27 March 2007

Ian Paisley’s Refusal To Sit Down 1969-2007

Messrs Paisley and Adams seated togetherIan Paisley’s Refusal To Sit Down lost its long and extremely loud battle against gravity yesterday when Unionist leader Ian Paisley himself agreed to sit down with his arch-enemy, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams – the two men having reached an historic agreement to share power in Northern Ireland on May 8… Although no agreement has been reached between the two leaders for sharing power on May 9, May 10, May 11…

Ian Paisley’s Refusal To Sit Down took its first faltering steps in 1969 in protest at the British Army being sent into the province to protect Catholics from Loyalist attacks. Before 1969 there was no sectarian divide in Northern Ireland, no one had ever heard of the Battle of the Boyne or seen an Orange Man and Catholics and Protestants skipped hand-in-hand through the Six Counties singing All You Need Is Love.

But as the oh-so-slightly-euphemistically-titled The Troubles began to wreak havoc across the province, Ian Paisley’s Refusal To Sit Down made him very popular on buses full of (protestant) pensioners and pregnant (protestant) women, but caused him great personal anguish as, year after year, it stopped him from winning the much-coveted Belfast Apprentices Musical Chairs Contest.

Throughout the 70s and 80s, The Refusal grew in strength (and volume) – refusing to bend at the knee, or indeed apply the ointment to the appropriate area, for anyone. In the late 90s, when Tony Blair encouraged both sides to replace stand-up rows with stand-up talks, agreements were made which led to the decommissioning of James Nesbitt, Gloria Hunniford and Tom Paulin – making sure that they could never again be used to terrorise innocent civilians in the province or on the mainland.

But having stood up for nearly 40 years, The Refusal was getting tired, and as Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, threatened to dissolve the Stormont Assembly, it was on its last legs. Yesterday morning, Ian Paisley’s Refusal To Sit Down finally buckled and fell into the waiting arms of Gerry Adams... and onto a large rubber ring.

The Refusal is predeceased by Northern Ireland’s vital bowler hat and ski-mask industries and by the painters of sectarian murals. It will be buried at Stormont tonight once General John de Chastelain has confirmed that Ian Paisley’s Refusal To Sit Down has been interred and “put beyond use”.

It is survived by Ian Paisley’s Mouth, Gerry Adams’ Beard and Britain’s fabulous history of partition which has successfully kept the peace for so many years between Israel and Palestine, Pakistan and India, the Republic and Northern Ireland and Number 10 and Number 11, Downing Street.

1 Comment:

Colin Campbell said...

Ian Paisley embodies the hatred of this conflict and it is hard to see that changing very much. Not too much room for compromise. His voice still resonates the anger that I remember from my childhood. It is astonishing that he will be First Minister