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Why Iris scandal is a drama set to keep on running

It has been, as they say on the TV reality shows, a roller-coaster of emotions.

First up there was Peter on the early evening news baring his soul to Ken Reid like a wobbly-chinned guest on the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Then there were the revelations about the toyboy lover, the toyboy lover’s business, the businessmen writing out 25 grand cheques, the five grand kickback, talk of other lovers, questions about other developers and speculation about what else might emerge from the woodwork.

There was angst on the telly and hilarity on the internet.

The political world has watched aghast weighing up the dire implications for the process.

Out in the real world where it has been the only topic of conversation for a week it has now assumed the dimensions of full-blown farce.

There have been lurid text messages, joke songs and celebratory websites.

“Where is God in all this?” cried Selwyn “Whistleblower” Black (by text) at the height of the crisis.

“Where is the devolution of policing and justice in all this?” Shaun Woodward would still like to know.

For once that most overworked of political cliches — “captured the imagination of the public” — actually applies here.

For once — a political story we just can’t get enough of. But not everyone, of course, is enjoying it.

Of all the collateral victims in the saga of Lock Keeper’s Inn-gate — the Robinsons’ family, Iris’s constituency workers, her church, her colleagues — the one I feel most sorry for is the mother of Kirk McCambley. You know to warn your teenager about the dangers of drink and drugs and how to avoid picking up anti-social infections. You assume that by their late teens they’ll know not to be getting into cars with strangers.

But who would have imagined you might also have to warn them not to be getting into bed with 59-year-old Born Again Christian MPs offering business development opportunities with start-up funding?

A whole new twist on the Go For It scheme there

The story of Iris and her boy lover has propelled Kirk to global notoriety. His picture has been beamed throughout the world. His business is under siege by the media and his entire world under scrutiny.

How must his mother (indeed his wider family) feel about all this?

All joking aside, it must be hell for them.

In one of her texts Iris is reported to have written: “As for Kirk, he is the other son I would have loved to have been a mother to.”

How did Kirk’s real mother feel reading that one? (How did Iris’s real sons?)

Especially as the world now knows, Mrs Robinson’s feelings towards the boy — actually young enough to be her grandson — were not entirely maternal.

I do feel sorry for Iris (I feel sorry for anyone dealing with mental health problems.) And of course you have to have sympathy for her so-publicly betrayed husband.

But the Robinsons — to put it mildly — have not always themselves been sensitive to the feelings of others. Iris’s cruel and dangerous comments about gay people may well have been a symptom of her mental state at the time. But the fact that her husband immediately rowed in to support her would suggest he didn’t see anything particularly amiss.

At the time I remember writing that, oddly enough, (if God felt so angry about homosexuality) how come there was no Commandment against it? The way there was, for example, against adultery

Who could have imagined back then the irony of that one?

So what else don’t we know now?

The questions are still bubbling around. Were there other lovers? Is there more scandal to emerge?

As they say on reality TV, it’s already been an amazing journey.

Sadly for the DUP, I don’t think it’s quite over yet.

Belfast Telegraph