Monday, June 11, 2007


Paisley blames Troubles on Brits

In the last few weeks on United Irelander I have touched on the recent softening attitude of the DUP leader Ian Paisley.

I've spoken about how bizarre it is to hear the man who so often berated and bashed Irish republicans, now going to great lengths to defend them.

We've had the warm handshake with Bertie Ahern, the fit of giggles with Martin McGuinness, and so on and so forth. It's been so...weird.

Having just read Mr Paisley's latest interview, with the Irish News, I have to say that the man is getting more and more peculiar by the second. First off, here is Paisley's thoughts on the Provisional IRA Army Council being done away with for good:

"I would like to see the IRA Army Council done away with and I would like to see a lot of other things.

"I am making an effort to be able to talk to those people in a way that shows I am not there for their destruction but to get them away from the past and get them into the future."

Can you believe that? Remember this is the guy who once promised to "smash Sinn Féin". Now he wants to "talk" to "those people" and get them into the future. Wow. I was pretty shocked by that quote but the following one left me quite astonished. Paisley was asked why more than 3,600 people had to die in the Troubles when the end result was power-sharing between unionists and republicans. Here is his pretty extraordinary response:

"To be brutally frank – they died because there were men and women prepared to take lives.

"It was allowed to go [on] because the British government totally and utterly failed us.

"We were betrayed by the British government."

Now I can't see the the Paisley of 5 years, 3 years, or even 1 year ago coming out with a comment like that. The Troubles would have been blamed solely on the Provos. Now, the Provos barely come into the equation! It is the British government that "totally and utterly" failed the people! The British "betrayed" us! This is unbelievable stuff. Can you imagine Trimble coming out with a comment like this a few years back? He would have been vilified.

Obviously the British government bears some responsibility for The Troubles but it is ridiculous to claim that the British government should bear the burden. Unionists who presided over an unfair society and who sowed the seeds of discontent and the various paramilitaries who went out and murdered people must shoulder some responsibility as well.

I am curious though exactly who Paisley is referring to when he says the British government totally and utterly failed "us". Who is he speaking of when he says "us"? And when he states that "We were betrayed by the British government", who is he referring to there? Is Paisley saying that the British government betrayed the unionist people? The nationalist people? Or is Mr Paisley actually speaking for all of the people for a change? It's hard to know these days.

I welcome this new open outlook of Ian Paisley but I'm starting to think he's overdoing it. It's one thing to go into government with Sinn Féin, but it's quite another to then go and repeat their very dubious view of historical events.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the man who once vowed to smash Sinn Féin was now in effect drinking their Kool-Aid.

Ian Paisley often referred to his political opponents as a Lundy (the unionist term for a traitor). He called Terence O'Neill a Lundy, David Trimble a Lundy and even former British PM Margaret Thatcher a Lundy.

I think many unionists will now be asking themselves if Ian Paisley might be more worthy of the term.

Lundy? Loony? Make up your own minds on that one.


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