only a 5 per cent chance of the power-sharing Executive
up and running by the November deadline, a well-placed
DUP fundamentalist source has told me.
the religious hill billies well and truly controlling
the Paisley camp, why won't the Puritan Rednecks
cut a deal with the Shinners? Why is a large chunk
of Paisleyism so scared of working with the republican
Blair, Hain and Ahern are talking to the wrong DUP
faction? It's the same penny which dropped in the
early years of the new millennium when the then
Trimble-led and feud-ridden Ulster Unionists realised
to get any progress, it was pointless talking to
the Shinner political leadership.
real republicans to negotiate with were the head
honchoes who ran the Provos' Army Council. So the
message to London and Dublin may be - forget Paisley
and his zealots; ignore the isolated Peter Robinson;
stay clear of the circling Jim Allister and his
actual power brokers within Paisleyism are really
the DUP spin doctors headed up by unionism's dynamic
equivalent of New Labour's Alastair Campbell, namely
DUP Director of Communications and former Young
Unionist top gun Timothy Johnston.
I stand unnoticed on the sidelines at Stormont and
watch Terrific Tim and his gang of skilfully co-ordinated
little PR gurus in action, I can only conclude it
would make any Yank President turn green with envy
at their efficiency, professionalism and their fantastic
ability to politically caress and disarm even the
most hostile of anti-DUP hack.
terms of organisational brilliance, whether by accident
or design, the DUP has constructed the most proficient
Gang of Three which Unionism has not witnessed since
the political brains which built the once-mighty
1970s Vanguard Movement.
Terrific Tim in this powerful cabal within the DUP
inner temple is Director of Administration and Finance
Allan Ewart, and Director of Policy Richard Bullick.
Paisley Junior and the Gospel-singing Willy McCrea
may be the two leading fundamentalists who are whispering
political sweet nothings in the Big Man's ears on
public utterances, but the clear perception is Johnston
need only click his fingers and experienced MLAs
and MPs will dance to their spin doctor's tunes.
just over 100 days to go to the Moment of Meltdown
on Freaky Friday, 24 November, the Paisley camp
is still engulfed in the summer madness of fear.
DUP is afraid of doing business with the Shinners
in case republicans out-manoeuvre the Paisleyites
at Stormont and the Unionist electorate crucifies
them UUP-style in the polls.
a party-splitting rebellion among the religious
grassroots remains the DUP camp's top priority.
But the experienced and expert cabal of Johnston,
Ewart and Bullick does not have to worry about the
scourge of vote erosion from the Paisleyite heartland
of North Antrim.
threesome is a self-contained party within a party.
This party worker trio is by far more influential
within Unionism than the elected trio of the two
Paisleys plus McCrea.
not a question of Peter Robinson shooting his bolt.
He's been heavily disarmed by the fundamentalists.
Hain and Co genuinely desire a working Executive
by 24 November, they must court the Johnston Squad.
If Ulster's Alastair Campbell says yes to power-sharing,
the DUP will troop into the Executive like well-groomed
still on the religious front with the clock of time
ticking against him, screen legend Mel Gibson will
need every ounce of his Lethal Weapon coolness
if he is to avoid being crucified by the film world
for his anti-Jewish remarks.
numerous apologies, supposedly devout Catholic Gibson
could find his movie-making career lying in tatters
on the Hollywood cutting room floor.
the venom with which the Jewish-dominated American
film industry is baying for Gibson's blood is not
stirred by his untimely outburst in the teeth of
a crisis in the Middle East, but by the way the
Jewish religious leadership was portrayed in his
hugely successful blockbuster, The Passion of
it was the Romans who physically nailed Christ to
the cross. But any delving into the New Testament
will see it was the fanatical Jewish religious leaders
of the day who demanded Christ be executed.
Gibson was the first big-time director to really
expose this Biblical account in his violently graphic
epic, it makes you wonder if the clamour to condemn
the Magnificent Mel is really a large dose of payback
for The Passion?