Friday, January 8, 2010

Iris Robinson must go

The extraordinary affair between Iris Robinson and a young 21 year old man has rocked the political establishment in the north. This is undoubtedly a very difficult time for the Robinson family and especially so for her husband and First Minister Peter. Extra-marital affairs are not resigning matters and despite the public profile of those involved are private matters. However in the case of Iris what are much more damaging are the financial irregularities surrounding this story. That she took money from businessmen, failed to declare it, handed it over to someone of which she was having an affair and took a portion back for herself means she has to go.

It is difficult to have any sympathy for Iris. She has made a career out of moralising and judging peoples behaviour. She hurt and insulted the gay community when she said they were people who needed to be ‘fixed’ and called their sexual preference an ‘abomination’. It also seems that she abused her position as a woman with power and authority in her relationship with this young man. Whatever about all of that the financial misdemeanours’ involved means that she must step down from all positions of authority.

It is too early to say how this will play out for her husband Peter. It is hard not to have sympathy for the man. On the face of it, it seems he did nothing wrong although some may question his judgement. I think he should be given some space to deal with this. It remains to be seen how the fundamentalist base of the DUP react. And all of this is taking place against a background of a real crisis within the political institutions. Lets all hope for a positive outcome.

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