I’ve been pretty quiet on the rumours emanating from the DUP. Mostly because most of it is unattributable. But, whatever went on in the last few weeks, this is not good politics:
DUP leader Peter Robinson has called critics within his party “people with the strategic vision of a lemming”.
Mr Robinson would not be drawn on naming individuals whom he said were “puffed up by their own importance”.
“I have made the comment and unlike some others, I haven’t tried to personalise it to any individual – let people put the cap on and see if it fits them,” he said.
He said the party would deal with those who did not back his leadership.
Now, there’s been speculation for the last few years about the future of Peter Robinson as leader of the DUP. I’ve no doubt there is a lot of pushing and shoving. Clearly Sammy Wilson, Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson are on side (this time).
Who’s he talking about? And is the coup that never was, now over? As Brian noted before, Robinson is a tough old bird who survived as Paisley’s Tanist where other lesser beings had failed. His short temper, particularly with the press is legendary.
Ed Poots may well feel wronged (he generally doesn’t drop many clangers, even under extreme pressure), but Robbo made it clear at the beginning of the term that he would rotate ministerial office. Many expected it at about the time Simon Hamilton took over DFP from Sammy Wilson.
Having braved some nasty fire storming in health, perhaps he felt he’d done enough to see it out to the end. This could be jockeying for positions in whatever comes after Robinson, whenever that is.
I would be genuinely surprised to see anything happen just as Stormon heads for a nasty little fiscal crisis. Still, now we know there’s something to keep an eye out for. Even if we’re not quite what, or when.
Tweet of the Day from Newton Emerson…
Peter Robinson's desktop wallpaper. pic.twitter.com/UxWB4XaYII
— Newton Emerson (@NewtonEmerson) September 25, 2014
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