Below, we reprint the editorial from the Belfast Newsletter, 27 March 2007. As a DUP-supporting newspaper, it gives a clear indication of why Paisley went into coalition with Sinn Fein.
No matter what happened yesterday, Peter Hain had planned to be the winner. If the Assembly had met and a First and Deputy First Minister had been appointed, he would have graced the world’s media as politics’ true Houdini.
The deputy leadership of the Labour Party and, as a result, the country would have been in reach and all would hail his momentous or even historic feat as the final solution to an age-old problem. Only his ‘natural’ tan could have masked the glow of success.
If, on the other hand, his master plan had crashed and burned, he would have displayed his mettle as the man who means business by proceeding to implement his dissolution consequences like a vindictive dictator.
Water bills would have been delivered, the abolition of academic selection would be confirmed and the Irish Language Act would have progressed through parliament.
Thankfully, none of that has happened or indeed will happen. Stormont has not closed; further Dublin involvement will not occur and water bills won’t arrive.
But more importantly, the arbitrary deadline set by the Government has not been enforced. The leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party secured what many others said was politically and realistically impossible.
They have found a third way. They have defied illogical deadlines and ensured that when full devolution does occur in May, it happens because it is right for unionists and it happens, for the first time, on unionist terms. And while what occurred yesterday may have been a surprise, it is important to remember just what progress has been made.
Sinn Fein has locked itself into the Assembly and, in doing so, helped to imbed Northern Ireland as an integral part of the UK.
They have agreed to participate in an Executive within a British institution and, as a result of legislative changes, are required to endorse our Royal Courts of Justice and support the forces of the Crown within their own communities. But it doesn’t just stop there.
While progress has been made on an economic package that will ensure an Executive has the best chance of survival, commitments have been made to increase efforts to broaden that package and get the best deal for this Province.
On the transformation of Sinn Fein, great strides have also been made.
The decommissioning of weapons may not have happened in the most transparent way, but it did happen and the ending of paramilitary and criminal activity as outlined by the IMC is borne out by the media, security analysts and others.
That is something that we have to accept, but there is nothing stopping us taking action if the situation changes. Confidence, however, can be found in procedures that will ensure that, if Sinn Fein was to resort to old tricks, they would be the only party to suffer.
Only a fool would think the DUP and Sinn Fein could work together on the basis of trust but, as Ian Paisley said yesterday,
we must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future.