Sunday, March 10, 2013

 

Huhne Affair Tragedy for Both of Them

Today's article by Barbara Ellen in The Observer, excoriates the 'shameless, arrogant chump', Chris Huhne for being, well, shameless and arrogant, while praising Vicky Pryce for 'not going quietly'. It's odd how this drama has seized the nation's interest; everyone has a view about it. I suppose that is because: everyone relishes a bit of schadenfreude when a powerful person suffers such a monumental fall and because we all have relationships and the affair forces us to reach judgements on how people, including ourselves, treat those closest to them.

Huhne's certainly deserves criticism for his casual attitude towards his wife- telling her of his affair while watching a football match on the telly, not to mention assuming she would take the speeding points hit for him-and he has manifested too many symptoms of arrogance let alone blind and ruthless ambition, for us to acquit him of those faults as well. It might seem crass to defend Huhne but I genuinely feel sorry for the guy: he's lost his job, his career, his wife and, temporarily at least, the regard of his children(if he loves his son, as he clearly does, this relationship will probably be repaired). OK, you might say, it's substantially his own fault but a friend of mine always insists 'wounds are no less painful for being self inflicted'. To observe such wanton self destruction is a deeply saddening thing, whether it's addiction, loss of control or, as in this case, just foolishness..

Maybe one cannot forgive Huhne but one can understand him a bit more by recognising that politicians to succeed do become narrowly fixated on career progress.Politicians though, are not so different from the rest of  us, epitomising our strengths as well as weaknesses. We can't expect, in a democracy, to be governed by people free of personal failings.  Huhne is a very resourceful and able man who was a very effective minister as well as one who had the backbone to stand up to Cameron and Osborne in Cabinet His party, not to mention his country as well, will feel keenly the absence of his contributions to public life. .   

As for Vicky, of course I feel sorry for her too- she was treated dreadfully. But revenge is not an especially noble sentiment; we all experience a decidedly guilty pleasure when indulging it. She has destroyed her husband's career and destroyed much of his life; but so has she laid waste her own.. That Chinese who coined the aphorism -'He who seeks revenge should dig two graves' clearly knew that wherof he spoke.  

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