north to combat SF.

  • GreenProd

    merrie said:
    A more valid question would be just what were the last 80 or so years all about. If the Brits had done the democratic thing way back then, Ian Paisley would not have objected to the Irish flag being displayed in a shop front, there would have been no Burntollet, and so forth, no discrimination favouring housing for Prods. And nowadays no differentiation between the needs of the Prod poor and the Taig poor.

    I have to agree. There will be no end to the problems of Norn Iron until there is a 32 county Ireland. Paisley has nothing but contempt for catholics and for many protestants. I don’t know what sf is doing in government with him, are the trappings of power that irresistible.

  • hotdogx

    Green prod i think this is a sinn fein strategy. It seems to be a way of calling the DUP’s bluff. Now they are between the rock and the hard place and they have two choices 1 government with sinn fein or 2 joint authority. So much for the man who threw snowballs at the taoiseach, paisley of yesterday waould call paisley of today a traitor.

    Sinn fein will use its position to reopen roads and railways that crossed the boarder that were all shut down under various unionist regimes. They will also start severing connections with the uk and start to emulate the republic, low tax regime etc to attract the celtic Tiger across the boarder.

    The only logical move next is to get FF organising in the north. This would give many a party they can vote for if the want to vote nationalist not vote SF and still make that vote count.

  • merrie

    I don’t think SF will be severing all connections with the UK just yet, though I think it has in mind that the power sharing is just a transition to a united Ireland government.

    The logic is that if the DUP can cope with sharing power with SF (considered by most Unionists to be the extreme of Irish nationalism) in the six counties, then why not join the government of the rest of Ireland. However, I am not sure if the DUP can be logical.

    Paisley is likely to be remembered as a “Lundy”, but within a short time in history no one will really care. The entity known as “Northern Ireland” existed only for a few decades and will be recalled probably with some embarrassment – and humour.

    As you said, joining the Celtic Tiger is a (possibly “the”) strong temptation for reunification.

  • Dinger

    Some good points by posted by hotdogx about what I agree is a post-partition ‘pseudo British’ identity but as the vast majority of the people he’s referring to are Ulster Presbyterians, as a description, ‘Anglo-Irish’ is very wide of the mark. I also think that when it comes to increased identification with Britain, World War 2 is hugely significant. Think about it – Eire remains neutral as Belfast is bombed by the German Luftwaffe. 1,000 died. Over a thousand were injured and half the houses in the city were destroyed. It’s hardly surprising that this left a mark on the consciousness of Protestants in the North. Yet despite this, it’s cringe-making when Prods still doggedly insist on describing themselves as ‘British’ when, as Ulster folk, they are a breed apart from yer average bloke in Surrey – who clearly feels zero relationship with them in the first place. That’s why the recent resurgence of interest in Scots-Irish culture and the impact of Ulster immigrants in America – although much-mocked in certain cynical quarters – should be encouraged. At least it addresses the genuine history and heritage of Ulster and tells people in the North something about themselves – something that ‘British culture’ (think Shakespeare, Marmite on toast, stiff-upper-lip, World Cup ’66, Dickens, cricket on the green, ‘The Archers’, real ale etc etc) plainly doesn’t…a bitter reality-check for the Union Jack-waving brigade, I know…

  • merrie

    >Belfast is bombed by the German Luftwaffe. 1,000 died.

    (I assume that the bombs did not fall just on Protestant areas.)

    This is another thing which would not have happened to Belfast if it had become part of Eire in the early 1900s – in accordance with the democratic wishes of the majority of the Irish people, which the Brits ignored.

  • hotdogx

    I would agree that the war had a marked effect on the attitude of the pre unionis people, after the bombings etc. However it was these same people who opted out of a united ireland. NI at the time was an important industry for the war effort so it was no suprise it was attacked meanwhile De Valera insured that irish ports would not be used by the british as this would have broughht the rep. into the war. However in hindsight, if hitler had have wished to use ireland as a staging post for a war against britain we would not have been able to resist them and britain would have left us to fend for ourselves so its a hard decision to call.

    The real biginning of all this sufferance began with edward carson, and his move was suppored by britain so as to keep ireland in check whilst also insuring British industry in ireland continues to serve british interests. Harland and wolf or the textiles for exampe.

    So where did this british identity come from, before this we were all irish with either gael or anglo ancestry. To tackle the problem we are going to have to find where this all began and its not about religion its constitutional as far as i can see.

    Its true religion has a role to play. A nationalist party with an anglo irish demention is probably whats needed to represent people of the unionist tradition and open their eyes to a United ireland. Has anybody else got any opinion on this?

  • merrie

    >A nationalist party with an anglo irish dimension is probably whats needed to represent people of the unionist tradition and open their eyes to a United ireland. Has anybody else got any opinion on this?

    It would be good to have Fair Deal’s opinion.

  • fair_deal

    No offence is intended to the contributors or the thought they put into their comments but apart from the interesting material around the impact of WWII on identity and possibly part of dinger’s comment, you just don’t get it.

  • hotdogx

    well go on then fair_deal, enlighten us! The irish people and most importantly the nationalist movement need a much better understanding and a better approach to unionism. What would make a diffirence for you?

  • Philip

    You can not change the past so why talk about it as if our forefathers could foresee the future. What happened happened due to a web of events in history.
    Paisley is the thread that connects the past, present and future and it is this that we are discussing.

  • fair_deal

    On the basis of various comments on this thread so far.
    1. Stopping living in denial by thinking Unionism can be dismissed as an irrationality e.g. “Fear is what powers unionism and with out fear unionism has no reason to be.”
    2. Ditch the false consciousness bollix e.g. “This speudo british identity seems to have appeared after partition”. During the Home Rule period they were faced with a choice of what was more important Irishness and Britishness. They went with Britishness. Nationalism also made that choice easy by their strict defintion of irishness as celtic, gaelic and catholic instead of the broader geographical defintion Unionists of the time subscribed too.
    3. Don’t build your analysis on a strict ‘nationalist’ interpretation of history eg “to reopen roads and railways that crossed the boarder that were all shut down under various unionist regimes.”
    4. Nor build future expectations on Unionism sitting their saying and doing nothing e.g. “They will also start severing connections with the uk and start to emulate the republic, low tax regime etc”
    5. Derision is pointless too “The entity known as “Northern Ireland” existed only for a few decades and will be recalled probably with some embarrassment – and humour.” This ’embarassment’ wasn’t supposed to last a decade yet it is looking towards its centenary.
    6. Stop painting a rosy picture for Ireland if partition hadn’t occurred. Pseudo history is pointless. It is a form of self-delusion and not a good premise to begin an analysis from. The million or so Unionists were not going to suddenly go “ah well we tried our best we’ll just sit quietly in the corner now.”

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    Dinger
    ‘Yet despite this, it’s cringe-making when Prods still doggedly insist on describing themselves as ‘British’ when, as Ulster folk, they are a breed apart from yer average bloke in Surrey – who clearly feels zero relationship with them in the first place.’

    Sneering at those who see themselves as British is quite the sport on Slugger. I guess Dinger would see himself as somewhat of a liberal, with that smug self-satisfied air of superiority to those who still cling to such juvenile ‘Union Jackery’ pursuits.

    Dinger and the liberal elite though would never dare say or think that a 2nd or 3rd generation from a migrant family of Asian or Carribean descent has no right to call themselves British. Dinger would be aghast (or at least I hope so) at those who would deny these people their ‘Britishness’.

    Many of those from immigrant families see themselves as ‘British’ rather than English. But, by Dinger’s yardstick, Imran the young Muslim from Bradford who supports Pakistan in the cricket and England in the football, or Jermaine, the young Garage DJ from Finsbury Park whose Grandfather still has a Jamaican twang to his accent, also have nothing in common with ‘yer average bloke in Surrey’. Are they ‘doggedly’ British or are they simply being British, in their own cultural way?

    I admit ‘Imran’ and ‘Jermaine’ are stereotypes, although they are based on people I know – one doubts Dinger would question their Britishness yet its fair game to deride Ulster Protestants who are proud to be part of the UK. Even though who don’t dismiss their Irish heritage completely.

    ‘something that ‘British culture’ (think Shakespeare, Marmite on toast, stiff-upper-lip, World Cup ’66, Dickens, cricket on the green, ‘The Archers’, real ale etc etc) plainly doesn’t’
    Erm, this list of hoary old cliches at best is representative of ‘English’ culture. British culture would probably include these, but a lot more besides. A sense of Britishness is harder to define than Englishness, Welshness, Irishness or Scottishness, but also harder to deny. Being British is hardly just about being from Surrey, being White Van Man or Essex Man. Show a bit more imagination than yer average tabloid editor.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    hotdogx: “I would agree that the war had a marked effect on the attitude of the pre unionis people, after the bombings etc. However it was these same people who opted out of a united ireland. NI at the time was an important industry for the war effort so it was no suprise it was attacked meanwhile De Valera insured that irish ports would not be used by the british as this would have broughht the rep. into the war. However in hindsight, if hitler had have wished to use ireland as a staging post for a war against britain we would not have been able to resist them and britain would have left us to fend for ourselves so its a hard decision to call. ”

    Actually, there were several contingency plans to address a Nazi invasion of Ireland. England, whatever antipathy may or may not have existed, could not afford to allow Ireland to fall into Nazi hands, as it would have provided an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” for the Luftwaffe and bases for submarines against British shipping. Upside, they would not have allowed you to fall to the Nazi horde; downside, it wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts.

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    One more thing – Marmite on Toast? FFS – the British national dish is now Chicken Tikka Masala.

  • Don’t be too hard on the separated brethren, Fair Deal, they probably think Trumpton was early reality TV.

  • kensei

    “Erm, this list of hoary old cliches at best is representative of ‘English’ culture. British culture would probably include these, but a lot more besides. A sense of Britishness is harder to define than Englishness, Welshness, Irishness or Scottishness, but also harder to deny.”

    You are right on the English point. But harder to deny? I’m not so sure. There were things that were the foundations of the “British” identity – Protestantism, Monarchy, Empire, Military Dominance and these are all gone or faded. A British identity is currently in decline with respect to National identities – there is a serious debate on leaving the Union in Scotland, at English games you are seeing St George’s flag where once you saw Union Jacks. It must be easier to deny simply because many people are doing it. There have been endless debates on the BBC and no one has even come close to capturing it.

    That isn’t to say it doesn’t exist. Merely that if yu are actually serious about keeping it, there is more work to be done than you imagine.

  • Dinger

    World Gone Mad – never been part of an ‘elite’ in my life but unlike you, don’t think liberal is a dirty word.
    Anyway, I respect and certainly would not sneer at those who believe that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom – what I find harder to respect is what I consider to be the disingenuous notion of ‘Britishness’ that has been stoked up by the Unionist elite (a genuine elite – not one in your liberal-hating imagination!) since partition – you sound intelligent and presumably know about ‘playing the Orange card’ and ‘divide and rule’…and certainly the Provies played right into their hands by behaving like total evil c***s for 30 odd years and making Prods fear the whole notion of Irishness. But before the Troubles, Prods would have had no problem with defining themselves as Irish AND British…in popular culture, just look at how Ruby Murray was marketed as ‘Irish and Proud’ and Windsor Park echoed with “Ireland! Ireland!” when you see old clips from international matches in the ‘60’s. Even Ulster Covenant propaganda touted the notion of ‘John Bull, Taffy, Sandy and Paddy – united we stand divided we fall’. The point being that in the modern era, while most Welsh, Scots and English are at ease with a national identity based on their place of birth, the poor oul’ Prods in Ulster often cling to a ‘Britishness’ which is “hard to define” at best, delusional at worst – and the only people on mainland UK who empathise with all the flag-waving Rangers-supporting kick-the-pope ballix are the BNP – cool eh!! The way forward, to my mind’, is for Ulster Protestants to celebrate, explore and find pride in their own Scots-Irish heritage rather than hanging onto the coat-tails of an Empire and Imperial history that they had feck all to do with shaping….as for the whole everyday football, music, pub, grub, TV etc side of ‘British culture’ – you get all that across the border too so don’t worry yer head about that being under threat…

  • DK

    “Actually, there were several contingency plans to address a Nazi invasion of Ireland.”

    It was called “plan W” and the Irish Government were made well aware of it. Upon a nazi invasion, British troops would have moved through the Free State to assist in opposing them. The British troops were to have all been issued with a tricolour and a special uniform badge – a celtic gate representing barring the way to a common enemy.

    Dinger – if the best you can do to try and define British culture is to be patronising then you are leaving yourself entirely open to a tide of leprachauns, “the quiet man”, fiddles and blarney stones coming the other way.

  • Bill Rea

    Funny how they seem to forget the aid .666Ulster gave the Axis through laziness in the shipyards “a half days work for a full days pay”.

  • Cap’n Bob

    Northern
    Irish
    People
    Leeching
    Extravagant
    Subventions.

    Need I say more?

  • Jo

    Ian Paisley the face of Dunnes’ Stores?

  • willis

    All very well and good but….

    If this thread is about anything it is about…

    The snowball throwing Paisley would call the First Minister Paisley a traitor.

    Like there has ever been just one Paisley!

    I fear that Paisley never understood republicanism or nationalism, but he understands rural mainstream unionism perfectly. Unlike O’Neill and Trimble.

  • homer

    it,s me Homer again from stroke city,sorry to cut in on the history lesssons about the stone age.it,s the 21 st century,and everything has changed in many and various ways,but one thing will always remain unchanged the nature of man .and above all his mind.

    Bigotry is still lodged in the hard wired section of the Ulster mind,not every Ulster mind by any means,but enough to have sustained Paisley long enough to see him rise to power at last.
    There are overtones of Hitler about his rise to power,ie his irrational obsession with Catholism,his need to remove all who stood in his path,etc.This one man probaly did more to stoke the fires of intolerance than any other in the last fifty years.

    He did not invent bigotry, it was already there in very fertile ground so he just put the spade in,and started digging.He is still at it,and for him to agree to bring the IRA into run the place is just simply another example of his irrational mind.
    Paisley knows far better than any of you out there in this intelectual wasteland that he is in fact not bringing Sein Fein in from the cold,but he is in fact offering places at the same cabinet he might sit at to the IRA army council.So the IRA will have him by the throat,and can strangle him, and is ragbag of headbangers when the time is right.If you doubt this last bit then you can reflect on what happened over a certain M I 5 agent who was outed so the last unstable Stormont can of worms woudl spill it.s filth all over the place.

    Bear this in mind in view of what Paisley said yesterday about Sein Fein having a go at the fuzz for arresting an I R A suspect at an election count.He said if he was in his position he would have had to pull out of office.

    Shades of the last unstable Stormontset up.the one you are all chatting up now is the final set up by the Brits,and is so irrational,and unstable it could collapse in a few weeks,and it will most certainly do so sooner than later,So then it will be good bye to Stormont hello that sexey young tiger DOLL ERIN.Let the good times roll then the sooner the better.She is so rich that this StPaddys week Tesco can hand out booze at half price by the lorry load.

    I digress,back to the fuss about the arrest of the IRA suspect at the election count.

    The Shinners were only complaining about a bit of the old rough,and tumble political policing as they called it.and as the man himself was not one of theirs any more it was no odds to them anyawy,but they had to make a point,they always have to.

    There you have the irrational mind set at work in Paisley,s head.recall what I said about the mind of man at the start.

    Keep this in mind also it was not Sein Fein,nor the IRA who outed the MI5 agent,nor was it Paisley,norTrimble.It was the MI5 agent.s masters in London.Sein Fein on the day Stormont was raided said it was a set up,but how could they know that the raid was only the sting which would allow them to out the M I 5 agent a few days later,why.It,s simple enought they wanted to shut up shop at Stormont,why you might ask.
    Iknow why but I will keep that part of the plot for another day.I hope I have given you enough to chew on for now.I shall return to this topic later this week when Isee what you all make of the story which I have teased out for you.Mind you this is all just the tip of the iceberg which is headed Paisley,s way right now same as the fabulous liner built in the old Satanic quarter which met a grim fate in 1912, the very same year the guns were landed atLarne, setting dear old tub Ulster on the collision course it now finds itself set on with another unstoppable force the IRA.
    Ask yourself a few logical questions about all that drama,and then you might just get to grips with what the future might look like in a year or two.

    Where all of you people out there trying to make sense of the madness of this one man,forget it.

  • merrie

    Fair Deal

    Thanks for taking the trouble to let us have your views on various other comments. I certainly did not expect you to say “OK, let’s end NI and join the republic…”

    I do have one query on your comment that: “This ‘embarassment’ wasn’t supposed to last a decade …”

    This is new to me. Why was NI supposed to last a decade or less?

  • hotdogx

    Ian paisley is the common thread that runs through all of this ok but what im trying to find is what happened to make people (anglo irish) in the north feel diffirent from those anglo irish who find themselves in the republic.

    I know fair_deal you say people always felt to a degree british and thats perfectly normal, but they were also undeniably irish and many were happy to refer to themselves as irish before partition.

    Fair_deal, the world shouldn’t stop because NI exists. I hate to break it to you but unionist controlled stormont did shut down 80% of the network in NI killing railways in the republic aswell. The railways that were shut down were all in the west where there were less unionists generally. The boarder brought about a recession in the boarder region cutting off infrastructure and isolating Donegal. This is not anationalist opinion its an irish one, we were all irish before the boarder happened.

    Im trying to find out where this all began. If we ever share a common future we have to look at where it all began to find common roots on which everbody can build. Voting for extremists like paisley will never bring peace who really wants this guy to represent NI please tell me!

  • Democratic

    “Im trying to find out where this all began. If we ever share a common future we have to look at where it all began to find common roots on which everbody can build. Voting for extremists like paisley will never bring peace who really wants this guy to represent NI please tell me!”

    Will all due respect to Hotdogx – many of us feel exactly the same way about Adams/McGuinness/Kelly etc.
    As for building on common roots – I agree completely – but the British identity of Northern Protestants is not on the table for “modification” I’m afraid – nothing more to say really.

  • merrie

    At least someone else thinks that a united Ireland is inevitable (as noted in Nuzhound):

  • fair_deal

    Happy to respond when I have the time.

    Merrie

    “they were also undeniably irish and many were happy to refer to themselves as irish before partition.”

    1. One word can multiple meanings. The use of the term Irish had different meanings.
    2. Also harking back to the way it was pre-partition identity is as useless as the Unionists who think NI was a ‘great wee place’ before the Troubles. Unionists and nationalists made choices and we live with the consequences of those in 2007.

    hotdogx

    Going into the detail of the nationalist view of history is still basing your analysis on nationalist history.

  • Sue

    11 Gets you this.

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  • BP1078
  • merrie

    Fair Deal

    I did not make the comment you ascribe to me! I asked about your comment that: “This ‘embarassment’ wasn’t supposed to last a decade …”

    This is new to me. Why was NI supposed to last a decade or less?

  • James

    A uI will occur by 2020 at the LATEST, for those who are willing to accept it great, for that are not tough its going to happen even Berties on our side.

  • fair_deal

    Merrie

    In nationalist rhetoric NI has been an unsustainable entity with its end always within grasp. For example at the time of partition many nationalists expected/hoped the Boundary Commission to transfer large swathes of territory to the Republic and make NI no longer viable. The post-war Anti-Partition League campaign had operated on a similar logic.