“He was absolutely shocked..”

In light of the recently published analysis of the active US role in The Process™ here, and as the short tour of US financial and political circles continues, the reported comments of the Northern Ireland Executive’s First Minister, Ian Paisley, in the Irish Times today are very intriguing. [subs req]

“Mr Bush is a down-to-earth man. Mr Blair was the great actor. He was a perfect actor and not a good negotiator because of that. Because the negotiations I was in wasn’t acting, it was a matter of life and death. So the president talked to me quite often. In fact, I said once to Blair, does the president tell you what I say about you? No, he says, he doesn’t. What have you said? So I told him something of what I said about him. He was absolutely shocked,” he recalled.

More from the Irish Times report

The North’s First Minister Ian Paisley has spoken of US president George Bush’s role in encouraging him to make the deal that led to powersharing with Sinn Féin earlier this year.

Dr Paisley, who will visit the White House with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tomorrow, told The Irish Times that, having visited the White House before, he was relaxed about tomorrow’s event.

“I’ve been in the White House before. It means very little to me. I’m not impressed very much by political figures. I suppose I’m a kind of unbeliever in that respect,” he said.

“Mr Bush spoke to me regularly during the negotiations I was having with his friend, the ex-prime minister Mr Blair.”

Dr Paisley said that the president’s calls were sometimes effective, not least because of the difference in personality between Mr Bush and Mr Blair.

And, also intriguingly

At a small gathering at the New York home of the American Ireland Fund’s Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Dr Paisley spoke about why he had made the decision to share power with Sinn Féin. The First Minister said that “before the end of my days on this earth” he wanted to leave a legacy of peace.

“There are many mysteries in life about the causes of wars and rumours of wars. But one thing we do know is that we will not be here forever,” he said.

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  • smcgiff

    Is this in response to Liam Neeson calling Ian a great actor (in relation to when he viewed him from the pulpit as a lad).

  • Dewi

    Any chance of pasting more of the Irish Times thing Pete ?

  • Pete Baker

    Fair point, Dewi.

    I’ve added some more below the fold.

  • Hogan

    I’m sure Blair couldn’t give a fiddler’s what Ian said about him, alot of the most crucial dealing was done when Ian looked as if he was on the way out and the hard work was done by Robinson.

  • Dewi

    “There are many mysteries in life about the causes of wars and rumours of wars. But one thing we do know is that we will not be here forever,”

    Here’s a cause of war Ian.

    “Shame on the Protestant men of the Shankhill Road for allowing papists, pape’s men and papishers to live on the Shankhill Road….You people of the Shankill Road, what’s wrong with you? Number 425 Shankill Road – do you know who lives there? Pope’s men, that’s who! Fortes ice cream shop, Italian Papists on the Shankill Road! How about 56 Aden Street? For 97 years a Protestant lived in that house and now there’s a Papisher in it. Crimea Street, number 38! Twenty five years that house has been up, 24 years a Protestant lived there but there’s a Papisher there now”

  • parci

    Dewi
    I think most people accept Ian Paisley has finally become a practicing Christian;
    having spent 40 preaching about it.
    We can leave it there really !

  • Dewi

    I hope so Parci…..I wonder if he accepts that what he said at the time was truly evil?

  • hotdogx

    I think this is the closest thing we will ever see to prove that grown up paisley has come to regret the actions of his younger self!

    Ta an siochan anseo! well at least for the moment. I’d love to hear paisley say that “as gaelge”

  • Dewi

    Polo Mint in the logo cool…..seriously – quite striking.

  • Ahem

    Senile old fool – is there any foreign government whose interference in the internal affairs of the UK he *isn’t* in favour of these days? Bring back Enoch – he certaily had the Croc sussed from day one.

  • Dewi I think the new logo is awful. It’s like we’re participating in some manner of “hip-hop” forum.

  • Ulster’s my homeland

    [i]”Is this in response to Liam Neeson calling Ian a great actor (in relation to when he viewed him from the pulpit as a lad).” [/i]

    smcgiff, I also read that in the Sun this morning. The Sun quoted Neeson as saying he crept in alone to hear Paisley preach in Ballymena’s gospel halls when he was 12 and 13 where he was studying his acting skills, lol. Funny?-Yes, but truthful-No? Neeson is also on record as saying he was scared and intimidated by Protestants, the Orange Order and the marching bands when growing up as a child in Ballymena.

    So entering a Gospel hall when Paisley was preaching wouldn’t be the actions of a scared and intimidated Roman Catholic boy in 60’s Ballymena.

    He’s a filthy Liar, always has been!

  • Hold on! There’s more to this than meets the eye.

    It has taken me a while to locate it, but I suggest referring to an essay by Mary Alice C. Clancy, “The United States and post-Agreement Northern Ireland, 2001–6”, on line at http://www.ria.ie/cgi-bin/ria/papers/100688.pdf

    This presents the key figure as being Richard Haass, George W Bush’s “special envoy”, who (in January 2002) switched horses from Trimble to Adams as the main “interlocutor” of choice (her term). Then there’s this bit (page 162-3):

    “Haass became annoyed with David Trimble over the course of his tenure as special envoy. When asked why this apparently led Haass to prefer a deal between Sinn Féin and Ian Paisley’s DUP, a State Department official stated that the cause of Haass’s change of heart could be located in his changing relationship with Dublin. This individual then stated that, ‘I think it is true that, over time, Richard Haass came to listen more to Dublin than he had to begin with’, and added that Haass came to prefer a DUP–Sinn Féin deal ‘about two seconds after Dublin did’.”

    The way the US State Department was conniving with Dublin, and by-passing Blair and Powell in Downing Street is made quite explicit in the essay:

    “Although US officials were not the only ones putting pressure on Downing Street for the [2003 Assembly] election, one has to wonder, given the paramount importance of the United Kingdom to the ‘war on terror’, why didn’t the White House muzzle Haass? Part of the answer appears to be structural. The US special envoy for Northern Ireland is a presidential envoy, and the thus the position is not subject to the degree of oversight that other positions in the State Department are. So structure was partly to blame; but this still fails to answer why Downing Street didn’t call the White House. Although a definitive explanation will probably have to await the publication of either Tony Blair or Jonathan Powell’s memoirs, [Dean] Godson has argued that it was most likely Number 10’s unwillingness to ask the Bush administration’s neo-conservatives for a favour, coupled with Blair’s reluctance to spend his ‘credit’ with the administration on an issue like Northern Ireland when it could be spent on something like the Middle East.”

    Of the 2003 Election, Clancy also says this:

    “one must wonder whether Haass and Dublin were playing convenient roles for Downing Street, as the latter could not make overtures to the DUP lest it be accused of dropping Trimble; a US official argued that Trimble was still Downing Street’s man even on the eve of 2003 Assembly elections.”

    There is some substantial evidence, then, that Paisley, Bush and (by implication) Dublin were in cahoots from some time in 2003. And, equally significant, that Blair was being left out of the whole picture, quite deliberately.

  • Pete Baker

    Malcolm

    That would be the “recently published analysis of the active US role” linked in the original post.

  • Pete Baker @ 05:27 PM:

    Sorry: missed the hyperlink. My fault.

    I just spent better part of an hour trying to find the damn thing. Err … “recently published”? I recall citing it here on Slugger back in (I believe) October.

  • Pete Baker

    Given the age of the Causeway, Malcolm, it’s very recent analysis. ;o)

  • Pete Baker @ 06:10 PM:

    “Touché, Monsieur Pussycat” (from one of Tom and Jerry’s greatest epics).

    But, I now know something else (Gnaah! Gnaah!)

    “… the Garden of Eden being in Missouri …” (see Justin Webb’s blog at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/

    Beat that, Mr Smartypants!

  • Manny

    Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisor is Mitchell Reiss, former US special envoy to Northern Ireland.

  • Manny @ 10:28 PM:

    Reiss is another of these hyperactive policy bunnies (and I defy you to imagine what images that brings to my mind). He is also, to his credit, a bright guy (technically he was on leave from a Professorship in Government at William and Mary — now there’s a position which should satisfy the fears of some local suspects).

    As is suggested by the wikipedia article on him, he moved on from the NI desk: the State Department bio on him is marked “out-of-date”. The academic/professional equivalent of Facebook, http://www.linkedin.com, has him back at W&M;, as Vice-Provost for International Affairs since last February. There’s a press statement from Taoiseach Bertie (January 2007) commending his “great ability, commitment and determination in working with the two Governments and the parties in Northern Ireland” and welcoming his successor.

    Meanwhile Reiss seems to be putting himself about on the speaking circuit. He was addressing the Heritage Republican Women’s Club of Williamsburg on Iraq earlier this week.

    His main specialism involves things nuclear (witness his involvement in Korea and Los Alamos, and a series of books).

    Reiss’s original patron was Colin Powell (the relationship seems to have lasted at least until Powell was the guest speaker for Reiss’s swearing in at W&M;, in 2003). Now he’s marking Romney’s card. Looks like our boy has ambitions as a liberal Republican.
    _______________________________

    And I want it clearly understood: if ever that box “Submit the word you see below” ever checks up ‘C*mb*t18’, I’m outa here.

  • Mal

    Dewi
    STraightforward query – what year and in what context did Paisley say that thing about ‘Papishers on the Shankhill’?

  • Mal on Dec 07, 2007 @ 11:16 AM:

    That’s from Ed Moloney and Andy Pollak’s bio on Paisley (pages 89-90):

    “On the night of 17 June [1959], Ulster Protestant Action called a meeting at the corner of Percy Street on the lower Shankill Road and Paisley and McCullough addressed it. A large crowd of mostly young people had gathered, attracted by the music from an Orange band.

    A witness recalled what was said at the rally: ‘Paisley was speaking and he said You people of the Shankill Road, what’s wrong with you? Number 425 Shankill Road – do you know who lives there? Pope’s men, that’s who! Fortes ice-cream shop, Italian Papists on the Shankill Road! How about 56 Aden Street? For 97 years a Protestant lived in that house and now there’s a Papisher in it. Crimea Street, number 38! Twenty five years that house has been up, 24 years a Protestant lived there but there’s a Papisher there now.’

  • Dewi

    Thanks Malcolm.

  • Mal

    Yup, Ta the both of you, Dewi and Malcolm

  • At some future date, can we also do “storing petrol” and “Paisley the jew-baiter”?

    Just a thought…