Peter Robinson and Stephen Nolan

People say stupid things at annual Party Conferences/Conventions. They are after all a rallying point for the Party Faithful.

Peter Robinson, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and First Minister of Norn Iron is no exception. He spoke at his annual Party Conference today. The Conference incidently took place at La Mon House Hotel in Castlereagh, fire bombed by the IRA in 1978 when twelve people attending an “Irish Collie Dog Club” Dinner.

Robinson is always a tetchy and angry public speaker. His face is a natural snarl. And even in the knockabout comedy of elements of any Leaders speech……there was a raher nasty turn of phrase directed against one of Radio Ulsters leading broadcasters.

Let the record show that  I do not like Stephen Nolan who presents a morning chat show/radio phone in five days a week. But I have little time for personal abuse. Nolan is a rather rotund man of about forty. His appearance and weight are often a cause of amusement (seemingly to himself) but it is not good when a politician resorts to the bullying language of the school playground to pass comment on a broadcaster.

Robinson derided Nolans fondness for “Mars bars and crisps”.

A character created by Damon Quinn (a member of the Hole in the Wall satire cast) is an overweight local Radio Presenter, chomping his way thru snack foods while walking thru BBC Broadcasting House inviting, challenging, daring listeners to phone hs radio show to talk about nothing in particular. In the background a cowered office staff avoid the gaze of the tyrannical Presenter. Conventional wisdom is that Quinns comic creation is based on Stephen Nolan. It seems reasonable.

I can honestly cliam that I have never listened to the Nolan Show. It is the sort of crap that I have to endure for ten minutes if I am in a local taxi. Taxi Drivers seem to like that sort of rubbish…..I dont!.

Nolan is not my idea of a Journalist. More a “shock jock” in the style of Rush Limbaugh (USA) and Jon Gaunt (England). Radio Phone Ins are the lowest form of Broadcasting. A lazy, cheap format where a Presenter stirs up controversy even on slow news days. This is Nolans forte.

The tragedy is that publicity-hungry local politicians are ever anxious to jump on a passing bandwagon and Stephen Nolan drives the biggest local bandwagon. Yet Nolan seems to despise these politicians. He is a fully paid up “lets get alongerist” and “overclass member”  who somehow doesnt seem to get that our style of politics is the style the public support.  His tweet in response to Robinsons attack is typical self-promotion.

“Dear Peter, you make speeches to the public -& I make sure the public make speeches to you. That’s how it works. by the way,i hate mars bars”.

Pathetic. The sad fact is that our local politicians have given Nolan a “clout” far in advance of his talent. The logic of Robinsons position is that his DUP MLAs boycott the Nolan Show. And that Sinn Féin, SDLP and UUP follow suit. They have nothing to lose.

Oh…..about that Damon Quinn “comedy creation”……….and in particular the “production staff” who dont seem to like their boss very much………..in the summer Stephen Nolan publicly criticised his staff for going on strike. Lifee immitating Art??

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