Paisley’s non political porridge

Dr. Paisley has been writing his column in the Newsletters on Fridays for a while now. I have found it both informative and surprising. Paisley’s Newsletter articles have been largely religious in nature: political comments especially as relating to current Northern Ireland politics have been very limited.

At one level this is unsurprising: Dr. Paisley, whatever his detractors may think is a fundamentalist theologian of very considerable note: His exposition on Romans is highly regarded and his purely religious and theological works probably entitle him to a Doctorate of Divinity to a much greater extent than the moderators of the Presbyterian Church who are always given one. Remembering, however, that this man is not merely a well respected fundamentalist theologian and founder of a church but also a leading politician, and until very recently the leader of unionism; his almost complete silence on Northern Irish politics is surprising and maybe not what Darwin Templeton had envisaged (or hoped for?) when he – for I presume it was he who- offered Paisley a column.

Clearly, however, Paisley; no matter that he is damaged goods now amongst rejectionist (or even sceptical pro agreement unionists) could do Robinson considerable damage should he denounce his current strategy. John Coulter in the Irish Daily Star (via Newshound) has tried to suggest Dr. Paisley is involved in a plot to end Stormont. However, I have not seen or heard any similar comments about Paisley and he seems to be willing to play Blair to Brown rather than Thatcher to Major, by cultivating his interests outside politics. In the absence of much NI political comment in public or in the pages of the Newsletter, some will no doubt try to suggest that Paisley is plotting. Whilst that may be possible I suspect it is highly likely that Dr. Paisley is quite happy doing what he is doing. Many in journalism and politics forget that Paisley always was a serious church minister and theologian as well as a politician. He is also now an old man and as such religious activities as well as his own constituency are probably enough to keep him busy, and away from any critical comments even if he is opposed to Robinson’s current stance: at least Peter Robinson must hope that is the case.