Monday, December 28, 2009

Iris Robinson to Leave Politics

As regular readers may REMEMBER, I have had my differences with Iris Robinson. But it is a great shame that chronic depression has forced her to announce she will be standing down from parliament at the next election. I count myself very lucky that no matter how bad things have ever got for me, I have never suffered from depression myself, and perhaps it is difficult therefore to empathise properly with people who do, but knowing several people who do have bouts of depression from time to time, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I hope that stepping away from the pressures of political life will make it possible for Iris Robinson to find a little more happiness.

UPDATE: Stephen Glenn makes a very aposite remark...
I do wish Iris a full recovery from her depression. I also hope that through this experience she may also learn that some of the things from her public life are utterances that may have led others to a similar state.

22 comments:

Jo said...

Well done Iain..depression is after all a sign of absolute weakness and it's something to boast about when you don't suffer from it...pity the poor depressed people who succumb...

Anonymous said...

Unnecessary scolding from Mr Glenn.
It seems like gloating.
He should wait till she recovers before telling her off.
Bad call Iain.

Local Member said...

Clinical depression is a serious illness. Even if Mr Glenn and others were annoyed, upset or disgusted by Mrs Robinson's past comments, that is not the same.

Your blog is almost always civilised - please keep it that way. You would not quote nasty comments about someone with cancer or heart disease - it should be the same with mental illness.

Chris A said...

Perhaps if she showed some kindness and human compassion towards her fellow men then she might feel better. Not much sympathy I'm afraid.

Iain Dale said...

I think my comments make clear that I believe clinical depression is very serious and that I have greatyy sympathy with her. However, I think Stephen's remark is indeed relevant. I do not believe it to be motivated by spite.

Lionel de Livi said...

I see that both anonymous and Local Member have taken my comments in the wrong way.

As I do say on my own blog I don't take people's mental problems lightly, the reason as hinted at are that I did suffer depression at a young age due to the repression of my sexuality as one who grew up in the Northern Irish culture.

I do genuinely wish that Iris makes a recovery, but I'm fully aware that recovery from a bout of depression and recovering from depression are two very different things. Indeed just like some people are recovering alcoholics so some people are aware and coping depressives.

However, as I also know both the stresses of a live involved in politics and also of the stresses of a live being told you are abnormal because of what you feel. I wasn't handing out a scolding but pointing out the juxtoposition of Iris's public statements effect on others and the end of her public life.

Stephen Glenn said...

Lionel de Livi is of course my co-blogging cuddly toy. I should have checked which account I was signed in under, before posting.

Tom said...

I'm afraid I can shed no tear. I suffer from depression myself, and I only hope that by her own struggle she might find a little more compassion from others who suffer 'psychiatric' disorders. Perhaps her friend who takes joy in 'offering help' to homosexuals will offer her some counselling.

Let us hope that this is leads to a personal journey for her. But I, for one, am glad that she, and her bigotted views, are leaving politics.

Thatsnews said...

So, this person thinks it better that a child is raped than two gays get it on? I think, and this is being honest, that depression is the least of her problems...

Local Member said...

The post by Tom seems to assume that homosexuality is a type of mental illness. I thought that view was no longer held.

Meanwhile, in his post, is Thatsnews confusing Mrs Robinson with Liam Adams and his brother?

Anonymous said...

Iain,

It may have been better had you not bothered to post about her decision to stand down regardless of the reason.

As a parent of a child that was sexually abused by a nursery worker, my view is that "there can be no viler act" than having someone like Robinson elected to legislative hub of this country.

Kath said...

She is/was? useless as a politician at any rate and her comments about gay people brought embarrasment to the northern irish people. We are embarrassed enough with the shower we have at stormont, gawd help us. She behaved disgracefully, and if her comments were the result of her illness then hopefully when she recovers she may find the goodness in her to say sorry for any damage to others that she caused.

John MacLeod said...

Stephen Glenn's comment on what is a recognised and serious illness - a cause of a very high proportion of suicides - was uncalled for, Iain. It was wrong. No one cares whether Glenn's motive was malicious or otherwise, or whether spite motivated you to hook on it or not (I don't personally believe it did): you should not have linked to it.

Iain Dale said...

With respect, I'll decide what I link to on this blog, thank you very much.

Craig Ranapia said...

Stephen Glenn's comment on what is a recognised and serious illness - a cause of a very high proportion of suicides - was uncalled for.

What was uncalled for about it? You and Iris Robinson might want to get informed on the enormous damage -- including suicide and other forms of self-harm -- caused by people like her "very lovely psychiatrist" office mate.

I can only wish Robinson all the best for the future, but also hope that she also gains some insight into how her own attitudes have affected others. After all, there are plenty of people out there who think "depression" is just a lifestyle chosen by morally defective, politically correct losers who just need to snap out of it.

David said...

There are 2 things to remember here, Iris is the wife of the NI First Minister, so when people get uncomfortable about her utterances they do have a good reason.

I think Iain has actually been pretty decent and fair to Iris, I know of alot of people who would not do the same thing.

................................. said...

I rather imagine that some of her public utterances have more than a little to do with her depression, too.

It's all too easy to lay into someone else when you feel desperately bad about yourself.

I rather pity her. I know it's not kind, but I do.

................................. said...

Incidentally, can anyone think of another politician we'd like to see leave politics to deal with his depression?

Bavarian Orange Order said...

I´m pretty sure that her comments on sexuality etc stem from her religious views, not her depression. As for her illness, perhaps it wasn´t helped by being exposed, along with her husband, as being partial to claiming as much expenses as possible.

Vincent said...

I live in Iris Robinson's constituency...in fact 5 mins from her office. I have met with her on a number of occasions. Her outlook on life is that there are two types in the world...born again christians like her and the rest of us. Her statements to me were racist, homophobic and sectarian. I am sure Jesus could cure her of her 'issues'....but the again perhaps not. She is a bitter woman, who cannot deal with matters re sexual orientation close to home....and her statements were shocking.....my home has been attacked 12 times....and I am sorry but I feel no empathy for her....just wait and see her next re-incarnation. Iain....get real and face up to the reality of this person and those she supports!!!!!

Shaymus said...

You would be depressed too if u extorted money from a barely post-adolescent minor, abused public office powers, secured land for building contractor friends and betrayed the bible that she damns others with. I hope they have SSRI's for her in prison. She's a hippocrite who is feeling fear of being caught. Rot in Jail Iris!!

PS- I have the utmost empathy for those genuinely affected by depression and other aadverse states of mind. (But not the Robinson Dynasty).

Ulidia said...

It is unfortunate that errors of judgement by politicians such as having extramarital affairs has now become tolerated within UK politics where once it was definitely a matter for resignation.

I am no prude but feel that extramarital affairs and other inappropriate behaviour demonstrates lack of judgement and an unfitness for public office. If the adulterer cannot be trusted by their partner then they cannot and should not expect the respect and trust of the electorate.


Regrettably a similar reduction in the standards expected of public representatives started trend in Northern Ireland when the UUP failed to discipline their MEP ( in manner in which the Orange Order did) for having an affair with a young Council Official and allowed him to not only remain in his position but to stand again with the full support of the current leader Sir Reg.

Interestingly unlike the current situation where Sir Reg considers Peter Robinson as the wronged party should step aside there was no such pressure put on the current Conservative/UUP representative in Europe to stand down from his post because his well publicised indiscretion.

I think this incident was part of the rot that has now infected NI politics. I for one have never voted for Nicholson since.

On the nationalist side Gerry Adams has serious questions to answer about his apparent inaction over his niece's claims of abuse by his brother and what appears his less than frank television on Spotlight.

Mrs Robinson has stepped down from public life - Nicholson and Adams should follow.