Monday, March 26, 2007

An Ulster Settlement – a truly historic event

This photograph has been a long time coming, and many a time has the word ‘never’ reverberated through the streets of Ulster. But the years have mellowed political egos and softened spiritual hearts, and the result has been the first face-to-face meeting between Gerry Adams and the Rev Dr Ian Paisley. This is a truly historic event.

Dr Paisley said: ‘We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future for our children… In looking to that future, we must never forget those who have suffered during the dark period from which we are, please God, now emerging.’

Cranmer foresaw the distinct possibility, and prophesied the likelihood. Dr Paisley is now an octogenarian, the age at which the Lord called Moses, and like a latter-day deliverer from an age of darkness and oppression he shall lead his people to the promised land. It is not so much a land flowing with milk and honey, but Dr Paisley is certain to implement the kind of agenda which would make members of the Conservative Party green with envy, not least because it will include the retention of Ulster’s grammar schools.

When the power-sharing executive is formed, it will have four DUP ministers, three Sinn Fein, two UUP and one SDLP. Dr Paisley will be First Minister, Martin McGuinness his deputy, and the governmental portfolios will be shared by agreement. If the future is to remain British, the Education portfolio is crucial. Sinn Fein guarded this portfolio during their last tenure in office, and they are likely to make a bid for it again.

There are, of course, other formidable obstacles to overcome. Sinn Fein turned from murder and violence as a matter of tactics, not morality. They were also somewhat upstaged by the rise of ‘Islamic terrorism’, and they saw the worldwide revulsion. When the United States threatened their finance, they had no choice but to comply. Sinn Fein would rather do a deal with Dr Paisley while he lives, for his uncompromising ghost would have haunted the political process for decades to come. Had this meeting not taken place, if devolution had not been agreed by May 8th, whoever became leader of the DUP would have lived under the perpetual doubt of ‘What would the great Dr Paisley have done?’ That question is now settled; the doubts have disappeared.

Yet while Dr Paisley spoke of Ulster and Northern Ireland, Mr Adams spoke of the Island of Ireland. They may have jumped onto the same train, but it has two distinct destinations, symbolised by the flags which fly from Stormont. One is to a united Ireland, and the other is to remain a constituent part of the United Kingdom.

At what point will the carriages need to decouple?


Anonymous Voyager said...

He is a canny man is Dr Paisley...this will be interesting because he knows the Blair Era is over and most probably New Labour so he has removed direct-rule

26 March 2007 at 15:09  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

A really interesting development.

The good Dr knows it's the right way, and becoming Ulster's Prime Minister is the rightful culmination of his impressive life. It'll make "Paisley the film" more worthwhile!

26 March 2007 at 16:37  
Blogger Gary said...

An interesting post, Your Grace, as ever. We're praying that peace has indeed come to our land. However, I would respectfully point out that the only flag which flies from Stormont is the Union Flag - as it is the 'official' flag of Northern Ireland, as a constituent part of the United Kingdom.

26 March 2007 at 18:03  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Gary,

Quite so, quite so. His Grace was prematurely prefiguring the first discussion which will take place in the devolved assembly - the question of under whose authority they sit - and it will be interesting to see if Sinn Fein accept the Union flag and the implicit authority of the Crown.

Sinn Fein raised the flag issue before, and demanded that both the Union flag and the Irish tricolour should fly jointly and equally.

26 March 2007 at 18:55  
Anonymous John Fisher said...

What entitles Mr Paisley to the use of the title 'Revd', or indeed 'Dr'?

26 March 2007 at 21:59  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

He's a Presbyterian Church minister, and ordained by them to preach and have authority. His doctorate is a result of his theological study. I think you'll find any church leader would answer the same. The Pope is called 'holy father' by his own church, which ordains when theology students have studied and passed appropriate levels of exams. Priests, vicars, pastors, are all 'reverend'. It's just a courtesy when one denomination recognises the status of another. If you're doubting the Rev Dr Paisley, then you must concede I could refute the RC 'reverend doctors'. It's just small minded, but maybe you are.

This is a great day for Ulster. Don't spoil it with petty questions.

26 March 2007 at 22:14  
Anonymous Touche said...


26 March 2007 at 22:16  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Fisher, Mr Ulster Man,

Dr Paisley was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Bob Jones Jr was a close personal friend, and Dr Paisley maintains close links with the university, and occasionally undertakes speaking engagements.

Dr Paisley never wrote a PhD thesis, and has never pretended otherwise. As with all honorary doctorates, he is perfectly entitled to use the title 'Dr'.

Mr/Miss/Miss/Ms Touche,

Who are you?

26 March 2007 at 22:25  
Anonymous Touche said...

I would say 'Touche' Cranmer but that would be silly. I have been watching your blog for some time now and I would genuinely like to know what you do for a living if you don't want to reveal yourself..

26 March 2007 at 22:38  
Blogger Cranmer said...

His Grace does exactly as he professes to; no more, nor less. The ministry of the Word is his profession; he is a humble servant of the Lord and a preacher of the truth.

26 March 2007 at 22:44  
Anonymous Touche said...

so you could be a schoolboy or a janitor or the Pope or a milkman or a teacher.. Can you specify a little?

26 March 2007 at 23:02  
Anonymous Alexandrian said...

Some cynics may say that in refusing to share power with the Gerry Fitt but agreeing to share it with Gerry Adams, Dr. Paisley was straining off a gnat but gulping down a camel.

However, I say that it is a small price to pay to save grammar schools.

The big question is whether Dr. Paisley will be able to save Ulster from SORs.

26 March 2007 at 23:15  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Ulster Man, indeed it is a great day for Ulster and all the people of Northern Ireland. The Rev Dr Paisley has done a great service to his community today. We all know that the hard work is about to begin and I sincerely hope both Dr Paisley and Martin McGuinness are able to place the peaceful development of Northern Ireland long into the future above any sectarian baggage they may be carrying.

26 March 2007 at 23:40  
Anonymous Observer said...

Touche said...

so you could be a schoolboy or a janitor or the Pope or a milkman or a teacher.. Can you specify a little?

You have defined yourself as a schoolboy with this puerile line of comment

27 March 2007 at 06:38  
Anonymous touche said...

Observer said...

"You have defined yourself as a schoolboy with this puerile line of comment"

That was the worst line of attack ever registered on this blog. perhaps you are one of those really boring people to whom it never occurrs to ask such a 'basic' question because it wouldn't be "good use of your valuable time", you'd much rather write letters of complaint to random food establishments whilst wheeling your mother into an upright position to feed her.

So sorry if that has offended you. I'm sure you are a cheerful chappy indeed, not the kind of side-parting sporting, tighty whitey wearing goon which you come across as. Has it ever occurred to you that you are far too sensible for your own good? Prob not eh? That has probably never crossed your mind whilst you fasten the bicycle clips you no doubt own. Oh well, I'll carry on asking Cranmer who he is.


27 March 2007 at 12:56  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"The worst line of attack ever registered on this blog" - really? Perhaps you think it's so bad because it is against yourself.

27 March 2007 at 16:01  
Anonymous touche said...

good one

27 March 2007 at 16:28  
Anonymous Colin said...

Touche asked: "CRANMER, WHO ARE YOU????"

Colin asks: TOUCHE, WHAT IS YOUR IQ????

27 March 2007 at 19:17  
Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

Quite a remarkable meeting. At first, I thought you might be making it up.

(Yes, I don't follow N.Ire. affairs that closely.)

27 March 2007 at 23:39  
Anonymous Voyager said...

to whom it never occurrs to ask such a 'basic' question because it wouldn't be "good use of your valuable time",

Actually responding to you shows I can waste my time. IT does not matter if someone is a caretaker ("janitor" is so American.......), or a is what they say and discuss not what economic role they fulfil.

As for yourself, there is no occupation you could exercise that would excuse your lack of intellect and your crass behaviour, so we will simply regard you as limited, very for bicycle clips...what planet are you on ? Does the Zoloft induce hallucinations ?

Most odd.

28 March 2007 at 07:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

which you come across as

Your syntax is a muddled as your thinking. You must be on the wrong blog

28 March 2007 at 07:29  
Blogger Gary said...

Thanks for the clarification, Your Grace. In relation to Dr Paisley's doctorate, it is reported that he was awarded it on the basis of his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, which was written while he was in prison in the Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast in the 1960s.

28 March 2007 at 17:55  

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