Jude Collins

Friday, 8 January 2010

Dangerous truth-teller

Is there a journalist in the north of Ireland with a clarity of vision to match that of Eamonn McCann? He was on the Pat Kenny Show on RTÉ Radio 1 today and he made three points that I haven’t heard anyone else make.
Point 1: suppposing the Robinson case had involved a 59-year-old man and not a 59year-old woman, and that man had promised a dying father he’d look after his teenage daughter, and within a short time of the father’s death the 59-year-old man had been found to be sleeping with the teenage daughter – what would have been the public response? And are double standards operating in Iris Robinson’s case? (OK, that’s several questions but they’re all related).
Point 2: while it’s touching to see hard-bitten journalists so moved by Peter Robinson’s quivering lip during his interview and while the emotion and sexual aspect of the case are colourful and engrossing, these things are not of central importance. What is important is the financial aspect of the case, and we’re finally coming to that now.
Point 3: how appalled are the DUP heartland people likely to be at the sight of their leader having to go to Martin McGuinness today and explain himself, justify the legitimacy of his actions? Will this be something up with which they will, to paraphrase Churchill, be unwilling or unable to put?

Maybe it’s McCann’s clear way of presenting ideas, or maybe it’s the freshness of the ideas themselves, or maybe it’s because he’s a former classmate of mine and I like him, but it seems to me he rarely fails to deliver on big issues like this. Incidentally, he doesn’t believe Peter Robinson can survive this crisis. I’m less sure. Either way, the DUP faces an appalling vista: the name being mentioned as a possible successor is ...Arlene Foster. Like I said: an appalling vista.

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