He founded and led the DUP for over 40 years. The Party now has 9 MPs, 36 MLAs, five Executive Ministers and c.200 councillors.
From a standing start, around one in three electors in Northern Ireland now vote DUP. The DUP are devolutionists, and he led them into devolution.
As First Minister he helped to bring the cream of the US private sector over to NI for an investment conference. This is his first Party conference weekend since handing over to the man who served as his deputy for 30 years.
So how did the DUP welcome the Rev Dr Ian Paisley MP MLA? Fanfare?
More like a quick ‘what-about-ye’ outside the gents.
Is this really the picture the DUP press office are sending out to media? Says a thousand words, eh?
For a party that so carefully crafts (to the point of paranoia) the publicity around its leadership, this can be no accident. Why no big moment on the podium with the rest of the DUP leadership clasping hands triumphantly at full conference? Regrettably, Paisley has a “prior engagement in Liverpool”.
Staff at Bobballs accept that politics is a ruthless and occasionally dirty game. The excising of Paisley from the annals of recent DUP history (and exiling him from its future) is clearly part of that dirty game.
The Guardian, not traditionally associated with Paisleyism, spent a relaxed and enjoyable hour in his company. Staff at Bobballs feel sorry for the old boy.
PS. Paisley’s revelation about that pic in The Guardian is worth looking into (if we get the chance).