Posted By: January 30, 2014

Allison Morris. Irish News.( Belfast). Wednesday, January 29, 2014
WHEN Big Ian finally dropped the cuddly uncle act and said what he really thought of
the party colleagues who unceremoniously kicked him out the door there were lots of
biblical references but little in the way of repenting.

It always strikes me as ironic that those who practise their faith in the most
public of manners are often the people most lacking in human compassion and
Christian forgiveness. Much has been said in recent days of how history will
remember Paisley, with the current DUP leadership saying what a shame he has damaged
his 'legacy' by venting his spleen in those now infamous interviews with Eamonn

But for the half of the population his legacy was always one of intolerance, revenge
and hatred for those of the Catholic faith he referred to as "vermin".

By no means a pacifist, in response to the signing of the 1974 Sunningdale Agreement
he told Brian Faulkner and the rest of the power-sharing assembly: "Don't come
crying to me if your homes are attacked. You will reap what you sow."

Indeed, it seems you really do.

Paisley signed up to a deal with Sinn Fein not when he had "smashed" the party as he
vowed to do throughout his career but when he was assured of the role of first

His unrelenting thirst for power was in the end his downfall. Having capitulated, he
angered the working-class Protestants who had been willing to risk jail - and even
their lives - following him adoringly to the top of whatever hill he marched them

Paisley's legacy, if we really must call it that, could be seen on the streets of
Northern Ireland last December when loyalists suffering from delayed shock realised
they'd been lied to and that "never, never, never" really translated as 'not until
I'm top dog'.

Proof that the hardline 'papist'-hating preacher was willing to compromise for power
came not from his enemies but in his own words.

He admits changing his mind about the demand for "sackcloth and ashes"-style proof
of IRA decommissioning after being convinced the process had taken place by a
Catholic priest - Fr Alec Reid.

The most revealing aspect of those interviews was not the dramatic breakdown in
relations with Peter Robinson or that Nigel Dodds apparently grew a backbone and
told the ageing dictator to get out of town by Friday. No, what really made people
sit up and take notice was the formidable nature of Eileen Paisley, who is not a
woman you'd want to go home to on a Friday with a fiver short in your wage packet.

While Timothy Johnson may have been acting officially as Paisley's special adviser
it seems it was his wife who was really calling the shots.

Those of us who grew up listening to the booming and vitriolic preachings of Paisley
screeching out from our televisions were taken aback by the revelation that it's his
wife who wears the trousers in the Paisley household.

Not only did we find out she was on the verge of ramming a document down the throat
of Timothy Johnson for daring to criticise her colourful son Ian Og but also that
the DUP leader would never have signed up to power sharing had she not given it her

In a party dominated for years by grey-haired dinosaurs who don't believe in
dinosaurs, we find out that unknown to us - and it seems the DUP electorate - the
party was being unwittingly led by a very respectable Free Presbyterian housewife.

Mrs Paisley had harboured political ambitions of her own. As a young woman she was
elected to Belfast council, a role she obviously relished but relinquished to
loyally support her husband.

Maybe she realised a woman would never be accepted in a position of power in such a
closed male-dominated club and she was better placed ruling by stealth as her
husband's trusted and most loyal adviser.

Mrs Paisley was portrayed as the perfect wife and mother in Mallie's interviews,
dressed primly in front of a display cabinet full of sentimental family trinkets and
well dusted ornaments.

A far cry from femme fatale Iris Robinson, a scarlet women dressed in designer
leather with harsh eyeliner and a taste in much younger men.

It was carefully choreographed to cause maximum damage to his former protege Peter
Robinson both politically and personally.

To steal a line from one witty Twitter user, "Revenge is a dish best served old".

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