Rev Ian Paisley is hanging up his mouth and retiring - in May he will step down as First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of his party. As an Englishman of Protestant upbringing, I can only say: Good!
I have never liked the man, and feel he did much to continue the conflict in Northern Ireland. This does not make me an IRA supporter either. Rather, I am always against the fanatic – on either side. Their constant demands and fuelling of hatred amongst a population is a guarantee that no answer can come before too much blood has been spilt.
Paisley made a career out of saying ‘no, no, no’ to every proposal. In the end, Al Qaeda destroyed terrorism in Northern Ireland. It was no longer acceptable. Paisley had no choice but to eventually say ‘yes’. And in so doing, mocked his own career.
I liken him, now, to Jim in The Vicar of Dibley. Do you agree?
‘No, no, no, no, no …. Yes!’
© Anthony North, March 2008