Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Monday 11 March 2013

Mutually Assured Destruction

It’s Monday, so, in my occasional comment series, I’m taking a little look at the Huhnes.

Incidentally, a ‘hoon’ in Australian parlance is a lout, especially a reckless driver, which seems rather apt, doesn’t it?

There’s so much to say about Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce (I do wish she’d call herself almost anything else... There’s something verging on the unseemly about a grown woman, and a big hitter in the world of global economics at that, using the diminutive. Vicky is so girly, so coy, somehow. She couldn’t have used Victoria, or even Vic, or, just for fun, Tori?). Anyway, I digress. 

Chris Huhne was a hoon. He racked up vast numbers of points on his driving license by thinking that he was above the law, by believing that the rules of the road didn’t apply to him. His wife, either because he coerced her into it, or because she was a pragmatist, or both, or for reasons that we don’t know, adopted some of those points so that Huhne didn’t lose his license.

So far, so stupid.

One way or another, and, not least, because they’d broken the law and talked about it, Huhne and Pryce ended up in court on fraud charges.

Pryce was seeking vengeance. She was the woman scorned. Her man had done her wrong and she was bloody well going to get her own back... over some speeding points! Well, I guess there’s nothing quite like choosing your battles. She could have cut the crotches out of his trousers. She could have written a blog about just how bad he was in bed and what his particular sexual peccadilloes were. She could have appeared on Loose Women and called him a bully. 

Frankly, she could have been the bigger person and held the moral high ground. She could have saved her children the pain and suffering of seeing their parents fighting out their marital strife in public. She could have held her head up and hung on to a bit of dignity. That isn’t the 21st century way, though is it? That doesn’t ensure a third political party’s star’s ex-wife her fifteen minutes of fame, does it? That doesn’t offer public payback. That doesn’t set the record straight. That doesn’t seem fair.

Well, as my mother told me hundreds of times, ‘Life isn’t fair!’ Life isn’t fair, and everybody doesn’t win, and it’s time to suck it up and get on with it.

Vicky Pryce put her head in a noose and honestly believed that the archaic law, still on the statute books, of spousal coercion would melt the rope clean away. She believed that she was cleverer than the legal system that put her on trial. She was blinded by self-righteous rage and she was wrong.

There is no doubt in my mind that spousal coercion, as a form of spousal abuse, is still very real, even in the 21st century, and that husbands and wives still need protection from the spouses who control and coerce them. This was not the test case to bring to illustrate it, however, and in bringing this case, yet again, one woman has undermined the very real needs of countless others.

Vicky Pryce has made the idea of spousal coercion laughable. I am not sorry that this foolish woman has been slapped on the wrist for her display of hubris, but I am sorry it happened this way.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, every time some foolish girl cries rape or some vindictive woman falsely accuses a man of violence or sexual abuse it sets us all back. Real women, our mothers and sisters, our aunts, grandmothers, cousins and daughters are suffering every day at the hands of controlling, abusive and violent men, and they need more help and protection from us, not less.

On the subject of spousal coercion and, indeed of all forms of abuse within relationships, it is also worth remembering that it is not only women who suffer. Men are also the subject of abuse by the women they are in long term relationships with, and the gay community is not exempt from the problem, either. Domestic abuse in all its forms, whether it be physical, mental or emotional must be addressed and effectively dealt with. Perhaps Vicky Pryce’s mosts heinous crime was that she might well have hindered the furtherance of this cause. 

I can’t help thinking that Huhne and Pryce were the sort of couple who were more or less guaranteed mutually assured destruction. I can’t help thinking it was in their natures, both individually and as a couple. I suspect they got what they deserved.


  1. I suppose that when someone has made such a stupid grasp for the limelight we can always console ourselves with the thought she could well end up on "I'm a Celebrity," eating spiders and cat sick or something.

    Abuse thing is awful of course and as you say, this "crying wolf" thing is maddening. Here's a scary statistic (not to say men have it worse (physically at least, psychological abuse is so much harder to prove or quantify) as we generally don't, the statistics are well reported) but in my area there were three deaths due to domestic violence last year. All three were men. In the UK there are only eleven beds available in shelters for men. Sobering thought...

    1. "Abuse thing"? Woops... Please ignore that as an editing error. That really doesn't look good.

    2. Thanks for that, Alec, that is sobering.

      I happen to know a man who suffered domestic abuse, and I suspect it is one of the most under-reported crimes of our times, for all the obvious reasons. His pain and the damage to his self-esteem were as real and the consequences as far-reaching as they would have been for any woman. He internalised virtually all of that suffering in a way that, thank goodness, most women don't feel they have to.

  2. Watching this all play out on the news has been interesting, almost entertaining to a point, but ultimately pointless and wasteful. The court proceedings they both fought for and against have cost thousands of pounds and has still ended up with both of them getting prosecuted, money that could have gone to other services like the shelter Alec mentioned.

    And lets face it, this was just an extension of their divorce proceedings. One I can only hope those two are going to pay for rather than it come out of tax payer money (though I doubt it). I have no pity for either of them, they wanted to have this very public self destruction, they can both suffer the consequences.

    As professionals in their fields, they acted anything but, and have let a simple matter of points on your license escalate into public humiliation for both of them. Its just a shame that five kids are now going to have to hang their heads in shame at their parents acting like complete arse's.