Feel sorry for Huhne? Why?
Until yesterday, Huhne simply did not care about what he had done. When his cell door slammed shut in HMP Wandsworth last night, maybe that will have changed
As yesterday’s events unfolded and Chris Huhne was sentenced to eight months in prison, all of a sudden I seemed to be on the receiving end of an especially high level of Twitter anguish. My crime? Not being the lying, cheating, convicted criminal’s biggest fan, I had spent the day being less than complimentary about the former Eastleigh MP.
Why are you being so vindictive, they bleated. He doesn’t deserve this. Do you not feel sorry for him at all?
I feel desperately sorry for the children of Huhne and Pryce, in particular Peter, their teenage son whose familial breakdown was played out so nakedly in court. Part of me, though admittedly not a great part, even feels slightly sorry for Vicky. She had the misfortune of being married to a truly despicable husband, and his personality brought out the worst in her.
But feel sorry for Huhne himself? No.
This is a man who was bestowed with the honour of representing nearly 80,000 people in Hampshire. A man awarded the privilege of being appointed a minister in Her Majesty’s government. A man who, when faced with the minor consequences of an initially miniscule crime, resorted to lying and lying and lying again simply in order to protect his own career.
Huhne was a philanderer, an adulterer, a husband who showed his wife not one iota of respect. Publicly humiliating the mother of his children by leaving her for a formerly bisexual aide is one thing; compounding her grief – and most unforgivably that of their children – in the way that he did is beyond the pale. Huhne cared more about his own power than his own children.
But there is something else. Something less tangible, less discernible than any of the very real failings listed above. When I sat across from Huhne in court during his pre-trial hearings, I sat across from a man without a care in the world. When Huhne changed his plea to guilty, he was nonchalant, emotionless even. When I jostled with the photographers outside Southwark Crown Court to hear his resignation speech, he seemed...fine.
It is his breathtaking lack of remorse; his cold, calculated, almost frightening ability to live with the lies he has told to those who voted for him and the torment he has caused his own family that negates any sympathy for Huhne.
I am told that, even in the months before his downfall, Huhne was hawking himself around leading economic think tanks looking for work. One LibDem acolyte suggests that he has been cheerfully telling friends that he will see them when he’s out.
Until yesterday, Huhne simply did not care about what he had done. When his cell door slammed shut and the lights went out in HMP Wandsworth last night, maybe – at long last – that will have changed.
Alex Wickham is The Commentator's UK Political Editor and a reporter at the Guido Fawkes website. He is a contributor to their column in The Sun newspaper. He tweets at @WikiGuido
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