Paisley attacked and defended

Dr. Paisley has proclaimed that he did indeed “Smash Sinn Fein” and that they are no longer true republicans because they are part of the British government. He has also explained his apparently quite close working relationship with Martin McGuinness. Peter Robinson has waded into the fray defending Paisley’s legacy, something which is maybe a touch ironic in view of recent events? A case of a Brutus hiding behind Mark Anthony’s speech? A real pity Dr. Paisley had not been forced to resign on the Ides of March but I fear Mr. Robinson has more pressing issues to consider than poetic similarities.These comments from Robinson were in response to Reg Empey’s rather damning critique of Dr. Paisley’s career. Mr. Trimble’s contribution on Dr. Paisley’s legacy has already been noted.

Another analysis of Dr. Paisley well worth reading is Alex Kane’s. I have to confess to being a big fan of Kane’s writings despite our differing views of unionism.

I would tend to a different analysis of Paisley’s recent career from any of these. I cannot agree with Trimble that the agreement the DUP negotiated is an exact copy of the UUP’s; there is no doubt that the DUP did gain; Trimble had made no head way at all with IRA decommissioning or SF acceptance of the police and in his system there was no way of enforcing any collective cabinet responsibility.

I differ more from Robinson and Paisley’s views, however. Whilst the St Andrew’s Agreement may not be quite a carbon copy of the Belfast Agreement; it is a very close relative, more a change from a basic model of a Lada to one with electric windows rather than a shiny new BMW. The republican movement’s commitment to the rule of law and the police still seems tenuous, the collective responsibility extremely limited, the vetoes still extant, d’Hondt still there, one could go on.

So it may be slightly (and only slightly) unfair for Alex Kane to say that the new agreement is simply the old one with Paisley’s stamp of approval. In every other way, however, I agree wholeheartedly with Kane’s analysis. Paisley has failed to use his March 2007 mandate to good effect and the change from the man who snowballed Lemass’s car is striking.

As footnote, a few words on my use of Dr. Paisley’s title: many ministers are given honorary doctorates and they are usually used in the circles I move in. Also Paisley’s Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans is extremely highly regarded in conservative evangelical circles as are many of his other purely religious writings. I do think he has a greater claim on the title than most of the assorted Presbyterian moderators who all get an honorary doctorate and these persons’ titles are always used.

  • DC

    Wasn’t the Weimar Republic brought down from within because it couldn’t happen from the outside.

    Mr Paisley doing a wee bit of spinning in the face on four large very green fields up at Stormont set against fractured splinters of unionism. The only thing Paisley smashed assunder is Unionism through his divisive rhetoric.

    At least DUP unionists are altogther now in no man’s land, let’s at least have a truthful account of how they got there.

  • CD

    DC< You have labelled this demagogue correctly. As he has no PhD, he is not entitled to call himself Dr Paisley. He does have an honorary doctorate from the notorious Bob Jones University. It is even unclear if Mr Paisley has the qualifications necessary for a Rev. He has been revealed as a fraud and a cheat. He is now history. Unlike The Deputy. UTP.

  • The hind tit

    CD You are understating the Reverend Doctor’s qualifications.
    He also obtained a B.A. in Divinity from Pioneer Theological Seminary in Rockville and an honorary doctorate 7 months later. These were followed by a Masters Degree from Burton College and Seminary in Manitou Springs.

  • The hind tit

    P.S. The fact that both are bogus, disreputable correspondence schools described as “degree mills” by the US Dept. of Education is neither here nor there.

  • Rory

    I am not sure,CD (are you by any chance DC in the mirror?), that any academic qualification is necessary for one to be addressed as “Reverend”.

    As to “Doctor” I should think that Dr. Paisley is as entitled to that form of address as say, Dr. Feelgood even though Dr. Paisley hasn’t, to my knowledge, had a top twenty hit. Yet, anyway.

    There used to be a vibrating autosexual device advertised in the back pages of some publications that was known, for reasons that quite escape me, as “The Non-Doctor”. I can give no recommendation as to its efficacy but I wonder if somehow you might have confused this device with the First Minister’s status.

  • jadedobserver

    LOL, ideologically it’s been a pyrrhic victory for both sides. Both Adams and Paisley are pale shadows of their former positions. I guess they both showed “leadership”.

  • Rory

    When we all have had our little hissyfits on Paisley’s former and later legacy we may settle down and realise how absolutely normal his impending resignation really is. Normal in the sense of political normality in the run of the western democracies and in particular in the custom and practice of politics within the UK (excluding, as the television-ads for insurance warn us, Northern Ireland).

    A senior politician’s son and heir resigns his position amid a whiff of scandal, shortly followed by the “retirement”, more-time-with-family of the senior minister himself before any whiff might be attributed to him. Benedictions, accolades, lots of “harumph-harumphs” and triple gin and tonics all round and snappy young terrier rushes in on the heels of the departing old hound. And…it’s all alright. It’s ok! It is normal politics.

    All we need now is a Sinn Féin sex scandal and we will be able to take our place at the heart of western democracy.

  • Garibaldy


    Haven’t you heard about the recent PSF sex scandal?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Turgon, I think you have hit all the unionist nails on the head. Your version of the state of play on the ‘republican’ side would be interesting.

  • Slartibuckfast

    I was thinking of the Caesar thing too:

    What will I do without Paisley?

  • Dewi

    The Economist’s take. Reading Molony’s book – whatever feelings about the bloke he sure had energy.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Welsh people are temporarily personae non grata.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    “Paisley has failed to use his March 2007 mandate to good effect”

    You persist with the fallacy that the British governement was going to alter (significantly )the deal it had already cut with Provos as per the GFA simply because a majority of Unionists backed the DUP.

    This was NOT an internal settlement and the British were effectively telling Unionists that THEIR opinions were no longer going to decide British policy in Non Iron. You like the TUV need to swallow this political medicine and move on.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    I’m with you there – get the little red feckers off the site.

  • Dewi

    Sammy and Pancho – try and keep on the subject will you!…It’s only a game.

  • Rory

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it,

    ( After such long acquaintance may I call you by your first name, It ?)

    You rightly point out that which surely ought to have been clear to all but the most deluded – that the GFA was a negotiation between the IRA and the British and Irish governments with the US government acting as (persistent) honest brokers and the role of the unionist parties was to do as they were (first) recommended, then advised and finally told to comply.

    When I say “the role of the unionist parties” I really mean the role of unionism itself and Paisley, as aware of this as any, choose not to engage but better wait, use ultra-demagogy to steal unionist hegemony from the UUP and then do as he was very firmly told at St. Andrew’s – “Do behave!”.

    He was then able to return from his engagement with Herr Blair and Herr Maginness waving a piece of something in the air and declaring, “Peace in our time!” and Junior thinking, “Yeah, man – piece of the action!”.