Rumour Mill: talk about resignation…

This one, as ever comes with a health warning… Rumour is not news… But Slugger hears from a Nationalist source that Ian Paisley Junior may tender his resignation as Junior Minister tomorrow… If it proved to be accurate, it could be indicative of a substantive shift in the internal balance of power inside the party. It would almost certainly be of some relief to his ministerial colleague Arlene Foster, who Mark Devenport has conjectured may use to tomorrow to pull permission (that she was previously minded to grant) to Seymour Sweeney for a privately funded Visitors Centre for the Giant’s Causeway.

If both events turn up tomorrow, then it is suggestive of a party set piece: planned and orchestrated, perhaps with a few quiet deals lurking surreptitiously in the background. The downgrading of Ian Junior may buy Senior some time and space to take unhurried leave of the leadership of a party that is growing frustrated with his unwillingness or incapacity to play an increasingly subtle and nuanced game, now they are in a politically tricky partnership with Sinn Fein.

As he nears his eighty second birthday, his once almost faultless command of the semiotics of Unionism appears to be failing him. And having lent, as Tom Kelly hints in the Irish News today, (and Alex Kane outlined last Thursday) his imprimatur to the St Andrews Agreement, and his considerable powers as a totem for Ulster Loyalism greatly diminished by his Chuckle Brothers double act with Martin McGuinness, Ian Paisley Senior now has little of any value with which to barter with his party.

Whether tomorrow brings a resignation or not, it seems the power within the party has long since passed out of Paisley family hands.

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  • My source was a Nationalist source too. May or may not be the same as mine but would guess is a party colleague. I have no other useful info (and might not put it on Slugger if I did!!!).

    If it happens, and Arlene is the knife-wielder, it’s remarkable that a “security Prod” recent DUP convert, ex-Ulster Unionist, woman, member of the heretical Church of Ireland, can end the political career of a member of the Paisley family…

  • steve48

    It would appear that while the smoking gun has not yet appeared the proliferation of spent cases suggests that it only a matter of time before jnr’s entire political career is over.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, it’s not to be today. Just had an indication that the rumour is just that: a rumour.

  • Turgon

    Mick,
    I do not want to put 2 and 2 together and get 22 but if the source was an SDLP or pro SDLP source might such a rumour have been started to deflect attention from the presentational problems the SDLP are having with their MLAs opposed to the budget but their minister voting for it? Just a thought.

  • URQUHART

    Junior will have to be dragged from office kicking and screaming. There’ll be no high minded resignation today or any day soon.

    The scandal around him would have to be significantly escalated.

  • URQUHART

    Turgon: Any insight into what the SDLP is up to would be very welcome.

  • Continental Drifter

    Turgon

    Doubt it, that’s far too cunning for the SDLP.

  • pith

    Sammy Morse,

    Far from wielding the knife is it not more likely that Arlene Foster will be used by the Paisleys in a desperate effort to get Junior off the hook?

    Resignation implies a sense of responsibility. Therefore we can assume Junior will not resign. The other parties seem unwilling to force him out.

  • shankly’s socialism

    In any normal political arena Junior would have resigned several times already he is like Peter Mandelson without the need to bounce back….but then he wouldn’t like that comparison due to Mr Mandelson’s sexual preference.

    The good news for Unionists is that once Senior goes Junior will go and take his daddy’s seat at Westminster and stay out of the way of Robinson who wont want him anywhere near him once the big man has gone.

    I would be surprise if Junior goes today though, he doesn’t appear to have any shame so would have to have been heavily beaten and then pushed from within.

  • Doubt it, that’s far too cunning for the SDLP.

    Continental Drifter beat me to that comment.

  • steve48

    just been told that SF were indicating this last night and those highlighting issue would have insight into ofmdfm

  • steve48

    if it doesn’t happen today I expect that jnr will stand down soon in the words of so many politicians “to clear my name”

  • shankly’s socialism

    @ steve48

    For Junior to clear his name he will need:-
    *Industrial steam cleaners by 2
    *Brillo pads by 24
    *A time machine by 1
    *A personality transplant by 1

  • Ex Pat Pat

    In the past, the DUP rotated its ministerial positions. No sign of that happening yet with the current holders but perhaps a month or two down the line we see a limited reshuffle and Junior moves out of the picture at that point?

  • USA

    I can only hope it is the end for junior. But given his lack of character and his shameless manner I feel he would have to be pushed (preferably under a bus).

  • Comrade Stalin

    It would probably be more useful to report on the rather better substantiated rumours about the state of Paisley Snr’s health and how long he can continue in his job. No harm to the guy – he’s doing remarkably well for a man of his age, and I have nothing against him continuing in the job – but from what I have heard, he does not have the energy to keep it going.