- 05 Jul 19
When there is mazooma to be made North of the border, it seems that the spectre of Ian Paisley is likely to be hovering close at hand. Why, having railed against the evils of online gambling, the MP for North Antrim is now happily receiving gifts from the betting giant, William Hill...
The pudgy prevaricator Boris Johnson has described French people as turds but, so far, hasn’t been given the heave-ho from public life. So it must be OK for me to call Ian Paisley a shit.
He’s also a sectarian bigot, a conman, a hypocrite, a guttersnipe, a liar and a parasite. But “shit” will do for the time being.
And this shit has form.
Way back in 2008, Paisley was forced to resign from the Northern Executive – led at the time by his father – after revelations of dodgy dealings with a “property developer” who happened also to be a senior member of the DUP.
Seymour Sweeney wanted the franchise for building a visitors’ centre at the Giant’s Causeway. Tourist numbers at the Causeway topped a million for the first time in 2017 and remain on a rising trajectory. The planned centre – café, shop, historical exhibition and so forth would have slurped in money from hapless tourists, then gushed it out into the bulging bank account of Paisley’s tycoon pal.
The franchise agreement Sweeney had in mind would have barred all potential competitors from setting up shop in the vicinity.
Paisley not only lobbied enthusiastically for planning permission for the project, he brought the issue up with Tony Blair in 2006 at the St. Andrews talks on policing and power-sharing, which presaged the reestablishment the following year of the Stormont Assembly.
Naïve souls out in the real world, and even in the media, had assumed that the St. Andrews talks had had to do with cooperation, peace, a non-sectarian future and that sort of thing. But the Ballymena shit saw it otherwise – as an opportunity to enable Sweeney to get his mitts on money sucked from holiday-makers.
Peace be damned, there’s mucho mazooma here for a man on the make. Then it emerged that Paisley had bought a holiday home at Ballyallaght near Bushmills from Sweeney. Or had he? Although the Paisleys took possession in 2003, the house remained in the name of Sweeney’s wife – an “administrative error” according to Paisley – until 2008 when the deal was rumbled by nosey journos.
In 2013, The Daily Telegraph revealed that Paisley, now a Westminister MP, had claimed more in expenses that any other of the 650 members of the Commons – £232,000 tax-free in a year on top of a £77,000 salary.
Paisley has since been toppled from his perch at the top of the money-tree by fellow-DUP man Jim Shannon. He’s still running a close second, though.
The DUP makes Fianna Fail in the hey-day of Haughey look like a winsome choir of innocuous angels.
SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL
That’s all the old scandal we have space for. We turn now to the present and the scary regimes of Sri Lanka and the Maldive islands.
The DUP, as we know, believes that climate change is a hoax. So, far from concern about the effect of air travel on the environment, Paisley has been bouncing back and forth from the Badlands of Ballymena to palm-fringed islands on coral seas, as if on a transcontinental pogo-stick.
Return fares ex-London for a family of four to the Maldives, as currently advertised by QatarAirways, come to £6,880.
The fact that the Sri Lankan government of Ranil Wickremesinghe is up to its neck in Christian blood has made no difference to the greed-fuelled scion of the Paisley clan. The Colombo regime has accommodated the Paisleys at least twice in the past year in the luxury to which they apparently believe they are entitled. Didn’t Jesus say: ‘Grab all the dosh you can get your hands on, the owner could be back any minute?’ It doesn’t end there.
Three months ago, Paisley was given two tickets to a Premier League game. He registered the cost of the tickets, including “associated hospitality”, at £1,000. The gift had come from the PR department of William Hill, one of the biggest online gambling operations in the world.
In May last year, Paisley had described online gambling as “a plague on many families... Online gambling addiction is the real problem.” People were being “bombarded with encouragement to gamble online,” he complained, demanding government intervention.
So how come, 10 months later, he holds out his hand to be greased by one of the biggest of the gambling scammers? “I’ve really no comment to make”, he readily explained to the Newsletter.
What would his father have thought of him hugger-mugger with the devil’s disciples? “I’ve really no comment to make.”
What match had he attended? “I’ve really no comment to make.”
He had no comment to make, either, on the evils of online gambling. To misquote Jack London: After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made Ian Paisley.
If his body were as diseased as his mind, flesh would be falling off him in lumps.
He has sold his soul ten thousand times. And yet, bookies in Ballymena were last week offering no better than evens about the shit-pig still snuffling his snout in the trough by the time of the next election. We are doomed, I tell you, doomed.