Friday, January 15, 2010

Mrs Robinson You're trying to seduce me !

I'm sorry, I take no pleasure in the humiliation that the First Minister of Northern Ireland is experiencing right now but I just had to put this up.

Since about half of my readers are American I thought it might be appropriate to fill them in on the background to the above clip. Northern Ireland is going through a very un Irish political scandal at the moment. Don't get me wrong, we have plenty of scandals but none quite like this. A married female member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and the British parliament (MP) has become embroiled in a financial and sex scandal. It is alleged that she borrowed £50,000 from business associates to help finance the business of the man she was having an affair with. She did this without declaring the money which is strictly against regulations. Pretty scandalous eh.. It gets better. She is a member of the DUP, the staunchly conservative unionist party with a strong evangelical connection of which she is the most prominent. She has angered many in the past for her conservative views on society most notably homosexuals which she described as an abomination. So given her conservative views on society and the family she would not be the most likely candidate for an extra marital affair. Did I mention that she is 61 and her lover is 19. But the best part, her name is Mrs Robinson. For those of you unfamiliar with the classic 1967 movie The Graduate watch the short clip below and it will become clear. And as if this episode couldn't be any more bizarre, Mrs Robinson is the wife of the First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson, the leader of the unionist Protestant community who historically entered into a power sharing government in May 2007 with the Nationalist Catholic Party Sinn Fein. The First Minister is also under pressure for not declaring the money once he became aware of the situation last May but I think most reasonable people can forgive him for being overcome with utter shock at the news that his wife was carrying on with a man young enough to be her grandson and forgetting to inform the revenue that his wife had come into some extra money. Mrs Iris Robinson has since resigned from all posts and has apparently been checked into a mental hospital. Meanwhile poor old Peter has stepped down for a 6 week period to deal with family issues and to clear his name.

I genuinely feel sorry for Peter Robinson and hope he bounces back despite the fact that over the years he has launched some outrageous attacks against the Irish state and in some cases failed to condemn violence against Catholics. That said in the spirit of reconciliation that now dominates North South relations I wish him all the best. It is interesting to note this case coming to light at the same time as the Gerry Adams family scandal. This time it is the leader of the Catholic community whose personal life has come under scrutiny. Gerry Adams in a recent TV interview announced that his late father subjected members of the family to physical and sexual abuse. He announced this while encouraging his own brother who is accused of abusing his daughter to turn himself into the police. It makes me think, for all the hatred and sectarianism in Northern Ireland, and for all the painstaking negotiations of the peace process, sometimes family life can be even more difficult that political life.


GW said...

Sex does make people act stupidly. That holds true for conservative politicians and buddhist golfers, for 11th century popes and 21st Republican governors. In many cases, the perpetrator, as in your conservative pol, knows it is wrong, but the id overrides the superego. On the issue of sex, I don't condemn them for their hypocrisy. To the contrary, I shake my head and think, there but for the grace of God go I . . .

Do love the old Mrs. Robinson vid. lol.

Ted Leddy said...

Thanks GW as always for your thoughts.

Truthfully my deliberate association with Mrs Robinson being a conservative and being unfaithful was unfair. I am battling with a dislike for the Robinson's but I assure you it is not because they are conservatives, it is because of the ferocious anti Irish rhetoric that they have both engaged in over the years.

As you point out yourself there is no connection between political affiliation and cheating on your spouse. It irritates me that if a republican is found cheating the Dems yell hypocrisy and if its vice versa the republicans shout family values. As you say, sex makes people do stupid things regardless of their political views.

I am curious as to your opinion of the following. Is it important to you that your elected representatives are faithful to their partners ? Is it important that the commander in Chief does so. Would the fact that FDR, Truman, Eisenhower all had women on the side lessen your opinion of them ?

GW said...

Hmmmm, good question Teddy. As I mentioned earlier, I don't condemn elected leaders in sexual matters for their hypocrisy, but I do hold them responsible for their lack of discretion and their poor judgment. If someone is in a position of responsiblity to the public, then yes, I expect them to maintain decorum during their time in office. If they are foolish enough to engage in such indiscretions and it becomes public, it would be one negative factor among the many factors I would use in evaluating their character and fitness for office. What your Ms. Robinson did is near comic, but the real problem is not that she diddled a 19 yr old, its the fiscal fraud on top of it. That shows that she is not merely sexually indescrete, but that her lack of judgment extends well outside the bedroom. When you add in that factor, it is clear that such individual's judgment is not merely poor, but disqualifying.

To get more specific, on a moral level, it is of course of central importance that a spouse remain loyal. I think we undermine morality if we allow publicly exposed adultery to pass without public condemnation. But, absent other factors - such as our SC Governor abdicating his duties as Gov. for a week while on a secret tryst in Argentina - I would not on that fact alone base my vote.

So is that as clear as mud?

Ted Leddy said...


I agree that for a high profile public figure to be careless does show a lack of political judgement. Imaging John Edwards had become the democratic nomination for President in 08. The GOP would have strolled into the White House once the affair became Public.

I just think its an indictment of the Media and image driven era that we live in that its often more important to the public that their political representatives are faithful to their partners than they are competent. Frankly if female company helped FDR and Truman relieve some stress as they were battling Nazis and Soviets, enabling them to do their jobs more effectively then I'm glad they had mistresses.

But you are of course correct. In this case the money is the real problem and ultimately the reason Mrs Robinson had to go... Wo Ho Ho !

Anyway I think I got it, If GW's local congressman or woman is found to be cheating of their partner, it will be a factor when you reach the polling booth, but not the only factor.

Crystal clear