Legendary Unionist politician Enoch Powell was the best First Minister the North never had.
This month sees the centenary of Powell's birth. The former South Down UUP MP was better known for his notorious 'Rivers of Blood' speech he made while a Tory politician.
That Birmingham speech in 1968 probably cost Powell the British Premiership. In spite of his controversial warnings on immigration, Powell was a Unionist stalwart.
However, had Powell become UUP leader in 1979 instead of wee Jimmy Molyneaux, the peace process could have been implemented even faster.
By the time of Powell's death in 1998, the Stormont Assembly would have been well and truly in place and the UUP would not be imploding today.
Maybe it was a bad omen for Powell to have picked 20 April, 1968, to make the 'Rivers of Blood' speech. On 20 April, 1889, a certain Adolf Hitler – who was the architect of the Holocaust – was born.
Former Tory Prime Minister Ted Heath – the perfect example of a Tory wet – ensured that Powell would never be a leading figure within the party.
So it was only natural this staunch Unionist turned to the UUP and won the South Down Commons seat in 1974.
Eccentric Powell may have been, but a pushover he was not as I learned to my cost as a political reporter.
In the late 1980s in the teeth of the Ulster Says No campaign against the Hillsborough Agreement, I covered a speech by Powell in the North Antrim Unionist stronghold of Ballymoney.
I had been told by many colleagues that going head to head with Powell was not a wise move. But I wanted to put that to the test in a face to face interview. It has been the biggest mistake of my journalistic career.
Luckily for me, I decided not to do it in public. Within five minutes, Powell had me tongue-tied, constantly querying the wording of my own questions. Powell ended up interviewing me!
It was Powell who branded the DUP as the Protestant Sinn Féin, nearly two decades before Paisley senior entered a power-sharing Executive with the IRA's political wing.
Molyneaux was a strategist, playing the various factions and wings of the UUP against each other. Powell would have been a better leader because no one could out-think and out-debate him.
If Powell had become UUP boss in '79, the same year Maggie Thatcher became British PM, the 1982 Assembly would have worked, peace would have come and hundreds of lives would have been saved.
Powell's revenge on Heath was to ensure he was deposed as Tory boss by Maggie. Such was his relationship with the Iron Lady, if Powell had been UUP boss, the republican hunger strikes could have been avoided.
Powell could have persuaded leading Provos Brendan Hughes and Bobby Sands to accept a ceasefire. And Powell could have out-talked any Taoiseach in cross-border negotiations.
But Seventies Unionism loved the sound of marching feet and sidelined Powell because of his intellect.
His quirky manners and personality could disarm any opponent. Was Powell thinking of the Irish Troubles when making that 'Rivers of Blood ' speech?