Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rev Dr Ian Paisley resigns as First Minister

The Rev Dr Ian Paisley MP MLA has announced his intention to leave the office of First Minister of Northern Ireland and has also announced his resignation as leader of the Democratic Union Party, the party he founded. He will relinquish both positions in May. These resignations follow his recent resignation as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church which he also founded in 1951. Dr Paisley will continue as MP for North Antrim, a position he has held since 1970, and will also continue as an MLA.

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.


Anonymous oiznop said...

What a canny political animal he is.

He starts his own church, his own party, rises to the highest office, and then steps down before everyone gets sick of him like they did with Thatcher and Blair. He is a legend, the stuff of films, and I wish him well in his retirement. Though I'm not sure what he'll be doing, since he doesn't strike me as the golfing sort.

4 March 2008 at 20:24  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Fair play - he is 81 years old. Let him have his few years of peace and quiet before he steps off.

And love him or loathe him, he has been a formidable politician.

4 March 2008 at 20:36  
Anonymous Nothos said...

Your Grace,

Do you not find it interesting that the first time our (Catholic) Ex-Premier Tony Blair pops his head above radar in any real way is to give an interview on Rev. Paisley to Sky News?

4 March 2008 at 22:06  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
when i look upon the old tanks of ww2 , i see instruments that won the battles of the day .

mr paisley is a characture , we only get the snippets of his vocal abilitities but i have seen him on missonary work in africa , handing out books , a more gentle godly man .

i find it difficult too to agree with martin maguiness but i have come to see him as a man who i wants devolution to work. i take him at his word thus far . he has also become a useful source of living history which he mixes with balance.

with respect your grace ,it seems as though ireland is wanting a more peaceful future , i can only hope that they find it now that the tanks have stopped firing at one another.

5 March 2008 at 00:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paisley is the ultimate bigots bigot.

He has, probably, done more to obstruct a peaceful resolution to the Northern Ireland crisis than anyone else.

Good riddance to a thouroughly obnoxious and evil man.

5 March 2008 at 00:32  
Blogger mongoose said...

My old da used to say [about the Troubles] that for it to be finally resolved everyone had to die. By this he meant that the entire generation born in the twenties and soon thereafter had to pass from the face of the earth. This because of the bitter experiences of their childhood around the time of the civil war - when it was found that the enemy was within as well as without and daddies passed their hatreds into the ears of babies. It will not be long now.

A joke from my youth for you...

Q. Why are there no snakes in Ireland?

A. Sure, what do we need snakes for with the English here already.

5 March 2008 at 09:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ian Paisley is an enigma.

He sounded thoroughly bigoted when speaking 30 years ago, yet he has changed. His constituents, Catholic and Protestant say that he shows no preference or favouritism when dealing with them. Apart from his views on the Pope and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, most of his pronouncements as a Christain leader are sound and, at times, inspirational to those of the reformed Protestant persuasion. It is sad however that to many he will be remembered as being worse than the murderers of the IRA.

5 March 2008 at 09:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bigot, end of story. He did more damage than good and all the praise heaped on him for doing what he should have done years ago is just cringeworthy....Lets not forget his many flirtations with his own terrorists......goodbye, good riddance, and please please stay away....

5 March 2008 at 16:40  
Anonymous Left Footer said...

A curious feature of the Good Doctor's remarks was his implication by analogy that the Bishop of Rome chooses his successor - which of course he does not.

5 March 2008 at 20:48  
OpenID curly15 said...

Will his political passing lead to an outbreak of Banksy style gable end artistic expression in all parts of the province?

6 March 2008 at 11:16  
Blogger Stefan said...

I will indeed miss Fr Ian when he is gone.

6 March 2008 at 23:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a catholic who lived in public housing i have to admit that Mr. Paisley did indeed come across as being fair when it came to helping protestant and catholic.

However, i have also watched him preach not just religious intolerance but pure hatred and bigotry towards catholics as well. Knowing full well ( he is a very intelligent man )that many people looked up to him and that this would further fuel the flames of violence and intolerance within the Province.

While i respect some of his accomplishments I have to decline on his intolerance and how he used his position to spread that intolerance. It is especially vexing ( to me at least ) that he would have done this as a man of G*d.

I do, however, wish him well in his twilight years.

26 March 2008 at 16:30  

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