James Graham continues to provide one of the key services in our democracy – specifically bringing us the musings of the LibDems’ favourite “Marmite” politician, Lembit (see meaning 3 here) from the “Daily J Arthur”; without us having to wade through inundations of soft-porn.
This week’s column from Lembit contains a remarkable whitewash job on the Robinsons. Crikey. Strike a light. OK, fair enough, Lembit mentions that the Robinsons are his friends. It’s a democracy and he states his view. Fair enough. But blimey oh riley, did he actually watch the BBC’s “Spotlight” programme? Here’s some of Lembit’s whitewashery:
AS you probably know, Northern Ireland MP Iris Robinson had an affair. The press went bonkers about it because, like in the film The Graduate, Mrs Robinson had got friendly with a much younger chap.
Well, that’s utter and complete cobblers to start with. OK, if you read tabloids that’s how the situation might be seen. But the BBC produced a remarkable documentary, representing a shining pinnacle of investigative journalism and public service broadcasting, which focused on two things: the testimony of Selwyn Black and text messages from Iris Robinson. You only have to see the genuine conscience-wracked face of Mr Black as he tells his tale, to understand that this is not, at its origin, a salacious “toy boy lover” tale. Selwyn Black blew the whistle with a tale of allegedly undeclared financial dealings and alleged misuse of himself, Black, as a public servant, which was enough to make anyone’s hair stand on end.
All this is dismissed by Lembit as:
Some claim that she was involved in financial wheeling and dealing too.
Well, I suppose that’s one way of putting it!
Irate Iris is quitting the politics game…
Do you see what he did there? Slipped in that word “irate”… Irate? In all the stuff I’ve read on this affair, “irate” seems to be the last word to describe Iris Robinson. It seems to be a subtle way of suggesting that she has a right to be angry after the recent revelations. Why? She’s been a richly rewarded public servant and the BBC came up with a portfolio of well-researched allegations. Why is it reasonable for Iris Robinson to be “irate”? And, by the way, I suspect she is anything but “irate”, anyway.
Poor Peter’s stepped down as boss of the Assembly for the next six weeks while things get sorted out. But is it fair? No! It’s easy – and dopey – to simply ogle an MP’s private life and pretend that it’s about politics.
Again, I can only repeat my question: Has Lembit actually seen the Spotlight programme? And this Iris Robinson was the one who went on the Nolan radio programme and denounced homosexuality as “disgusting” and that it “makes (her) sick” and that it is an “abomination” – thereby invoking Leviticus with no thought of “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” - while allegedly herself committing adultery (with several alleged worrying aggravating aspects); which Leviticus condemns in equally strong terms. That suggests hypocrisy of the highest order from a politician, which deserves to be exposed. To dismiss it simply as “ogling a MP’s private life” is so patronising and asinine that it leads me to suspect that Lembit’s brain has gone on holiday.
Here’s another clincher from the Lemster:
And as for the financial stuff, unless we’re now all expected to grass on each other…
Give me strength! “Grass”? One…two…three…four…five. Oxygen mask please. In…out…in…out. I cannot believe that an elected representative (i.e Lembit) would use the word “grass” to describe the solemn duty of government ministers to bring to the attention of the authorities matters which might constitute an abuse of office.
If a journalist’s wife was caught having an affair with someone else, would the journo resign? Of course not!
How on earth is Lembit so blinded by loyalty to his “friends”, the Robinsons, that he cannot see how utterly risible that comparison is?! If the journalist and the journalist’s wife in question were in receipt of in excess of £500,000 of public money a year and signed up to slews of codes of conduct which they had allegedly broken, then yes, I would expect the journalist to resign. But journalists are, by enlarge, not employed by the public are they? And they are not signed up to codes of conduct about, for example, declarations of interest. (OK – BBC journalists are funded by public money but they have a code of conduct. I don’t think there is any suggestion that code has been broken here) And they do not have the power to lobby influentially in the same way as an elected representative. I find it incredible that I find myself having to point all that out.
The main solemn duty of a journalist is to bring the truth out into the open. In the case of Darragh MacIntyre, the BBC Spotlight journalist who broke the Iris Robinson story, he has discharged that duty (in respect to the Robinsons) in the most brilliant and professional way possible.
What Lembit’s Robinson piece underlines is how he talks down to people in his regular column. It really is quite frightening. I mean, come on, Lembit really can’t be as stupid as his Robinson piece indicates, can he? I refuse to countenance the idea.
May I suggest a modicum of research in future? Defending friends based on a travesty of assumptions totally unrelated to reality is not doing any favours to the friends in queston.Tweet