Thursday, 31 December 2009

We must not forget Iris's intolerance of others.

In today's Belfast Telegraph, I argue that sympathy for Iris Robinson's depression should not obscure the unpleasant reality of her politics.

Even by the DUP's standards, Mrs Robinson's politics comprise an unpleasant concoction of bigotries, seasoned with a predictable dash of ethno-religious fanaticism.

This unpalatable dish is served up with a sizeable side-dollop of spite, epitomised by Iris's triumphant nine-finger salute which taunted Tory MPs after DUP votes had secured a Government victory on 42-day detention, or by her serial "unparliamentary" harassment of the Health Minister, Ulster Unionist Michael McGimpsey, for which she attracted official censure.

It is possible, of course, to elicit human sympathy for Robinson in light of the mental illness which has forced her to step back from her duties. Perhaps the condition might even permit a kinder interpretation of the extremity of some of her outbursts.

But the sum total of hatred and intolerance encompassed by Northern Ireland's politics will be diminished by Iris Robinson's retirement and that is not a result to lament.

I conclude:

Iris Robinson deserves support as she attempts to recover from a debilitating condition. Most people in Northern Ireland will be all too aware of the damage which depression, and other mental illnesses, can inflict upon friends and family.

We can, however, extend the Strangford MP sympathy and good wishes without applauding an erratic and unconstructive political career, occasionally characterised by a vicious and vindictive use of language


O'Neill said...

When I heard about Iris' condition, I couldn't help thinking about the comments of Maurice Mills, a few years ago, when he said that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to punish the gays of New Orleans.

This version of a spiteful Almighty taking his petty revenge on those who break what us mere mortals may define as His Law is one which now seems capable of doing a reverse turn and biting you unexpectedly right back on your Fundie bum.

The disappearance of Iris Robinson, the politician from the UK scene is most definitely no loss. I hope Iris Robinson, the person, makes a complete recovery

Alec said...

>> Setting aside the unscientific nature of this proposition, surely experience of a mental illness would have cautioned Robinson against describing its sufferers as "vile" or claiming that they made her "sick"? Her language revealed a startling lack of empathy for fellow human beings.

Spot on.

D.Watch said...

I think your writer is slightly misinformed as seems to be the case in most media stories on Iris`s comments on homosexuality. She tempered her comments quite clearly with comments such as she `hated the sin and loved the sinner` and in reference to seeking a psychiatrist he comments were quite specific and were NOT in regards to all homosexuals. she actually stated that she could recommend a psychiatrist with experience in the matter for those who WANTED to turn straight...not quite the same as treating all homosexuals as mentally ill and in need of psychiatric help.
Nor do I believe she promoted hatred towards anyone - she simply believes that the place for sexual relations is between a man and woman within marriage - not outside of marriage.

Complain about this comment

Posted by Alan Day | 31.12.09, 12:24 GMT

Alec said...

Ferkin' L, Chekov, I've just realized how barking mad Robinson's comments to the House of Commons Committee were:

>> There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children.

So, does she consider Liam Adams to be better than a homosexual?