Peter’s parrot



I feel sorry for Peter Robinson, or Peter of Clontibret to give him his proper title. Not because he has to lead a party containing Nelson McCausland but because he finds himself in the position of the man behind the counter in the dead parrot sketch from Monty Python.  You remember how that went. An irate John Cleese comes in to complain about the parrot he’s been sold: “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!”. To which an increasingly desperate Mike Palin replies it’s not true, the parrot is alive – “He’s resting”. Eyes bulging, Cleese shouts ”Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now”.

Jim Allister  knows a dead parrot when he sees one. Poor Peter/Palin swore those letters would have to be rescinded by a full public inquiry or he was resigning.  What he’s got instead is a judge who’ll have no brief to look into the British policy of issuing the letters. Unionist insistence that the judgement on Downey should be reviewed? Ah no – that bird’s not for flying either. And remember how Peter/Palin assured the cameras that all those on-the-runs would now lie in bed sleepless, with his inquiry on the job?  Just let fresh evidence come to light and they’d be in court before you could say Iris Robinson. He’s right there: that’s just what the letters said. So it’s reasonable to assume the OTRs will sleep pretty much as they’ve been sleeping up to now: nothing has changed from the information they were given in the letters.

But don’t expect Peter to admit the state of his parrot. He’s got just what he asked for, he insists  – a lively-if-resting judicial bird with magnificent plumage. That’s why Arlene was waving her arms and rolling her eyes on the Nolan Show, and why Nigel Dodds was doing his nodding dog imitation behind Peter when he told the cameras how pleased he was.  If you’re claiming a bird is alive, everybody else in the shop must  stroke its lovely feathers and go “Oooh!” too.

You don’t think the comic sketch comparison works? Well, how about the Giro d’Italia? Peter ordered up pink lycra and a steel/aluminum/carbon flying machine. Instead he’s heading for the start in  a malodorous sweat shirt, ripped shorts  and a bone-shaker with training wheels. You’re absolutely right, Peter -life is far from fair. If  by fair you mean the way dear old Basil used to run the store so many years ago.

14 Responses to Peter’s parrot

  1. paddykool March 1, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    The Python reference works perfectly.As I pointed out somewhere earlier, there was some cosmic symmetry afoot when Monty Python took to the airwaves in tandem with the surrealism of our Troubles in 1969.The bowler-hatted man from their Ministry of Silly Walks fitted perfectly too.As for Robinson and cohorts antics on the various media, the transparency of their supposed shock and accompanying vitriol only proves the utter incompetence of their political skills and the utter uselessness of their acting talent.The parrot is not alive….

  2. Colman March 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Peter of Clontibret? I thought you frowned on name calling?
    If you think Peter and the DUP wont benefit from this in maximizing concessions out of the Conservative and Unionist Party, then you haven’t been paying attention this last few years.
    I see from yesterdays reporting that the UUP are claiming that HAAS is not only finished, but that meetings about HAAS are effectively ended.
    The Unionist Parties have turned the heat off themselves and put it on the British Government.
    Peter may not have gotten what he exactly demanded from the Brits in relation to a full inquiry but I am willing to bet that wasn’t exactly what Peter was after.
    His climbdown makes me believe that there are other machinations at work and he has leveraged British public anger over the OTR’s for some future gains.
    Peter can now head off to Washington in March, secure that he has the perfect riposte to those in the Obama Administration or US State Dept who might have been willing to take him to task over the failure of the HAAS Talks.

    All Iin all, its been a good week for Peter.

    • NorthMunsterman March 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      Colman :

      ….”British public anger…….”
      You would be hard-pressed to fill a double-decker bus with the amount of English people who are interested in the North or who have any clue about the 2/3 of a Proviince and there are zero votes for English politicians on matters in the North.

    • Jude Collins March 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

      If I were going to name-call, Colman, believe me I’ve a wider repertoire than that. I mention Clontibret since Peter himself was (briefly) on the run in the streets of Clontibret. And presumably has a criminal record as a result. Wasn’t there some rule they rammed through that people with a …oh right. It was OK to work in Stormont as long as you were only fined for your crimes as distinct from put in the slammer. You may be right that Peter is executing a cunning plan – but it doesn’t look like one from here.

  3. Argenta March 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    In your blog of 25th February on another topic you stated ” One of the aims of Sinn Fein is an Ireland of equals”.Do you accept that the special treatment for O T R s suggests that some are more equal than others?!

  4. michael c March 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Colman and his disso mates would love to think it was a great week for Peter. Their anti SF interests converge.

  5. Colman March 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    ‘Disso’ mates?

    Fur chrissakes Michael C..get a new record.
    Would you be ok with name calling if I was to refer to your ‘traitorous’ party who have abandoned everything that Republicans once held true

    Not everyone who is anti GFA, and opposed to Sinn Féin propping up the charade at Stormont, and henceforth this embarassing British run statelet, a disso?

    On the record here. I am against any force used by the quasi paramilitary activities of the various IRA’s at this time. Along with most people, I believe any armed struggle today s a waste of young people’s lives and will not succeed.

    And yet, I dont think any Irish Republican who opposes British Rule in this decade is different from an Irish Republican who took up arms to oppose British rule in the last decade or in decades before that. It’s called consistency. You guys have the gall to try and decide who and who isn’t a patriot? Hypocrits!

    Back to the subject matter, I don’t trust Cameron or any British leader to behave with impartiality over Ireland.
    Jude’s viewpoint is that this is electioneering and no doubt there is an element of that.
    My opinion is that this is about HAAS and Robinson’s tantrums were designed to leverage the public outrage to win concessions from the British government.
    North Munsterman is right when he says the British public dont give a damn about the North.
    However a cursory glance at the British papers and news coverage shows that they do care about this issue because they are being told that their soldiers might be prosecuted for crimes (ok, we know that wont happen) while IRA men walk free.

    Robinson’s quick climbdown over being promised some vague inquiry that does nothing to stop the OTR process tells me he came away with something more meaningful.
    The declaration in the assembly debate yesterday from the UUP that HAAS is finished further compels me to believe that Unionism has wrung some deal from Cameron to assuage their calculated rage..
    I say that it has been a good week for Robinson because when he gets on the plane to Washington in two weeks time that he will not be fearing that trip half as much as he would have before this story broke.


    • chris flynn March 1, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      Agree in the main with your comments,this ont {outrage} by peter punt is all smoke and mirrors.Anyone who thrusts a british policto is a fool.and that includes unionist and republicians.Like all the English before cammeron, they have lied to the irish people at all times.and will continue to do so in the future..the list is endless, bloody sunday ,Gibraltar,dublin and Monahan bombings and various other crimes commited against the irish nation. Till we all sit down without the brits and hammer out a plan agreeable to all our people for the future there will be no peace,
      just endless trouble .

    • Antonio March 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      Robinson may have gained some further concessions from Cameron in these meetings but it is only a maybe. So it is too soon to make a judgement call on whether it has been a good week for Robinson or not. In my opinion we can only make a definite judgement call on that if further concessions/victories for Unionism come to light in the coming weeks/months.
      You probably have a point about it being a good way out of Haass without looking like the unreasonable party in front of the Yanks, but Ultimately Robinson demanded a full judicial inquiry and the recinding of these letters to OTR’s. He got neither. He has handed plenty of ammunition to Jim Allister ahead of the forthcoming elections which will likely further fragment the Unionist vote. Also it has become clear that the DUP are not being entirely honest about knowing nothing about these letters to OTR’s and the Yanks will see that also.
      . It will be interesting to see if it emerges in the coming months that Cammeron has done some deal with Robinson behind closed doors .

  6. ASR March 1, 2014 at 5:32 pm #


    Having not got anything close to what he was demanding why wasn’t Cameron sent away to redo his homework 6 times over by Peter, as was the case with Haass? Simple fact of the matter is Robinson and the DUP have no interest moving forward and probably wish day and daily that things could go back to the way they were when Unionism dominated everything. Times have changed and their world continues to crumble in front of them. As for ‘British public anger’ regarding OTR’s today is March 1st, not April 1st.

  7. michael c March 1, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Aye Colman, “I don’t support the dissos but” . How many times have I heard that statement from people who have left SF in a huff ,usually as a result of a personality clash .However in a matter of weeks these same people can be seen tramping the streets with the dissos in a pathetic attempt to make themselves relevant.Surrounded by a motley crew ,they reinvent themselves as “super republicans” . That is the context in which I use the term “your disso mates”. Let me make it clear,I supported the provos ,no “ifs or buts” I still support them in their peace strategy. You cant show your hand without prevaricating for fear of ridicule.

  8. ANOTHER JUDE March 2, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    I would like to know why Sinn Féin turned up for that pointless debate up at the big council offices in Stormont. Were they obliged to? Does anyone seriously believe any Unionist would have turned up for a special sitting had it been called by Sinn Féin (or the stoops} over an issue that was troubling Nationalist?. What exactly is the protocol? On another note, Mitchel McLaughlin is due to take over soon from Donegal man Willie Hay as the speaker, that should be fun. And just wait until the day, getting closer all the time, when Martin McGuinness becomes First Minister. That will be some day. A day that has finally come. to paraphrase the old slogan. The Unionists will go nuts. Regarding Jude`s excellent piece, dead parrot just about sums it up. Alex Kane compared Robbo to a man opening his box on Deal Or No Deal and having found it contains a penny tries to spin it as a good result. Peter`s bird is not sleeping and it is definitely not stunned. Unlike Nigel when he deflected that loyalist brick last summer.

  9. giordanobruno March 2, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    SinnFein do seem to be rattled by this coming out. That is understandable. It can’t be palatable to admit their soldiers are clutching a letter from the hated enemy saying it is alright, come on home we’ll not touch you.
    No wonder their supporters are so angry. Note the visceral hatred on display here, and the avoidance of any critical thinking about this issue.

  10. Argenta March 2, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Good point well made.No doubt you may receive some more of the “visceral ” hatred on display above but you are probably well used to that by now for not taking the “party” line!