Peter Robinson's performance, and future as First Minister

DerryBee

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Oh, I am very excited to have the opportunity to post threads now...:D
I hope that my first is not too disinteresting...:oops:

The focus of my post is the First Minister, Peter Robinson and an article that I read recently in the Irish News, written by Brian Feeney. I have decided to post the article because it left me quite confused and wondering whether or not it is truly accurate or merely playing to the readership of the Irish News. I have read quite a few articles written by Brian Feeney concerning Peter Robinson and other leading Unionist politicians (most of the commentary being negative) and it is difficult to differentiate legitimate criticism from sheer criticism for criticisms sake. I would have imagined that Robinson, like him or loathe him, has managed an act of incredible political survival since revelations concerning his wife Iris in January, and given the size of his vote in the Westminster election should be re-elected during the Assembly elections in May.

It seems to me that since May, Robinson has recovered a lot of ground in regards to his position as First Minister and DUP leader, and certainly I have not seen any DUP discontent with his leadership in recent months (please correct me if I am wrong!..:oops:).

Somehow I cannot see Sinn Fein becoming the largest Assembly party in May (particularly given the fact that the DUP did not run in two constituencies during the Westminster election) and I do not think that Robinson’s career is at an end. So, the question is, what do you guys think about Robinson, is he really fighting for his political life as suggested by Feeney or do you think he is safe in terms of his career and position – particularly if the DUP remain the largest party in May? Also, what do you all think of Robinson’s performance since the revelations concerning his wife: personally I have been impressed by his actions and the development of an increasingly good working relationship with Martin McGuinness: particularly since May.


Wednesday - Robinson's loneliest of long-distance solo-runs

It seems that not a week goes by without a set of proposals from Peter Robinson. This week it's a public-sector pay freeze and a rates increase. We've already had his plans to reduce the size of the executive and the number of assembly members not to mention his plans to abolish the publicly-funded Catholic school system. When he talked about altering the size and numbers in the assembly Martin McGuinness accused him of going on "a solo run" as indeed it was. Robinson got a much better response to his remarks on education. Better in the sense that Sinn Fein, the Catholic Church and functionaries in the Catholic education system attacked him. Better in the sense that it's exactly what he needs. What's astonishing is that so many seasoned operators fell for his ploy. From years of playing the field Robinson knows exactly where to kick the ball to produce the desired result.
Of course he's on a solo run. He's fighting for his political life. His statements and speeches aren't presented as DUP policy at press conferences with a DUP team around him. No, they're at occasions where Robinson is the guest speaker and where, normally, a speech would be so unexceptional that it wouldn't even be reported let alone remembered by the poor people condemned to listen to the rasping monotone Sean Crummey impersonates so accurately.

In case you hadn't noticed, Iris is back, though living in purdah. Deloitte the accountants have just finished their inquiry into the procedures for tendering for the infamous Lock Keeper's Cottage and handed their report over to the PSNI and the police have still to interview the former MP, MLA and councillor. Is Peter himself out of the woods yet?

In case you don't remember, Peter Robinson suffered the most humiliating defeat ever inflicted in the north's politics when his constituents of 31 years rejected him last May. For Robinson it must be horrible to contemplate what the same voters might do to him next May. Therefore he has begun his election campaign early - like two months ago. There are exactly six months still to go until the assembly elections so expect a lot more headline-grabbing stuff from Robinson.

None of it amounts to a row of beans and Robinson knows it. None of it can happen without Sinn Fein's agreement and he won't get it so he can witter on regardless - with any luck eliciting an apoplectic response from Fenians which will do his electoral chances no harm at all. His own party members are left trying to explain 'what Peter meant' even though they don't know what he was talking about.

Mind you, it's hard to know if they know what they're talking about themselves. Take Mervyn Storey who told the BBC Politics Show on Sunday he wanted to "ensure that the whole gambit (sic) of the issues in relation to education are looked at". Chess masters can relax since Storey will obviously be unable to play the whole gamut of gambits available to him. Of course he's chairman of the education committee. Fills you with confidence, doesn't it?
As for his party leader, Robinson knows if Sinn Fein becomes the largest party next May he will get the blame for his gross error in negotiating the St Andrews arrangements for electing the first and deputy first ministers. He'll be finished. Unionists are obsessed with the prospect. The UUP's bumpkin leader met the TUV last week to discuss "maximising the unionist vote". Robinson has to contend with something he could never have contemplated, two rival unionist leaders to his right. If the UUP and TUV poll well the result will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The obvious correct decision would be for both UUP and TUV to give the DUP a clear run - but they won't. The question is whether Robinson will follow the traditional unionist route when faced with an electoral challenge and turn right.

It never seems to occur to a unionist leader that heading away from the overcrowded corner on the right might actually attract a different class of voter exasperated with the dead-enders in the present unionist parties.

First though, Robinson needs to get elected in May.
 


Lee McKeown

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A few thoughts.

1 - I don't know a single Unionist who'd have steam coming out of their ears if Marty were to become First Minister. If we can accept him as Deputy then what's the difference? They're joint, equal-status roles anyway. No-one I know is talking about it.

2 - If you look at the number of seats each party has in the Assembly it would take a perfect storm for Sinn Fein to end up with the most seats. TUV won't get more than two or three and the UUP will be lucky to maintain their current numbers after electing Tom Elliott. DUP will stay top.

3 - Robinson seems to have lost his arrogant streak since he found out he was stirring Kirk's porridge when Iris was coming home at night. He's been a totally different man since the whole episode. I've went from absolutely detesting the man to possibly even giving him a number on the ballot next May. His comments on apartheid education and lowering public spending waste are exactly what I want to hear from my elected representatives.

4 - He'll be easily re-elected next May if he sticks to his current path and no other skeletons fall out of his very, very, very large, murky, dusty closet.

5 - If any of the big hitters in the DUP were going to make a move on his position they needed to do it in the days following his Westminster defeat. Every day he stays in his position as DUP leader and First Minister it becomes less likely a challenge to his leadership would succeed. In fact, I'd say it would be doomed to fail unless a new scandal emerges.

6 - Why do Nationalists constantly have to refer to themselves as 'fenians' or 'taigs'? It annoys me no end.
 

vinoboy

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My sources tell me that Robbo is in top form within Executive and that he is is one of the few that understands what needs to be done in relation to the economy anda range of issues .Marty is in awe of him as he does not really understand the complexity of issues outwith the single issue of the national question ,Robbo does detail ,he does not .
The Iris issue has not really created much further comment in loyalist heartlands and nobody in DUP stepping up , Dodds has disappeared .So, in a political landscape of lack of real intelligence ,Robbo stands tall .An observation .
 

oboe

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Feeney does make a good observation about Robinsons pronouncements. Have the DUP become a one man band?

I'm not sure who would do a better job. Dodds for example doesnt seem anywhere near as capable.
 

daniels

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A few thoughts.

1 - I don't know a single Unionist who'd have steam coming out of their ears if Marty were to become First Minister. If we can accept him as Deputy then what's the difference? They're joint, equal-status roles anyway. No-one I know is talking about it.

2 - If you look at the number of seats each party has in the Assembly it would take a perfect storm for Sinn Fein to end up with the most seats. TUV won't get more than two or three and the UUP will be lucky to maintain their current numbers after electing Tom Elliott. DUP will stay top.3 - Robinson seems to have lost his arrogant streak since he found out he was stirring Kirk's porridge when Iris was coming home at night. He's been a totally different man since the whole episode. I've went from absolutely detesting the man to possibly even giving him a number on the ballot next May. His comments on apartheid education and lowering public spending waste are exactly what I want to hear from my elected representatives.

4 - He'll be easily re-elected next May if he sticks to his current path and no other skeletons fall out of his very, very, very large, murky, dusty closet.

5 - If any of the big hitters in the DUP were going to make a move on his position they needed to do it in the days following his Westminster defeat. Every day he stays in his position as DUP leader and First Minister it becomes less likely a challenge to his leadership would succeed. In fact, I'd say it would be doomed to fail unless a new scandal emerges.

6 - Why do Nationalists constantly have to refer to themselves as 'fenians' or 'taigs'? It annoys me no end.
I would agree, except that at the assembly election in '07 where the SDLP tactics of placing candidates in wrong constituencies [from their own interest], led to them under performing in the actual vote. so even if SF don't get the FM post by being the biggest party this time, they could still get it by dint of being in the biggest group in the assembly. It seems to me that the DUP when agreeing to this fix in the rules,were more concerned to prevent nationalist taking the FM post, than having SF entitled to FM post. Anyway, the post itself is equal to the DFM so it's all smoke and mirrors really.
 

Scipio

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Robinson has long been the political mastermind behind the DUP (were it not for him Paisley would have remained the unrepentant bigot shouting from the sidelines), and has confirmed his shrewdness since becoming First Minister. The man, whatever his personal faults, is an excellent politican, and a good leader.

Given the patent lack of talent in the DUP ranks, the UUP's journey back into the Stone Age, and the TUV being as extreme as ever, Robinson should keep his position as First Minister for the forseeable future.
 

daniels

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Feeney does make a good observation about Robinsons pronouncements. Have the DUP become a one man band?

I'm not sure who would do a better job. Dodds for example doesnt seem anywhere near as capable.
oboe [seen that name before, Digital spy? Ifthe knack of sending people to sleep by droning on was a criteria for FM, Dodds would win hands down.
The rest of the DUP are unreconstructed bigots including wee Jeffrey and Arlene Foster. If these two weren't bigots, they surely wouldn't want anyone to think they were, so joining that rabble is evidence enough on them.
 

Scipio

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Arlene Foster has, or should I say had, real potential to be leadership material. She has been disappointing as of late however.
 

Northern Voice

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Robinson has long been the political mastermind behind the DUP (were it not for him Paisley would have remained the unrepentant bigot shouting from the sidelines), and has confirmed his shrewdness since becoming First Minister. The man, whatever his personal faults, is an excellent politican, and a good leader.

Given the patent lack of talent in the DUP ranks, the UUP's journey back into the Stone Age, and the TUV being as extreme as ever, Robinson should keep his position as First Minister for the forseeable future.
Pretty succinct summary. Excellent politician and the man to lead the country for the foreseeable future.
 

Lee McKeown

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I would agree, except that at the assembly election in '07 where the SDLP tactics of placing candidates in wrong constituencies [from their own interest], led to them under performing in the actual vote. so even if SF don't get the FM post by being the biggest party this time, they could still get it by dint of being in the biggest group in the assembly. It seems to me that the DUP when agreeing to this fix in the rules,were more concerned to prevent nationalist taking the FM post, than having SF entitled to FM post. Anyway, the post itself is equal to the DFM so it's all smoke and mirrors really.
Behave.
 

Lee McKeown

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The rest of the DUP are unreconstructed bigots including wee Jeffrey and Arlene Foster. If these two weren't bigots, they surely wouldn't want anyone to think they were, so joining that rabble is evidence enough on them.
Yet no-one in the DUP were part of a terrorist group who murdered people for decades simply because of their religion.

Try looking a bit closer to home for bigotry.
 

DerryBee

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Thanks to everyone for your views on the matter, it is very much appreciated! :D

I would agree with the majority of posters here concerning Peter Robinson’s future as First Minister at Stormont, particularly in regards to his probable re-election in May. I have to say that irrespective of Robinson’s past, I do believe that his performance as First Minister in recent months has been commendable, particularly given the fact that the year began so disastrously for him, both politically and personally. I guess that Robinson’s remarkable recovery is testament to not only his intelligence but also his excellent talents as a politician: to lose such a figure at Stormont would be such a loss for local politics. I think that both Robinson and McGuinness deserve praise for how they have - at least publicly - overcome their past indifferences for the good of the country. I would very much agree with Lee McKeown and Scipio’s perspectives upon Robinson and the likely outcome of the forthcoming assembly elections. I do not know much about Brian Feeney but whenever I read his articles I always find myself disagreeing – and to an extent questioning my own ‘knowledge’ however limited – but I was particularly interested in his most recent article concerning Robinson, which I found slightly harsh and at odds with how I would objectively view the situation but then again I am not an experienced observer of political events here in Northern Ireland...:oops:

On an unrelated note, what do you make of the peace award due to be awarded to Robinson and McGuinness on November 11, do you agree with the idea or object?
 


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