Maybe Peter Robinson was secretly jealous he could never be one of the 'Chuckle Brothers' - Mary Kelly

Peter Robinson's has published a new book entitled 'Witty Putdowns and Clever Insults'

I THOUGHT the return of David Cameron was the strangest moment in politics last week, until the news came that Peter Robinson has written a self-help book: “Witty Put-Downs and Clever Insults.”

Is April Fools' Day now happening in November, like Christmas? No, it’s actually true. And it’s been warmly recommended by Arlene Foster, who, like Robbo, was not exactly the laugh-a-minute type, unless you found her crocodiles remark hilarious.

Let’s not forget she was laughing on the other side of her face when the subsequent election results showed it had ended up galvanising the Shinner vote.

If you were to wonder what former First Minister Robinson would occupy his time with away from politics, writing a humorous book wouldn’t be the first thing that would come to mind, would it?

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He told the Belfast Telegraph that now that he was relieved of his other duties, “I’ve been able to broaden my horizons and try something a little different.”

Maybe Robbo was secretly jealous he could never be one of the “Chuckle Brothers”, like his erstwhile leader, Doc Paisley. His own stock-in-trade was more the sardonic smirk, while the laughs were reserved for Sammy Wilson’s annual comic turn at the DUP annual conference.


Former First Minister Peter Robinson with then Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness became known as the Chuckle Brothers


And to be fair, Robinson does acknowledge Sammy’s clownish expertise in this area, quoting his lame joke about Gerry Adams being a tree hugger, and little wonder as he’d been involved a lot with Special Branch. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.


Former DUP leader Peter Robinson quotes a joke about Gerry Adams in his unlikely new self-help book self-help book 'Witty Put-Downs and Clever Insults'


I wonder if the book might include the story, perhaps apocryphal, but attributed to Mark Durkan, linked to a fact-finding trip to South Africa by a group of our local politicians.

Ian Junior was said to be leaning against a wall while passports were being examined at the airport, when a piece of an air-conditioning unit fell off and struck him on the shoulder.

“It was the first time the fan had hit the s***,” Durkan was alleged to have observed.

If it isn’t true, it ought to be.



Prime Minister Rishi Sunak alongside Chancellor Jeremy Hunt


IT seems that Rishi Sunak is trying to be a comedy turn himself after his ludicrous response to the Supreme Court’s judgment that his government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful.

The highest court in the land backed the earlier decision by the Court of Appeal that Rwanda was not a safe third country and there was a real risk of deported refugees having their claims wrongly assessed or being returned to their country of origin to face persecution.

Sunak’s wheeze to overcome this problem is to bring in new emergency legislation declaring that Rwanda is indeed safe. Because he said so. I’m sure that will persuade m’learned judges next time round. The government has already spent £140m on the scheme. I wonder if they’ve kept the receipt?

It’s nearly as funny as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt saying “We will always be a compassionate conservative government” while he’s planning cuts to people on benefits, but reducing the inheritance tax, which benefits only the already rich.

The basic social security rate – now called Universal Credit – is the lowest it’s been for 40 years and unemployment pay is the lowest in western Europe, at just 17% of previous income, compared to France and Germany where it’s 66%. They don’t care.

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The World Health Organisation has declared loneliness to be a pressing global health threat, with the US Surgeon General saying its mortality effects are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The thought occurred to me at my last supermarket visit, when only two tills had an actual person manning them. The rest of the space was given over to the rapidly increasing self-service tills.

The long queues at the manned tills were mostly made up of elderly people. With post office and bank closures too, for many it would be their only point of contact with a human being all day.

Automation isn’t always the right answer.