“You can only judge a political career by comparing the starting point and finishing point.”

Alex Kane reckons that Dr Paisley comes out badly of any analysis that takes Enoch Powell’s dictum that all political lives end in failure seriously…

As early as the summer of 1998 – and I wrote about it at the time – the DUP knew that it could never go back to the drawing board and rewrite the Agreement. It pretended (and I use that term in its most precise sense) that it had a strategy for delivering something better and banked on the fact that the UUP would be put through the mill by Blair, Sinn Fein and general circumstance. All it had to do was wait until Trimble had taken the hits and Ian Paisley had arrived in the driving seat; then tie up a few loose ends and snatch the benefits.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty