A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ian Paisley to quit as First Minister

Ian Paisley, scourge of all things Catholic but with a catholic taste for political intrigue (he must have been in talks with nearly every political hue and cry!), whether in the open or behind closed doors. Enoch Powell once said that all political careers end in failure. I don't believe that and in Paisley's case, it's ended on a high! He will continue as an MP and MLA. If he stands for Westminster at the next election, he could end up as Father of the House!

I remember the younger model of Paisleyism the night he contested Captain Terence O'Neill's Stormont seat in 1969. Paisley, ever the one with a barb in the message, boomed to the crowd "Tonight Cap'n O'Neill is a MINORITY candidate!". This was because O'Neill had secured less than 50% of the poll, even though he won. However, in many ways he lost. The Anglican/Etonian landowning gentry were about to be swept aside by a mixture of savvy middle class Unionists and a working class vote that was disillusioned with being Ulster Unionist ballot fodder. Paisley's DUP was the tonic they desired.

I wish him well in his "retirement". I haven't always liked his trenchant views, but he's nobody's fool. He's managed to be working pals with Martin Maguinness (Gerry Adams is another matter) and he has obtained the respect and, for a lot, the friendship of colleagues in the House of Commons, irrespective of party.

Enigma may be a word to use for Paisley. He's certainly turned out a lot different from what you mind read in old cuttings 30 years ago!


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