Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Peter Robinson: A Broken Man

Click HERE to watch Peter Robinson's 7 minute long statement in response to the revelation that his wife Iris had had an affair and tried to kill herself. It's very difficult to watch and the film depicts a man at the end of his emotional tether. He's dignified but seems constantly to be on the verge of breaking down. He has said he is determined to carry on his governmental duties as normal, but after watching this you have to question whether he is in the right frame of mind to be able to do that. He seems a broken man.


John said...

Certainly it is not the Peter Robinson we are used to seeing, but in his interview the financial aspects of his wifes affair were not answered satisfactorly. Certainly he is confident of no financial aspects of this on himself, but on the surface of it this looks like there is some difficulty there regarding Iris. The business man she had the affair with was given moneyand this appears to be the interest as regards the BBC rather than the personal affairs of the Robinsons' themselves.

Looks like more to come.

Moriarty said...

Thanks but no. I've no intention of watching it given the summary. It would seem indecent.

Michael Heaver said...

Broken man is right.

Anonymous said...

I think it is very harsh to say that he is a broken man. He has been going through the difficult moment of his life and this is all. Sounds as if you, Iain has never had any personal problems in your life at all (at least in the space of love). You should be more sympathetic in such situations, it does not look good if somebody uses every opportunity to fight his opponent.

True Belle said...

This is deeply personal, and their business. It is wrong to air dirty washing in public.

40 years of marriage companionship and support is never easy. Surely it is about going through thick and thin together?

Would you have given his wife airspace if her husband had been disloyal? I bet you wouldn't.

Peter is feeling sorry for himself, tit for tat is the killer of all marriages. I hope his relationship remains intact!

Unknown said...

Why don't we allow a senior politician to have some time off at a time of stress?

Didn't one of the Scandinavian PMs give up for a few month due to depression. He came back afterwards and the country accepted it.

I think the British / Irish public would be very understanding in this situation.

For example, if Charles Kennedy could overcome his drink problem I'm sure he would be accepted back as party leader.

DeeDee99 said...

I saw a snippet of this on the news and felt so dreadfully sorry for him. I don't want to watch the whole thing.

I hope he finds strength and peace through his obviously strong faith.

Gordon Comstock said...

Pity he's not a Tory. Then he'd get the "needs our support, whatever he decides he has my full backing, we must give him the time he needs to sort his private life out, I am sure we can all agree to that" treatment that you reserve for your friends.

He does not get it, because he is not one of your friends. It is moments like this that show you up for what you are: an odious little shit.

Paul Halsall said...

She was the one who called - less than 18 months ago for gays to be "turned around" by shrinks. [ ]

I usually have sympathy with people who become a focus of scandal, but not this time.

On second thoughts, I do have some sympathy, both for her and for him.

Personal life is very difficult for everyone, and there are just so many issues and emotions we can never know about another person.

So I do have sympathy with them both. I just wish she had had some sympathy for others.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he is a broken man - strained badly, but not broken. I do think it is a bit much to be both First Minister in Northern Ireland and a Westminster M.P. If he wants to reduce the day-on-day strain, then he needs to step down as an M.P.

Anonymous said...

I merely make one point, Iain: when people on this blog and elsewhere pointed out that a person who is willing to lie to their spouses and other family members is not necessarily a person who has the integrity, honesty and selflessness needed to be a good (as opposed to successful) MP, you dismissed us out of hand, even to the point of name-calling ("Turnip Taliban" anyone?).

Now that you can see the damage that can be done through individual selfishness and dishonesty within a marriage, maybe you can understand why so many of us feel that marital infidelity makes a comment on your character and, while it does not disqualify you from politics, it certainly should make people think about whether you have the character and honesty needed to serve your constituency instead simply serving yourself.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, I did not coin the phrase Turnip Taliban, for a start!

I also do not make light of marital infidelity. My point was that it should not, on its own, necessarily rule someone out of standing for public office. And I stick by that.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, how you can read this post as anything other than being sympathetic to Peter Robinson, I do not know!

bewick said...

MY ex cheated on me and when I found out it seriously affected my life (I had always been faithful) including my professional life. I nearly went down.
It was only the support (and they really didn't know what had happened) of my colleagues and staff who kept me upright.
I cannot for one minute think that a Minister can adequately function in such circumstances. I had an imoportant position but it DID NOT affect the whole country important that it may have been.
PS I repaid the bitch in spades.

tory boys never grow up said...

What you have to question is the prurient media (and I include bloggers in this), who have such a fascination in what should be private matters, that they force such displays of personal angst as the least worst alternative.

John said...

The mystery man

Moriarty said...

@Gordon Comstock

You might want to take a chill pill. Or go water that aspidistra :-)

Anonymous said...

Looked like a political speech aimed at the DUP base - an attempt at damage limitation (references to God´s forgiveness etc). He didn't look "broken" IMHO, just acutely embarrassed. I would have more pity for them if they weren't so judgmental themselves and it isn´t just gays they despise, they dislike anyone who isn't like them. The DUP has a record of making sure that children's playgrounds, swimming pools and leisure centres are closed on Sundays.
Oh yes, and for years, they went on and on about not working with Sinn Fein. Then soon as they become the Unionist top dog, what do they do?

Anonymous said...

It was brave of Mr Robinson to air his grief and shock on television, especially as there is nothing more revolting than moralising hypocrites.

Martin S said...

Dignified, rather than broken.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry...did I enter a time machine?

I watched a man detail how he ignored his wife...she sought comfort elsewhere and he was 'good enough' to forgive her and ask others to do the same.

This is an old fashioned concept so while we are talking about old fashioned concepts perhaps he could have returned to and paid attention to his wife more often.

this is not a man to be admired

Anonymous said...

Peter Robinson is a prat.

Relationships go through turbulent times and sometimes that can involve the end or new beginning which can involve the forgiveness of certain things...what I saw was actually quite worrying. The language used was such that made him entirely blameless and his wife quite frankly, must wonder of her demise was a release!

Mrs Clayton

Disco Biscuit said...

Poor chap. He must be wondering what on earth he did wrong. A bit like all those gay men and women that evil, pernicious, promiscuous woman has castigated.

And no, I don't think that's unfair, even accounting for her, increasingly justified, depression.

I'd be depressed if I realised I was such a Grade A "Hoon".

Anonymous said...

I think Petey & Iris need to have a few beers together and listen to "Exile on Main Street" by The Rolling Stones.

Cynic said...

Excellent script he was reading from he turns it over you can even see the bits carefully highlighted assumes for emphasis

So Iris had an affair? So what? It's hardly enough to lead to all this. An emergency announcement of her retirement posted just after Christmas and now this.

Also Peter was markedly guarded when questioned about financial matters. 'I' have done nothing wrong and there's no allegation 'that will stand up'

It appears there's a BBC Spotlight programme almost ready to roll. Should be interesting but in the meantime, no matter how awful she is, let's hope she can now put the past and the very public exposure behind her and return to health

Chris A said...

Paul Halsall no you needn't feel any sympathy for her whatsoever. She had the privilege of having power and influence and the ability to do good; and what did she do with it turned into a platform of hatred and bigotry whilst sanctimoniously droning on about marriage and family.

Anonymous said...

What a lot of nasty and bitter comments from certain posters.

Regardless of his politics my heart goes out to Peter Robinson, who is obviously going through a horrific experience, and only just seems to be holding it all together.

John MacLeod said...

Thanks for these wise and restrained remarks, Iain. There will inevitably be those who cannot resist the chance to make make gloating capital from human tragedy; there may well be legitimate questions to be asked of the Robinson financial dealings - when decency permits - and there are very solemn lessons here for Christians: but your conduct in these observations is faultless and wise.

Anonymous said...

Very odd the whole thing. She had an affair a year ago, attempted suicide in March and now we have Peter Robinson raking over the coals on TV 9 months later.

Seems a bit odd to me. Playing for the sympathy vote.

Also, he said she had something like "mental problems" when she had the affair. But then maybe she wasn't getting much from Robinson who always struck me as a bit of a sinister odd bod in his tinted glasses in not so sunny Belfast (I am from NI too so I remember his days as paisley's sidekick).

OK, it must be awful for Peter Robinson but the whole thing looks odd. And on channel 4 news last night they played far too much. It was cringeworthy.

Anonymous said...

I have to say my sympathy was considerably muted by the feeling that their private life is of no concern or interest to me - with the exception of demonstrating their political hypocrisy.

I also felt that had Iris Robinson genuinely been depressed, her husband's sanctimonius condemnation, deliberately in public before the world's media, on how terribly she has wronged him - will have hardly helped her.


Peter Baxter said...

This is exactly what we have come to expect from a Labour so-called "government". It has undermined marriage to the extent that decent couples like the Robinsons experience these kind of unfortunate difficulties.

Thank God we'll have the Conservatives in soon.

Bryan S said...

One is left with the feling that both news programmes were being used to garner support and more likely time.
Nevertheless I keep wondering why hard nosed journalists did not ask the obvious follow-up question when he declared that he had always acted with total correctness. Why not the follow up -’and what about Iris’s finncial afairs? Are they utterly clean as well?’
Nobody in northern Ireland will be unaware of the rumours regarding wife beating and cosiness with building developers which has followed Peter R for many years.
Maybe these rumours are entirely untrue but we also have a saying in northern ireland and that is…. you couldn’t like him if you reared him.
It is obvious that the more sympathetic comments come from well meaning people who know nothing of the history of the Spotless Family Robinson

Anonymous said...

This is very sad and I don't think he needed to make a public statement. This is deeply personal and they should keep it in the family.

Little Black Sambo said...

Who he?

Anonymous said...

The reason why Robinson had to make a statement is because pond-life journalists have been feeding off each other for 3 weeks about this stuff. UUP hacks on Slugger O'Toole were pratically wetting themselves yesterday over the stuff.

The BBC was planning to run some sort of a documentary on the story (nice use of taxpayer's money there).

Anonymous said...

I have no particular regard for Peter Robinson as a politicion but I have to say that I felt desperately sorry for the man when watching his TV statement.
Rather worried about my weakness

Unknown said...

I hate the DUP, I think they are a party of bigots and hypocrites.

However, This is not a political issue, I felt a great deal of sorrow for Peters predicament.

I dont think hes broken, out of all the Unionists, Robinson and Dodds are the most capable, well seeing as hes competing against Reg Empey and Jim Allister thats not saying much.

Iain i think forgets and i dont mean this as an insult, i think you have to live in Northern ireland to understand this: that to lead here you really have to have a thick skin.

To be honest this is really not an issue for any of us, its private and should be left as such. I wish Mr Robinson well.

Jimmy said...

"(nice use of taxpayer's money there)."

Funny you should say that. It's becoming apparent what budding young entrepreneurs have to do to get a grant out of Castlereagh Council.

MDB said...

Crocodile tears I fear or perhaps just sorry that it has come out. There is a huge back story here........ it will be interesting to watch it unfold