Peter’s Predicament


OK, hands up all here who’d like to be Peter Robinson? No, I’ not thinking of the Iris thing – I mean who would like to be in his political position? There’d be the salary, of course – over £70,000 – and a pretty plump pension. ( Although even that’s relative. When Peter and Iris were both in the political field, as it were, the Daily Mail reported them as bringing over half-a-million annually into the Family Robinson home.) But while the pay remains good, it’s a job that involves some strain.

Particularly at this time, as the elections breast the horizon and comes thundering towards us. Peter, you see,  has this stretching problem. No, not in terms of reaching out to take the hand which Martin McGuinness has extended for so long. I’m talking about how he’s pulled one way by the TUV and the opposite direction by the Alliance Party.

Today, Peter’s on the record as saying that if Martin McGuinness is guilty of any crime, then as in all other cases evidence should be produced and he should face the courts. That’s the TUV in the person of Jim Allister pulling him by the heels in a hard-line direction. Then there are the Alliance people pulling him by the hair, so he’s forced to make noises about shared futures and working together with all sections of the community. If he doesn’t do the TUV thing, he’s going to lose the votes of the already-disillusioned right-wing of unionism.  If he doesn’t do the Alliance thing,  it could mean a repeat of the Naomi Long debacle, when he lost his seat to the Alliance woman. The rematch may be a bit further down the road but it’s the thought that makes Peter wake up at night  screaming.

Of course the First Minister knows that he can’t get a repeat of that famous police raid on Stormont, when Sinn Féin documents were seized and it was made clear the Shinners were a dubious and undesirable presence on the hill. Peter knows about the Good Friday Agreement and can read as well as the next person: streets and houses throughout the north are filled with people, republican and loyalist, who got “early release” (aka let out and let off). Not everybody liked it but that’s what we signed up to. And Peter knows that the chances of Martin McGuinness or Gerry Adams being hauled off in chains to stand trial are absolutely nil. But he still has to sound tough, because that’s what the DUP are meant to be – tough. At the same time there’s the nagging thought that too much toughness could put petrol in the Alliance tank and have them drive away with that Westminster seat on a permanent basis.

Doing the splits can be very, very painful.

21 Responses to Peter’s Predicament

  1. daniel moran April 29, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Robinson has nobody but himself to blame for the unenviable position he finds himself in, as he he was perfectly happy to stoke up the fires with those 40,000 leaflets about 18 months ago, then found he couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle. Every year at DUP conferences he feels the need to look statesmanlike and tell the baying hordes in front of him what they don’t want to hear, but they know all they have to do in respose is sit tight in silence since he’s spouting all this outreach for the cameras. I hope Peter Gregory Nelson and Nigel live to a good old age and see the death of unionism and thide goes out on their wee majority finally and hell rub it into them. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

    • neill April 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      Oh daniel you will be well dead before that happens hopefully very disappointed.

  2. Francie D April 29, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    I agree Daniel. The death throws of Unionist intransigence see them playing their obstinacy politics to their traditional support base, while engaging political reality by tacitly agreeing a ‘shared’ future. They are the architects of their own political trap by having failed to, and continuing to fail to provide constructive progressive leadership. Gregory, Nigel and Nelson esp know that one concession too far to modernity will give them an opportunity themselves individually to don the heady mantle of Unionist Messiah…a poison chalice indeed as St Peter now surely knows. Meanwhile the little damnation bitch wishes to give birth to her own brood of fresh little Unionist Terriers snapping on the heals of anyone who wants a shared future. Are Hutchinson and Ruth even Married?! Brows must furrow duly of course in moral outrage if Birth certificates are not produced.

  3. Iolar April 29, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Part Political Postures

    It said that politicians are judged by what they say and do not do. It is easy to be critical of politicians but who elects them? If we have sectarian government, who is to blame? Politicians think about the next election and their votes. We really need to consider the next generation. Imagine, a society free from fear, racist attacks consigned to the past, prejudice and conflict replaced by toleration, respect, and equality.

  4. Pointis April 29, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    I suppose Jude it could also be argued what could the man say?

    His statement could be reasonably interpreted as “if there is credible evidence against the man ‘show it’ and he will be tried in front of a court like any other person” as in “no one is above the law so put up ou shut up”!

    He didn’t for example advocate that his Deputy First Minister should be tried in a court of law nor was there a marked intervention by Martin McGuinness to complain about the statement by Peter Robinson.

    He has to look over his shoulder at a lot of very bitter and unforgiving people!

  5. paddykool April 29, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Jude et al :
    As basically an “emotional nationalist” I could never have any benevolent feelings towards a party like the DUP . Frankly, they may as well be from the moon in relation to my personal philosophies. Their view appears narrow -minded, bumptiously feral and completely at odds with the secular ideal that I require for any future generations here . They are landlocked in a time long past with mores that seem virtually medieval to me. They may as well talk of dunking witches as pretend that they are in any way in tune with modernity.

    They are right up there with the Dodo, the Passenger Pigeon and the Golden Toad in a slow creep to extinction.They have proven an inability to change quickly enough for the population here if we want a just and peaceful future.

    The UUP isn’t much better. As an atheist ,I have no particular problem with queens or popes coming to visit here as church leaders or statesmen/women but it’s obvious that the unionist councillors in Belfast have serious reservations. They haven’t adequately explained them to my satisfaction.

    I have some problems with the SF and SDLP now as well .Now that we are on the cusp of the possibility for a united Ireland of equals, neither of them have adequately explained to me how that will actually work economically and socially. I need to hear more than emotional emoting and rebel songs being badly sung.

    I’ll give Alliance their due . They may have a reputation as being a “soft” unionist party , but they’ve proven beyond doubt their honesty and their secularism. They may even embrace a united Ireland scenario in the right circumstances if it appears viable.

    Ultimately though, they may be too far ahead of the pack . Just watch and listen to their election piece.With Naomi Long they appear to have a person who can walk and talk at the same time without putting her foot in her mouth. I think she and Bernadette Devlin/McAliskey could make up the bones of a good debating team.

    • Norma wilson April 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      Hi Jude/paddycool
      In responce to your initial question. No I would not like to be Peter Robinson, like I said to you before, I have never ever voted DUP.
      Transition is scarey, but inevitable. I do believe in democracy, I just never thought a (UI) would come along in my life time.
      There is things that are dear to me, my flag,
      I see it as the most beautiful flag in the whole world. My passport, and my complete devotion to the Queen.
      I know these thoughts are alien to all of you’s
      But I speak from the heart, I cannot change who I am, and what I am nor would I.
      I watch and follow SA politics, and believe me things after twenty years ANC rule are not great.
      This my country, I left SA to come back to it, it is where I will die, when my time comes.
      I do love here with a passion, and know that over the hill, there is people with completely opposite views to mine.

      • Francie D April 29, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

        Norma, I appreciate your candour, though your eulogy to the North and Unionism/Britishness reads like something from a Rupert Brooke Poem. If you declare with zeal your ardour for Queen, country and the overt vitriol that accompanies that most imfamous of Flags, then you must allow for challenges in an open forum here to what I would contend is dreamy irrationalism. Monarchy is an absurd arcane anachronism. The ANC are currupt, and SA is in a bad state, but that does not negate the necessity for Activists to Topple Apartheid. Your retreat to your ivory tower back here in the North of Ireland may see that most Beautiful things of things you treasure, the Flag, or Fleg as it has more commonly among some been refered to as in your absence, hang from lamposts til they rot, then more are ordered from S Korea or Bangladesh in bulk order (conformed accuratetly) to mark their territory on top in a different and no more Regal way than the local doggies do on the lower part of the post. I am replying in person to you, as you invited scrutiny by your assertion that you would wish not to change either or any of your churlish devotions. I wish you joy Iin your devotions, but staying fixed while the world changes around you, may see you awaken in two more decades to A Union fractured, the Queen gone and her estate given back to ordinary folks, a Butchers look at the flag you view so beautiful, may see it with the simple George Cross of an English Republic. The Scots mustering a more prepared Army near Culluden to ward off English speculaters pioneering new frackinfu in the area. To conclude Norma, don’t stand still too long as you may be very disapointed when you do finally look up. No offence whatever intended on a personal note. I

        • ANOTHER JUDE April 29, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

          What is the ROMAN about Norma? Would you still be devoted to HM Queen if the monarchy returned to the Catholic Faith? I know I would still be a Republican.

          • Norma wilson April 29, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

            We all go back to catholism, I take holy communion at my church COI.
            I differ from you, I pray directly to God only he can forgive my sins.
            Yes, I would remain loyal to my Queen, you just don’t get me and I don’t get you. Roman is Norma.
            Maybe the Pope can perform a miracle to get us all out of this mess.
            I hope he does come, and I hope the PROTESTANTS wise up.
            They have embarrassed me enough with their antics, they should reciprocate him with a great welcome. I might even go to see if a can get a glimpse of him myself.
            Or maybe it is a case of ‘never the twain shall meet’.

        • Norma wilson April 29, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

          Yes Francie D
          Spot on Rupert’s poem, would sum me up good and proper, just the same way when I sing Jerusalem, on England’s green and pleasant land.
          You see there lies the problem. We don’t know each other, I don’t mean literally! We don’t understand each other, we are strangers living in a land that we both share.
          Maybe that is the answer, we need to get familiar with each other, rather than score browny points.

      • Moyra April 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

        Hi Norma.
        I wonder why you continue to compare SA’s situation to what is going on here ? I assume that you are aware that your glorious British government/monarchy was instrumental in passing the The Natives’ Land Act of 1913. This was the first major piece of segregation legislation passed by the Union Parliament and it remained a cornerstone of Apartheid until the 1990s It was of course, expanded on in 1958 by Dr Hendrik Verwoerd to become the monster that white people in SA either felt deeply ashamed of or embraced. Historically, it seems that South Africa did just fine before and after it gained its independence from the British, albeit on the backs of the indigenous people, something we have seen all to often under British colonisation. I do not for a minute, understand what the failing ANC government has got to do with the North.

  6. paul April 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    I assume Peter is willing to be questioned(if necesary) about Clontibret? Ulster Resistance? Third Force? Those items just won’t go away for me. The current pre election onslaught of rehashed charges/accusations and the accompanying righteous indignation from DUP and TUV is just another grasping at the threads of the past. Those days are gone. The current status is not perfect, nor is it a finished product, but the Basil Brooke, John taylor et al era has passed by. Unionists need to start facing reality and start working towards a shared future. Their one eyed blin kered view of the past is making them blind to the realities of today. isn’t it strange that the family of Jean McConville is constantly in the press as needing justice, (and correctly so) yet the SOS Villiers ignores the need for justice of the Ballymurphy victims of state murder, many of whom had families. Is not the the need for truth and justice for those families just as compelling? IMO, there lies the problem, selective justice continues to be the order of the day.. Until that changes, I don’t see true peace and reconciliation happening.

    • Jude Collins April 29, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      Nailed it, Paul – selective moral outrage, selective justice. Not good.

      • paul April 30, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        GRMA keep writing and please ask Enda what he thinks of the men of 16

  7. ANOTHER JUDE April 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    I can just about accept Robinson`s `talking from both sides of his mouth`, he finds it hard to change, he was born into a statelet where Catholics were second class dogs, ostracised by all good Protestant Unionists. He has had to witness the rise in confidence among the Nationalist population, despite the constant propaganda from the `our wee country` media. What I can not take is the sheer hypocrisy of people like Jim Allister and Peter Robinson when it comes to the `past`. Their connections are well known, whether it is Clontibret or the importation of weapons for Ulster Resistance. They complain abouit a playpark in a Republican area being named in honour of a Hunger Striker yet are more than happy to support loyalist bands marching behind the banners of UDA/UVF members. How much longer are we going to have to listen to this political cant?

    • Páid April 29, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

      “Political cant” is that a typo? lol

      • ANOTHER JUDE April 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

        Mmm….The Professor knows I would NEVER use that sort of language on his site, ahem…

    • Norma wilson April 29, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

      Can’t Understand Normal Thinking? The capitals, it’s all in the capitals.

  8. paddykool April 29, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    Paul: I’d agree with all of that…

  9. Virginia April 30, 2014 at 2:16 am #

    Peter will be fine, he will sleep well, be invited to the set of Game of Thrones and then be elected again. Your angst dear Jude and Co. Is better spent on anticipating the end of House of Cards.