Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 18 February 08

A good day in and for Belfast

What a cracking day today was. I went out to buy a bagel from the accurately named yet unimaginative ‘Bagel Bagel’ (a healthy option – bacon and cream cheese), which is normally a five minute walk from the office. However, it was a great cold, crisp day when you could actually feel the warmth of the sun on your face so I turned it into a fifteen minute walk around Belfast.

ian-paisley-jnr.jpg

And later on that afternoon the news that Ian Paisley Junior had finally resigned. From all I know, this really was a case of being jumped just before he was pushed (if you are in any doubt, read Peter Robinson’s comments). Junior was lurching from scandal to scandal for the last 12 months, some of which (to be fair) were blown out of all proportion. However, the manner of his politics (using talks to try to re-establish a devolved assembly to try to get local concerns addressed for the securing of his own political base) seems to sit totally at odds with, say for example, the ideals of Obama or Jed Bartlett.

I once saw Junior speak in the Mandela Hall when I was at Queen’s University. I was ashamed that this man was part of my ‘tribe’. He compared the putting up of Irish language signs in the Student’s Union (which was sadly being used as a political football) to dogs marking their terroritory by “defecating” and encouraged unionist students to protest at the dropping of the anthem at their graduation (ditto, despite being 1 of only 3 universities in the UK still playing it) by refusing to give back their gowns. I appreciate that politics and politicians have moved on since then, but that speech has always stuck with me.

Junior’s time was numbered. When Peter replaces his father as party leader, Junior would have been pushed to the fringes anyway. Still, amazingly he isn’t the most annoying person in his party (yes, Jeffrey, I’m talking about you…)

Read Mark Devenport’s blog on the BBC for more.

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