Ian Paisley’s ‘economy with the actualité’ is a real problem and not just a fetish of the liberal media…

We operate with such little transparency in Northern Ireland that it probably seemed run-of-the-mill for Ian Paisley to gild the lily somewhat and suggest that one of his holidays in the Maldives was part paid for by “a friend”.

Turns out that the friend was Dr Mohamed Shainee, the then the Maldives fisheries and agriculture minister. Whilst Dr Shainee denied paying for the trip, the hotel said Shainee settled the payment for Ian Paisley’s stay at the head office.

[Cue a big change in someone’s story, eh Mr P? – Ed]

Paisley is somewhat caught by his past actions here. Having failed to square up the whole truth when he made his first apology to his constituents, prior to facing a recall ballot of said constituents he can hardly try the same line this time.

I’ve made the point here and elsewhere that unionism often takes a disproportional hit in terms of a liberal media in which it is profoundly (I would argue) under represented (including here on Slugger), but some things are self inflicted and need dealing with in house.

It’s not difficult to imagine another recall being successful, but the reality here is that unless his own party lay the law down with such a loose cannon the party’s moral authority with the wider electorate (rather than the liberal media) will be further diminished.

Our general view of public service in Northern Ireland is jaundiced (and ill informed) enough without Mr Paisley’s adding fuel to the fire…

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