Sunday, 10 March 2013

When the jail sentence comes, it is best to face it with wintry realism

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“...any one who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison. It is the people brought up in the gay intimacy of the slums, Paul learned, who find prison so soul destroying.” ― Evelyn WaughDecline and Fall
I am sure that even for people who did not go to public school, prison is a doddle after school. It's the food that must be by far the worst part of prison life - the empty days for reflection the best.
Takes one to know one: Jonathan Aitken has been where Chris Huhne will be standing in a few days' time - in the dock, waiting to receive an expected jail sentence for lies and follies on a career-wrecking scale
Christopher Huhne is about to be sent down. As Oscar Wilde said of the death of Little Dorrit, it would require a heart of stone not to laugh. I hope Huhne's experience will be less terrible than Wilde's. Here is a very interesting piece by Jonathan Aitken, that Edwardian figure, about his life as a politician in prison. (Quite a few English politicians have ended up in the jug - possibly more than Romanian politicians, which is ridiculous.) I remember saying that I liked Aitken because he was an adventurer and a wise friend answering 'Do we want an adventurer in the cabinet?'
Aitken's article contains this memorable line:
When the jail sentence comes, it is best to face it with wintry realism, devoid of bitterness or self-pity.

Good advice for life.
He always had a gift for words, exemplified when he began the libel action against the Guardian, which led him to gaol for perjury, promising to fight the paper with "the sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play". 
He was said not to have been given a job by Margaret Thatcher because he went out with her daughter Carol and made her cry. It didn't help that when Mrs. Thatcher came to power he was reported in the press as saying  she was so ignorant of Middle Eastern politics that 
'she probably thinks Sinai is the plural of sinus'. 
In fact he did not get a job because Mrs Thatcher knew, as did many others, including Anna Ford, that he was a wrong 'un. Huhne is another and we must be glad we were spared David Miliband as Prime Minister with Huhne as his deputy, as might easily have happened. David Cameron and Nick Clegg are bad enough, but there but for the grace of God...
On the other hand, one has to feel sorry for Huhne sent down when most second-offence burglars are not put away. This very interesting article explains why the court sent Huhne and his former wife to prison. Nick Cohen says the real scandal is that The Sunday Times named its source, who is now in Holloway.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like the looks of that guy.

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