Cherie Blair lies about Ian Paisley
Cherie Blair has told a packed Town Hall at the Cheltenham Literature Festival: "From beginning to end Ian Paisley never shook my hand. His wife would but Ian Paisley wouldn't because I was Catholic. Of course, Tony wasn't (Catholic) at the time.."
And so, she says, Dr Paisley would regularly shake hands with Tony Blair because he was not (then) Roman Catholic, while she was perpetually snubbed because of her faith.
It is not clear what her motives may be for this outrageous lie. Playing to the audience in Cheltenham by stirring up some anti-Protestant feeling seems a little strange. Cranmer knows for a fact that Dr Paisley shakes hands quite regularly with Roman Catholics - be they constituents, ministers of religion or politicians - and does not manifest such petty discourtesies as Cherie Blair avers.
If Dr Paisley could bring himself to shake hands with Bertie Ahern (a Roman Catholic) and share a joke with Martin McGuinness, the former IRA chief-of-staff turned Sinn Fein peace-maker, then shaking hands with Cherie Blair would present him with no problems at all.
Perhaps she is simply saddened that she never got to venerate the great man.
Cranmer is delighted that the Paisleys have hit back via The Guardian. Quite what Mrs Blair believed she was accomplishing with this nonsense is a complete mystery.