Death of The Arch Bigot
The recently deceased Ian Paisley that many of my generation came to know, was not the Paisley that the pro-establishment media, revisionists and latter-day friends portrayed as a genial Octogenarian, former ‘First Minister’ and ‘peer of the realm,’ Baron Bannside. The Paisley that my generation and those of a previous one came to know was the howling harridan, who regularly whipped up sectarian hatreds within audiences that invariably lead to numerous sectarian pogroms and the murders of Catholics by Loyalist death-squads. That Ian Paisley, the fundamentalist preacher and arch-bigot, was well documented as the rabble-rouser who then, like a teflon Don, promptly distanced himself when murderous deeds were done in his name.
Antecedents of an Arch Bigot
Lets not forget the Paisley-organised, near ‘Black Masses’ of the 1960’s, in the Ulster Hall, where he and other religious charlatans, mocked the rituals, sacraments and even the communion wafers of the Catholic Church, in a ghoulish burlesque parody. These regular sectarian tableaux in the 1960’s, were intended to whip his many Simian followers into a sectarian frenzy, cause maximum offence to Irish Catholics and indeed provided the stimuli for decades of reaction.
Nor should we forget the words of the late UVF leader Gusty Spence’s co-accused, Hugh McClean when charged in relation to the 1966 UVF murder of Catholic teenager , Peter Ward and the attempted murders of his three fellow barmen, while enjoying a late drink in the Malvern Arms, on the Loyalist Shankill Rd:
“I am terribly sorry I ever heard of that man Paisley or decided to follow him”
Ian Paisley’s hand was allegedly evident in many of the nascent UVF false flag operations, that sought to scapegoat the IRA, as a means to oust more moderate Unionists and literally blew Terence O’Neill out of office. Nor should we forget Paisley’s ‘academic’ qualifications, including an honorary Doctorate acquired at the Bob Jones University, then a renowned degree mill whose choice alumni include the late Fred Phelps of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. He was not the first, nor the last politician, with an academic deficit to allegedly acquire qualifications, but even more dubious was the British medias’ use of the ‘Doctor’ title, knowing full well it’s dubious origins.
A lot has been trumpeted about the late Paisley’s constituency work, even on behalf of Catholic constituents, which really, using any benchmark, does not really deserve praise as that is exactly what elected politicians supposedly draw their ample salaries and multiple expenses for. From time to time grateful castle-Catholics were wheeled out in the media, praising Paisley’s efforts, for instance to, quite rightly, secure them a house from local authority housing stock. However, Paisley’s routine howling sectarian demagoguery was very capable of inciting a lumpen sectarian mob that would burn Catholic constituents out of houses or worse. Those of a certain age will remember Paisley on the Shankill in 1959 scolding a Protestant crowd for allowing a small number of “Papishers and Popesmen” to live in the area, which predictably enough incited a pogrom against Catholics who had the temerity to live there.
As a founder and associate of multiple shadowy Loyalist paramilitary groups, including the Ulster Constitutional Defence Committee, the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (allegedly an early UVF front), Tara, the Third Force and Ulster Resistance, perhaps only his former sidekick, the sectarian paedophile, John Mckeague, comes close.
Paisley’s Legacy to Irish History
Paisley the demagogue was the late twentieth century’s premier dog collared sectarian hatemonger. This was far from a new phenomena in Irish history, as he gladly took on the role previously filled by demagogue’s of previous ages, including the infamous Henry Cooke and Roaring Hugh Hanna, who Paisley eulogised as “being in the great evangelical succession of Ulster Protestant protagonists.” Like Hanna, Cooke and their various imitators, Paisley was encouraged by more influential establishment figures who thought they could use them during periods of perceived crises of ‘Loyalty’ or any hints of working class unity.
A living contradiction, Paisley did more to divide Unionism and Protestantism than any other contemporary politician, not to mention that he was often hailed as ‘Republicanism greatest recruiting sergeant.’ His support for public acts of direct action by his various paramilitary creations, then promptly distancing himself from the results, earned him the nickname ‘the Grand Old Duke of York’ by Loyalists who served time inspired by his demagoguery. His perceived mellowing with age has variously been hailed as variously an unlikely latter day enlightenment; a fulfillment of his long ambition to become ‘prime minister’ of a Stormont legislature; the result of a long term hold over him by shadowy intelligence agencies or just the fears and guilt of an old man who knew his days were numbered.