Robinson faces a political rather than a legal problem…

Well after days and days of rumours we have some concrete details. Or at least some pretty stiff accusations. Peter Robinson has said he can answer them directly. He should at least be given the chance to be heard. But if yesterday’s testimony on the sex end of the story looked good, the BBC’s case looked just as bad.

But I think of all the early analysis, Splintered Sunrise sketches out the political (as opposed to strictly legal) problem for Peter Robinson:

The first thing to remember is that the north is a small place. Politicians and business people know each other very well. There are lots of informal links, and especially in the fundamentalist community it’s quite common for business deals to be concluded on a handshake, without the need for anything so vulgar as a contract. The only way you can guard against corruption is to have government transparency and a press that does its job. On both counts the north has been lacking.

The second thing is an important thing to understand in terms of how evangelical Protestants think. Although sexual morality is important, the sex thing is not nearly as politically important as the money thing. Lots of people, outraged by what Iris said about homosexuals, will be enjoying a little schadenfreude, but there aren’t many of those people in the DUP. (There is of course a thriving gay subculture in the DUP, but it’s very heavily closeted.)

Iris having committed the sin of fornication does not matter as much as how she handles it, and a penitent Iris asking for God’s forgiveness is textbook. It’s a mistake to think that fundamentalists are intolerant of human frailty – they assume sin to be a fact of life and are more interested in how people deal with their sinful behaviour, whether or not they repent it.

No, the money issue is the important one, in that it has the potential to damage the DUP.

The killer part of all of this may be the sense there is just so much innuendo around the couple as a result of this that they simply cannot do other than go… Or as Jenny puts it, it is the combination of sex and money that will do for them, even if either one would not have been sufficient to do the job…

And there are noises off waiting to ask a whole new set of questions ancilliary to these particular ones… Even if the press don’t touch them with the proverbial barge pole, just scale them up into a TUV election campaign and the party has a whole mess of trouble…

And Jeff Peel, the first we think to coin the term “Robinsongate”

The problem is essentially political and not legal…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty