Paisley and the DUP – past, present and future

Since its foundation and most of its history, Paisley was the DUP and at times serious doubts if it could continue in his absence. The gains and growth of the DUP in the last decade have banished any doubts. During that period of expansion Paisley was seen as a help and hindrance to its growth, the foundation stone on which the party was built however a millstone around its neck when trying to attract significant sections of UUP voters. It raises the obvious questions of when will the Paisley era end and to whom will the post-Paisley mantle fall too?Paisley (and his family) are of a strong mind that his era is far from over. He has stated his intention to serve a full-term as Northern Ireland’s First Minister. During the speculation of a general election he confirmed his intention to seek another term as MP for North Antrim. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to face down internal opposition in the Free Presbyterian church but even then hinted at a possible return.

In her review of 07 and predictions for 08 Suzanne Breen speculates that 2008 could be the end of the Paisley era but not an easy option:

“Although he’s now 81, Paisley says he intends to see out his four years in office and has no intention of handing over…Some in the DUP have a different view and point to Paisley’s effective ousting in September as Free Presbyterian moderator…prising Paisley out of Stormont will prove altogether harder.”

Breen also speculates that in terms of the ‘pretenders’ to the throne 2007 was the year that Peter Robinson took a clear lead over the other potential leaders.

“This was the year when Peter Robinson moved well ahead of his rivals. With a meticulous eye for detail and unsurpassed organisational abilities, Robinson was made to be a minister and has excelled himself in the finance department. His professionalism and competence have won him admiration from even those in the fundamentalist wing of the party, who had long disliked him because of his eagerness for a political deal.”

However, the high estimation of the media, civil servants or MLAs does not always mean similar warming of the grassroots (although DUP rules mean a leadership contest need not go to the broader membership). The appreciation of the first two are often taken as grounds for suspicion by sections of the grassroots. His role as the highly efficient internal enforcer within the DUP has left many a bruised ego and simmering resentments. Neither may leadership rivals see the situation as so clear-cut. It has also been a general rule among leading DUP members avoided leadership speculation like the plague for fear of Paisley’s and his supporters ire. If that rule changes in 2008 then the sands have genuinely started to shift.

The chuckle brother relationship and Paisley’s unwillingness to tone it down seems to be feeding thoughts of change:

“Paisley proved that he doesn’t do anything by halves. He confounded the sceptics and cynics with his warmth and bonhomie. It’s certainly caused unease among some unionist grassroots. Senior DUP figures privately say Paisley would be better to adopt a more formal, impersonal approach in his relationship with McGuinness.”

A different form of relationship seems to be expected of a new DUP First Minister:

“Robinson at the helm would be totally different from a Paisley premiership. The relaxed nature of the regime would change…A change of leadership wouldn’t necessarily mean fireworks between the DUP and Sinn Fein, but the nature of business could be affected.”

It seems concern about Paisley’s relationship and fear of a gaffe is not restricted to the DUP:

“Similar work is also under way at the NIO press office, where former journalists are running a very successful campaign to keep Ian Paisley away from the cameras in case his current mood of unpredictable sentimentality alarms the DUP grassroots.”

Unstated is the family linkage, with Paisley Snr comes Paisley Jnr around whom the most significant political controversies of 2007 have swirled. 2008 will show whether this pattern continues or not.

Musings in a politically quiet/dead week with columists looking to fill column inches is one thing but seriously thinking about, talking about it and executing it is very complex. However, the DUP has shown itself to be sufficiently ruthless to guarantee its success, could, should and would the same ruthlessness be applied to its co-founder and leader in 2008?

  • “Paisley Jnr around whom the most significant political controversies of 2007 have swirled”

    fd, here’s a story about Paisley snr and an ‘inaccurate’ planning application that has yet to be covered by the mainstream press.

    And there’s the Ballee episode [#8 and #9] which the BBC appear not to have researched in any depth otherwise, surely, Junior’s assertions would have been challenged.

  • DC

    Paisley is a very affable man but a poor politician.

    Can anyone think of any actual substantive that he has delivered throughout his career.

    Take away his ability to speak and his cut and thrust of ethics forged from the Bible which he can retort and marry subtly with politics and you are left with little policy and little in the way of benefits.

    He really can’t claim victory for the peace process nor take acclaim from it he is like a strong tail-ender batsman, one that holds out well but the wider pace of European political reform has swept over much of what he stands for.

    In Paisley’s case he will remain ‘not out’ only because it will be the end of the overs.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Can anyone think of any actual substantive that he has delivered throughout his career.

    We can set this aside fairly quickly, because politicians in NI are not elected on the basis of what they deliver.

    Take away his ability to speak and his cut and thrust of ethics forged from the Bible which he can retort and marry subtly with politics and you are left with little policy and little in the way of benefits.

    True, but the people voted for it ..

    My suspicion is that Paisley will last another year. It’s sad, but he’s old, and will get sick and will become unable to cope with the job. I’m sure at that point we’ll see a Gordon Brown-style coronation for Peter Robinson; but I don’t expect any kind of full-scale challenge to the party’s current policy vis a vis Sinn Fein.

  • wild turkey

    ‘Paisley is a very affable man but a poor politician.’

    Yes but affability does not necessarily make a poor politician. Remember President Raygun ? I am far from defending or justifying here, but Paisleys appeal, like that of Reagan, is direct and populist to ‘the people’ and peoples instinctive wariness of policy wonks, mainstream (beltway) politicians etc, etc.

    Paisley may be useless mano mano with Paxman on Newsnight but could probably kick ass, with proper supervision, on Steven Nolan. Which segues into Nevin and Baby Docs ‘I know of him’ statement.

    Nevin, your articulate and informed posts over the past few months have not greatly affected, with the possible exception of D Gordon at the Telegraph, the media interest and/or analysis of the shenanigans re the Sweeney/Paisley connection. This is not a criticism of you but an observation of a flacid media in combination with an ineffectual senior civil service.

    Question. Where do you, and we, go from here to build up the critical mass leading to a possible shitstorm? Public accounts committee, Parlimentary Ombudsman, relevant assembly/westminster committees?

    The press is of no use and the senior civil service may be a profound impediment. Any ideas?

  • Turgon

    A very interesting piece from Breen who always tends to impress me.

    In terms of Paisley himself I think some of the apparent friendship with McGuiness could be explained by the fact that Paisley is a minister. Such people tend to be good at being friendly to other people. I suspect it was easier to denounce and oppose McGuiness when he did not personally know him but more difficult when they had ordinary social interaction together.

    His position as a politician is also of course interesting. I openly confess to having thought him a danger to unionism when I first got involved in the UUP and hoped and expected he would go away. Then later I respected his views and saw him as a bulwark against further sell outs from Trimble. Then I supported him (nearly joined his party) before now regarding as having sold out practically everything he believed in (except the desire for power). Something of a full circle; but I suspect I am not the only one.

    Religiously I do not think he has changed that much but he has toned down some of the rhetoric which I personally am much more comfortable with.

    Turning to Paisley junior I agree entirely with Wild Turkey. Despite a significant amount of evidence from Nevin which appears flawlessly researched and documented there is no vast clamour in the media. We may all, however, be falling into the trap of believing we on slugger actually matter and that people take our views seriously rather than seeing us a group of deeply sad people with too much time on our hands and not enough friends.

    Interestingly though at a party last night with all Elenwe’s relatives (several of whom are Free Presbyterian and most DUP supporters) no one seemed enamoured of Paisley junior and his antics. Very unscientific I know but I suspect that whatever else Paisley junior will now never replace his father as MP for North Antrim and would be extremely fortunate to hold his ministerial post when his father finally goes.

    Regarding the DUP leadership; whilst undoubtedly it has been a good year for Robinson ,I am unsure if Breen’s praise is fully accurate. He has done only moderately in a number of interviews; he was well out of step with general public opinion on Ritchie and the UDA. If Ritchie wins any court case it will do him more harm. If the health service really falls apart whilst McGimpsey will get a lot of the blame; he (McGimpsey) may have left enough to damage Robinson as well.

    I am unsure whether it is true but I have never met many DUP supporters who really liked Robinson that much. Also remember how out of touch all the commentators were regarding Trimble’s victory. The same could happen in the DUP. If it did I would go for Dodds though I agree he has not done that much and if the economy does badly he will get at least some blame. Campbell is not a bad outside choice either.

    So I suspect Breen may well be right but it may well not be quite as plain sailing as her article might be seen as suggesting. Still she was quite nice about Allister and the TUV so I guess I am biased.

  • Michael Shilliday

    So what are these rules the DUP have for a leadership election?

  • Outsider

    In terms of Paisley himself I think some of the apparent friendship with McGuiness could be explained by the fact that Paisley is a minister. Such people tend to be good at being friendly to other people. I suspect it was easier to denounce and oppose McGuiness when he did not personally know him but more difficult when they had ordinary social interaction together.

    Turgon

    This does not explain his rather frosty relationship with his deputy leader, why cosy up to an ira terrorist yet remain cold with someone who proclaims to be on the same side.

    I’m afraid Paisleys legacy amongst Protestant, Loyalists and Unionists is in tatters he will be known as the divider, antagoniser and the person who when at the top sold his sole to the ira.

  • Occasional Commenter

    Wild Turkey wrote: “Question. Where do you, and we, go from here to build up the critical mass leading to a possible shitstorm?”

    Probably doesn’t matter. Local word on the street up here is that Sweeney’s company – Drumdolla (sp?) – is severely on the rocks. Downsizing quite a lot, really. If it goes, so will the appetite for the shitstorm.

    Sad, wrong, but true.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Remember President Raygun*

    Who? The president whose primary objective for most of his political life was the defeat of the Soviet Union and the restoration of the United States to the front rank of world powers? That President Raygun?

    The president who utterly defeated the Soviet Union, oversaw the building of the United States as the world’s only superpower, created the longest economic boom in US history and bequeathed freedom to half of Europe and a decade of peace to the rest of the world, that guy? The one the Left all sneered at as an incompetent buffoon?

    Yup, a real ineffective politician that bloke, not like Carter, or Brezhnev, or Chomsky, those terribly clever fellows who were proved completely wrong by him.

    Jeez, some people just can’t let go of their adolescent mindsets.

  • Jo

    I have now been posting on Slugger for 5 years.

    I’ve enjoyed it all. I have seen many different phases.

    2 things have remained constant.

    Murder (as defined as wrongful killing) is still murder.

    I, p,ersonally have impressed on
    many that power-sharing is a good deal. This day, last year, that was up for negotiating. Now – its accepted. Except for extremes. They have a voice on the Net. But not in OUR Assembly. Paisley may have used people to get where he is. But now…he has his opportunity to instill good government.

    Those that have followed me, I thank you – not least for following my (righteous!) anger over the last year/ I have fought against BOMBING IRAN
    which has been advocated by certain Hearts and MInds commentatiors. But..I rest my heart..in yours./ Lets talk.

  • joeCanuck

    Random thoughts on a sleepless (long story) New Years Eve night.

    The age of National States is rapidly (historically speaking) coming to an end.

    In 50 years time, in the north east of Europe’s largest western isle, two tribes will be squabbling.
    The sources of the squabbling will mainly be twofold:
    1. Sheep and cow grazing rights and whether each tribe has equal opportunity.
    2. Whether the sub-tribe of property developers have broken any laws in their rush to ensure that every inch of the coastline has a fair market value house on it and whether each tribe has equal opportunity..

    There will be five broad categories of employment
    a. sheep and cow herders.
    b. property developers.
    c. building trades.
    d. lawyers.
    e. hospitallers (aka minimum wage slaves).

    The hospitallers will earn their meager wages by being servants to the rich Chinese and Indians who, in a world plagued by rising temperatures, want to send their families for a few months in summertime to a, still, relatively temperate climate, undespoiled by industrial development.

    Wake up folks.

  • Another thoughtful piece from Fair Deal. I remember sharing a car with David Trimble during his Upper Bann by-election campaign of 1990 and hearing the great man speculating that Robinson could end up in the UUP after Paisley’s departure. How times have changed. The DUP will survive Paisley but it will be a very different party. Whilst Paisley has commanded unquestioned allegiance as the charismatic founder leader, his successor will not retain that loyalty. His successor will be just another leader and the DUP will become just another party with a leader judged on electoral success or failure.

    The DUP itself is on a slow march from the reactionary fringe of unionism to its centre ground. In order to do so, Ian Paisley has had to abandon the people from whom he sprung who were once the bedrock of his support. The implications of this shift are still being worked out. The DUP has not sustained any electoral damage yet. A handful of people have aligned themselves with Allister. Many more have been left in a state of shock, not helped by the Chuckle Brother routine. I suspect many will drift into abstention, which may hurt the DUP in future tight election races. In this regard, the disillusionment of the Orange leadership with the DUP’s political leadership may be a weather vane with grassroot unionist opinion.

    At least, the DUP does not face any serious competition from what could well be a dying UUP. For all the DUP’s problems, if the DUP continues its shift to the centre ground, it will be the UUP that stands to be wiped out.

    I have been pretty unimpressed by the DUP in government. There has been the Seymour Sweeney affair and Pootsie at Culture. The Punt may be effective as a minister but at heart he is a machine politician, who inspires respect rather than affection and whose control freak tendencies will cause problems when he gets the top spot, as he will in time. As for Papa Doc himself, his Morecambe and Wise tribute act with McGuinness has only sharpened the disillusionment of his former supporters, unnecessarily. He is also frankly way too old to be a nominal head of an administration, which is a real source of weakness for those who want to advance unionist interests.

    I believe there are major structural problems with the Belfast Agreement to which the DUP has signed up; that unionist interests are not and will not be served by the Agreement and that the DUP and UUP lack the will and the ability to defend those interests. Perhaps this is not TUV’s moment, not just yet. But there will eventually be a challenge to the DUP from somewhere.

  • Truth & Justice

    I feel Paisley went into government as there was no alternative and it was the best thing to do at the time, he got a better deal than Trimble but it is still hard to stomach. Paisley cant go on for ever and i feel Robinson with his ability will be the next leader all others dont have the same ability. Robinson is a safe pair of hands for the future!

  • wild turkey, it’s my gut feeling that the planning process is probably rotten to the core and, so far, we’ve only seen part of the iceberg.

    The assembly committees AFAIK have a majority DUP/SF membership and ‘minority’ committee members will need to use the media to shame their colleagues into action.

    David Gordon has done an excellent job and I was very impressed with the BBC NI Spotlight exposé on Paisley jnr and his chum, Seymour Sweeney.

    Stephen Nolan put the cat amongst the pigeons when he pressurised Junior into that ‘I know of him, yes’ remark and, presumably, the public will continue to feed the Nolan programme with ‘revelations’.

    There’s a lot of material out there and folks appear more and more willing to talk. However, contributors to Slugger et al need to proceed through the ‘minefield’ with caution if they wish to escape the fate of Christine Alexander, a Coleraine Borough councillor. I prefer to use bona fide sources though the Grapevine often provides very useful leads.

    Probably the best thing we can do is to continue providing material to the Slugger team and to encourage them to move beyond op-eds on material already in the news. We can also contact our MLAs, MPs and MEPs and some of them will put down questions for ministerial response.

    Why not do a blog of your own? I put together a blog for our family history group a few months ago and the current affairs material certainly grabbed the attention of some journalists and politicians: Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre Controversy, Ballyallaght Farm Cottages, Blot on the landscape, Ballintoy, Knocksoghey and the Blackside

  • “Local word on the street up here is that Sweeney’s company – Drumdolla (sp?) – is severely on the rocks.”

    Is Drumdollagh Construction from near Armoy owned by Sweeney/Seaport (NI) Limited or is just one of a number of companies that builds for him?

    McAlister Holdings has been in the news recently. Is it a developer as well as a builder? Does it have any political ‘supporters’?

  • “Robinson is a safe pair of hands for the future!”

    Are you taking the piss out of Peter the punt, T&J;? 🙂

  • Rubicon

    Several years ago I spoke with a well established DUP MLA about ‘the succession’. He said he believed many in the party respected Robinson but they didn’t warm to him or like him. He also pointed to Dodds as a more likely successor and emphasised Dodds’ “impressive academic background”.

    Of course this is only one man’s view and under the surface there have always been the confessional and more practical wings within the DUP. I suspect his view hasn’t changed regarding Robinson. Each wing is likely to propose a candidate and those that sit on the fence playing their cards very carefully will become the king makers.

    Like the Comrade, I suspect this debate is probably a year early. Age will no doubt be the official reason for Paisley’s departure whenever it occurs but the catalyst for change isn’t on the horizon; i.e., an election. It was Blair’s electoral liability that galvanised his party for a change and I doubt that is something peculiar to the Labour party alone.

  • Queen’s YU

    Sillyday,

    What are the rules about electing a new chairman of the YU?

    Given you plans to hold a coup.

  • Gum

    Surely Ian Paisley Jr will succeed his father as MP for North Antrim? He’ll never be leader and I suspect he’ll have a diminished role in the party once his father retires (which he [i]will[/i] have to do eventually). But surely North Antrim is a safe seat for him. Is this not the reason he didnt challenge for the Fermanagh/ South Tyrone seat in 2001?

  • Comrade Stalin

    As with the chuckies, I’ve a feeling that Paisley will have managed to bring a certain number of his supporters with him in his recent conversion to powersharing with Sinn Fein. I guess the question is how many.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry:

    The president who utterly defeated the Soviet Union, oversaw the building of the United States as the world’s only superpower, created the longest economic boom in US history and bequeathed freedom to half of Europe and a decade of peace to the rest of the world, that guy? The one the Left all sneered at as an incompetent buffoon?

    Giving Reagan (or Thacher, or the Pope for that matter) the credit for ending the Soviet Union is wide of the mark. The USSR collapsed because communism doesn’t work. It would have collapsed no matter who in the West opposed it for that reason. Yes, Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech was great, but it wasn’t what killed the USSR.

    Reagan was an incompetent buffoon. During his stewardship of the economy, he borrowed and borrowed and borrowed, a bit like Gordon Brown has done, a problem which subsequently led to Bush Snr’s failure to win re-election, as well as a recession. I’ve never understood how anyone calling themselves conservative can build a strategy out of borrowed money. Clinton managed to achieve a long period of economic prosperity and reduce government borrowing. I find this weird posthumous revisionism of Reagan’s legacy to be very strange indeed.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    I haven’t got a copy of the rule book to be certain of my answer but when I last asked the answer I was given was it would go to the Assembly party first. Maybe someone with a rule book can give the exact wording.

    Rubicon

    “the catalyst for change isn’t on the horizon; i.e., an election”

    There is the possibility of two elections in 09 (even an outside one of a general in 08 – Brown said very unlikely which gives wiggle room if the volatile polls improve). Is it better to change leaders close to an election or in good time?

  • Nevin,

    Perhaps Truth and Justice is one of the Swiss (Bank Account) Family Robinsons.

  • Turgon

    Watchman,
    I agree with your 9.07am post. I remember those sorts of discussions about getting Robinson into the UUP. I was never important enough to share a car with Trimble (though Peter Weir once gave me a lift) but I remember we all thought that the future would be the UUP swallowing up the DUP. We were very wrong. I suspect the problem will be keeping the TUV going and trying to gain momentum; very difficult but well worth attempting.

    Outsider,
    I stand corected by your comment on the Paisley / Robinson relationship. Dessie Boal was a DUP deputy leader who has now vanished from politics. I think there may have been others but I cannot remember. I do not know why Paisley has not knifed Robinson. He may be too useful or too powerful within the party though if Rubicon is correct (and I have heard similar) it is unlikely to be due to popularity within the party.

  • Fair Deal, couldn’t you track down a picture of Governor Lundy to join the other two at the top of your piece?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I suspect that I may share a common thought regarding Paisley, that he is now doing what he and his party should have done many years ago (how many depends on individual points of view, in my case back to O’Neill)but why does he have to appear to enjoy it so much?

    There have been conversions before but not many on this epic scale…………….. he will utimately answer to himself and his God, just like Blair and Bush.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    wild turkey: “Yes but affability does not necessarily make a poor politician. Remember President Raygun ? I am far from defending or justifying here, but Paisleys appeal, like that of Reagan, is direct and populist to ‘the people’ and peoples instinctive wariness of policy wonks, mainstream (beltway) politicians etc, etc.”

    You say that as if that’s some sort of problem — isn’t the whole point of a constitutional democracy to have a government that is responsive to the proverbial “will of the people?” Democracies do not exist to express the will of the policy wonks, party insiders, mainstream politicians and/or their associated think-tanks.

    Outsider: “This does not explain his rather frosty relationship with his deputy leader, why cosy up to an ira terrorist yet remain cold with someone who proclaims to be on the same side. ”

    In the current climate of quasi-normal politics and “peace”, the latter is a greater threat to Paisley’s position than the former.

    Comrade Stalin: “During his stewardship of the economy, he borrowed and borrowed and borrowed, a bit like Gordon Brown has done, a problem which subsequently led to Bush Snr’s failure to win re-election, as well as a recession.””

    As opposed to Carter’s austerity, which wrought usurous interest rates, high unemployment, etc.? If one wants to restart an economy, one has to prime the pump.

    Bush Sr. lost not on debt, but on his inability to rein in government spending, keep his promises to the public (“read my lips!”) and his inability to honestly explain his change in policy. Throw in a jug-eared Texan / martian to split the conservative vote and you have Clinton winning with under 50% of the vote. I find this revisionist history of yours rather… well, in character, but otherwise disturbing.

    As for Reagen vs. Communism, while he did not single-handedly slay the Red Menace, he certainly hastened its collapse — even Russian sources acknowledge that Reagen’s role in their fall. Not even a coup in your grand tradition was able to reverse that, Josef…

  • Jopseh O’Connor

    I think DUP can keep its leading role even without Rev Ian,unfortunately I suppose we ought to regard him as Prime Minister for a very long time…he still represents injustice,dictatorship,sectarianism and imperialism. Do you really believe a 80 years old man could be able to head the North?Ian Paisley belongs to XX century.We’ve been having the same leaders(Paisley-Adams)for a longest period. Don’t you like turning the page?

  • JD

    There was a belief once in the Irish Labour Party that when DeValera died Fianna Fail would collapse and the politics of the Irish Republic would re-align. DeV passed on the leadership of Fianna Fail to his finance minister Sean Lemass and Fianna Fail remained top dog although evolving into a radically different party from its roots.

    There’s no reason why Paisley will asllow his political life’s work in building the DUP as the largest party in Northern Ireland implode when he departs the political stage. A canny politician his legacy may not be a “Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People” but the dominant political party of the state – just like Fianna Fail’s core values on Irish Unity were never realised yet the Fianna Fail organisation still stands trumphant above its competitors.

    That and the DUP’s Fianna Fail-esque clientelism and relationship with developers…

  • This is not a criticism of you but an observation of a flacid media in combination with an ineffectual senior civil service.

    True – I’ll repeat the following single transferrable quote because it’s true: “In Northern Ireland, we have too many reporters and not enough journalists.”

    Picking through a complex paper trail to work out which developer is linked in an inappropriate way to which politician is difficult work. Not one you learn by cutting your teeth cutting and pasting condemnation statements and being fed lines by spin doctors outside yet another set of crisis talks.

    On the occasions when we have a good thread here, there is more interesting comment than on a year’s worth of Hearts and Minds. This has been one of those threads.

    In my view, the current settlement is stable as long as there is no external shock. If the murder of Paul Quinn was an insufficient external shock, then I do not see what (at least within the realms of probability) will be. Of course, there are always “events, dear boy” which are by their nature unpredictable. But I would be fairly confident that not much will have changed by this time next year.

    TUV’s market is the 3-6% of the population who are opposed to a settlement which involves either Nationalists in general or Sinn Féin in particular on the grounds of immovable principle. It is unlikely they can expand this market without a significant external shock. The nature of their principles and personalities makes it virtually impossible for them to form working alliances with other parties, non-unionist parties, which they need to have any parliamentary influence in the current dispensation. Therefore, in the long term I can’t see them being anything other than a ‘testimonial party’ for conservative Evangelical Protestants in the manner of the Dutch SGP. Of course, there are always events.

    As for the DUP succession, people always speak highly of Dodds within DUP circles, but he is my MP and I see him up close (rare enough as his appearances are in our upper-middle class ghetto of Taigs and the odd liberal Prod). A competent Ulster Unionist who could capitalise on his many mistakes would give him a real run for his money (hint: defending the UDA’s slush fund ain’t right popular in The Bay just now). Fortunately for him, the local UUP ‘machine’ is headed by Fred Cobain and Davy Brown…

    I wouldn’t rule Robinson out of anything just yet.

    I do not know why Paisley has not knifed Robinson.

    I think because whoever tries to knife Robinson will have their throat cut with the same knife. A ruthless and capable man.

    Right off to a New Year’s party now, hope you all have fun whatever you are up to tonight…

  • ulsterfan

    Too early to write his political obituary but in the meantime we can consider ” If Paisley was put on trial for being a Unionist and a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict?”

  • patrique

    For slow learners. The “peace plan” was all planned, hence the name. I said in 1995 paisley would end up in power with Sinn Fein. This happened. They gave us SDLP/UUP coalition, let us see it wouldn’t work without the so called extremist parties, brought us to the brink of doom on numerous occasions, and then gave us Ian and Martin.

    Paisley had more or less retired, but the planners realised he was the only one on that side of the divide who could swing it. Hence he had to come back, for a short period.

    Robinson has been groomed by the “planners” as his successor, although that has not been a major success. Ian Junior cannot succeed, because to the “planners” the name Paisley is unacceptable in Government, as half of England believe Big Ian to have been the head opf the IRA and the cause of all the trouble. And we can’t have perceived terrorists in Government, can we, wouldn’t look right.

  • Interested Observer

    I was once told that Robinson ensures that no one in the DUP rises to a height that would represents a challenge to his own position as heir to the Paisley’s throne.

    Given the DUP’s failure to deal with the Causeway crisis and Ian Junior’s popularity in a poll of who the next leader of the DUP should be (I think it was in Spring 2007 possibily the Belfast Telegraph) I have often thought maybe Robinson who controls the DUP backroom boys was happy to let Junior sink in the mire?

  • Danny O’Connor

    Watchman,your comment about the swiss bank family robinson reminds me of a comment made in the assembly by Duncan Shipley Dalton.Duncan was shafted good and proper and NI politics is worse for it .From the time Burnside got elected MP the UUP in south antrim have been going down.Jim Wilson got shafted too.
    By the way Happy New Year everybody.

  • DC

    Happy New Year to you too Danny, I wonder what your New Year resolution will be! 🙂

  • nectar

    Na Duncan got shafted cause he didnt do any work in south antrim end of story

  • Jim Wilson got shafted too.

    Unfair. Jim Wilson left because he wanted to reitre. In an entirely natural, human, and reasonable way. And for once, I’m not being sarcastic.

    Burnside [play the ball] granted, but that’s not why the UUP are in diffs in South Antrim, any more than they are anywhere else…

  • Harry Flashman

    CS

    When Reagan came to power, the Soviet Union was everywhere in the ascendant, it had seen off the Yanks at Vietnam and its control of its slave empire was unquestioned, the United States was in deep depression with a total loss of national will and morale. The best the great liberal thinkers of the west could come up with was “detente” whereby the west would just have to learn to live with a strong Soviet power. I can quote you literally dozens of liberal analysts who were convinced that the Soviet Union was a thing of permanence, even the CIA could see nothing other than a powerful Soviet Union being a permanent feature in the world for generations to come.

    Ronnie came to power with a simple philosophy; “My strategy for the Cold War? We win, they lose”. Simple but effective and no, it was not simply about one speech. It was about forcing the Soviet Union back in every sphere, ending detente and instead confronting the barbarity of its rule, not accepting its permanence but on the contrary to undermine it at every turn. He built up a massive US arsenal and then threatened them with Star Wars, knowing the USSR could never compete. And then beautifully offering them arms reduction just when they were at their most desperate.

    Reagan faced down and defeated the Soviet Union but because he showed that he was a shrewder, more clever statesman and judge of strategy than all the pointy headed liberals, they never forgave him and changed their entire analysis and said that the collapse of the Soviet Union just sort of happened by accident. It didn’t, Ronnie beat them.

    Try to get over your adolescent anti-Americansim CS and read some actual history of the times.

  • darth rumsfeld

    watchman, a slip!
    For once your suggestion (that we get a photo of Lundy to complete the tryptch) is just silly. First, there were no cameras in 1689, and second Lundy went off and redeemed himself by fighting bravely in Britain’s cause after the siege.
    However….some clever Sluggerette is bound to be able to find a picture of Marechal Petain, an old fool who was used as a figurehead by cheese eating surrender monkeys, which some people might just feel is the subtext of Breen’s piece :0)

    It is interesting that the NIO spindoctors (do they still include Steven Grimason the former BBC NI political correspondent?)see the need to hide his behaviour away from the DUP base. But that can only go so far. It can’t conceal the bumbling at First Minister’s questions, nor the tendency to revert to type at the (increasingly rare) press conference and blurt out some bon mot such as his comments on Biffo Cowan

    Ron was the best president the US had post world war 2 in terms of foreign policy, as Harry demonstrates.He was less successful domestically, though he still had solid achievements. And he could even teach Paisley how to do charm

    I too remember the Punt as the UUP’s favourite target-indeed he was once invited to speak to the YUs and he arrived in Glengall Street much like Enoch Powell at the Notting Hill Carnival, but told the half-terrified audience (expecting him to unleash his sarcasm in the question time) that in his youth he’d once nearly joined the UUP but hadn’t gone to a meeting because a friend hadn’t turned up to go with him. And an entire room sighed in disappointment.
    Though we got told off for bringing “that man” into the building, as it was not too far in time from when Ian Paisley had burst in with a group and got on to the roof to protest at Charlie Haughey in the Europa. It is rumoured that Paisley had with him one D Trimble, and the other source of their ire was the Lord mayor of Belfast, Haughey’s host- a certain Reg Empey. Funny old world

  • aninnocent

    In view of all the above, how about an NI political party audit?

    What is a political party?

    Are political parties in NI democratic?

    Why do so many of the electorate think politicians are a bunch of shysters, obsessed with power and enjoying a very lucrative gravy train?

    What should be done to restore public confidence in the political/party system?

  • Briso

    Turgon:
    I was never important enough to share a car with Trimble (though Peter Weir once gave me a lift)…

    Maybe it’s just me, but I nearly spat my coffee over the screen at that!

  • Turgon

    Briso,
    It was an attempt at self deprecating humour as well as actually being true. Without playing the man he had a really old Fiesta and his driving style was a little “interesting”.

    Sorry I am not very good at humour.

  • Mike

    “Similar work is also under way at the NIO press office”

    Could somebody PLEASE, for the love of God, sit Newton Emerson down and explain to him that the Northern Ireland Office is a completely different entity to the Northern Ireland Departments, and the Northern ireland Civil Service.

    He constantly refers to the NI Departments, or the NICS, as ‘the NIO’, leading to daft statements like the above. Why would the NIO press office be working with Paisley? Wouldn’t that be stepping on the toes of the OFMDFM press office a little? Shouldn’t they be working with Shaun Woodward?

    Reminds me of a piece he wrote in the Irish News a few months ago in which he announced to the readership that permanent seretaries of NI Departments answer to the permanent secretary of the NIO, and asking how the NI Executive Ministers felt about that. Of course they actually answer to the Head of the NI Civil Service.

    Come on Newton, it’s not that difficult.

  • Bla

    Michael Shilliday

    A DUP Leader is elected by a vote in the assembly party which is then ratified by the party executive. In the absence of an assembly, it is the eecutive of the DUP which makes the decision.

  • I also remember Peter Robinson at the UYUC, not for what the Punt said but for an amusing moment mid-speech when the chairman of the meeting tried to pour him/herself some water, completely missing the glass!

    Ah those were the days.

  • Sir Herbert Mercer

    Alas my comment was censored twice; but the evil it highlighted has been rectified, so it’s all good

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I also remember Peter Robinson at the UYUC, not for what the Punt said but for an amusing moment mid-speech when the chairman of the meeting tried to pour him/herself some water, completely missing the glass!”

    I remember that too, and thinking that the man was a complete idiot…..:0)

  • Sir Herbert Mercer

    So what party are you in/do you support now Darth?

    Oh and why’d you shave off that beard of yours?