Friday, January 15, 2010

Dear Iris

Oh Iris - what have you done? You’ve gone and, as my granny would say, made a holy show of yourself.

There is a part of me that feels sorry for you. I’ve had mental health difficulties myself in the past - I know they are hard to cope with. I know what it is like to feel utter despair. And if what the papers say is true and you are now receiving acute treatment for the same is true then I hope you come through it - and quickly.

But there is a part of me - the cynical journalist part of me -and perhaps the human part of me who has been so offended by things that you have said in the past, who has a lot of questions to ask.

The timing of your breakdown seems, well, a little convenient. I’m not saying I doubt it, as such. I know such things can happen without warning or after a long, slow build. I’m pretty sure that if I knew a major news broadcaster was about to tell the world I had been having my end away with a man young enough to be my grandson while doing some questionable financial deals along the way I’d feel a bit, well, wobbly myself.

I don’t claim to know what goes on in your personal life. To be honest I don’t care much about your political life either - you only really came to my attention when you called all homosexual people ‘an abomination’ and spouted on about how only child abusers committed greater sins.

That annoyed me Iris, I’ll be honest. I don’t hold much court with bigoted views but I would have at least respected you if you had been lived by your own strong Christian morals.

Having extra-marital affairs is still against the law of God, Iris. Or at least it was the last time I checked.

Now, woman to woman I’ll admit something. I can sort of see the appeal of Kirk McCambley. He is, as my friend from up the country would say “a fine thing”. If was put in a room with him and Peter Robinson and asked to choose, I think I’d go for him.

But Iris, I think there would be something in my head which would scream to me that a 59 year old woman having a fling with a 19 year old man was never really going to have the potential to be the biggest love affair in history. It was never going to end well, now was it? The wee lad is young enough to be your grandson. I do however admire your bravery at baring your stretchmarks, saggy areas and all and throwing caution to the wind - Go on ya girl ye!

Now, if only you hadn’t been married. And been a politician. And been married to a politician. Oh, and yes, if only you hadn’t been so openly bigoted and judgmental of other people.

Iris, i’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of the concept of the Karma Fairy? (Do born again Christians believe in Karma? I’m not sure.). Well anyway, I’m a firm believer in the Karma Fairy. (Between us, I imagine she looks a bit like Mavis Cruet from Willo the Wisp). She keeps an eye on what people put out there and then, when perhaps they least expect it (but most deserve it) she comes along and gives them a wee kick up the bum.

Iris, you have been kicked up the bum.

You see if you are going to be a bigot then at least be a clean living bigot. Let she who is without sin cast the first stone, and all that.

You have let your constituents down. You have let your party down. You have let politics down but most of all Iris, (and I’m adopting my sternest mammy voice for this) you have let yourself down.

And I fear it is not over yet. Much as I would not wish mental illness on anyone, I really do hope that what you have told us is true and that you are not just egging it on for a sake for a bit of sympathy.

If that was the case you wouldn’t be doing anyone with genuine mental health issues any favours. In fact I would go as far as to say your actions would be despicable. Much more despicable than sleeping with a fine looking 19 year old or doing some dodgy sums and keeping a wee five grand or so back for yourself.

Perhaps we could meet up some day to have a wee chat about it all? I’m needing inspiration for a new book, although between us again I don’t think I would be able to sell a story such as yours to my publishers. I know there is a trend for the increasingly bizarre and fanciful in chick-lit these days but some things are just too bizarre and too fanciful.

But if you fancy a wee chat all the same, I’ve heard there’s a lovely wee cafe on the banks of the Lagan. I hear they do cracker sausage rolls,

Much love,



Marital Affair said...

Poor Iris indeed! I think her husband needs an award for standing by her so strongly.

The Pineapple Tart said...

Has Peter had his teeth whitened?

Sharon Owens said...

Anne, he may have done, I read somewhere that some MLAs have visited image consultants, bless them. Did you see Arlene Foster's skinny belt? It was even more shocking than Iris's affair. Never mind consultants - we need new MLAs - preferably sexy ones that won't make a holy show of us.

Claire, you don't pull any punches. But Iris must be very ill - the doctors wouldn't say she was ill if she wasn't, after all. They aren't going to tell fibs, are they? Not even for the lovely Iris.

Compared to some things that have happened here, maybe an affair and a loan aren't so bad. I'm weakening in my outrage...

Did you also hear the snow may be coming back? Oh God, please no, not again...

Anonymous said...

Awesome post Claire, I agree with everything you said and wish I could say it half as well as you do.

Jessie said...

Hi Claire- hope ya don't mind me saying it but I don't agree with ya this time on this one- for too many reasons to go into. Yes she did bad things. Very bad things that I certainly don't condone.
However, don't worry nearly every other journalist in NI and manys a punter has your view on it so you're not the only one on that one:)
cheerio, J

Sarah Cole said...


You are spot on with this one! I'm fed up to the back teeth hearing about it but I think you summed it all up in this article.

We wish Iris all the best in her recovery, we really do, but there are lots of other things in this debarcle that need to be addressed too.

Thanks for making a dry and tedious story, funny and lighthearted.


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