Northern Ireland politicians 'do the time warp'

Rocky Horror Picture Show Image copyright Other
Image caption Recent speeches by Peter Robinson and Declan Kearney have echoed the Rocky Horror Picture Show

During my stint as the BBC's United Nations Correspondent one of my favourite duties was having to show the film actress Susan Sarandon around UN Headquarters, as she recorded a series of BBC interviews in her role as a UNICEF ambassador.

I probably enjoyed the experience rather more than Ms Sarandon, who was suffering a bad headache and had to take one of my producer's aspirin tablets to keep going.

I'd like to thank Sinn Fein's Declan Kearney for reminding me of Ms Sarandon last night, when he made his hard-hitting speech at Westminster.

If my thought processes aren't entirely obvious, I'd better explain my distinctly warped logic.

Earlier this month, Peter Robinson made a speech on the need for greater unionist co-operation.

The DUP leader laid into the Ulster Unionist John McCallister over what he claimed was the South Down MLA's "Ourselves Alone" view of unionism.

Mr Robinson argued that "one would be forgiven for thinking he (Mr McCallister) was trapped in a 'Life on Mars' 1970s-style time warp."

Then on Wednesday night, in the latest volley of tit-for-tat assaults between the DUP and Sinn Fein, Declan Kearney told Mr Robinson bluntly to "get with the programme".

Mr Kearney said "the DUP leadership needs to get out of its time warp, get into real time, and start doing grown-up politics with the rest of us".

Mr Robinson has tweeted that he intends "to provide a detailed response to the latest SF hate fuelled rant at a DUP councillors event" on Friday evening.

I could try to second guess his response or even to analyse the psychological complexities of the relationship between two parties, who alternate between cutting deals inside Stormont Castle and aiming barbs at each other through the media or across the Assembly chamber.

Instead I prefer to think of Susan Sarandon.

That's not because, as goodwill ambassadors go, she makes more of a positive impact than any of our local Stormont representatives.

It's more that in employing the same metaphor not just once but twice, the DUP and Sinn Fein have literally obeyed the famous invocation in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which she starred, to Let's Do The Time Warp Again.

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