Ah Dr Paisley and Mr Boswell.
No Dr Johnson and Mr Mallie.
No its Dr Paisley and Mr Mallie.
Rev Dr Ian Richard Kyle Paisley (aka “Lord” Bannside) Theologian former Politician and International Statesman and Eamonn Mallie, fearless investigative reporter, doyen of the (dwindling) Norn Iron Press Corps and the Man Who Explains Norn Iron to TV Stations all over the World.
How was it for you?
Mallie increasingly resembles his Parody.
But I also thought his interviewing style was as robust as… Piers Morgan.
What exactly was it all about? Mallie claims to know Mr & Mrs Paisley for over three decades and would certainly be aware that it all that time, he has never got the better of the Big Man.
I am not sure if he did or didnt last night. It would be much the same as a 60 year old Heavyweight Boxer trying to get the better of 75 year old Muhammed Ali. The odds favour the younger man but theres no real glory in it.
I wonder how the Programme started out.
Did Mallies People contact Paisleys People?
Did Paisleys People contact Mallies People?
A kinda venture that facilitates both…the journo gets a scoop and a two hours of television spread over two weeks and gives Eamonn Mallie the chance to perfect his “look at me…dont I look athorative?” gestures.
Also facilitating Paisley of course. A chance to set the record straight. Or if you prefer …settle old scores.
Curiously the one minutes trailer for next weeks installment was more interesting than the preceding fifty nine minutes.
And maybe thats the meat of the programme.
A few years ago Paisley suffered a “double whammy”. He was removed as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church. And removed as Leader of the DUP.
He…and Mrs Paisley who only featured in the trailer for next week….seem resentful.
Mallie did himself few favours.
Did he mention Maura Lyons…and the case that made Paisley, previously just another bible thumper in a big tent….a household name on the Falls Road in the 1950s.
Just about every time that Paisley appeared on TV, my Auntie Sheila shouted “Maura Lyons” at him. Auntie Sheila died in 2004.
And when Paisley mentioned Kingsmills last night, Mallie curiously avoided mentioning that the Big man had used House of Commons privelege to name an individual(a member of a previously bereaved family) as a perpetrator. Completely wrong (the kindest interpretation).
Clearly the programme set up was curious. The impression could have been given that Terence O’Neill resigned as a consequence of the violence of August 1969. In fact he had resigned some months before.
But perhaps most odd was Paisleys assertion that 1950s and 1960s Norn Iron lacked Justice….the unfair voting system, the discrimination in Housing etc was wrong. But curiously he could not support Civil Rights demands because the Civil Rights people believed in a United Ireland.
Once again Boswell…I mean Mallie…..did not push the point. A very obvious point that Paisley actively supported the status quo.
Paisley did not exactly come thru the night well.
He demeaned himself with too many “I cant recall….” And too much certainty that he was right.
Yet what can we expect?
As just about every commentator has noted.
Paisley formed his own Free Presbyterian Church.
Paisley formed his own Independent Orange Order.
Paisley formed his own political Party, the DUP.
And for that matter his own newspaper.
And of course he became First Minister in a Government, set up by the Good Friday Agreement, which he opposed.
He never did anything where he was not the Leader.
He is the ultimate control freak.
So last night he tried to control History. Re-writing it. And failing. And settling his Legacy. And failing.
Peter Robinson came thru it quite well.
With just about every viewer shouting “thats not right” every five minutes …at the TV screen, it means that Robinsons contradiction of the Paisley version of Clontibret will have a degree of credibility.
Also resonating will be Robinsons statement that this kinda interview would be better conducted when memories are fresh. Again it SEEMS a kindly interpretation.
Peter Robinson was Deputy Leader of DUP for a very long time. Other Paisley sidekicks, Rev William Beattie and “Major” Ronnie Bunting were not politicians to be taken seriously.
In part Paisley at his prime aged (say) 57 could afford to point at “The Boy Peter” (age 34).
It was an imbalance.
Now Robinson is 64 and Paisley is 87.
It is all change.