Thursday, July 28, 2005

Poking a wee stick at a big event

So we've now heard that IRA statement we've all been expecting. I'm not going to stick my big foot in that hornets nest*. I'll just say it's about bloody time and leave it at that.

Still, I could always pop off a few observations in the margins.
Peter Hain was talking about it on Newsnight. I was half listening to the interview, trying not to feel irritated as he went through his standard vapid utterances, when out came these words of wisdom.
Hessler: "So where do we go from here? Will we have Ian Paisley as first minister of Northern Ireland with Gerry Adams as his deputy?"
Hain: "Well, I think Ian Paisley would be a good first minister."
[I'm paraphrasing but it's definitely representative.]
It's just as well I wasn't drinking anything. I actually looked round to see if he was laughing but no, his face bore only a now familiar but utterly unconvincing attempt to adopt the look of a serious politician. He wasn't joking. Now, Ian Paisley is the leader of the largest democratically elected party in Northern Ireland. There's no getting away from that. But he's also a seething mass of intolerance, and I'm afraid there's no getting away from that either.
I recall being told that his response to the Downing Street Declaration was to say that "John Major has obviously been conniving with his cronies in Rome".

He's the President of the European Institute of Protestant Studies, who helpfully list "5 reasons why Catholic is not Christian" on their home page just so we get a flavour of what they're about. Incidentally, here's his description in the about EIPS page:
The Rev Dr Ian RK Paisley, MP, MEP, Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, Minister of Martyrs' Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, Leader of the Ulster Democratic Unionist Party, MP for North Antrim at Westminster and MEP for Northern Ireland in Strasbourg.
Did you know it's actually an honourary doctorate? It seems somewhat remiss to have omitted this information from an otherwise comprehesive and informative list of the honourary doctor's many roles and responsibilities. Apart from that, I'm sure any half decent tin-pot dictator would be envious of such a list.

A good first minister, Mr Hain? No, I'm afraid you've said something particularly stupid today. Why not think first, then speak? Or better still, why don't you go away altogether, you irksome oik of a man?

And another thing.
Did you see Blair say it was "a step of unparalleled magnitude"? He really makes me puke these days. I think it's an insult to our intelligence when he pretends he's trying to find the right words like that. We all know he's reciting something he's already written very carefully with his murky spinwizards. Do us a favour. Does anyone still buy this soundbite, faux sincere pause, another soundbite, rubbish?

Grrr, I say. It may be that my judgement of the man is forever tarred. Every time I see him I think "weapons of mass destrucion", and "fifteen minutes" and "intelligence" and "extensive" and "detailed" and "authoritative" and...

Did I say a few observations? I think I meant something else. Anyway, with thanks to Nice Blair via a comment, we can extract some symbolic revenge on the evil one. But don't worry about feeling left out if you're from the US, you can watch George instead. (I wouldn't recommend Bikini Girl though, I find it slightly unsettling in some way I can't quite grasp. I wonder what Freud would make of that? Oh well.)

Back to the IRA statement, and on a more positive note, I think the bravery of the McCartney sisters' is worth applauding once again. These women have shown us real courage and determination. I hope today's statement will be a step towards justice for their family.

*Phrase adapted from a considerably funnier but also slightly fruitier version of the same.

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