Friday, 12 September 2014

The most annoying thing about Ian Paisley is that he actually was quite likeable

One of the most frustrating things about Ian Paisley, a man whom history ought to judge harshly for his role in creating and perpetuating a vicious cycle of violence fuelled mainly by his own sense of self-righteousness and a Bible-inspired sectarian disdain for the Roman Catholic Church and its adherents (or as my father used to put it, rather more succinctly, "that oul' bastard"), is that he was in real life very personable and likeable, and with a great sense of humour.

And while it was welcome that he became a peace maker later in life, I think Ian Jack has it right when he concludes that Ian Paisley exploited people's fears and fuelled a conflict, labelling former allies traitors and enemies devils, in large part to satisfy his own ego.  Northern Ireland would never be safe until it was in the DUP's hands.  Unfortunately for Northern Ireland, the manner in which he squashed other unionist leaders and ran his own party like a one-man band, has left Northern Ireland unionism led by a squad of petty political pygmies, to the detriment of all.

'I was rescued from the IRA that early' - Ian Paisley talks to Ian Jack

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