The real prize for Paisley: humiliation

If the IRA offered a digital snap of decommissioning, he would insist on a DVD

Share
Related Topics

Ian Paisley is a genius. He's being hailed as a peacemaker for possibly agreeing to possibly hold talks with Sinn Fein. But he also demanded Sinn Fein should wear "sackcloth and ashes until they wear out". And even if Gerry Adams did this, Paisley would rage: "Those sackcloth and ashes were cheaply made rubbish from Top Shop. No wonder they wore out after 10 months. This is typical Sinn Fein/IRA devilry. Now start again with
Gucci sackcloth and ashes or there's no Assembly."

Ian Paisley is a genius. He's being hailed as a peacemaker for possibly agreeing to possibly hold talks with Sinn Fein. But he also demanded Sinn Fein should wear "sackcloth and ashes until they wear out". And even if Gerry Adams did this, Paisley would rage: "Those sackcloth and ashes were cheaply made rubbish from Top Shop. No wonder they wore out after 10 months. This is typical Sinn Fein/IRA devilry. Now start again with Gucci sackcloth and ashes or there's no Assembly."

Because the real prize for Paisley is humiliation. His next demand will be that every time Martin McGuinness makes a speech in the Assembly, it has to end with "Oo sorry, I've wet myself".

Paisley insists on "photographic evidence" of the IRA destroying their weapons. So it's not enough for them to be witnessed by internationally agreed arms experts. And if they offered a digital snap on a mobile phone, he'd insist on a full length DVD, with special extras such as a running commentary by Gerry Adams, and out-takes in which an IRA commander trips over a crate of Semtex.

Or maybe the insistence on photographic evidence as a means for determining the existence of weapons is part of a deal with Colin Powell. Because he did such a brilliant job of using grainy photos of sand to prove Iraq was full of weapons. Now he's retiring, he can spend his time studying photos of dismantled RPG7 rockets, and say: "But look here. This smudge may look like the Armagh branch of Tesco's but it's actually a nuclear processing plant, and each of these 'trolleys' has the capacity to launch a missile defence system from space".

No matter how much Sinn Fein back down, it's never enough. At one point, Paisley insisted the Assembly couldn't continue if the IRA were caught fund-raising. And you could imagine him screaming: "That's it, we're folding up the government - they were holding a jumble sale in Crossmaglen". If every weapon was burned in a firework display, he'd say: "But what about the stationery. One of those staples could go in someone's eye". If every IRA member committed suicide he'd scream they still couldn't be trusted because they could cause havoc as ghosts.

The scale of this mania is apparent from his reply to two doctors who speculated about his health. Paisley said they must be "Romanists". Because anyone who suggests a 78-year-old may not have the greatest fitness in the long term is obviously in league with the Pope. Whereas good Presbyterian doctors understand no one is ever ill. Paisley's religion gets stranger every day. Presumably he now believes that when Jesus was on the cross, if a doctor had lamented he didn't look in the best of health, the saviour would have yelled "There's nothing wrong with me you Catholic pig. I bet you can't wait for me to be gone, so you can tuck in to your wine and wafers and pretend it's me, well sod off, I've never felt better."

There's another reason why the obsession with arms ignores the real story in Northern Ireland. The IRA in its modern form emerged when the Catholic supporters of civil rights were battered off the streets, and supporters interned and in some cases shot. A number of people judged there were no constitutional means available, and formed the Provisional IRA. They had no weapons, not even photographed exploded ones, but they went and got them.

Now there appears to be a peaceful process open to the Catholic community, so most of them can be persuaded to disarm. But there IS something that links their previous method to the current Sinn Fein strategy, which is to take no account of the plight of the majority of Protestants, whose conditions are barely any better than that of the Catholics. A few weeks ago I sat in a loyalist pub on the Shankill Road. On the wall was a proud photo from 1912 of a ragged line of shoeless Protestants hobbling past the same pub, behind them the crumbling huts that served as their homes. Together they carried a banner saying "To popery we will never submit". I wanted to scream at the photo "That's fine, but the Pope's not got your main enemy. He certainly hasn't got your bloody shoes". Napoleon might as well have declared at Waterloo "Victory - for not once have I surrendered to Peru".

A less dramatic current example involves the plans in Northern Ireland for water charges, which will cost every household between £300 and £600 extra every year. Not one of the main parties, from Sinn Fein to Paisley's mob, opposed this when it was introduced.

But the threat of a campaign of non-payment, which would have to unite both communities to be effective, already appears to have delayed its introduction. The peace process stumbles from one row to another because it's founded on an opposite principle, that the best that can be achieved is for the communities to be kept peacefully apart, like squabbling kids separated in a classroom.

Incidentally, now the water charges are clearly unpopular, Paisley has blamed them "on the IRA". How did that happen then? Were they administering punishment beatings to the reservoirs? Or is it simply they've committed so many sins they've wasted all of Ulster's water on their Romanist confessions?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn arrives to take part in a Labour party leadership final debate, at the Sage in Gateshead, England, Thursday, Sept. 3  

Jeremy Corbyn is here to stay and the Labour Party is never going to look the same again

Andrew Grice
Serena Williams  

As Stella Creasy and Serena Williams know, a woman's achievements are still judged on appearance

Holly Baxter
The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea