Foster stonewalls on when the decision to stand Iris down first took place…

{encode=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/the_politics_show_northern_ireland” title=”The Politics Show yesterda”}y had lots of meat in the sandwich… One of the interesting lines was Arlene Foster’s stonewalling of Jim FItzpatrick’s questions on just when Peter Robinson had decided that Iris no longer had a career in politics: ie, back in March when he discovered the affair and the dodgy transactions over the Lockkeeper’s Inn, or when he received the letter from the Spotlight programme. She completely stonewalled him, and told him he should ask the First Minister that question. The FM who is currently not available to the press, other than strictly on his own terms…It all has the feel of a political party regaining its equilibrium and returning to business as usual, even though the question seems a reasonable one to me… There’s also one interesting little snippet in that Sunday Times diary piece worth noting… It’s the Chamoix skiing story:

The papers are saying Iris is in Chamonix, skiing. I’m not sure where that story comes from. Perhaps our people have been testing to see who’s leaking. There was only one place where Iris was ever going to be spending some weeks and that is where she is now.

Now, he’s not exactly saying it was made up by the party, but the possibility that a political party might deliberately misinform in order to work out the identity their own spy in the camp (be it internally, or amongst media trustees), is a peculiar one…

In the meantime, Jim may be waiting some time before he gets a straight answer to that question now the media circus shifts its focus to the troubles on the other side of the street…

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