Paisley’s peerage is not the final verdict

Most journalists are either too young or too indifferent by now to do other than nod towards  Ian Paisley’s long-trailed elevation to the red benches of the House of Lords. At 84 becoming a life peer is more of an honour than a job. With all the charm and civility they can both deploy, he and Eileen will become the Upper House’s perfect chuckle couple. Journalist Ed Moloney has produced two views of Paisley at different times; one with Andy Pollak in the 1980s. Here the largely forgotten Action Council strike is recalled, a personal defeat for Paisley from which he was immediately rescued by an inept and unsuccessful prosecution. The other is in Voices of the Grave, that testimony of opposing paramilitaries which passes scathing verdicts on the political leadership of the two extremes, reviewed here by Stephen Robinson in the Sunday Times.

It is strangely reassuring to find that terrorists have a healthy contempt for the politicians who justify or fail to condemn their actions. Hughes’s loathing for Adams when the latter opts for negotiation is matched by Ervine and his gang’s contempt for Ian Paisley and the other sectarian windbags in the Democratic Unionist party. It is awful to think that as a result of their cynical outmanoeuvring of Ulster’s moderate voices, the DUP and Sinn Fein/IRA have emerged triumphant to carve up the spoils and tax-free allowances of Northern Ireland’s politics.

It’s cool to have opinions like that these days, particularly when the cost of holding them is a lot lower than it used to be. Most of us without bloody records to defend will live with the moral ambiguities of uneasy peace and give the principals their due. But for as long Paisley and Adams remain on the scene in conditions of substantial personal denial, the issue of responsibility for the troubles remains an active though hopefully fading ingredient of our politics.

The British state has chosen to honour Paisley at the end of a long programme of post-dated Blairite buttering up of unionists for sticking with the peace process. History should not treat his elevation as an overall verdict on his whole public life. What to do about Adams? For all the controversyabout his record, in his own community his reputation is higher than Paisley’s in his. Yet Valhalla awaits him too one day. Somehow it’s hard to imagine him being offered or indeed accepting a retirement billet in the Seanad. The people will have to live with the paradox that those who enflamed and sustained so much pain so interminably were in the end the only ones who could end it.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • HeinzGuderian

    Valhalla ? Not the final verdict ?? Ye gads sir. Are you seriously suggesting there will be judgement from a ‘higher authority’ ?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    A fair assessment but many of us have even longer memories.
    The 1950s Paisley (Maura Lyons era) is of course before my time (honestly!) but I recall my late father used to bring home discarded copies of the Protestant Telegraph and read parts aloud.
    Likewise he had a friend in the early 1960s who was attached to Musgrave Street RUC and whose job seemed to be to take notes at Paisley gatherings. (Was it really that low tech?).
    ven in the early 1980s my father was recalling that his friend told him “that man Paisley will be trouble”.
    And of course statements made by prosecuted men circa 1966 have an echo still. Likewise that TV debate from the Oxford Union.
    The 84 year old Lord Paisley is no doubt a different man from the 64 year old or 44 year old version. And biographies or assessments 20 years apart are no more than a snapshot.
    But I suspect I have changed over the years too.
    But these snapshops of Paisley are in fact a response to what we need or are told we need.
    Paisley firebrand preacher.
    Paisley street agitator
    Paisley politician
    Paisley the visionary
    Paisley the Father of the Nation.

  • joeCanuck

    Well thank someone that it’s only a life peerage. I couldn’t abide a Lord Ian óg.

  • The latest betting is;

    Lord Paisley of Ulster 1/2
    Lord Paisley of Ballymena 3/1
    Lord Paisley of the Giant’s Causeway 5/1
    Lord Paisley of Belfast, Dublin and Rome 100/1

  • Greenflag

    There were/are /aren’t -take your pick , supposedly three persons in the one God . Some astute writer on the NI troubles averred that there were eight persons in the one Paisley .

    Now we have a ninth . Lord Jaw Jaw of Ballychuckle ?

    ‘The people will have to live with the paradox that those who enflamed and sustained so much pain so interminably were in the end the only ones who could end it.’

    Is’nt that the truth 🙁 In hindsight there should never have been any ‘troubles’ . But then ‘foresight’ was never a character trait worth displaying in pre troubles ‘unionism’ or for that matter in pre troubles ‘republicanism’ .

    Fire -ready -aim was the order of the day . Hopefully the current and future crop of politicians will reverse the former counterproductive sequence.

  • SDLP Man

    I hold Paisley as being responsible more than anyone else for the Gethsemane this community has had to endure over the past 50+ years. Frankly, when I think of the evil he has wrought since Maura Lyons onwards, his actions have been vile and contemptible. Maloney and Pollak’s biography documents it very well: he may be a “good” husband, father, grandfather etc., but even in relation to his alleged charm his “rough Ulster humour” was always directed at someone else as the butt of the joke. A truly awful man.

    As for Adams, he is a Living Lie and, as the undisputed leader of ‘northern nationalists’, whatever value that phrase has now, a man who cannot be honest and open about critical junctures in his own past is just a symptom of the disfunctionality of this society and there will ultimately be a price to be paid for that. That said, in terms of intelligence and creativity, Adams leaves Paisley far behind, even if he picked it all up from John Hume’s playbook of major speeches.

    As for the idea of ‘unionist’ and ‘nationalist’ what value does these labels have nowadays? Northern Ireland was set up on the basis of a sectarian headcount. It was the largest viable area that could be ruled by unionism. To emulate that kind of headcount politics would be the greatest compliment that ‘nationalism’ could ever pay to ‘unionism’ and it would almost certainly end in ultimate failure. As Hume told us long ago, we’ll get a united Ireland when nationalists persuade a sufficient number of unionists that it’s in their best interests.

    A nationalist of whatever hue is someone who wants the area where he or she lives to be controlled by the people of that area. That end has now been achieved in the sense that NI has now more democratic rule than it has ever had. You could say that a win/win scenario has been arrived at for both traditional nationalism and traditional unionism though unionism got the better deal out of the Good Friday Agreement.

    The problem is that the governance is still as dire as it was under direct rule or Stormont unionist rule or under British control. I think ideas does matter and that those people who say, for example, that there’s no difference between Sinn Fein and SDLP will be proven wrong through time.

    There was an interesting article in the Irish Times last week about how Der Linke, the German party to the left of the Social Democrats (comprised mainly of disaffected former West German Social Democrats led by Oskar Lafontaine and recycled former East German communists) was facing an existentialist crisis in that the former West German element are embarrassing their former East German communist counterparts by idealising the thuggery of the former East Germany. Der Linke are the sister party of Sinn Fein in the European Parliament and it makes me laugh to think of all the altar-licking supporters of Sinn Fein who haven’t the slighest notion of what they’re affiliated to in Europe.

    The unique selling point of SDLP will be its social democracy and it needs to develop practicable ideas to be applied in the local context of NI pretty damned quick. For example, a few ideas come to mind:

    1. In the context of a plummeting housing market, and thousands of young couples in negative equity, why can’t there be absolute transparency in relation to the actual prices at which housing units are bought and sold?
    2. One of the real achievements of New Labour was the establishment of the Minimum Wage. For me, it enshrined the inherent dignity of work and for those who say there are no jobs available, the first question they must answer is why there are 40,000 or so Eastern Europeans working here and appearing to be reasonably happy about it, and good luck to them? Why can’t we begin to work on the concept of a Maximum Wage, especially for those paid for out of the public purse, as is the norm in Scandinavian countries? Alex Attwood has touched on this: we need hard facts and figures on the bloated numbers in the public service operating at Assistant Secretary level and above, that are on salaries of £60,000 and above which are rarely to be found in the private sector.
    3. A personal hobby-horse of mine, admittedly, but far greater esteen be given to the teaching of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and NI to differentiate itself for this as a region. Fot me, it’s ludicrous that teachers are paid on the same scale irrespective of what subject they specialise in. This debate is beginning to take off in the Twenty Six counties where it’s being increasingly recognised that a major underpinning of the industrial growth which took place pre-Celtic Tiger was based on the availability of young graduates with pretty good science and mathematics skills. My problem with 12.5% Corporation Tax etc, though first suggested by the SDLP, is that through time it will be seen as ‘cute hoor’ economics and will gradually be whittled away by the EU as it legitimately seeks to establish a level playing field for business development.

  • lover not a fighter

    Politicians keep appointing peers whilst spouting about electing peers.

    How can politicians get away with this obvious hypocracy year after year.

  • Drumlin Rock

    You raised some good points at the start, and having just read Ed Maloneys book can see where your coming from, what nationalists seem to miss is most of Paisleys DIRECT targets were Unionists, what Unionist miss is the in-direct victims were normally Nationalists, personally I dont even his late conversion to powersharing cancels out all that went before.
    “in terms of intelligence and creativity, Adams leaves Paisley far behind” ahh but in terms of carisma Paisley leaves virually every politician in the UK or Ireland since the war far behind.

    PS. the election is over, no need for the party political broadcast 🙂

  • Greenflag

    ‘I hold Paisley as being responsible more than anyone else for the Gethsemane this community has had to endure over the past 50+ years.’

    Nonsense . Before Paisley ever came to prominence the insidious and corrupt one party Government that NI endured 1920 through 1972 has to be the main causative factor . For they could have implemented cross community policies which would have lessened nationalist resistance to unionist majority rule . Both Paisley’s DUP and SF were political reactions to the ‘gerrymandered ‘ state -each taking their tribe with them leaving the UUP and the SDLP behind . Neither Paisley nor Adams are innocent babes but anyone who would expect an ‘innocent babe ‘ to climb to the top of the political dung heap in NI is indulging in wishful thinking .

    BTW, Der Linke have not fired a shot in anger -not yet anyway and their political support is much less than SF’s in Ireland North or South . I believe they get about 11% in the former East Germany and have just now broke through the 5% minimum barrier in Germany’s most populous Land (Federal State) Nord Rhein Westfalen .

    The other points in your post under 1, 2 ,3 re SDLP policy make good sense and have much to commend them. As for point 1 it will take more than ‘transparency’ to rectify the negative equity crisis . It will take a resolute government to force the banks to write off much of the principal on these loans and get them down to the market value so that these young people are not financially screwed for a generation which is in nobody’s interest.

    It may require a few public hangings of our bank CEO’s and their boards in the market square to persuade these wretches that without civil society -banks and bankers will not exist.

  • Greenflag

    Because half the people don’t bother to vote and thus don’t care or don’t believe it will make any difference one way or the other and those who do vote -vote mainly along tribal lines because the State itself was built on those lines from day 1 and to imagine it could be any different is a waste of time. The people who do vote have also learnt to put up with a modicum of perceived hypocrisy otherwise some of NI’s political leaders would have been turfed out decades ago .

    But there is a limit to the ‘putting up’ also as we have seen from the defeat of the FM in East Belfast . Whether this will be seen as temporary rap on the knuckles for Mr Robinson or whether he’ll reemerge after the Assembly elections in better strength is something we’ll just have to wait and see

    No point in complaining about the bed if you made it yourself eh ?

  • Well said and very well put, SDLP man. I agreed with 95% or more of what you said.

  • Argosjohn

    Nazis in their 90s stil face courts. Why not try this bastard similarly? The Tories are giving their imprimator to fascism just before the Bloddy Sunday whitewash report.

  • joeCanuck

    He has spent time in jail.
    And don’t prejudge the Bloody Sunday report until you see it.

  • With regard to “Die Linke” – they are indeed an amalgamation of disaffected SPD former members and the PDS – a “reformed” version of East Germany’s former communist party. Oscar Lafontaine is now seriously ill and has withdrawn from public life. The most prominent of the leadership is Grergor Gysi – he and Lafontaine were the leadership duo since the party formed.
    Gysi is seen as a shady character by many Germans. There have been recurring allegations about his links with the Stasi (which he denies) and although there have been legal proceedings brought both by and against him on the matter, there has not yet been a bullseye document found to implicate him directly as a Stasi informer. Nonetheless, as a lawyer and communist party member in the former East, most people here find it extremely hard to believe that he wasn’t involved with the Stasi – lawyers had a reputation of passing their clients comments onto the secret police, particularly in political cases such a he was occasionaly involved in. The closest thing in UK politics to the PDS that I can think of is George Galloway – anti-NATO, anti-war and breathtakingly populist.
    As an organisation, Greenflag is right, Die Linke may not have fired a shot in anger, but there are certainly members who did – members who helped a tyrannical system keep East Germans under constant control, supervision and fear.

  • Sorry, off topic, but related to the Stasi point. See links below for more information. Take with as many pinches of salt as you choose.

  • SDLP Man

    Greenflag, I would have accepted the broad thrust of the traditional narrative about the mean-spirited, oppressive nature of the unionist regime 1921-1972. However, (another Hume insight), the disaster of partition led to two regimes on this island which were in many respects the mirror image of each other. You know the old story of De Valera discoursing with Peadar O’Donnell and Dev saying to O’Donnell “if you had gained power a million people would have emigrated”. To which O’Donnell replied: “Yes, Dev, but they wouldn’t have been the same million”.

    The southern state was quite reactionary, run for a quite small elite and they didn’t have the ‘threat’ of the enemy within. I think, too, there is a lot of hidden history to be discovered by northern nationalists. Until I read around the subject I hadn’t realised, for example, how opposed the Catholic bishops were to the 1944 Butler Act and to the introduction of the NHS in 1948. To their credit, Westminster insisted that these reforms went through and, in many respects, the North was a fairer, more equitable place than the twenty six counties.

    I suspect that the Northern state, the tyranny of the majority, was replicated in many parts of Europe post 1945. It doesn’t make it less bearable for those at the receiving end, however. Denis Haughey, a great civil righter, used to tell the story of the elephant sitting on the mouse: the elephant is barely discomforted, but the mouse sure as hell is.

    Why I reserve my utter and complete contempt for Paisley is that deliberately and with malice aforethought he married politics and religious fears, which is the very essence of sectarianism.

    In reply to Drumlin’s Rock, Charisma (spits)? No, never. Limited intelligence and loads of animal cunning. An absolutely hateful man. I remember Gerry Fitt in the old Stormont saying that while he despised everything that Brookeborough did, he at least believed in the British connection, and two of his sons (I think) paid the ultimate price in World War 11. Paisley doesn’t even have that saving grace.

  • lover not a fighter

    With regard to politicians appointing peers.

    Could there be any further evidence that we must watch what they do and not what that they say.

    There words are sweet but there actions are what they are.

  • Brian Walker

    My neat sum up ( everybody has their own ) is

    with two insecure competing nationalisms….

    All unionists had to do to preserve the constitutional status quo was to behave generously. The young Paisley goaded them not to.

    Rising to the challenge with great cruelty, the IRA provoked an equivalent response and delayed real reform for generations.

    This is what happens when you depart from the norms of democratic parliamentary behaviour.

    Will it take several more generations to get over the shock?

  • RepublicanStones

    If ever there was a man who didn’t need a tannoy…

  • joeCanuck

    At least one, Brian. Think of all the bastwiches who won’t be around in 30 years.

  • Rory Carr

    I understand that the state holds that the awarding of a peerage and promotion to the unelected House of Lords is some kind of honour, a recognition if you like of the noblity of service that the recipient has given the nation.

    The reality, we know , is rather different. The appointees are drawn from a ragbag of party apparatchniks appointed to promote the party’s programme in the Lords, the wealthy and unscrupulous who purchased their ‘honour’, the incompetent and unprincipled who ‘moved over’ to make room for new boy or new girl favourites in the Commons and acts as a final resting place for disenfranchised lobby fodder who sold their souls at crucial moments in the Commons lobby,

    You don’t have to be a republican to despise the institution and those who preserve it, many of my friends who are easy enough with the constitutional monarchy (or at least are able to live with it while the present monarch yet reigns) despise the House of Lords and those who, for reasons of corruption, opportunity or merely to take advantage of a sinecure help to prop up its undemocratic continuance.

    They, like me, view the whole place as rotten and those who maintain it as likewise rotten.

    A fitting place then for Paisley to end his days.

  • Driftwood

    A political purgatory then Rory. Though Paisley might not agree. Where would you place Lord Ashcroft in your list of offending appointees?

    Oh, and Lords Trimble and Mandelson?

  • Rory Carr

    Each of them merely as a defender of a corrupt status quo appointed to maintain that defence.

  • Rory Carr

    By the way, Driftwood (and strictly off topic), did you see the Mastermind final yesterday evening?

    One question in the General Knowledge round was, “In what city (sic) in Ireland is St Patrick buried?”.

    The contestant answered incorrectly. But we didn’t, did we?

  • Mrazik

    Well, where is he?

  • Lurgan

  • Mrazik

    Does every state not have such “rottenness”? Our friends in the South had their own ways and means of scratching backs and helping their friends which are becoming all too apparent given the fallout from the economic crisis.

  • HeartoftheEmpire

    Many of the contributors on this topic seem to be from the ‘holier than thou’ brigade and don’t acknowledge the journey that ‘The Doc’ has made in a few short years – a journey that has ostracised him from many of his former political and religious allies. While I, as a working class loyalist who disagreed with many of his ventures over the years, nonetheless I do recognise a leader who has paid a great price to lead Unionism ‘out of the jungle’. So those who are without sin cast the first stone – from your armchairs….and may Ian and Eileen enjoy many happy years in the Big House in London!

  • Rory Carr

    A natural mistake to make, BOO. Lurgan is of course known as “the deadest place in Ireland” but not because St Patrick is buried there. He isn’t.

  • Irelands ‘holy mountain’ was pagan before St Pat decided it was good PR to ‘Christianise’ it; a bit like Christmas, in fact exactly like Christmas. Who cares where he’s buried.

    The House of Lords has been seen, in my lifetime, as a form of retirement: good perks. no work and a title to boot. Im contemptuous of it and those who support it, but they all always support it…

    I dont care if Paisley calls himself Lord Muck from Turd Hill, gone is gone.

  • Driftwood

    The ‘Ancient City of Down’ as Down district Council signposts it, along with a farcical steel ‘statue’ on the Belfast Road.
    I have pleasant memories of an evening after drinks in ‘Dicks Cabin’ spent with a Downpatrick coleen alongside (and on) St Patricks grave, but that’s too much information already.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Not sure if you have ever met him, I have only heard him a few times preaching or at an event of some sort, he has a presence, and yes charisma, which is extremely rare. It could have been used for so much good but instead he used it to bully intimidate and incite, sadly its seems to be often the case with men so gifted. As for cunning, I think he is much to blunt to be cunning, he left that to his deputy usually.

  • USA

    Disgraceful decision. He deserves nothing but our contempt. A repulsive, arrogant bigot.
    I guess Britain doesnt’ give a damn about the thoughts of their Irish neighbors, and evidently not those of northern nationalists.

  • Munsterview

    A thinking SDLP man; whatever next?

  • Munsterview


    Re…..”Neither Paisley nor Adams are innocent babes but anyone who would expect an ‘innocent babe ‘ to climb to the top of the political dung heap in NI is indulging in wishful thinking …..”

    When one of his elected councillors told Taoiseach and Head of governement, John Bruton that some of his colleagues were were selling their votes to the highest bidders Bruton told him that Fine Gael was quote..” Not a party of altar boys ”

    Great to know that we have such paragons of virtue ready to replace Fianna Failure !

  • Munsterview

    And they did it by keeping people like me off the radio and TV for a whole quarter of a century less than a year using the excuse of the Northern Troubles.

    Censorship I never tire of saying had little to do with The Bows Of The Old Brigade and everything to do with keeping Ireland safe for the Brown Envelope Brigade!

  • Munsterview


    Careful : Yanks with attitude not welcome here in some quarters.

    Been mistaken for one in the recent past and still bearing the scars!

    Turgid I know but that is what passes for alternative politics in some of occupied Ireland these days!

  • HeinzGuderian

    If only those pesky Unionists would go away…………….old Oirland would be such a lovely hole !! :O)

  • lover not a fighter

    If either side were suddenly to find themselves without their long term adversary the loss would be extremely traumatic.

    Coping with the loss of such old certainties would be a difficult transition for many.

    Ah how we love our old certainties.

  • Interesting point, LNAF. The aftermath of the Cold War could serve as an example – all was “dull” until until Russia realised it could go after Chechnya and NATO decided to bomb the Serbs and Arabs. A return to “dullness” would be nice, but its unlikely.
    As for the island of Ireland, what with human nature being what it is, I imagine that new targets would eventually be found by either side.

  • HeartoftheEmpire

    USA -as you point out, ‘Britain doesnt’ give a damn about the thoughts of their Irish neighbors’…or, may I add, along with the US administration, your neighbours in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

    Most of the Irish/Americans that I know would do anything for ‘dear old Ireland’ …..but live here! As a Unionist, I am part of that British presence in Norther Ireland that you obviously loathe.

  • lover not a fighter

    Reply to

    Bavarian Orange Order

    We do have that special love for our oldest adversary.

    First love cannot be replicated and is impossible to compete with.

  • padraig

    Adolph Hitler had loads of charisma and knew how to wow a crowd too.

    Hitler reckoned he had been betrayed by the German people, who, he thought let him down.

    I an has better support amongst Unionists and the British Government who have stayed loyal to the Archbigots brand of fulminating hate ands o he ends up with a Lordship and fair words whereas Hitler died , deserted in a bunker.

    Ahh if only Adoph had the Loyal followers of Ulster behind him, he might have conquered the world. Proud, unbroken fascists.

  • Bulmer

    I can remember Big Ian from the early Sixties and being horrified to witness a little van stopping in Esmonde St beeping its horn and half the street coming out to buy the Protestant Telegraph. I think I began reading the PT after it gave a free gift once, a picture of the Paisley Twins (honest) with Eileen gushing on.

    Reading it, one picked up another strand of thought from early days. That Paisley was as much a rebel as any of the green variety. He took on the state, the UP, perceived WORLD opinion, and still came out on top! I look forward to his autobiography because I suspect that he always had an agenda to do a deal, but on his terms and with full protestant backing. The fact he outlived outmanouevered successive Brit Govts and polite Ulster is no mean feat. The fact he still clearly puts the bejasus up some people is self-evident from the comments here.

    Is he actually much different from Tone, Henry Joy, O’Connell or the 1916 Martyrs? Is he not as much an Irish Rebel as the rest and indeed in 50 years, is that not where he will belong? He forced Republicanism to come to terms with the fact that a catholic centric ourselves alone philosophy was never going to succeed. The idea that the one million Protestants would meekily give in was tried tested and failed.

    He didn’t keep the troubles going, look at the failure of TUV for how that mentality is quickly dealt with. He took on Catholic Republicanism and defeated it.

    If what emerges is more inclusive view of Ireland that accepts more than one culture, then Paisley’s final epitaph may have been to lay its foundations.

  • Bulmer

    Comparing loyalism to nazism is an insult to the victims of the Holocaust. Shameful that this tired old analogy is still used.

  • Mustler

    A little peerage is something nice for Ian to play with between his retirement and facing the flames of Beelzebub

  • BON
    The new targets are already in the sights…..

  • Moochin – disgraceful. There are times (like now) when I feel no urge to move back to N.I.

  • If he does end up there, I imagine he will have many friends and enemies to play with in the little Irish corner of hell. Will they fight about the flames being green or orange?

  • padraig

    Adolph did the same thing. a gifted charismatic orator, taking on the powers that be and beating them, through streets protests and fist fights, through stirring up hate, through paramilitarism, through pandering to the fears and hates of the German people, through putting forward a facist , racist fundamentalist ideology

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    The only difference being the Germans fell out of love with Adolph and his notions, the Loyal folk of Ulster are still in love with Big Ian ..and his notions.

    Maybe Ian never did achieve a Shoah, but it certainly wasn’t for the want of trying.

  • Jean Meslier

    In the same vein as Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Ironman now we have SDLPman or maybe Stooperman

  • Jean Meslier

    Our own little shared space in our own little Irish corner of hell. How quaint.
    Wouldn’t this be a luverly idea for a nice new cross-community childrens book?
    And progressive too – Partition is gone – United at last!

    Hey BOO, throw another shovel of coal on the fire there mate.

  • Drumlin Rock

    he went to great efforts to go to jail, most people try to stay out of it, but it was vital he played the martyr, remember the only reason he went was for refusing to pay a fine, it was a publicity stunt and a cheap one at that.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Padraig, the difference with Paisley and Hitler is Paisleys faith, whilst he often could bring people to the edge of the abyss, unlike Hitler he never went over it, others around him did but the vast majority who followed him looked over and backed off when he did. The potential loss of life was always too great a burden to marry with his religious views, Ed Maloney’s book still makes good reading.

  • padraig

    [b]’…whilst he often could bring people to the edge of the abyss, unlike Hitler he never went over it, ….'[/b]

    If 1969 was not an abyss and if Paisley was not the bus driver who drove us over it, then Adolph H. needs rehabilitated.

  • joeCanuck

    The man basically lacked courage. He certainly was a great orator and perhaps had charisma (I never met him). But he misused his gift and was very happy to whip up parts of a crowd into a frenzied mob and then slip away when the mayhem started. “Nothin’ to do with me, Yer honour, I was well on my way home when that trouble started.”

  • Greenflag

    SDLP man,

    ‘Until I read around the subject I hadn’t realised, for example, how opposed the Catholic bishops were to the 1944 Butler Act and to the introduction of the NHS in 1948.’

    They were even opposed to Donough O’Malley’s ‘Free second level education ‘ brought in 1966 . Only 16 % of Irish primary school leavers were going into second level education at that time which compared very poorly with NI and UK figures . The only conclusion one can reach is that while the RC Church did much for Irish education-the ruling hierarchy of that church did not want the bulk of their market share ever thinking for themselves and getting strange ideas via higher education . Trinity was off limits under pain of excommunication etc .

    While I would agree with the genera view you have above there is that major distinction between NI and ROI in that in the former the ‘regime’ functioned without the support of a very large minority i.e 35-40% whereas in the Free State /ROI that was never the case .

    As for Paisley marrying politics and religious fears that was not a Paisley ‘invention’ It’s been part of human history since mankind developed ‘politics’ and ‘religion’ . Throughout european and indeed world history ‘religious ‘ leaders have competed with the powers temporal for control over the ‘loot’ . Religion has been used by many a power usurper as confirmation of God’s backing . When the Normans invaded England -William made sure he got the Pope’s blessing -ditto William of Orange had the Pope’s support in defeating James .

    Right up the present times with McCausland ,Mc Ilvenny etc purveying their ‘creationist’ nonsense as a part of their ‘political package ‘

    When you cross an elephant with a mouse you get a crushed mouse . Any UCUNFER will recognise who is the mouse in the UUP / CP marriage of convenience 😉

    In ROI politics Paisley would have been classified as a CH no not a Charlie Haughey -but a cute hoor .

    Regardless of his religious beliefs or his personal character the man was and remains a very successful politician and one of the ablest if not the most able that NI has ever produced . I always thought that if Unionism (the moderate variety ) ever missed out on a leader who could have brought ‘nationalist ‘ Northern Ireland along with the Republic into a new relationship it would have been Brian Faulkner .

    I would never have thought it would have been Ian Paisley .

    History as they say makes strange bedfellows .

  • Jean,
    Furthermore, I imagine that the weather there will always be rotten, and that people will only be able to talk about the price of their house. On alternating days, everyone will have to celebrate either the 12th or the Rising and to top it all, the multitude will only be able to vote for candidates who are either mad, bad or dangerous to know.

  • Eire32

    “This is what happens when you depart from the norms of democratic parliamentary behaviour.”

    Yeh we tried that between the years 1921- 1968.

    Didn’t work.

    Where was it during the Home rule bills?

  • bulmer

    He’s guilty as charged and yet he still stuck to the ballot box in the end and did a deal noone would have credited in 1972.

    However,to equate IP and the loyalism with Nazism is simply such a pathetic smear that it really has no place in Slugger or any sensible debate. It leads us nowhere.

    We need to move the debate on. Old party Unionism is dead as the recent election proved. Wishy washy SDLP type republicanism is also dying. So where next?

    IP at the Boyne celebtrations made a brilliant speech which explained the siege mentality and why it no longer had a place. This is a man who in his maiden speech honoured BOTH sides of the conflict.

    If he can move on, a lot of the posters here need to leave the trenches and start thinking afresh.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    1……two competing nationalisms but one officially honoured the other hardly tolerated.
    2….generosity was not in the make up of unionism.
    3….the IRA in unwitting tandem with SDLP and broader “nationalist” interests such as the GAA, Catholic education and Irish language and indeed the competence of British and Police brought about the situation we have today.
    4…normal democracy….er ys that would have been a good idea.
    5 “religious” or orange unionists tended to treat Catholics as spiritually inferior (sinners)
    6 “secular unionists” treated nationalism as a mere Laura Norder (law and order) issue..and yearn for normal Britishness.
    7 Ive got over the shock already.

  • pinni

    Joe, I presume you are counting Brian and yourself in your calculations! 🙂

  • Munsterview

    SDLP Man

    ( First ‘The Limits Of Liberty’ on the First Dail program RTE 1 TV , next tuesday at 9.15 PM, History buffs, please note! ).

    A serious response this time; you have indeed brought up some wort while issues, in my postings immediately after the election I expressed the hope that now with ‘ turgid 3.9%’ exposed for the political straw man he is and the UUP put in their box, that the DUP could engage in real politics.

    Same applies here : all did not auger well for the SDLP to see that their first public post election media outing was about throwing shapes even if as it appears the marshmallow lady teacher got to show she still knew how to send a pupil to the corner even if his explanation of ‘ it was the Sinn Fein transfers made me do it miss ‘ was true !

    The point about Padar O’Donnell is apt, post The Second Defense of The Republic cease fire and up to 1927 thousands of Republicans and their supporters were driven out by Free State Forces in a deliberate strategy to stave off militant social revolution. When Fianna Failure opened the prison gates many fine Volunteers who had spend an average of fifteen years fighting, on the run and in jail, first under the Brits and then their Free State proxies, simply had no more to give and left in their droves removing yet another important tranch of our opposition bravest and best.

    Dev by immediately section up his own Armed Political Police ‘ The Broy Harriers’ then took in a significant number of IRA Officers and men and put them on the state payroll. Republicans soon got a nasty surprise from these former comrades, as to quote Upton Sinclair…….” it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it ”

    Dev & Co. had one more stunt to pull : The Free State Reactionary Counter Revolutionary Forces ‘had not gone away you know’ they now reemerged in Blue Shirts the Irish Manifestation of Continental Fascists Forces. AT its height there were over 10,000 Men, Women and Children marching around the country, holding mass rallies, throwing straight arm salutes and saying exactly the same things as Hitler and Mussolini and propagating their policies.

    About half of these Blue Shirts were men and most of these had seen service in the IRA in the first Defense of the Republic or in the Free State Army, quite a few in both. Dev gave the IRA a free hand to use fist, boot and gun to batter the Blueshirts off the streets, which they did and made Ireland safe for Dev but not safe enough. When they tried to collect on all the Back Channel promises and understandings that they had been given.

    Dev now turned the Broy Harriers loose on Republicans. Pressure was applied to IRA mens families in particular, the Broy’s knew the pressure points, Republicans reacted, Thomas McCurtain, son of the Brit Murdered Lord Mayor of Cork, openly shot dead a policeman tormentor of his family on the streets of Cork that had previously been frequently well warned about the consequences of his actions.

    Dev had his excuse, he moved against Republicans and the same cycle of assassinations, trumpeted up charges, Jailing and forced exile of the previous Free State followed as had happened under the Free State at its most rampant and unstrained. Neither was it without cost to Fianna Fail, Minister Sean Moylan who had a shining record in the First Defense of the Republic; General Lucas described his treatment while in captivity by ‘Moylans Men’ before being allowed to escape as ” I was treated as a Gentleman by Gentlemen”!

    Sean Moylan was a serving member of the IRA exectuive and carried out several GHQ functions up to his resignation to become a Dev Appointed Senator in 1932, from which he was brought straight into Government; he was the chief IRA ‘ back channel ‘ and the one the IRA trusted most : the night before Thomas Og McCurtin’s planned execution, he went to Dev and threatened to resign and expose all the duplicity.

    ” Sean your drunk” Dev accused, ” If I am you are the Bastard that have put me into this condition” was Moylans retort.

    The term Bastard was a term never used in Dev’s company and with good reason, much less to refer to him as one. Tim Pat Coogan in his book by his research failure to to find a USA Marriage Certificate for Devs alleged father and his known Mother, confirmed what was an open secret within Top Republican Circles, that it was a fact that Dev was a bastard in the true sense of the word, with all the social stigma that it held at that time. It excluded him from any consideration of the Priesthood, a natural outlet for him some would hold as it did the Leadership of the IRB or any position of importance, if indeed any position at all.

    Dev commuted McCurtins’s sentence to life imprisonment but Moylan’s use to Dev was over, Sean as an honorable man relayed exactly what had happened to the IRA and also gave his assessment that Dev had betrayed them all, himself included. Sean distrusted by Fianna Failure inner circles and cut off from the IRA has only one honorable Old Soldiers way out. He took it!

    Despite Devs actions being directly responsible for Moylan taking his own life, Dev gave the oration at his funeral and Sean’s anniversary is still a major event in the Fianna Failure calendar.!

    I had the privilege of meeting some of these exiled Old Republicans in NY in 76, these were the backbone of Nor Aid, these people knew exactly what Revolution and Counter Revolution was about, the issues North of South did not have to be explained to them, they themselves were victims of it. They had seen their well established comrades at home reap the rewards of power for the exclusive few while the problems were ignored. The surprise for me was the number of ex Fianna Fail there and their views of their relatives back at home now that the scales had dropped.

    The Lemmas reliance of ‘ A rising Tide lifting all boats ‘ did not work even when the Celtic Tiger raised the tide literally skyscraper high, the boats of the ordinary people were left behind and worse totally swamped when it crashed!

    I have touched on this previously : I personally do not think that it would be good for emerging working democracy in the Six Counties for the SDLP to cease to function, there is a part of the Nationalist vote that will not countenance Sinn Fein in any sort, shape or form, they may be a minority in the North but they are still a significant part of the Nationalist vote and are well paralleled in Southern Politics, this in fact is the majority of the Fine Gael party viewpoint.

    They are still sound on the National issue and will remain so and indeed they are a far cry from the ‘closet unionists’ that ‘turgid 3.9%’ and other wishful tinkers on that side of the political divide would like them to be!

    Likewise the UUP and the over 100,000 they represent are not going away anytime soon, they represent a certain section of Unionist opinion and until there is a realignment of politics in an all ireland unified political system, they will continue to represent this choice and voice.

    It is also to the credit of this voting segment that they treated the resurrected ‘Big Ianism ‘ Mark 2 by a small minded man with the contempt and derision that this ‘back to the future’ turgid 3.9% take on political reality so richly deserved.

    Republicans also indulge in wishful thinking in this area, most of Ireland have a Republican System of Government and are satisfied with that. However most of this Ireland do not subscribe to true Republican principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Declan Costello got a short shift for his Just Society proposals from Fine Gael.

    I happened to be passing the Fine Gael conference in Cork City Hall on the afternoon, I went in for Cosgrave’s speech where he undertook to ‘hunt them down for the mongrel foxes they were’ I can still vividly recall the braying of ” Up The Blueshirts” and some sections of the audience on their feet, women included throwing right arm Fascist salutes!

    That ugly underbelly of Fine Gael has not gone away, it is an integral part of the party that some are still quite proud of and that Enda has to pandered to.

    The PD came into power on a ‘Greed is Good’ policy and Fianna Failure would not recognize a radical social policy if it jumped up from it’s usual trampled state on the floor and bit them in their collective, well padded political arses! Despite all that has happened the priority of Fianna Failure and Fine Gael parties is to restore in some working form the Old Capitalism that crashed so specular !

    Sinn Fein have not been one wet week in power yet the proposal to restrict marches and demonstrations must have the ghost of Dev nodding and smiling ruefully, while saying ‘ been there lads, wore that T shirt ‘ Yes indeed he did and we all know what was at the end of that road !.

    In the last election excluding the ‘Others and Greens’ ( 7.6%) 88.5% of the electorate voted for power sharing even if the exact forms did not have universal agreement. 3.9 % voted against.

    That broken down shows that for every vote against power sharing twenty-two point six voters for. that is an exceptional mandate by any circumstances and all politicians should now get on with real politics about real issues.

    As to turgid 3.9%, they like the poor will be always with us, in fact we stand a better chance of eliminating poverty first!

  • Mrazik

    Yes, but some people will always need a bogeyman or a conspiracy to keep their miserable lives afloat. Many people I know have moved on with their lives but the brainwashed or the brain dead just can’t seem to.

  • pinni

    But just imagine how boring slugger would become if Brian wasn’t able to spew his anti-Paisley malice.

  • Mrazik

    Erm, it wasn’t Brian that I was referring to…

  • Munsterview


    You may not have seen this posting from a piece that I did for ‘Head the ball’ on may 21 ( should Cardinal Brady resign) who it has since transpired has Irish Pres. roots.

    It may be of interest to repost some of this piece here.

    The late Cardinal O’Fee knew his history and his Ulster Roots; some years before his all too early death and at the height of D.U.P. intransigence he said to me, “ never take the Presbyterians for granted or despair of them, Paisley will sunrise us all yet but not me, they are our own people even if they have forgotten it for the moment”


  • pinni

    ‘Many people I know have moved on’. Paisley certainly has, don’t know about some of these journalist types, though. Still carping on the stereotypes, don’t you think?

  • vanhelsing

    Without pointing out the blindingly obvious and risking the wrath of a bunch of republicans the fact of the matter is that IP never [unlike the IRA] murdered anyone. The IRA got through nearly 1000. I know you won’t agree with that term but the paramilitaries on both sides committed terrible atrocities all in the name of ‘their side’.

    Ultimately it was IP that was partly responsible for delivering peace in NI by agreeing to share power with old enemies who had also moved on – in their case from the bullet to the ballot box. He took his community with him.

    I would also question the value of a thread that is so dominated by one particular ideology – it’s just a majority group of like minded ‘having a go’. I got interested in Slugger after Mick Fealty but, well to a newbie, it seems Slug is fairly politically imbalanced and I would be genuinely interested to hear peoples thoughts on that….

  • I did hear that Adolf made a flying visit here after visiting his sister in law in Liverpool . To mark the event the Ulster Scots Agency translated his seminal work.

    “Och ma Stroogle” is available from the usual Ullans outlets.

  • lamhdearg

    Soon after i started to comment on sugger, i mentioned it to a pal, Someone in our company (an asshole) piped in “sure it’s (slugger) nothing but a bunch of taigs”, My response to my pal (little point taking to an asshole) was “we can either spend our lives taking to people like ourselves and learn nothing or we can talk to other’s and learn and maybe even teach”.

  • Munsterview

    Of course you could also reconsider keeping company with TUV types!

  • Alias

    More proof that NI is a profoundly dysfunctional and amoral region…

  • vanhelsing

    it’s interesting that you can so easily dismiss the murders of thousands of innocent Protestants and Roman Catholics so easily. Maybe you just don’t care – maybe in fact you only think one side did the murdering [which gives us an insight into how you think]

  • vanhelsing


    Don’t get me wrong I’m all for discussion and debate it’s just people seem so self righteous here. Sound bites, vox pops and intelligencia – if you have views that don’t seem to fit with the mainstream..well

    I have friends more or less across the political spectrum and of course respect their views [even if I disagree with them] and yes that is of course how we learn. But looking at the two comments below more or less sums up Slugger for me since I started at least following it since the election.

  • dundonald voter

    Without pointing out the blindingly obvious and risking the wrath of a bunch of republicans the fact of the matter is that IP never [unlike the IRA] murdered anyone.

    first of all you dont have to actually pull the trigger to be reponsible for peoples death. lord maguiness i think got it right when he said that paisley had blood on his tounge. when you call young men to fight for ulster (not like big brave ian eligible to fight in the 2nd world war and never showed up) calling on them to fight with their blood in an already volitile situation well it dosnt take a genius to work out what comes next. i mean the aforemetioned above strike of 1977 people were killed during that fortnight. now would they have been murdered if that strike had not gone ahead? the rev ian will have to answer before the judgement seat of Christ on that one

  • Munsterview

    By Sixty-Nine The Six County Statelet was a failed identity by any criteria of European or World democracy. It had been for many a year before that, the Belfast to Derry march but showed the true face to the world.
    The scene where Gerry Fitt MP got a baton into the face just showed to the World what the RUC were like for most of the Catholic Population.

    As to the B Specials, as I explained to an American Historian friend at the time; visualize the Ku Kux Klan wearing instead of their white regalia, Police Uniforms and send to Police all Black areas. I Gave my first Public speech to a mass rally in the Six Counties in 1972 and for the next three decades I was a regular visitor there.

    Because of a separate cultural life I also frequently attended cross cultural events where my political identity was not known and where often somebody from Comfortable Middle Class on the other side took it upon themselves to tell me a Southerner just how appalling the Catholic species as a whole up there were.

    Colm Sands,………. ‘Whatever you say, say nothing’……has a Southern counterpart in one of our Munster Counties ; Kerry. Their version of it went…….. ‘Talk all day and say nothing !’ ……. I learned that from an Kerryman who served in the British Army during WW2 and who had worked in England for another twenty years after.

    He liked the Average english people as a whole and he had travelled England building it’s roads and knew quite a bit about it’s culture. Even in Egypt and in uniform ‘Paddy contempt and paddy bating’ was the usual from any of the Northern ‘other side’, he was a generous man and his take on the working class Six County protestants he had met and worked with was ‘ God help them, you can only pray for them’ !

    The fact that a figure like Paisley could emerge and command such authority the way he did was but a window into the rotten core and system that was the failed Six County Statelet. He was but a symptom and perhaps a trigger but the malignant disease ran far, far deeper and had been there from the start.

    The Northern Statelet was set up with the British Ruling Class, The Northern Ruling class Unionists and the Southern Ruling Class knowing that it was set up to institutionalize sectarianism. As it says in the McVirley song about an early seventies ambush…… ” They left us rot for fifty years and it was the only way ” !