Never, never, never in doubt, Dr Paisley? Hard to believe, given what happened next.

Power sharing (never!), the tricolour over Belfast City Hall (never!), First Minister ofNorthern Ireland with Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness as your Deputy (never!).

In the unsettling calm of the wee small hours, Ulster’s Big Man must have found belief increasingly elusive.

On such a night, he may have heard his faith falling by the wayside; the sound of a silk sash slashed (as worn by his father serving a century ago in Edward Carson’s Ulster Volunteer Force).

How else to explain the Protestant centurion no longer stentorian; the Sabbatarian, Presbyterian Moderator who became remarkably moderate?

For this was the conservative’s conservative, priding himself – no, that would be sinful – who made a point of never (never!) reading any book written after the year of his birth (1926).

But in recent years fighting talk directed at ungodly harlots, unnatural abominations, and the anti-Christ himself (Pope John Paul II), was reduced to a Corleone whisper – minus the menace.

How else to account for the unanimous paean to Ian in the days after his death aged 88 on Friday 12 September? Lost to the world and found to be a national treasure. Perhaps on a par with Joan Rivers: equally outspoken and ultimately harmless.

Paisley’s the name, of a life that became
Unexpectedly, appropriately decorative.