And yet there is still compassion (in some parts)…

Given the proximity of the pretty toxic case of Liam Adams, I am not sure Iain Dale’s reference to pedophilia was the most appropriate description of the relationship in question…

Even if he has legitimate anger over Iris Robinson’s famously intemperate outbursts…

Cranmer, however, has a more compassionate response. And he hits the nail on the head regarding precisely why we may be moving inexorably into a post Robinson era:

…‘perceived’ is the important word, for this is politics in which seeming is all, and it is why Peter Robinson may have no choice but to voluntarily lay his head upon the block and submit to the inevitable axe. He is not his wife’s keeper, but the two manifestly vowed to become one 40 years ago. She is entitled to a private life and so is he, but not when one or the other stands accused of financial impropriety and the failure disclose interests.

Their marriage may be for richer or poorer, but their reputation is in tatters following the revelation that Mrs Robinson enriched herself in contravention of the law. They may be united for better or worse, but they can no longer work together, for the worse will only worsen. Mr Robinson may support his wife in sickness and in health, but it is difficult to argue that this will not be a distraction from his role as First Minister.

As I suggested this morning, this is not a political not a legal crisis… His Grace concludes (in a strange echo of the Boston Globe’s advice to another of our latter day political titans):

There is no doubting that the downfall of Peter Robinson is unjust and his resignation will be a blow to the politics of Northern Ireland. Like Lear, he is a man more sinned against than sinning. But it is time for the First Minister to heal the one he loves, to weep day and night at the side of the one with whom he vowed to remain for better or for worse, until death do them part. And that will require unique patience, obsessive commitment and infinite sensitivity.

  • LukeCass

    So, will he be gone by the time of the 10 O’clock news…. ?

  • pinni

    Fascinating times we live in. Things complete their cycles with lightning speed. We are already talking about a post-Robinson era, and he’s only taken over. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles, as they say. Just look at the US.

    This time last year Barack Obama, full of promise and hope, became president and held ratings in the 70’s during his first few months in office. Now he’s down to the mid to high 40’s with massive swathes of Americans feeling conned by all the hype.

    Cynicism has taken control. Are bloggers responsible?

  • joeCanuck

    I am not sure Iain Dale’s reference to pedophilia was the most appropriate description of the relationship in question

    Perhaps you missed the text message where she said she wanted to be his mother.

  • Ulick

    Unjust? A blow to politics? Lear?

    Pass the sickbag please…

  • granni trixie

    What I would really like to know is: is there a mini culture within the DUP by which it is OK to have the kind of relationship with developers that IR actions suggests she has?. I have heard about corruption with reference to several leading members of the DUP over the years but never knew if it was true.

    Aside from that, I actually do feel compassion for the couple in their (very human) mess. I also hope that the young men in the middle of this can draw a line in the sand and not let it warp his future.

  • Alias

    Christian values, eh? I prefer secular values in matters of politics, so religious concepts of forgiveness don’t enter the equation – even if it is amusing to hear self-professed atheists on Slugger proffer the need for forgiveness in regard to the members of the murder gangs in NI.

    When Mrs Robinson claims that a higher power has forgiven her, all I see is a person manipulating others of a religious ilk to follow that example. Forgiveness simply means that she should not be held accountable for the consequences of her behaviour.

    That dovetails with his cynical use of ‘mental illness’ to likewise imply that she should not be held accountable for the consequences of her behaviour.

    The two tricks are designed then to ‘get away with it.’

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Is it the ridicule that will do him in ?

  • Greenflag

    Robinson needs to hand in his chips and leave the table as FM . He’s got to go and the sooner the better .With an upcoming election the DUP have to put this one behind them.There’s no point in making things any worse than they otherwise might be . This is a story that will not die away in a few months .

    Realpolitik demands a voluntary self decapitation for the greater good . Only thus can the man recoup his honour and perhaps at a later stage make a comeback from his position as an MP or MLA. .

  • joeCanuck

    Is it the ridicule that will do him in ?

    Possibly, or the embarrassment or being pitied.

    He might be risking a (real?) breakdown himself. The pressure must be incredible. He probably needs a holiday more than his wife.

  • granni trixie

    Alias, re “cynical use of mental illness”: actually that aspect of the story rings true to me, as it seems reasonable to me that in a certain mental state (connected perhaps to feelings of being neglected), one could opt for an affair as a kind of suicide – given it is something one would normally think very wrong. Ofcourse my analysis is premised on no more toy boys coming forward.

  • Alias

    Psychobabble, GT. As the risk of sounding like a spambot:

    [i]I’m not convinced by her expedient proffering of depression as mitigation for her behaviour. Apart from its convenience, the details of it are all wrong.

    Irrationality is not a symptom of general or clinical depression, so she is incorrect to offer this as an explanation for what she refers to as her irrational behaviour. Irrationality is only a symptom of manic depression (AKA bi-polar disorder). If she has consulted a psychiatrist, then she would be aware of this since no psychiatrist would have told her that irrational behaviour can be explained this way, and would instead look for other causes.

    Secondly, loss of libido is a symptom of the form of depression that she claims to have (clinical depression), so using an explanation that involves loss of sex drive to explain why she had an affair is obviously deeply flawed.

    Now, what irrational behaviour have we actually observed from Mrs Robinson? It is not irrational to solicit money from business people or to have an affair. The former is simply improper behaviour for an elected official but it is not irrational behaviour; and the latter is a breach of the trust placed in her by her husband but again is not an irrational act – foolish, yes.

    It seems that she is using her alleged ‘mental illness’ to imply that she is not responsible for her behaviour (as though she was clinically insane) and should not therefore be held accountable to others for that behaviour. That looks like it is devised to get her off the hook.

    In using mental illness to obfuscate is this way she is doing a great disservice to those who actually suffer from it. Not to mention, of course, that she is well enough to go on holiday to exotic locations but not well enough apparently to answer questions from those who wish to hold her accountable for her behaviour when – to hear her tell it – she should be on suicide watch.[/i]

  • Any poor DUP election results, which probably would have happened anyway, given the bouyant state of the TUV, will now be blamed on the Robinsons, whether Peter stays or goes.

    SF will presumbly try to signal the Stormont collapse, which now looks inevitable, at the most difficult time for the DUP and this is potentially a damaging affair not just for the DUP but for Unionism as a whole and the DUP should now seek immediately to broker an electoral pact with the UUP which surely most Unionist voters would approve of.

  • pinni

    bouyant state of the TUV

    LOL! The TUV have yet to win a seat and is about to be trounced in Upper Bann!

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    But remember, if Robinson goes, as looks quite likely, then Dodds takes over. Robbo almost did the deal on P & J or might have (?) but Dodds won’t want to do any P & J deal surely before the election, so…..does SF bring the Executive down when Robbo goes or shortly after Dodds takes over ? And if the Executive goes down will an Assembly election be called, and if it is, then the SF vote goes up and the TUV vote does the same. So…..then SF becames the biggest party, most likely, and therefore, by right, takes the First Minister post. Can you see Dodds or the majority of the DUP backbenchers going into government with SF holding the FM post ? Are we in for another messy period of direct rule, violence by IRA dissidents and nastiness on the Orange parades front and Prod paramilitaries again ? Depressing.
    With all the faults of UUP/Trimble and SDLP/Mallon-Durkan, they were a class act compared to Paisleys/Robinsons and McGuinness/Adams. Blair especially, and Bertie to a lesser extent, dropped Trimble and the SDLP and opted for the “hard men who could make a deal stick.” Well, not looking so good…..But then the original Hume plan which Bertie and Blair took on was to bring the “extremes” in rather than build from the centre OUT. Not a surprise what happened in the end but then Blair and Bertie have got the kudos for the “deal” at the time and are now “statesmen.” Poor old NornIron.

  • Why is it not a legal matter? Can’t the police investigate allegations of corruption?

    Since power corrupts, shouldn’t we assume all powerful people are corrupt until they prove otherwise, rather than assuming innocence?

  • Pigeon Toes

    Apparently not without “intent”

  • Pigeon Toes

    There are of course the charges of malfeasance and/or misfeasance in public office.