Ireland: Tony Blair’s ‘religious love affair’ with extremist bigot Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley, cartoon by Steve Bell

From British daily The Guardian:

Blair’s secret weapon in Paisley talks: religion

· PM wooed DUP leader by swapping Christian texts

· Two men brought closer by ‘religious love affair’

Nicholas Watt, Owen Bowcott and Patrick Wintour

Wednesday March 14, 2007

Tony Blair has forged a special bond with the Rev Ian Paisley, the DUP leader who holds the future of the Northern Ireland peace process in his hands, by discussing their common interest in and commitment to Christianity.

Spearheading a government charm offensive to win round the one time Presbyterian firebrand, the two men have been swapping religious textbooks over the past year.

Ian Paisley calls himself “the Reverend” because he founded his own Free Frysbeterian Church.

His ordination is invalid according to Presbyterian rules.

He calls himself “Doctor Paisley” for having a piece of paper from the US so called “Bob Jones University”, a fundamentalist racist institution with links to George W. Bush.

From Wikipedia:

His use of the title is a little unusual, because, as a British subject–thus subject to British academic conventions–the title doctor is not usable for those who have been awarded merely honorary doctorates.

Paisley is responsible for discrimination, oppression and violence against Roman Catholic people in northern Ireland.

Blair’s attitude is not that surprising, considering British government involvement in extremist Protestant death squads in Ireland; and his bringing in God in support of his Iraq war (supported by the “Reverend” Paisley), jointly with George W. Bush.

Paisley update, March 2008: here.

British government money to Ulster Defence Association death squad here.


32 thoughts on “Ireland: Tony Blair’s ‘religious love affair’ with extremist bigot Ian Paisley

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  6. But, on a lighter note while continuing the theme of blatant hypocrisy and the sinking feeling of deja-vu, on to those wacky boys and girls in the Democratic Unionist Party.

    The DUP has been somewhat subdued of late what with the recent much-unlamented demise of their totemic demagogue the Arch-Bigot, Papa Doc Paisley.

    Their noses have probably also been put out of joint having been pretty well eclipsed in the sectarian stakes by the Scottish referendum row.

    So what better time for a night of the long knives and a touch of judicious pruning of the more unpalatable figures in the party.

    Party leader Peter Robinson wielded the stiletto in a surprise purge on Wednesday night which saw two of the party’s big beasts — Edwin Poots and Nelson McCausland — bit the dust.

    They say a week is a long time in politics but seeing as both Poots and McCausland are avowed creationists for them it’s probably about 2.5 seconds.

    With regard to McCausland the only real shock is that he lasted as long as he did, so tainted by scandal and dogged by allegations of corruption is the now-former social development minister.

    He came under severe pressure to quit last year after allegations of major political interference in attempting to ensure the retention of NI Housing Executive contracts worth millions of pounds by maintenance firm Red Sky.

    This was despite Red Sky having been previously stripped of the contract for over-charging and inferior work.

    He faces further allegations of misleading the assembly over talks he held with double glazing firm Turkington — which just happens to be a major DUP donor — and allegations of a deliberately discriminatory social housing allocation policy in north Belfast. And that’s just for starters.

    It would appear McCausland took the old adage about God helping those who help themselves very much to heart.

    Poots, who regular readers of this column may recall describes himself as “an opponent of evolution,” finally lost the health portfolio after becoming so toxic Russia’s Federal Security Service was considering using him as an alternative to polonium.

    Showing exactly where the DUP’s priorities lie, Poots was not sacked for his rabid homophobia or general incompetence — neither of which is necessarily a barrier to success, being essentially prerequisites for DUP membership — but for refusing to implement further spending cuts.

    However anyone hoping against hope that this departure might bring some sanity to proceedings need only take a cursory glance at the CV of Poots’ successor Jim Wells.

    Wells is described as a prominent member of Stormont’s all-party pro-life group, opposed gay pride and is, yes you guessed it, a proud creationist.

    Plus ca change.


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