Friday, January 08, 2010

The Cougar Of Strangford

To read Iris Robinson's account of her descent into sexual impropriety, you'd diagnose a case of manic depression. Especially if you'd recently finished reading Terry Cheney's Manic.

Behaving impulsively, to the point of danger? Ms. Cheney lays out scenarios that would curl your hair. The fact that Iris Robinson, after being married for almost forty years, had an affair with a nineteen-year-old man, certainly falls into that category of madness.

They can call her the Cougar of Strangford, the older woman who snagged some young and virile prey, and the more 'holier-than-thou' Protestants can rail against her sins, but if Ms. Robinson is indeed suffering from bipolar disorder, she is only to be pitied.

Not only did she cheat on her husband, but she used her political connections as the Stormont representative from Strangford to assist her sweetheart financially. If not for her, it's unlikely that the gentleman would have had the money or the clout to acquire the rights to run a cafe at the Lock Keeper's Cottage, part of a historic area being developed by the Castlereagh Council.

Opposition parties are calling for Ms. Robinson to step down as MP, but there's also a great deal of political fur flying in her husband's direction. He should have known about the shady deals the woman was concocting, goes the line of reasoning, but the man didn't even know his wife was sleeping with Kirk McCambley. If she appeared to be stepping up for a constituent who was the son of a family friend, how would he suspect something untoward was going on?

It was only after the fact, after Peter Robinson was aware of the affair, after Iris tried to kill herself, that he stepped in to make sure the loans were repaid. Should he have alerted the council and Stormont and the press and members of the Ulster Unionist Party that his wife had gone astray, and very badly?

That's the problem with family businesses when that business is government. What a husband wouldn't want the world to know about his wife isn't a private affair at all, but the public's.

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