Hell has indeed frozen over…

Johann Hari believes that Ian Paisley has signed up for a deal, but given his past as a fire and brimstone prophet, he is not entirely sure what has changed that allows him to the deal he has eschewed for so long. Hari certainly doesn’t believe Northern Ireland has changed its old habits of separate development, Peace Process™, or no Peace Process™.

H/T to reader David.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • slug

    Although Hari’s points seem fair, I couldn’t resist quoting this bit:

    “To understand how improbable all this seems, you have to go back to the smoggy segregated streets of Ballymena in the 1930s, where a young Ian Paisley was learning his values from his father. Kyle Paisley was a fanatical preacher who wanted to recreate the shaking, hallucinating raptures of the “Great Revival” that had rocked Protestant Ulster a generation before, but he was constantly frustrated by the weakness and apostasy he saw all around him.”

    In fact Ballymena was never smoggy, it was too small for that, and from what I know was not in the 1930s religiously ‘segregated’ in the sense that Belfast was. As for Ian Paisley, it is said that he got his fundamentalism much more from his Scottish mother than from his father.

  • hotdogx

    The DUP have put themselves in a very difficult position meanwhile gerry points out how the British government will have to proceed with plan B. Hes counting on the fact that this will mean a larger say for the dail on the running of NI. Gerry is also asking for representation for northern politicians in the irish government. In loose terms a UI

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    No harm in asking…

  • Aquifer

    “In fact Ballymena was never smoggy, it was too small for that” The rows of terraced bomes there burned bituminous coal like everywhere else at that time. You can carry the blue skies of ulster theme too far.

    In the thirties, after partition, segregation in N.Ireland was between the protestant orange elite who had the pover and catholic nationalists who had next to none. Making a minority population submissive is not the same as accepting them as equals on a day to day basis.

    Ian Kyle Paisley’s father James Kyle Paisley was a fundamentalist baptist preacher.

  • slug



  • Brighid

    Hari thought the war in Iraq was a great idea, too. I haven’t heard him say that lately.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Hari is an idiot. If he had any self-respect he would’ve decommissioned his laptop and never troubled the public with opinions again after his role as a liberal apologist for the invasion of Iraq. At the very least, he should fact-check his material before posting it.

    One: Ian Paisley’s father was JAMES Kyle Paisley.

    Two: the streets of Ballymena were not segregated in the 1930s. (Very few Catholics there, true, but there would have been many Catholics in Armagh and Sixmilecross, Paisley’s other childhood homes.)

    Three: the Great Revival was in the 1850s, almost a century before Paisley’s childhood, not “the previous generation”. (It’s like saying today that the partition of Ireland happened only a generation ago.)

    Four: He should learn how to spell Shankill

    Five: And “reconciliation”, for that matter.

    Six: And as for “Boigne”….

    Seven: “in a podcasting age, people still communicate here by mural.” – Jesus wept.

    Still: nice of him to take an interest….

  • Joe

    Off topic but what happened Mark Robinson from South Belfast.

    I know he made that huge £18,000 claim but what happened him after that?

  • slug

    I doubt if there was smog in Ballymena. Towns that small just don’t get smog unless I am mistaken. Smoke, yes.

    By the way when I said that Paisley most took after his Scottish mother, and I really meant in personality terms, I am just repeating what people who knew his family at the time said to me. Could be wrong.

    Those streets where the Paisleys lived and played were just north of centre. Hill Street, Mount Street, Ballymoney Road (where he went to school in the Model Primary, next to the St Louis Convent), Thomas Street, William Street (where there were something like 20+ pubs, notably all were Catholic owned, for all the farmers visiting Fair Hill), and up along Market Road to All Saints Catholic Church, etc. I know this area well and I have a knowledge of its history. It’s a part of town that was and remains religiously mixed as opposed to segregated (although there are today other parts of town that are not very mixed).

  • George Matthews

    Paisley has spent his whole life opposing the decisions of others. I think he is afraid of having to take responsibility for making decisions himself and will never do so.

    I suggest that Plan B should be to appoint a commissioner from the Republic, rename Queen’s as Pope’s, find out what the Prods want and do the opposite – but make it clear that they can take over any time they decide to be sensible.