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.