Last night with Arlene, the gift that keeps on giving

I went to bed last night feeling worried. Not for myself  but for the leader of the DUP. She was interviewed, as you probably know, on The View last night, and the smell of burning rubber and the crunch of collapsing metal was everywhere. Truly, this was car-crash TV.

“The gift that keeps on giving” someone said to me of Arlene yesterday, some hours before last night’s interview. After it, that might have been upped to the treasure house that keeps spilling out its gems.   Sinn Féin must be setting aside considerable funds  to pay for the lighting of candles, that the DUP will keep its present leader and give her every chance to appear on TV.

The focus of Mark Carruthers’s interview was the ‘dark money’ – the £435,000 donated to the DUP for spending on Brexit promotion, much of that going to a full-page ad in a London newspaper. The people who gave the money were the Constitutional Research Council, a group of English business people, according to Arlene. The chair of this group is one Richard Cook, a former vice-chair of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, but the names of others in the group haven’t been revealed. Arlene was determined to keep it that way: “This is a reheated story. There is nothing to see here.”

But Carruthers kept coming back with questions as to who was involved and why Arlene wouldn’t reveal their names. Arlene said people would just have to take her word for it, there was nothing to see here.

Well actually, Arlene, there was and is. A party leader looking more and more uncomfortable was to be seen. A party leader who tried to dismiss the matter with a sound bite or two (“This is a reheated story”, “Nothing to see here”) but failed completely. The more she tried to steer Carruthers towards other matters, the more interested Carruthers seemed to  become as to why she was hiding these people’s names.

Credit where credit is due: Arlene did her best to smile and chuckle her way through the interrogation. But it looked more like someone gritting their teeth as they discover the footbrake isn’t working and, a nano-second later, the hand-brake isn’t either.

DUP leaders have a way of surviving near-death crises – Peter Robinson and Irisgate comes to mind. But it is hard to see how Arlene can keep on driving at speed into PR pits and crawling out with anguished cries of “Nothing to be seen here!”

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30 Responses to Last night with Arlene, the gift that keeps on giving

  1. Emmet May 19, 2017 at 8:31 am #

    Please tell me she didn’t actually use the term ‘reheated’.

    • moser May 19, 2017 at 9:55 am #

      lOL Emmet. That made me chuckle.

    • Jack Black May 19, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      Emmett, it was never cold in the first place, so reheat was most inappropriate.

    • Jude Collins May 19, 2017 at 10:51 am #

      Yep. Several times.

      • Emmet May 19, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

        I’m not sure whether I should be laughing or crying.

  2. TheHist May 19, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    If Foster was to step aside or stood aside – is there actually anyone in the Party who is a potential capable leader? There’s no-one that stands out for me, personally.

    I assume Foster has been purposely kept out of the media spotlight in recent times due to her “crocodile” comments and numerous other car crash media moments. Due to the up and coming General Election she has parachuted herself back into media interviews to her own individual detriment. But, regardless of these car crash moments that seem to be piling up, the last election was evidence that whatever she says or does, the Unionist electorate still seem content to come out and vote for the DUP with her at the helm of the Party. I have no doubt they will do the same in the up and coming General Election.

    • moser May 19, 2017 at 10:02 am #

      I think it obvious that you could have a scarecrow leading the DUP and they would still get elected: isn’t that just one of the issues with politics here? The DUP are not fit for government.

    • pjdorrian May 19, 2017 at 11:29 am #

      I can’t remember who coined the sentence, one only had to put a union flag on a donkey at election time and it would get elected..

    • Ernesider May 19, 2017 at 11:40 am #

      “whatever she says or does, the Unionist electorate still seem content to come out and vote for the DUP with her at the helm of the Party. I have no doubt they will do the same in the up and coming General Election.”

      Yes Hist – That has always been the bottom line. As long as she is perceived as being
      sufficiently anti-Catholic/Irish and Arlene seems adequate in that respect.
      Just as it was with the ranting raving sectarian bigot Ian Paisley ..!!

      • Jude Collins May 19, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

        Ernesider – no unsubstantiated abuse, please. If you’re making a claim, back it up or leave it out.

  3. Oz 2015 May 19, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    The Fact the DUP got this money then spent it on an advertisement in a paper that isn’t available in the wee 6 speaks volumes of how the unionists know that the wee 6 voters matter damn all.

    After all, why didn’t they use the money in Ulster???
    If the precious union meant anything at all.. They would have

  4. John Gallagher May 19, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    The Conservative and Labour Party?

    • Jude Collins May 19, 2017 at 10:55 am #

      Well spotted, John. Apologies.

  5. michael c May 19, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Nolan’s response this morning was to get on his high horse about “how dare SF dictate who unionisms leader is?” ,.i nstead of concentrating on the”dark money”,he allowed a diversionary tactic to be employed,ably assisted by some creep from the Newsletter.

    • Sherdy May 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

      Nolan doesn’t seem to appreciate Sinn Fein’s reasons for red-lining Arlene as potential first minister.
      Its because of her leading role in the £500m RHI scandal, and the suspicion that her actions may not have been entirely legal.
      Had Sinn Fein ignored that possibility, Nolan would have been hammering them for politically co-operating with someone under a serious legal cloud.
      But then, facts don’t really matter to Nolan!

    • Jude Collins May 19, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      Likewise to Ernsider, Michael C. ‘Some journalist from the News Letter’ – except you have evidence otherwise and cite it,

  6. Freddie mallins May 19, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    Arlene’s crass and insufferable sanctimony isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference to the hillbilly electorate, but it could galvanise nationalism again. She would need to be on tv a few more times though to be sure. I really fear a unionist backlash this time to the spectre of a reunited Ireland coming into sharp focus. They will be digging them up for this one.

  7. Mark May 19, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    What have the media discovered in respect of the source of this money and why can they not make this public, they are keen to make it an election issue. If DUP have acted properly, the issue does not need revisiting, but I suspect somewhere in BBC the truth is known and they’re being a little frugal with truth.

  8. Páid May 19, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    Talking of scare tactics, I hear that a poll published somewhere today is showing a 51% in favour of a border poll, if that doesn’t scare the bajasus out of them…..

  9. Eolach May 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    Is there not a link between Mr Cook and the Saudi secret security services….I’m sure there is !

  10. Richard May May 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    ” events dear boy” you couldn’t have wrote that script. Someone asked me why her ‘advisors’ let her do it, they have no option, in her arrogance she chases them away, she knows best.

  11. Belfast Annie May 19, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    There’s a LOT to see here. At the very least questions to answer. May I ask those who don’t know yet to read Carole Cadwalladr (no relation) in the Observer and Guardian plus the Open Democracy website?

    • giordanobruno May 20, 2017 at 10:28 am #

      That is interesting stuff and also links to a good article by George Monbiot on Dark Money.
      It is a good argument for the opening up of all political donations here in NI.
      Both DUP and SF are receiving large amounts it seems, from unknown sources.

    • Mark May 20, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

      I think Annie, reading Carole’s article, I may upset their analytics, a hard line Republican who voted leave, simply because I am hard line Republican, if only others could see through the anti-democratic cloud which the EU is.
      The key thing in this article is, it was not made by little englanders, nor the pro-democracy Irish who rejected Nice and Lisbon before being bought off with lies, it is created by environmentalists, the european types who are supposed to be bought off with the same lie.

  12. paddykool May 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    Yes .It’s plain to see Arlene has learned nothing .She is right back in Empress Arlene mode. In her world everyone else will just have to suck it up.Mark Carruthers was like a terrier after a bone and he’s an example for all other commentators in Norneverland to follow. Nolan would give his right one to have this kind of credibility and attack.Chase these chancers down and demand answers for the rest of us. The two pundits wrapping the show up at the end , appeared to agree that Arlene was “off on one “again ,as per usual. So nothing has changed since she was pulled out of her job by the late Martin McGuinness. She wilfully refuses to understand the huge problem there is for her to enter any future Executive with her attitude unchanged.She obviously believes that it is normal behaviour. Jeeeziz I almost corpsed when she came out with that Harold McMillan “events dear boy, events”. Tripping off her tongue with all the weight of a murmuring schoolgirl, Carruthers should have been suitably gobsmacked at her lack of weight and depth.If she wanted an easier ride , she was going about it in a very odd way. ….Dear boy ….indeed!!!

  13. Liam May 19, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

    I think she’s had her chips

  14. michael c May 19, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    Sorry Jude,some “journalist” from the newsletter with an extremely plummy voice and a hectoring tone!

  15. Tommy Carlin May 19, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    This wasn’t a car crash, it was almost the complete implosion of a supposed political leader. There are 3 things at work here: Arlene’s judgement is very seriously lacking, and more; her PR people/advisors are equally inept; and most obviously, she is being set adrift by Gregory et al. For the DUP collateral damage doesn’t even come close to describing her current status. Wouldn’t it just be great if Arlene could see out the year? That may be all the time we need.

  16. Eolach May 20, 2017 at 8:32 am #

    Perhaps the decision has already been taken to sacrifice “Affable Arlene”…. are the DUP that blind to reality that they let her out on her own again…even her attempt at a smile is a liability

  17. fiosrach May 20, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    Is that the same brooch she wears in every outfit or does she have several? If themins can wear fáinní, I can wear a crown.