Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Farewell Mr No...

And so, at the ripe age of 81, the Rev Ian Paisley has decided to step down as First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Not one to shy away from controversy, Paisley constantly told anyone that would listen that there would be "No Surrender" to the IRA. During his time as a triple-mandate (MLA, MP, MEP) denounced then Pope John Paul II as the Antichrist when he was addressing the European Parliament in 1988. But perhaps what he will be remembered for is not the multiple occasions he said no, but the one time he said yes.

I blogged last week on the extraordinary relationship between him and Sinn Fein Deputy FM Martin McGuinness. For Ian Paisley, entering into a power-sharing agreement with Sinn Fein was something he'd vowed never to do, and now that he has, Northern Ireland is better for it.

I hope that this, rather than his obstructionist tendencies, that his political life is remembered for.


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