Papa Doc to bow out of Westminster

And so it is reported that Big Ian will indeed be relinquishing the North Antrim seat at the upcoming Westminster election. Well, no matter what reservations I have about Big Ian – and they are many – the Commons will certainly be a more colourless place without him. And, since he’s now 83 and visibly frail – though if you see him evangelising at City Hall on a Friday lunchtime that great booming voice still does the business – we can’t begrudge him a belated retirement.

The North Antrim DUP will be holding a selection meeting next week, but it’s widely expected that Baby Doc will get the nomination. The power of the Paisley name remains strong there, but it remains to be seen whether the Paisley dynasty can be carried on. Jim Allister is standing in North Antrim, and is hell-bent on winning what will be a fight to the death for the soul of rightwing unionism. Had Big Ian stood, he would probably have won; Wee Ian will be a much shakier bet, and Sunny Jim will have a fresh spring in his step today.

If you haven’t seen it already, you might like to cast an eye over my review of David Gordon’s The Fall of the House of Paisley. It’s a most enjoyable book, and suddenly topical again. We eagerly await The Fall of the House of Robinson.

24 Comments

  1. March 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Baby Doc isn’t a doc, even compared with the dodgy degree his father owns 😉

  2. Liam said,

    March 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Let’s not get sentimental about the old bigot. UVF killer Gusty Spence said that itwas listening to Paisley that resulted in him going out to kill Catholic. More than once he was ready to start a pogrom and more than any other single Unionist leader he, for decades, articulated the sectarian hatred that is loyalism’s core ideology.

    The twilight years don’t really offset that legacy.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      March 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      No, they don’t. On the other hand, a contest between Ian Junior and Jim Allister is almost too grim for words.

  3. gmacor2 said,

    March 2, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    The BBC NI straw poll in Ballymena tonight came across as positive for Ian Og. Jim might have to pack the tent.

    • WorldbyStorm said,

      March 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      I’m trying to work out is that surprising or not…

      • splinteredsunrise said,

        March 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm

        It’s hard to tell. TUV supporters are notoriously unwilling to say they support the TUV unless they think you’re on their side. It’s a sort of Prod reticence.

        It’ll be uphill for Allister, but I do think Ian Og is much more beatable than the Dochtuir Mor would have been.

      • March 3, 2010 at 1:45 am

        “TUV supporters are notoriously unwilling to say they support the TUV unless they think you’re on their side. It’s a sort of Prod reticence.”

        Perhaps not specifically “Prod” reticence, as SF voters do that as well, or at least used to.

  4. andy newman said,

    March 3, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Does Big Ian feel safe to retire now that Peter tatchell has taken on the bash the Pope franchise?

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      March 3, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      Peter will find it’s quite the crowded market. And he doesn’t do it with the Paisleyite panache.

  5. decent interval said,

    March 3, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    “even compared with the dodgy degree his father owns”
    In what sense do you believe his degree to be dodgy?

    • chris y said,

      March 4, 2010 at 10:10 am

      In what sense do you believe his degree to be dodgy?

      Wikipedia: “Paisley’s use of the title ‘Dr’ derived initially from a 1954 qualification from the (outlawed)[8] American Pioneer Theological Seminary in Rockville, Illinois. Later this was somewhat legitimised by an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree awarded by Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist Christian college in Greenville, South Carolina that was unaccredited at the time.”

      How dodgy do you want?

  6. decent interval said,

    March 4, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    “How dodgy do you want?”
    Well as I understand it it is customary for ministers of religion to use the title of Dr. when given an honorary degree, and it is not as if Bob Jones University is some kind of joke institution – it is generally agreed to be the most prestigious of Baptist universities.
    Incidentally Martin Luther King plagiarised large passages of his doctoral thesis, so might with greater justification be accused of dodgy practices! Not that I would compare the two men, of course.

    • Phil said,

      March 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm

      BJU was accredited in 2005 (by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, which was set up by the Institute for Creation Research). Paisley got his honorary DD in 1966. I’d say that makes it pretty dodgy.

  7. March 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    [quote]it is not as if Bob Jones University is some kind of joke institution – it is generally agreed to be the most prestigious of Baptist universities.[/quote]

    source?

  8. March 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    “it is generally agreed to be the most prestigious of Baptist universities”

    Not if you are one of the many millions of black Baptists. BJU was a notoriously racist institution, only officially integrating in 1975 (after 1971 “married black men” were admitted). It wasn’t until 2000 that inter-racial dating was “allowed”. Nothing to worry about though,since there are no black people at BJU. Apparently the black Baptists of South Carolina think it’s a little dodgy since in this most Baptist and black of states less than 1% of enrollment is black (it’s 93% white).

  9. EddM said,

    March 5, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Good riddance. If only whoever his replacement is would actually be an improvement…

  10. decent interval said,

    March 5, 2010 at 6:16 am

    RR, I was referring to its academic standards and its reputation within the world from which Paisley originates, not its admissions policy. Here in England, I doubt if Oxford or Cambridge (or even, from my experience, Manchester) universities could even claim 1% black enrollment, but that doesn’t mean degrees awarded by these institutions are worthless or dodgy.

    • March 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Yes, in Klan circles Bob Jones University has a good reputation. The rest of us think it’s dodgy. And Manchester is not South Carolina.

  11. decent interval said,

    March 5, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Dolores, well in objective terms BJU is now accredited, and has been for several years. Its past lack of accreditation was through its own choice. In terms of its reputation I can only go on the anecdotal evidence of my own acquaintances in the Baptist world in northern England and Wales – while they are all on the extreme liberal wing of Baptism, they would not question the academic standards of BJU or the respect which exists for it among conservative Baptists.
    Strangely enough, I recall the young Christopher Hitchens deriding Paisley’s doctorate in the New Statesman about 30 years ago, and announcing that in future the NS would always refer to him as “Doctor” Paisley (a pledge which, in the tradition of true Hitchensian bombast, was never fulfilled). The saintly Mary Holland responded that this kind of metropolitican ignorance of and contempt for Irish Protestant culture was one of the biggest obstacles to understanding of the Irish conflict in Britain, and she was entirely right.

  12. harry monro said,

    March 5, 2010 at 8:10 am

    If I can go back to the first Great Awakening in America, the New Lights thought book learning was no sign of the Holy Spirit speaking through a minister, it’s why they rejected most university trained ministers and instead preferred the humble who had undergone a true revelation. Slaves, women and the illiterate could all be genuine preachers of the word because truth resided in faith not in learning. Precisely why Bob Jones inc. have no real links to these radical roots of evangelicalism in the US, their racism in particular marks them off from this tradition. Some Black Baptists remain much truer to this earlier revelation though I also see much to admire in the outlawed snake jugglers of the Appalachians. That Paisley and many modern Ulster Protestants choose Bob Jones as a model of Christianity says much about their stilted vision.

  13. Phil said,

    March 5, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I doubt if Oxford or Cambridge (or even, from my experience, Manchester) universities could even claim 1% black enrollment

    Your experience of Manchester must have been a long time ago.

    I wouldn’t refer to “Doctor” Paisley any more than I’d refer to “Colonel” Sanders – the title is conventional, and deliberately denying it would be ostentatiously disrespectful. That doesn’t mean I think he deserves it.

  14. decent interval said,

    March 5, 2010 at 9:36 am

    “Your experience of Manchester must have been a long time ago”
    No, taught a few classes last semester. My impression was that there were less black students than was the case 20 years ago, but maybe I am wrong.
    I am not really in a position to decide on whether a theologically conservative Protestant preacher deserves a doctorate from a theologically conservative Protestant college, but as I said the award of such degrees to clergy and the use by them of the title of Dr is common in such circles. So it is a bit different from Roy Keane’s honorary doctorate, for example.

  15. Heffo's Army said,

    March 5, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Oh but Keane did deserve that. He got it in May 2002 though and might not have got it in July that year. But it was from UCC, so maybe he would have got it anyway.

  16. March 5, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    While we are on the topic of whether certain pols are Doctor or “Doctor”, let me remind you all of who the very first person to get an Hon. Doc from Dublin City University, after it was upgraded from the NIHE and therefore could dole out such gongs. The then vice-Chancellor was Danny O’Hare, as not unknown in Fianna Fail circles as his equivilent in UL/NIHE Limerick, v-C, Ed Walsh. The upgrading was ‘prompted’ by the then Taoiseach, Charles J Haughey and the first Hon Doc issued by DCU was to… Charles J Haughey!

    It occured to me then as a first year in DCU in 1989, that Hon Docs acted as the closest thing Ireland had to an Honours system, but there ya go.

    By the way, can anyone help with the protocol on another Hons matter? Is it “Dr” “Sir” Tony O’Reilly or is it “Sir” “Dr” Tony O’Reilly?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: