Tuesday 21 August 2018

Why should we praise a prodigal son who did so much damage?

The late Ian Paisley
The late Ian Paisley
Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

The death of Ian Paisley revealed that the tradition of not speaking ill of the dead is not universal.

While political leaders felt obliged to use euphemisms like "divisive" to characterise the old bigot and some praised his late conversion to "peace-making", plenty of others felt free to acknowledge that he was a horrible man whose hate filled speeches were the genesis of, and unnecessarily prolonged, the Troubles.

Perhaps the most peculiar praise came from Martin McGuinness who declared that he had lost a "friend" and "paid tribute" to the work he did building political agreement. I suppose some people might think this was a rather statesmanlike response to Paisley's death.

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