After Ian Paisley’s 30 day ban, Eamonn McCann’s call is loud and clear—Ian must go now!
Watching Ian Paisley’s whingeing, wheedling “apology” performance in the Commons today, it was difficult to avoid the thought that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
A bigoted, sectarian, homophobic oaf, Paisley would never have been elected to the Assembly or to Westminster had he not had his father’s name. Whether that’s a good reason for the voters of North Antrim to have made him their representative is, to put it mildly, moot. What’s certain is that he wouldn’t have made it on the basis of personal charm or intellectual ability.
A Great MP?
It’s widely said that the DUP will stand by him. He would be well-advised not to take this for granted. Few of his party colleagues have any time for him. He has rubbed too many up the wrong way with his strutting arrogance. If they do stand by him, it won’t be on account of personal trust but out of fear of further damage to the party.
We are told that he has been “a great constituency MP.” So what? That’s his job, with a salary of £77,379 a year. And he’s among the top three claimants out of 650 MPs for tax-free expenses. Talk about low standards in high places!
And then he skives off work with family in tow to an island in the Indian Ocean where he lords it over the locals, gliding around in a government limousine from sumptuous hotel to swanky restaurant and charging it all up to the hapless tax-payers of Sri Lanka—to the tune of 100K, according to the best sources.
This guy can fleece the people of two countries simultaneously without a bother on him. He says the Sri Lanka scandal was all down to a lapse of concentration when filling out forms. Anybody who believes that must also believe in less outlandish propositions. The Abominable Snowman, the Loch Ness Monster, the Manbearpig of the Pope Lick Bridge, Kentucky, and so on.
And then he comes back and pleads with the government to go easy on the mass murderers who run Sri Lanka when it comes to human rights.
We should call this out for what it appears to be: bribery and corruption on a grand scale. Not only should he resign his seat, he should be booted out of Ballymena. He’s had his snout in the trough for far too long.
Recall the Seymour Sweeney affair 10 years ago: Paisley was rumbled campaigning in public and lobbying in private for a hefty grant to be paid to his pal and fellow DUP member Sweeney to build a “Visitors’ Centre” at the Giant’s Causeway. He had to hand in his resignation as a junior minister in the Stormont Executive—to his father, then First Minster. After which he bounced back with a “you can’t touch me” snigger smeared all over his face.
Around the same time, Paisley bought a holiday home from Sweeney. Totally kosher, he insisted. The fact that the property remained registered in the name of Sweeney’s wife was down to an “administrative hiccough.” He must be a martyr to the hiccoughs.
This was a forerunner for the Luke Poots imbroglio earlier this year when the DUP Castlereagh councillor and son of Edwin had an application to the council for planning permission for three houses on a piece of land which he owned lodged in his mother-in-law’s maiden name. The development would have boosted the price of the property by up to £200,000.
We could go on an on—Red Sky, Nama, RHI etc. Paisley is a wrong ‘un. By no means the only one in his party—but clear leader in the sleaze stakes.
Still, the consensus among commentators is that he’d be a shoo-in if there’s a by-election. This prediction is based on an assumption that a majority in North Antrim would vote solely on the basis of the union, even if the leading unionist in the field had stuffed his pockets with dosh diddled from their taxes.
Shouldn’t this be put to the test? Why not let the people decide? Have the cops been called in?
If you get a bit of your own back by scamming the system for a ton or two, you’ll be hauled into court. Will Paisley be invited to help the police with their inquiries? What he’s accused of might be described by some as fraud. He’s quick enough to call for far less serious alleged offenders to be dragged in and questioned under caution. Would a Cliff Richard-style dawn raid on one of his homes not be appropriate? All equal before the law and so forth.
Fianna Fail under Charlie Haughey was a choir of angels compared with Paisley and his party.
Only sectarianism, the system under which politics is built around the concept of communal identity, has allowed the sordid likes of the junior Paisley to prosper. So far.
We still and will in our lifetime and probably the lifetime of our children, live in a tribal society. Where people vote for “their tribe” to stop the others from wielding power. We need new parties to step to the fore and offer policies that are devoid of sectarianism. Dishonest people like Paisley will always profit on the fears and mistrust of others.
Paisley gets suspended for accepting bribes from Sri Lanka to lobby for Sri Lanka but many UK politicians from all UK parties regularly accept bribes, freebies, etc from Israel to lobby for Israel, with impunity. Welcome to ‘justice’ UK style!