The story of Northern Irish First Minister Peter Robinson and his errant wife gets more bizarre by the day. For overseas readers and the terminally inattentive, it goes something like this: Peter Robinson has always struck me as an unpleasant, uptight Paisleyite. The Northern Irish peace process resulted in both communities voting for their most exteme political manifestations - fairly standard issue stuff so far in accordance with the theory that the extreme can deliver things the centrist can't as regards the resolution of intractable conflict. So the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein did the unthinkable and headed a joint administration. They settled down to attempt to address fairly standard issue Northern Irish type arguments such as policing in a more or less unremarkable way until very recently.
The appropriately named Mrs Robinson is 60 (note the age) and a member of the the Light and Life Free Methodist church in Belfast (it's a Northern Irish thing - bear with me). She had previously only shown significantly on the radar by pronouncing homosexuality an 'abomination' and that it made her 'nauseous'. As may be imagined, this was less than universally well received. There was a certain amount of muttering recently when it emerged that the Robinsons, who are both members of the Westminster Parliament as well as the Northern Irish assembly had between them trousered to £500,000 in public funds in the 'discharge' of their duties last year. That's not counting the £150,000 paid out of public funds for employing their children to assist them imn their public duties. I note without surprise that the Robinsons own a holiday home in Florida.
So far so tacky in a standard issue sort of way. Then comes the good bit. It emerges that Mrs Robinson has been having an affair (now concluded) with a 19 year old!
On one level, this might be seen as a private matter but what has made it less than private (apart from Mrs Robinson's censorious pronouncements on the 'failings' of others) is that money comes into it. The Robinson toyboy, a character by the name of Kirk McCambley, worked in his father's butcher's shop where our heroine would go to purchase supplies. As the affair developed she set him up in business running a cafe in a new development. She persuaded two property developers to part with £25,000 each which she handed over to the no doubt grateful Kirk who was to bung her £5,000 out of the money to pay some debts she had incurred (despite the family income as aforesaid!).
Then things get nasty. She wants the £45,000 back. The relationship breaks down. Mrs Robinson helpfully explains to her Pastor 'God's word was very clear on it'. Despite the belated appearance of God in the drama, it seems that the real cause of the end of the affair was the money - or McCambley's failure to give it back. Although the developers didn't get their money back initially, £20,000 was paid to the Free Methodist Tabernacle and another £20,000 to repay Mrs Robinson's debts. In fairness to the Pastor, he became very uncomfortable with these arrangements and at his insistence the money was sent back to the developers. Yes I know that leaves £5,000 unaccounted for. Its whereabouts is a mystery.
Then she attempts suicide. Mr Robinson is seen in the Northern Irish Assembly laughing and joking as she was in hospital (he hadn't called an ambulance 'on medical advice that she should sleep after her failed suicide attempt' he later helpfully explained). Such jollity was premature as he is in the poo as well now. She is in trouble for taking the admitted £5,000 and also helping one of the developers who had stumped up the money in relation to a building scheme in her constituency. He is in trouble for, on finding out about the money, advising her to pay the £5,000 back but not reporting the matter to the authorities. A QC is to investigate.
Otherwise words fail me...
Another dysfunctional family tale saw the light of day recently with the publication of a protracted rant from Murry Wilson, father of three of the Beach Boys and general evil old bastard. It doesn't bear repetition but here is one of the best pop songs ever, the deliciously trippy Wild Honey.
I conclude today's posts by noting without further comment that Lonely Planet has ranked Wolverhampton as the fifth worst place in the world (the worst is Detroit, it emerges). Okay, I said without comment but haven't these people heard of Stoke???