Peter Robinson has used his Party Leader speech at the DUP Conference to make a particularly vindictive attack on the BBC Radio Ulster presenter, Stephen Nolan, including a jibe which could be interpreted as attacking the presenter for being overweight. Here’s the rather extraordinary text:
That’s why I am tired of listening to the professional nay sayers who seem intent on talking Northern Ireland and democratic politicians down. They criticise politicians but are never prepared to stand for office themselves. They are an authority on everything, but have a mandate for nothing. There’s one who comes on our radio every morning – well, at least those mornings his alarm clock is working. And while he’s eating his crisps and Mars bars (my emphasis) he’s either putting the worst possible construction on what politicians are trying to do – or encouraging others to do so.
Well, it’s easy to pick holes in other people’s work. It’s harder to pick up the gauntlet and do it yourself. It’s not the size of your jaws – it’s the size of your vote that gives you the right to speak for the people. Steven, you might have the biggest show in the country, but by the will of the people, we’ve the biggest vote in the country.
There is ‘history‘ between the Robinsons and Nolan. It was on Nolan’s morning programme that Iris Robinson made her remarkable comments about homosexuals.
Robinson’s line of attack is surprising as it assumes that the public can not appreciate for themselves the reasons why it is important to have a scrutinising media. Whether or not journalists have -or ever intend to- contest elections is really a moot point.
Coming so soon after The Irish News revealed that Peter Robinson had refused to co-operate with the paper for the past two years, it would appear that the Angry Man image Robinson had been seeking to jettison has never looked more fitting.