As in tús maith, leath na hoibre – A good start is half the work. To which might also be added is fearr mall ná go brách – better late than never. Iain Dale’s readers have Ian Paisley as clear winner in their Northern Ireland politician of the year vote. Will Crawley, more generously spreads the award between the ‘big man’ and his
deputy joint Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, but backs it up with nice observations as to why they deserve it:
For looking like they have truly embraced change rather than merely touching shoulders with it.
For laughing together. Often.
For transforming the atmosphere of Northern Ireland.
For lifting the gavel together at the New York Stock Exchange, making Sinn Fein and the DUP joint accolytes in the cathedral of global capitalism.
For surprising everyone and showing that it is possible to overcome the past.
For enhancing the reputation of the original Chuckle Brothers.
For redefining the word “Deputy”, which now means “Joint”.
For quoting the Bible very appropriately (for a change): “We know not what a day may bring forth”.
For leaving hundreds of thousands of people wondering, “What was all that about?”
For proving that political miracles are possible.
For becoming the poster-boys of teetotalism, thus joining George W Bush in the exclusive club of non-drinking heads of government.
For demonstrating the wisdom of the poet Seamus Heaney, who once said that we speak too often of “the others” or “the other side” when what we need to do is to get to a place of “through-otherness”.