Thursday, 14 March 2013

The real reason we're all gloating over Chris Huhne's fall from grace

In an email I received today, a correspondent wonders whether any inmate has yet claimed Chris Huhne as their prison “bitch”. A couple of days ago, a friend said they found themselves feeling guilty about enjoying the Huhne-Pryce verdicts – until he saw Huhne being interviewed on Channel 4 News and realised that the arrogant twit still doesn’t get it.

But for every gleeful reaction to the pair’s spectacular come-uppance, there’s been an item on the blogosphere deploring the vindictiveness of the British public over the spectacular fall from grace of two extremely successful people who now find themselves  banged up for persistently telling lies. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves, apparently.

Simon Jenkins has written an excellent piece in the Guardian, entitled “Huhne and Pryce fell hard because we wanted them to”. I think the headline's right: we were a baying mob, determined that they wouldn’t get away it. And yet this didn't represent one of the  British public's regular fits of moral outrage: most of us don't care about about points-swapping and I don't believe we're that exercised about perverting the course of justice (especially as modern justice seems so ready to pervert itself).

So why this craving for vengeance? Jenkins is good on this:
The truth is that we have so few ways of making power answer for its misdeeds that we grab hold of any stick that will do. There is virtually no accountability for incompetence in office beyond the ballot.
Spot on, I'd say.

But there’s another, deeper reason for our lack of charity in this particular instance. The members of our ruling politico-media elite spend their whole time finding fault with us in such a nannyish, carping, morally superior, finger-wagging, head-shaking, tsk-tsk!, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger, this-hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you, ticking-off-in-the-headmaster’s-study manner that it would take a measure of saintliness that most of us simply don’t possess to forego the pleasure of administering a right good royal kicking to the self-regarding wretches when they prove themselves to be as fallible as the rest of us.

Consider the myriad ways in which we let down our rulers:
We smoke
We drink too much
We drive too much
We take too many trips in aeroplanes
We’re racist
We don’t work hard enough
We earn too much
We earn too little
We’re anti-European
We don’t pay enough tax
We don’t care enough about the environment
We hate wind-turbines
We think foreign aid is a waste of money
Our houses are energy-inefficient
We’re too posh
We’re too privileged
Our houses are too big
We like to read newspapers that peddle salacious gossip
We don’t take enough exercise
We don’t welcome immigrants
We’re cruel to the disabled
We pollute the countryside
We want cheap energy
We resent paying so much tax
We still love the Royal Family
We want our children to go to the best available schools
We want to pass on our “wealth” to our children
We’re horrible about people who won’t work
We resent having to pay for the offspring of underclass trollops
We don’t have regional accents
We drive too fast
We don’t like medical staff who can’t speak English
We want to park close to the place we’re visiting
Too many of us still believe in a Christian God
We holiday abroad too often
We let our dogs crap on the pavement
We borrow too much money
We save our money instead of spending it
We like to hire people who look like us
We think marriage should be between a man and a woman
We’re homphobic
We’re too fat
We live too long
We die too young
In other words, we’re an absolutely useless shower of selfish shags who never – ever – do anything right, and whose sole purpose in life appears to be to let down the fine, decent, dedicated, hard-working, enlightened liberals who sit in judgment over us every minute of every hour of every day.

Is it any wonder we find it nigh on impossible to resist the temptation to gloat when one of the anointed comes a self-inflicted cropper and finds themselves down a deep, dark, hole with the Morlocks they've been so determined to "improve"?


  1. I am reminded of the encounter between Chevy Chase and Randall "Tex" Cobb in the famous prison scene from "Fletch Lives" [1989]:

    "Ben Dover: Take your pants off.
    Fletch: I don't even know your name.
    Ben Dover: Bend over.
    Fletch: Ben? Nice to meet you, Victor Hugo."

  2. Pace Benny ZZ, but I suspect that the reason bruddas have not decided to rise up for Chris Huhne is because he is a rather unpleasant person. The public reserves particular contempt for smug, hypocritical, "don't you know who I am" types. Many of these, coincidentally, happen to be Lib Dem MPs. Huhne manages to tick just about every box in the catalogue of objectionable leadership traits which you list in your post. The distinction which he tries to draw between lying on oath and lying to the press, public, family, colleagues is completely spurious and suggests that he probably left his moral compass in his car at the time of his speeding offence and then forgot where he'd put it.

    I don't think the two of them should have gone to prison but only for the reason that a half-wit magistrate somewhere will decide not to jail a thug because there are two fewer cells available.