Iris Robinson interviewed in the Village

Someone bought me a 6-month subscription to Village magazine a couple of years ago, and I still get it delivered every week. Mind you, if as much care is taken with the subscription list as with the sub-editing, there’s no surprise there. However, it’s a great way of keeping in touch with the main events in the Republic of Ireland, although many of the articles tend to make one uncomfortable.

I read Finola Meredith’s interview with Iris Robinson with great interest. The more fascinating aspect of it was not the portrait of Mrs Robinson, but Ms Meredith’s attitude to her devotion to God and family. I hadn’t realised that she was known in political circles as Cruella de Ville for instance. Perhaps what struck me the most was the feeling that Ms Meredith just didnt ‘get’ Mrs Robinson, and couldn’t fathom or appreciate how a Northern politician operates. Easiest thing to do then is stick her in a box:

Both politically and personally, it’s as if Iris Robinson lives in a world of polar opposites, a black-and-white universe where people are either entirely with you or absolutely against you. In many ways, that’s the typical DUP siege mentality: a single-minded (and much-vaunted) commitment to their loyal core support; a fiercely oppositional approach to all who fall outside that category. That ‘everybody hates us, we don’t care’ rhetoric only strengthens their conviction of their own righteousness. It’s a unique ideological space where the deeply conservative Iris evidently feels right at home.