So the misogyny line from Arlene this morning. I don’t want to spend too much time on it, because I’m with Jim Allister that it is just the latest in a line of distractions.
It will take more than a self-serving Telegraph interview to clear Arlene Foster of RHI culpability https://t.co/sAOEys975N
— Jim Allister (@JimAllister) January 4, 2017
But you only have to search twitter with the FM’s name and the sort of gross language most women politicians have to put up with on a daily basis is there in full technicolour.
None of it though is from anyone who matters. And so, on Nolan this morning, the SDLP put Nicola Mallon on first thing demonstrating that the criticism has nothing to do with misogyny:
Not great PR from the DUP. As for where the substance of the story is going, try Simon Hamilton’s intriguing comments this morning (buried away from headlines):
…working on our preferred option for cost control, that is an option that will come at no cost to the Northern Ireland budget and will keep the scheme running as originally intended”.
We need to take some further legal advice around that, but that’s the plan that we’re working on, a plan that will reduce that liability to effectively zero.
No details, he said. Any attempt to change the original terms of the scheme will likely attract legal challenges, but he has promised he will share once it’s finalised.
That would be some turnaround. Not least when his SF colleague at Finance (being his usual helpful self) has already inflated the final figure to £600 million.
Promises are one thing, so we await to see the actual detail before commenting further. But if he is able to track the figure down to 0, Mrs Foster owes him a favour or two.
And if he does, the chances of the First Minister stepping aside are zero, and falling rapidly. In which case, someone will lose face. And it won’t be the opposition.
— Sam McBride (@SJAMcBride) January 4, 2017
As one Slugger colleague put it, this is what happens when your chief tacticians are living in a bunker about 5 miles away from the heat of the political front line.
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