Friday, January 8, 2010

It’s always sex or money – except when it’s both

The three golden rules for politicians are:

1. Do not take money from property developers;
2. Do not have a sexual relationship that you cannot justify to the public;
3. If you do either 1 or 2, you are very likely to be found out sooner or later.

In contrast, tonight’s Spotlight was a master class in all the things you shouldn’t do if you are a politician, or indeed in many cases a decent human being. Such as:

• Have an affair with someone 40 years younger
• Assist lover with identification of business opportunity through local council of which you are an elected member
• Solicit two donations of £25,000 from property developers and in one case lobby for planning support for one of their schemes
• Fail to declare said donations
• Give the money to your lover for a business venture, but keep £5,000 of it for yourself
• Fail to declare conflict of interest when lover tenders for (uncontested) lease for business premises, to your council
• Demand the money back when affair ends
• Use your political adviser as a mediation service to arrange repayment
• Think you can make it better by trying to give some of the money to your church
• And plan to keep the rest to repay your debts
• Fail to retrospectively declare conflict of interest and donations when husband (who happens to be First Minister) finds out, thus dropping him in it too
• Although of course husband should have taken action himself and is not without responsibility from this point onwards
• Use political adviser to arrange repayment of the cash once husband insists it goes back and not to the church, and most certainly not into your pocket
• Try to kill yourself when husband finds out about your affair
• Use political adviser to call doctor because husband is so pissed off that he’s gone back to work
• And throughout the whole mess, condemn homosexuality and call yourself a Christian.

It was far, far worse than I’d imagined – truly shocking. The Robinsons are finished and the consequences for the DUP are very serious, I would imagine. The next few days will be very interesting.

Here's a proper analysis of the situation so far from Garibaldy on Cedar Lounge. And Brian Walker is good on Slugger as the focus moves to Peter Robinson.


Timothy Belmont said...

The developments within the past week regarding the Robinsons have been utterly astonishing. Startling. Quite extraordinary. Has Mrs Robinson, inadvertently or through naivety, destroyed her husband's career? And herself?

Peter Robinson's position could now become increasingly untenable, which shan't make developments at Stormont any easier, given senior DUP figures who are even more "hard-line".

Jenny Muir said...

I've been taking an interest in UK politics for 30 years (Southern Irish politics for about 10) and have never been so shocked by anything that has happened in that time. Tony Blair and Iraq? - well that's what politicians do. Bertie Ahern and property developers? Well at least he didn't shag them.

It's the contrast between the public expressions of a strict code of behaviour, allegedly as dictated by God, and what was going on behind the scenes, which I find so awful.

LeftAtTheCross said...

"It's the contrast between the public expressions of a strict code of behaviour, allegedly as dictated by God, and what was going on behind the scenes, which I find so awful."

Morality is a dangerous game for sure.

Even Lenin, possibly as ideologically pure and ascetic as a person gets, wasn't loyal to Krupskaya. But then he wasn't claiming any moral high ground in that particular regard of course.

There's something dangerous about puritanical moralism, a whiff of denial about it, it just isn't healthy I tell you.

Jenny Muir said...

I agree, and of course it's important for the Robinsons' political opponents not to fall into the same trap. The important thing about this scandal is that is DOES have political ramifications in that there were many abuses of political power, even at points where nothing illegal was done.

LeftAtTheCross said...

But which if the Robinson's political opponents are likely to play the morality card? Opponents within the DUP? Other unionist parties? Not SF or SDLP presumably, they'll be well advised to keep away from all that puritan protestant morality.

I can't say that I'm in the least bit shocked about this matter. If anything I think the exposure of political corruption is the meat of the issue. The whole human weakness angle is almost amusing in that it just lays out plainly on the table that religion-based intolerance is a rope with which one will ultimately hang oneself (hopefully not literally in Iris' case).

It is by such self-inflicted damage that religious authority eventually crumbles under its own weight, as is happening in the south with the RC church.

So this is progressive stuff really, it's good.

Jenny Muir said...

I accept what you're saying in terms of the end result, I just wish there was a different way to get there. I do agree that political corruption is at the centre of this, but I don't think there are many votes in adultery with a teenager nonetheless.

pol haydon said...

The Robinson scandel is remarkable, it can only deepen the split already existing within the DUP. Sex and politics is a dangerous combination which IRis has proven.

Anonymous said...

From Jenny Muir

Bertie Ahern and property developers? Well at least he didn't shag them.

From Anon(Peter)

LOL... Well, you could say he didn't screw them in quite the same way.

But seriously, I don't regard either what Bertie is said to have done nor Mrs Robinson as serious as the Iraq war.

Doesn't mean of course that what Mrs Robinson is said to have done isn't important, especially given her public views stated in the past about private morality.

Jenny Muir said...

Pol - it's looking now that Peter Robinson can't survive this, plus more revelations about Iris's alleged behaviour in the Sunday papers which I'm going to ignore, it's all just getting too sordid.

Peter - yes of course the Iraq war was more serious - my point was rather more that we expect politicians to start unncessary wars to make alliances with more powerful nations and shore up their own popularity. said...
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