Rod Liddle

What makes me feel sorry for Chris Huhne

9 February 2013

If Chris Huhne hadn’t copped off with that woman who looks remarkably like the late comedian Jack Douglas, I suppose we would have been deprived of all the tumultuous glee which has attended both his utter collapse, as a man, and his likely incarceration. We would never have known about that small crime, committed years before he had become an MP. It was not the act of asking his wife to take those speeding penalty points which did for him, it was swanning off with his assistant, Carina -Trimingham.

Wives sacrifice themselves for their husbands in all manner of ways; it is part of the deal of marriage, I suppose. The compact breaks down irretrievably when the husband transgresses — as, it seems inevitably these days, he does. It was pathos rather than tragedy, I would hazard, that made me feel for the man as he exited the courtroom this week flanked by his strange frowning partner, the woman for whom he had given up everything. He reminded me a little of Joel Grey in the film version of Cabaret, singing ‘If You Could See Her Through My Eyes’ while leading an ape around on a chain to much public derision. I do not mean that Ms Trimingham looks like an ape, I hasten to add; simply that she doesn’t look much like, say, Jessica Alba. It made me feel very sorry for Huhne, seeing the two of them together, pushing their way through the righteous delight and laughter, the hilarity and vindictiveness, en route to obscurity and jail.

It has been a horrible, horrible story, all of its attendant rancid details reflecting more badly upon the rest of us than it does even upon Huhne. Even the minor stuff: the slavering scrum of paparazzi jostling the two of them and preventing them from getting into their car — and then issuing anguished complaints when Huhne dared to push them away, as if they were the ones who had been wronged. I can’t be alone in feeling a little thrill of justification each time some sleb smacks a photographer in the mouth, so fantastically rude have they become, clinging in their stupidity to the ovine bleat of ‘the public ’as a roight to see’ for their multifarious trespasses. Or the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg piously telling the world that he was ‘shocked and saddened’ by Huhne’s late disclosure that he was, indeed, guilty — saddened, Nick? Really? I think not. Hopping around the room with delight is probably closer to the truth.


And those texts and emails from Huhne’s son, Peter; was it absolutely necessary to the procession of justice that we should have them in the public domain, on the front pages of all of our newspapers — the adolescent howling and loathing directed at a father? Bad enough that Huhne Snr should have been subjected to them; I assume the kid will one day wish that he had been a little more temperate, no matter how much anguish was occasioned by his father leaving the family home. Or at least I hope he does.

And of course, more than anything, the palpable buzz, the excitement, the thrill and pleasure at seeing a famous person having his nose ground into the dirt; the same sort of thrill and buzz which attends each new disclosure from the questionable Operation Yewtree, for example, as the aged ex-slebs are rounded up for real or imagined sex crimes which took place round about the time I was at school, and are revealed to be deserving not of our affection but, instead, of our loathing and contempt.

The Manichean split: Huhne, once a senior politician of some talent and standing, now a lying scumbag who is hated even by his own son — too ambitious for his own good, too arrogant, a nasty piece of work, explained Huhne’s ‘friends’ across 1,200 words for the dailies. And the epic vindictiveness from his ex-wife, eaten up with fury and thus determined to hack off her own nose in public, to finish the bloke for once and for all. And Huhne’s lawyers, with their vast fees, supporting his story until the final moments. I wonder if they too were shocked and -saddened.

Yes, he lied, which he should not have done. And those of us who have not lied are quite right to condemn him utterly. ‘He could have come clean earlier,’ everyone says, forgetting that the smallest lie spreads out exponentially like a light cone until everything in your life is informed by it. The lie becomes a fragile and tenuous superstructure upon which you build and build until the whole thing collapses. But the effort involved in voluntarily dismantling the superstructure before that point of collapse requires superhuman will, which Chris Huhne clearly does not possess.

And so everyone gets lied to; everyone in the country, in the end, I suppose. And swathed in our rectitude, we forget that every man is better than his worst act and that we have all at some point lied and been unable to undo that lie until it is too late.

I don’t know the bloke, by the way. I met him once at some charity thing once and he seemed rather boring, closed and diffident. I met his ex-missus, too — I quite liked her. I hope that these revelations of mine have added to the general gaiety.

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  • philiphuw

    Huhne’s worst crime was to have a personal number plate (H11 HNE). Always the sign of a self-obssessed wrong-un.

    • Daniel Maris

      Very true!

  • P.j. Denyer

    I really don’t give a damn about the ex-celebs being dragged into the light by Yew Tree, nor do I care about the Huhne’s marital arrangements. What I do care about is when someone that I and my fellow tax payers are paying to make laws decides that they are personally above those laws and tries to exempt themselves from them.

  • maurice12brady

    I ain’t gonna see the remainder of your article as I’ve been cautioned regarding my suitability — Not forking over a quid for the privilege — Woe is me! – but I’ll comment nonetheless. Essentially you’ve mistaken the gender of Huhne’s comedic companion — Vicky Price quite emphatically deduced it was ‘that man’ — Can’t argue with the missus!

  • Flintshire Ian

    I too thought that it was really sad and totally unnecessary that The Times (and others?) thought that it was necessary to print personal text messages between Huhne and his son. But I also thought (about the son) that I bet the ungrateful little shit is still taking his Dad’s money while he is at university?

  • laurence

    Rod, Huhne is precisely the kind of sanctimonious, duplicitous, unctuous, sandal-wearing, wholly loathsome, self-serving, self aggrandising, numpty of which the LibDem party is all too replete. I couldn’t give a monkey’s what he does with ‘Little Chris’ nor do I think his domestic arrangements should be presented as slacious tabloid fodder, but I do agree with his nipper and would rather like it if he, and his party, were to just f*&k off.

  • Hugh Fraser

    I don’t like the man. He loves windmills too much. But I do feel extremely sorry for him. It seems ridiculous that his life is ruined by such a small mistake, and such a vindictive Mrs. If you mug somebody on the street, you can go free. But if you tell a fib, you can go to jail. Something is wrong here, surely ?

    • pedestrianblogger

      “A small mistake”? The original act of trying to fool the police by pretending that it was his wife driving might be called a “small mistake” (it depends, I suppose, on what value one places on the law) but lying, repeatedly, to the public which pays one’s very handsome salary cannot be.

    • somebody’s bird

      That’s Britain for you.

      And what do you think about the Logan’s Running/ Big Brothering of Britain’s puppies — every last innocent one of them, by law — that this government wants? How do they think they can do this? Why does no one tell them they can’t and they mustn’t? Where are the advocates in Britain for unmolested animals (microchips are a gross non-medical intrusion) and for owners’ rights (same objection) and for freedom (pets now as walking identity cards — at least for those that comply; microchips know nothing but databases have to be kept updated)?

      Who will point out that the insult and offence to the dog owners of Britain — and the millions this injury will cost — is NOT justified by the risible and frankly worthless excuses offered (‘dangerous dogs’, as if there is no other way of dealing with them)? Well, *I* will.

      And also in this disgusting piece of legislation, the provision that dogs may not attack anyone on private property or else the owner goes to jail. They took your guns, your right to self-defence; now they won’t even allow you your pet’s protection.

      England makes me very angry these days.

    • Daniel Maris

      Can we stop this nonsense that only liberals and lefties like wind energy. In the USA supporters of wind energy in the recent campaigns included: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Bachmann.

  • Wilhelm

    Jeremy Thorpe, Mark Oaten, went with rent boys because he was going bald, that was his excuse. Menzies Campbell fiddling his expenses. Simon Hughes said he was straight, when he had gay experiences. Cyril Smith child molester. Now Chris Huhne.

    • Jon BG

      You forgot David Laws. Stephen Milligan was briefly a member of the SDP…

      • martinvickers

        This from the party of Jonathan Aitken, and Jeffrey…goodness me Jeffrey Archer. And Neil Hamilton. And John and Edwina. And Cecil, dear daughter-denying Cecil Parkinson. and Homes for votes. And Tim Yeo. and David Mellor. Good god, David Mellor. And Jerry Hayes. And David McLetchie. And Liam Fox…etc, etc, etc

        Hell, even Churchill took the Burmah Oil money.

        They’re all as bad as each other. including your lot. So get down off the high horse; it’s really an ass.

  • Wilhelm

    And David Steel the Abortionist. There is something inherently sick about that party. Here’s Simon Hughes appeasing islam. Allah Akbar.

  • Arthur Dent

    Huhne has done a lot of damage to our countryside and cost the taxpayers millions. I hope that if he is put away then he is never let out.

    • zakisbak

      You are far too soft.
      He should be dragged through the streets,possibly made to lick them,before being thoroughly whipped.He should then be either exiled,or hung drawn and quartered.
      His poor,defenceless little ex wife should be showered with gold,and declared a living goddess.

  • Simeon Howell

    Never liked Huhne …hope this experience humbles and betters the man, but Rod is right in the sense we should not be clambering for his downfall “He who has not sinned cast the first stone” springs to mind… Feel very badly for his wife…hope the boy feels compassion not hate sooner rather than later.

  • Eddie

    Hell hath no fury eh…
    Like a Greek tragi-comedy really – appropriate, as ‘Vicky Price’ is in fact very Greecy indeed, it seems…
    The thing I want to know is when on earth we can get rid of this silly sexist law that Ms Price is using to try and escape justice; men cannot use that defence, therefore it’s against equality legislation and human rights law, for a start. Why aren’t the feminists complaining about this blatant example of sexism?
    Oh yeah, I know. Because sexism is OK if it disadvantages men eh?
    And we are supposed to believe that a rich, educated, high-flying woman like her was such a eak wickle girly victim of the nasty dictator Chris Huhne that she simply had no choice but to follow his orders against her wishes?
    I am just waiting for tears from her in court: she really has sunk so low she’ll even try that little trick, no doubt.
    I hope she gets 5 years.
    Huhne deserves our sympathy for his misfortune in marrying such a gorgon.

    • Simeon Howell

      stop saying eh…eh eh eh what are you some 28 year old single guy with an attitude ???

      • Eddie

        Stop saying ‘stop saying eh all the time’, eh? It’s really very irritating and pointless.
        Innocent? As sin, perhaps…
        My poiint was legal: Huhne’s ex-wife is using an atiquated law that only women can use; it’s a pre-feminism law and should be removed in the name of equality.
        And we should stop giving women the benefit of the doubt and threat them equally to men in law – stop believing some woman playing the poor wickle weepy woman, and treat women just as harshly as men.

  • somebody’s bird

    Rod, good point about lying. But that’s why lying has no place in my life, and never has. The cost of honesty is so much less, especially in personal relationships. The truth may hurt but, confronted generously and honourably, it can be coped with, and even show the way out of the cave. Also, one should never tell lies to oneself. ‘No God but truth’ is my motto.

    • Daniel Maris

      Maybe it would have been better if Rousseau had a lied a little more. If he had lied about not wanting children, he might not have obliged his wife to abandon his offspring to the tender mercies of the foundling hospital.

      • somebody’s bird

        I don’t think that ejaculation is a matter of lying — in that sense.

  • Nele Schindler

    Ah, Rod … I always think you’re in your very own category of normalcy and common sense, much ahead of the rest. You give me hope. Not like Jesus, mind. (You smoke, don’t you?)

  • John Steadman

    Gratuitously nasty about Huhne’s partner, Rod, and you have form for this. Does you no credit.

  • fitz fitzgerald
  • Tim Reed

    Mrs. Trimingham….or….Wendolene Ramsbottom…

    Put her next to Ed Miliband, and it’s like the cast of ‘A Close Shave’ is reuniting.

  • alabenn

    Whats the bet that the BBC and Sky have him on release, lined up for the usual crooks reform programmes This Week and Press Previews, the only plus about this is Jacqui Smyth will be relegated to serving drinks in the green room.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Huhne was always a lying scumbag. But before he was a rich, successful lying scumbag. Jeffrey Archer is a much nicer man and he was in the slammer for how long? And for what? I suggest Huhne would be all the better for two years in jug. He could try to write a novel while he’ there. But I bet he can’t.

    • Daniel Maris

      I don’t remember Archer being in the slammer. Sure you got the right man? I’d hit the edit button now if I were you, remembering how litigious he can be.

  • Daniel Maris

    Oh well, the UK Press went on about Yoko being a monkey, when John Lennon could have had the most voluptuous of models if he’d wished – but as with the Paul and Linda, John and Yoko were lifelong partners (bar a very short blip). If they have a lifelong love, then a short term in prison will hardly be a great price to pay for it, will it?

  • William Reid Boyd

    Yes. I can’t bear these people myself, but what’s hapening to Chris Huhne simply isn’t just and in the end it’s respect for the law that is eroded.

    Likewise Mr. Justice Sweeney should have no illusions about that when he comes to sentence Huhne and for that reason alone he should not be given a custodial sentence. Enough to observe that he has been punished enough. Community service is the appropiate sanction here.

  • TerryField

    Huhn and his story has been an unattractive feature in the political landscape for some time. Can he not be used as a maintenance technician – in all weathers – to the windvanes that the sadist has foolishly inflicted upon us?
    And as for justice, if he said ‘take my points’ and she did so, cutting through the excuses, should the penalty not be pretty much the same for each???????
    Or is it who you know?

  • In2minds

    It’s not Huhne I feel sorry for but the UK people stuck with his idiotic
    energy policy. He should go to prison for that too.

  • Badly Done Emma

    Can anyone imagine a worse Sunday lunch than one to which the Huhne family came en masse? He’s a lying bully and Vicky Pryce has shown herself to be no better, dragging her family into this. If she loathed him that much she should’ve been pleased he was distracted elsewhere. No wonder that boy is so full of bile. All dignity is gone and CH has lost everything, the repercussions of this could be with them decades. I wish the press hadn’t printed those text messages but then the boy shouldn’t have sent them. Maybe a lack of control runs in the family. Very sad.

  • gd47

    Didn’t Huhne once say he wished he could “turn back the clock”?
    Unless I’m mistaken, yet another serious motoring offence!

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