Rev Dr Ian Paisley resigns as First Minister
Cranmer is reluctant to write much about Dr Paisley’s history for fear of it sounding like an obituary. He is content to continue to write in the present tense that he doth (still) bestride the narrow world like a Colossus. And he once kindly said of His Grace: "...but all the attempts to silence Cranmer when he lived and since he was martyred by Rome are in vain. Cranmer though dead yet speaketh and with what clarity and verity he does so."
Indeed he does.
But of Dr Paisley's announcement, Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward said: "Dr Paisley has provided outstanding leadership as First Minister and has brought his party to the historic position of power sharing government in Northern Ireland. The established peace and continuing prosperity which everyone in Northern Ireland now enjoys, undoubtedly owes a significant debt to the leadership of Dr Paisley."
The deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, paid tribute to Dr Paisley for his role in bringing power-sharing to Northern Ireland. He said: “This historic decision he took to go into government with Sinn Fein has changed the course of Irish history for ever."
Dr Paisley refused to say who would succeed him. With characteristically unequivocal religio-political zeal, he declared: “This is not the Church of Rome. This is not Apostolic succession and I have no right to say who will succeed me. The person will succeed me when the mark is on the paper and the ballot is cast.
“Whoever that will be will have my support and encouragement and if he wants to take my advice, he will get that advice if he asks for it, but I will not be sitting like Putin in Russia saying to the president 'This is the way you have to go'. When I make a break, it is a break."
While Cranmer agrees with Martin McGuinness (there’s a quotation) that Dr Paisley ‘changed the course of Irish history for ever’, he wishes to ponder a few matters before he writes any further.