Friday, January 08, 2010
And Here's to You Mrs Robinson
The appearance of Peter Robinson at a press conference in which he spoke of his sorrow at his wife's recent affair with a much younger man and her subsequent attempted suicide seemed nothing more than a poignant reminder of how politicians are only frail humans like most of us. We can all understand how an attractive older woman, wife of a major poloitical figure and one in her own right too, might fall for a very handsome younger man. And we can see, maybe, how it might seem worth risking all before life's brief offer of romance fades away for good.
But within a day the story has morphed into something far more complex and potentially toxic to both their political careers. I watched the Spotlight programme this afternoon shown on BBC 24 and realised it is far more than a fall from grace caused by old fashioned lust. It seems clear Iris Robinson was originally motivated by an altruistic desire to help the son of her old friend who had died of cancer.
She used her influence to raise £50,000 from two well known developers and helped the young Kirk McCambley to develop an attractive site for a new restaurant. However, the programme alleges that Iris:
i) asked for £5000 to be given to her in cash- a form of money often associated with less than wholly legal transactions.
ii) Lobbied on behalf of one developer for a business opportunities
iii) wanted the money paid back to her when the intense relationship hit the rocks.
Critics claim both Iris and her husband should have declared receipt of the £50K to accord with parliamentary rules and declared an interest when the need arose. Much of the detail has emerged from the evidence of Iris's political adviser, Selwyn Black, who revealed a number of damning texts (carefully retained) sent to him by Iris over a period of months. His role seems more than little ambiguous but in his defence he claims 'they betrayed my trust'. Kirk McCambley(pictured above)was a mere 19 year old but has also shown scant loyalty to his former lover.
I'm sure this story will generate many column inches and, if the allegations are proven, probably the destruction of two political careers. Iris's behaviour over the money seems suspicious: she acquired it ostensibly to help the aspirant young businessman but behaved as if the money was her own. In the present climate in which politicians are seen as money grubbing opportunists, the Robinsons must not expect an easy ride, nor that they will emerge with positions retained. A modern tragedy of weakness, avarice, lust and poor judgement, it would make a cracking film or televsion drama.
sex lust and profits good old fashioned greed, and yet do i feel sorry for them nope. not even an inch.
we hear today that expenses regulations are to be watered down to meet with MP's ideal's funny old world.
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