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Time for Dr No to don sack cloth and ashes

(James Kelly, Irish News)

Just when we were sitting back enjoying the comparative peace and quiet of these early October days along come the political fortune tellers to warn that seismic shocks may be on the way with earthquake vibrations shuddering the palace of Stormont and the Devolution showdown across the sea at St Andrew's in Scotland.

Who is to blame for our misfortune here in poor old benighted Neverneverland? You all know who? It is the Doctor No, the long time bull-in-the-Ulster-china-shop.

Earlier in his ascent of the sectarian ladder he was dubbed a "back-street Savonarola" by an old time Stormont minister, Roy Bradford.

Since then Dr No, one Ian Paisley, DUP boss and self-appointed wee pope of the breakaway Free Presbyterian Church which he founded years ago as its perpetual moderator, an anti-Catholic Pope-hater through the years he became the acknowledged leader of the sectarian bigots and notorious political dinosaur, the embodiment of the ancient war cries of the sick counties, 'No Surrender', 'Never-Never-Never', 'No Pope Here'.

Prime minister Tony Blair, in response to the IMC report, says it's acceptance of the fact that the IRA's campaign is over provides a "unique opportunity" for the Ulster parties to reach a final settlement on power sharing at next week's talks at St Andrew's. This after Paisley's private chat with Blair at 10 Downing Street led to some excitable unionist apologists to talk of a dramatic deal in the offing. But Paisley quickly reverted to type with a blockbuster interview ridiculing any face-to-face talks with Sinn Féin beyond a possible photo-opportunity at the opening of the conference at the luxury hotel at St Andrew's.

"The time for talking is now over" he declared. "No, we will not be talking to them at all" he claimed that he would lay down the law with a list of demands the same as at Leeds Castle; the end of republican paramilitarism and the acceptance of the police at the top of the pile.

He did not believe in the threat of a deadline by secretary of state Hain and suggested an election to endorse whatever "package" emerged. Interesting and demonstrating his supreme contempt for the worried lesser mortals was his surprise admission that he was willing to concede increased rate and water charges under direct rule!

The old bigot could not resist the snide comment; "I will pay very much for holy water in the future". Joke over.

On Monday, a day before the 'Alice in Wonderland' encounter at St Andrew's Paisley – minus his dog collar – has at least agreed to meet the Catholic Primate of all Ireland, Archbishop Brady at Stormont.

The fact that this long postponed meeting should come on the eve of the St Andrew's event prompts the suspicion that the old chancer hopes that this will be grist to the mill in furtherance of his boast that it was only when he started playing hard-ball that Sinn Féin started living up to their commitments.

It is said he's hoping the archbishop will push Sinn Féin further along the road of policing issue.

It says much for Dr Brady's tolerance that he has been persuaded to meet this grotesque bigot who has left such a train of wreckage behind him over the years.

The old bully boy, who once dished them out to Gerry Adams, should don sack cloth and ashes on his arrival at Stormont on Monday for the vituperation and insults he has handed out to Dr Brady and earlier to the late Pope John Paul II at Strasbourg to the disgust of the members of the European Community.

There was a time long ago when the Herr Doktor might have got a well-merited belt from a Crozier for such behaviour but these are more liberal days when all sorts of dangerous fools are set loose on our street by the courts.

Sad but true.

Finally, did you ever see such a mess in the pro loyalist press in the reporting and comment on the latest Independent Monitoring Commissions Report? Thousands of words Himing and Hawing over the commission's clean bill of health given to the IRA and no mention, except in an after-thought to the blatant murders, criminality, drug peddling and extortion, of the UVF and UDA. Did Paisley even mention their terrorism? They are even demanding cash rewards running into tens of thousands in return for a ceasefire.

October 9, 2006

This article appeared first in the October 7, 2006 edition of the Irish News.

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