Jude Collins

Monday, 26 April 2010

'Have you stopped beating your wife?' stuff

I knew Mike Nesbitt’s first wife when she, like him, used to work for the BBC in Belfast. She was a lovely young woman and I always thought it a pity their marriage didn’t work out. But that’s her business and his business, and nobody else’s. You wouldn’t think that, though, the way the media have been handling it. On The Politics Show on BBC TV yesterday, Nesbitt's family arrangements were raised on the grounds that Iris Robinson had been forced to step down as MP because of the revelations about her personal life. Again on BBC radio today it surfaced. What next? The PC police going round to check if MPs are dropping litter? Not using low-fat milk? Having lustful thoughts?

Overall, Nesbitt handled himself rather well on The Politics Show. Mind you he had only Keith Harbison, the TUV man and Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP man, to contend with. Harbison sounded like a student debater who’d wandered into the wrong room; little Jeffrey sounded…well, shrill, if you want to know the truth. At his best Jeffrey speaks in a Daniel O’Donnell voice so you find yourself thinking ‘This man has found peace with his Maker; he speaks from a pure heart’. Then somebody lobs Jeffrey a spin-bowl and before you know it he’s shouting and gesturing and sounding like a man who’s worried he’s standing on political quicksand. Compared to him, Nesbitt sounded grounded, reasonable and authoritative. Sounded. HIs content, alas, was the usual UCUNF ‘Let’s get more integrated with the mainland’. Appalling BUMF.

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