Coffee House

The danger for the Lib Dems

4 February 2012

Today’s papers make clear just how damaging the next phase of this whole Chris
Huhne business could be to the Liberal Democrats. The danger is that because this story is a very human drama it cuts through to the public in the way that some minor dispute over policy would not.

The Mail, for instance, reveals that Nick Clegg’s
wife Miriam called Vicky Pryce as soon as the news broke about the charges saying ‘If you need somewhere to stay, if the kids need support, we’re here’.

Patrick Wintour is surely right when he writes that the concern for the Liberal Democrats
‘must be the consequences of a drawn-out court case. The trial would be of unfathomable darkness for the individuals involved, but for the public a cruel sport in which the Lib Dems could
revert to a laughing stock, a sort of Rinka/Exmoor/Jeremy Thorpe saga all over again.’

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Show comments
  • Fergus Pickering

    I think he should be sent to prison just for being him.

  • Cromwell

    Doesnt anyone here think he should have just brazenned it out. This is a peccadillo

    It is one of those ‘crimes’ so beloved of New Labour. ‘Ooohh , speeding is naughty and unsafe. For thier own good the people must be disciplined.’

    And of course the overmighty functionaries cannot stand the fact that anyone got around their precious rules.

    This was a victimless crime at best.

    He would have been better off saying ‘Yes. I did it. So what. Any man or woman would have. This is just the sort of petty rule mongering that is driving us all mad.

    The cops are afer me because I won’t shoot back. Why dont you justify our taxes and go and chase some Gangsta boys?’

    He may not have saved his job. But he would have gone down in style.

    Still given the fact that he is almost a clone of those New labour ghastlies – and promoted the same idiocies – maybe he has hung with own control freak petard.

  • David Parker

    Douglas Carter,
    Go to the top of the class!

  • jase

    im not laughing at the cost the libdems are causing me due to their eco taxes. i only work part time but its costing me an arm and a leg to heat my home. i dont recieve any goverment help either. sooner theyre gone the better.

  • Tom Pride

    I can remember, in those pre-internet days, my parents trying to tune in to RTE in case the committal proceedings were to be unreported. Then there was the “biting the pillow” – heady stuff for family viewing in those days. And, only a handful of Liberal MPs. Happy memories.

  • Frank P

    Sir Everard Digby

    I warned you they’s strip you of your K. How come we didn’t see the headline?

    Btw Jewemy was only found Not Guilty by the Judge and Jury; the public made up their own minds. Peter Cook helped them a little in that regard. No Peter Cooks around these days though.

  • Boudicca

    I think the lesson for other politicians who play away from home is to think very carefully before sacrificing wife and family on the altar of their own ambition.

    “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

    It’s not hard to remember. If you wand to end your marriage, it’s probably best not to completely humiliate your wife in the process.

    Huhne and Ms Pryce are innocent until proven guilty. But Huhne deserves all the humiliation which will now be heaped on him for doing the same to his wife a few years ago. He’s a nasty piece of work.

  • TrevorsDen

    No Huhne and his wife would be the laughing stock.

    How many Labour MPs are in jail. Where is Moran?
    What are labours poll ratings?

    There are plenty of real reasons to be annoyed with LDs over.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    If they all disappeared tomorrow in a puff of distorted logic confronted by cruel reality, just how much of a disaster would it be?

    I deplore the suggestion mentioned elsewhere that Huhne wants to get into jail where he will be safe from the effects of his energy policy. Reprehensible.

  • Ron Todd

    Nick. Not just for money but also for vanity. The desire to show that they know more than anybody eles.

  • Frank P


    “Bunnies will go to France!” (but steady on the accelerator when you’re driving home, the warrens are littered with speed cameras). Thank you Sam; thank you Sam; Thank you Sam; OOOoooppps. Sorry, Ma’am!”
    Sign here!

  • Andy Carpark

    “‘Oh no, not my dog,’ sobbed Scott, ‘Oh no, please, not my dog,’ sank to the ground and tried to give it [Rinka] mouth to mouth resuscitation.”

  • Andy Carpark

    ‘but for the public a cruel sport’

    Diddums. Just did fkg dums. That’s all.

  • Fergus Pickering

    xenophon, explain to me how Huhne’s conviction could reflect badly on the Coalition as a whole, rather than, say, politicians as a whole. Actually that’s nonsense too, but since the public, as a whole, are quite stupid, they just might think that. But you nd I and the intelligent folk don’t think this, do we?

  • Framer

    Huhne’s exit ‘a loss to cabinet’ is todsy’s BBC website headline – inconceivable in the case of Liam Fox. So we can expect lashings of sympathy for Chris in the months to come from that quarter.

  • everard digby

    It should be remembered that although Jeremy Thorpe was found not guilty, his career was finished

  • Austin Barry

    If there is a canine hereafter, where the murdered Rinka sports with Greyfriars Bobby, there will be a mordant woofing as another holier-than-thou reprobate is enrolled in the Gallery of Liberal Absurdity to join Jeremy “Bunnies” Thorpe, Cyril Smith (30 stone spanker of little lads) and Charles Kennedy (MP for the constituency of single Highland malts).

  • Brian Steere

    Whatever social and political effects come from this, the one that looms large to me is of the relationship of the media to the opinionated, who seek entertainment and personal gratification at the expense of others. Everything is sacrificed to market forces, which do not express a true and fair exchange of value, because truth has no value to such an appetite.
    Whatever politics was – it isn’t any more. That is – there are fundamental changes of a kind that are forcing us to reevaluate everything we think we know.
    The dictator holding onto ‘power’ while his country sickens into war is an apt metaphor for all who cling to obsolete positions.
    The issues of this particular case are of our personal loyalties to self, wife, reputation, law.
    But will the hysteria of a blame culture merely feed and follow a mob who attack anyone ELSE as soon as doing so gives rise to self-satisfaction.
    Perhaps issue led politics has arrived, but the criteria by which we decide what is in fact serving our good has itself to be questioned.
    Such questioning COULD be initiated or promoted by those who serve in the media.
    Thankyou for the opportunity to comment.

  • Douglas Carter

    …’unfathomable darkness’…

    ..a uniquely apposite phrase with regard to the consequences Huhne’s policies will inflict on so many Britons…

  • Sacre Bleu

    Nick – For money of course, don’t they all?

  • Swiss Bob

    Oh my bleedin’ heart for these people.

    They didn’t do it through any need, Huhne wouldn’t have lost his job unlike many others, he perverted the course of justice (allegedly) as did she, so they wouldn’t be inconvenienced.

    No sympathy, any reasonably intelligent person knows that perverting the course of justice is a serious offence, I have been asked to take penalties and always told the persons in question: ‘Do you really think it’s worth it’, and the answer after some thought has always been ‘no’.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Perhaps you should represent the Libdems discomfort in a bar chart? You know the sort of thing?

    ‘Only Libdems Can Weap Here'(with a big arrow of course).

    And who mentioned laughing stocks?

    Libdems in the stocks? I’ll have five pounds of rotten tomatoes please!

  • Mirtha Tidville

    I hope it is a danger for the Libs…and it continues to the next election..

  • tom jones

    I reckon it’d look bad for the Coalition as a whole and not just the Lib Dems. Some Labour scandals would be good.

  • Nick

    “The Mail, for instance, reveals that Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam called Vicky Pryce as soon as the news broke about the charges saying ‘If you need somewhere to stay, if the kids need support, we’re here’.”

    How on earth does the Mail know this ?

    Yes, the link to the Mail claims that this is reported by “friends”. But why would either Miriam or Vicky’s friends want to tell the Mail about this.

  • xenophon

    They are a laughing stock because of their vacillating policies; however the charge of perverting the course of justice is no laughing matter, and has the potential to reflect badly on the whole political class, not simply on a loony few.

  • David Ossitt

    If Vicky Pryce fesses up and makes a plea of guilty and if Chris Huhne continues to assert that he is innocent then we are in for an interesting spectacle.

    If he is then found guilty, many will be well pleased.

    Just one small point, when this all came out, I paraphrase what he said on camera, “this has been looked at before and it was proved to be false” nobody asked him the two questions ‘looked at by who?’ and ‘how was it proved to be false?’.

  • RMcGeddon

    ‘The LibDems could revert to a laughing stock’.

    They’ve ALWAYS been a laughing stock, it’s just now that they’re in a Coalition Government, under close scrutiny, their asinine idiosyncrasies are abundantly clear.
    Bring back Lembit Opik to increase the FibDems credibility.

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