Belfast Telegraph

TV View: A UDA-shaped fly in the ointment in all the Paisley schmaltz

Paisley: A Life ran through the usual touchstones of the big fella's colourful if contentious career.

And it was quite a journey from bigot-in-chief of the Nay Brigade to cuddly uncle Ian of latter years who sat up late every Wednesday with his Horlicks to wait for his weekly phone-call from Martin McGuinness.

As family, friends and enemies queued up pay tribute or genteelly hack up on his memory, the programme highlighted the usual contradictions, hypocrisies and downright lies the good reverend made a stock in trade, but all through the fuzzy filter of affectionate remembrance.

The "Grand Old Duke of York" was how he became known to loyalist killers frustrated at the seemingly frictionless ease with which he could ideologically untether himself from their atrocities when it suited him.

One such "community activist", Jackie McDonald of the South Belfast UDA, placed an inconvenient fly in the ointment which was being smeared all over the bottom of his memory by reminding us that many loyalist prisoners in Long Kesh said it was Paisley's blood and thunder speeches that inspired them to kill.

But perhaps the most damning indictment came from Tony Blair, whose description of Big Ian as a "fascinating personality", followed by "we shared a strong religious belief", kind of rendered all further satire redundant.

Belfast Telegraph

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