One rule for an Irish TD and quite another for a British Minister…

So Chris Huhne gets eight months in Prison. For ducking driving points on his licence by swapping them with his now ex wife Vicky Pryce. Oh, and she gets 8 months for complicity. That’s the English for ya! Andrew Sparrow even ran a live blog on it.

Guido’s hopes the judge would go easy on her because “this would never have come out if it were not for Vicky…” all came to nought. Meanwhile in Ireland, the cops are falling 0ver and over themselves to expunge the points of jobbing politicians:

According to sources, the basis for invalidating Mr Flanagan’s points was that he insisted to gardai he was on “Dail business” when stopped in June 2011 and therefore should not be liable for the charge or penalty.

A garda superintendent has the power to cancel points if he receives an appeal in writing, outlining the grounds why the offender feels the points should not be applied. “His points were dropped on foot of his representations,” a source said.

Under existing rules, Oireachtas members travelling to and from the Dail can be exempted from prosecution.

Ara Chris, it seems you got yourself elected to the wrong parliament. It could all have been so much easier. Except that Luke Ming Flanagan is to appear in the Dail to explain why he (along with three other independent TDs) led a campaign labelling Gardai as corrupt for getting influential people off their driving points after being forgiven his own…

[Shakes head slowly…]

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  • Apart from visceral vengeance, what exactly is being achieved by sending Mrs Pryce down for four months (with time off for good behaviour)?

    Huhne is a rat, an habitual liar, and as slippery as a greased ferret — but the same extenuation could be made in his case. He has been throughly disgraced (in earlier times he would presumably have been despatched at Tower Hill or Tyburn). He will do his time, and re-emerge (like Archer, Aiken and Profumo) to do good works. Any chance that (like at least a couple of those prototypes) he may discover “religion”?

    And the world will keep on turning.

    And no great moral improvements made.

    But a lot of newsprint, endless local airtime, and (as here) umpteen billion electrons dedicated to a nasty bit of sensationalism.

  • John Ó Néill

    Ming is supposed to be giving a statement in the Dáil tomorrow (here’s one of his few comments):

    @desmondwebb1 yes.But How….All revealed Tuesday in the Dail.Plus how non gardai can get your points wiped..#wherearemypoints?— Luke ming flanagan (@lukeming) March 10, 2013

    Coming off the back of the Clare Daly drink-driving non-story, it appears that the Gardaí are seeking a bit of retribution against the independent TDs who raised the issue of the Gardaí having discretionary powers to not process penalty points. In Ming’s case that seems to be coming at a price (although, as with the Clare Daly drink-driving allegation which turned out to be a malicious leak, it will be interesting to see how this pans out).

  • Mick Fealty

    Malc, did you mention ‘Lib Dem’ (aka da enemy)?

    This on Twitter 30 mins ago:

  • 6crealist

    “So Chris Huhne gets eight months in Prison. For ducking driving points on his licence by swapping them with his now ex wife Vicky Pryce.”

    Completely incorrect. He was sent to jail for perverting the course of justice: i.e. lying through his teeth about the matter for nearly a decade, culminating with his ultimately futile fortnight of bullshit in the courts last month, trying to get the charges thrown out on all sorts of technicalities.

    Fully agree with Malcolm: he’s a rat. He lies; Oakeshott shops a source; yet somehow the judge directs most of his ire at Pryce. Bizarre.

    The Lib Dems are the new party of sleaze.

  • Rory Carr

    At least Mr and Mrs Vince Cable have nothing to answer for as both have no recall whatsoever of a fun evening over dinner, chez Cable, when Huhne, it was alleged by fellow diner, Ms Price (or Mrs Huhne as then was), had a fine old time regaling the party with the cleverness of all this penalty dodging malarkey.

    Perhaps when he gets out at last, rather than “doing a Profumo”, Huhne might have Sir Alex, in the wake of Nani’s travails last Tuesday, take him on at Old Trafford as their penalty-dodging consultant.

  • Mick Fealty @ 9:15 pm

    If I ever thought or said that, I regret it. As the old saw has it: in politics your enemies are behind you (as the liquorice all-sorts of the ConDem conspiracy are realising). Your opponents are in front of you.

    And the essential difference between a nation of 60+ million and one of 6+ million is anonymity, or a lack of it.

    As a schoolboy in the late ’50s I shared a CIE compartment to Cork with ‘Pope’ O’Mahony. He was able to discourse on my Irish connections (and their misdemeanours) ten generations back.

    It’s not a case, in Dublin, Cork or Galway, that your sins will find you out (as they have a habit, we find, of doing on the M11 from Stansted). It’s that everyone knows — or assumes — already, but won’t tell in self-defence. Except, but naturally, Miriam Lord probably hints at it in none-too-opaque code.

    Multilateral Mexican stand-off or mutually assured destruction?

  • you are comparing absolute apples and oranges, huhne lied repeatedly to authorites

  • Quite right 6crealist. He was guilty of perverting the course of justice and deserves what he got.

  • aquifer

    I remember reading about the way that males do riskier and riskier things as they get more successful. Something to do with testosterone.

    But where does that leave us with political leaders?

    The ‘leadership’ of the DUP at war with law and order, and damn the consequences?

    Maybe the OFM DFM postholders should have a maximum tenure like the US president, to get them offside before they explode the place.

  • sherdy

    How come people seem surprised that a politician lied?
    If Solomon had been on the bench for those two cases today he would have ordered Chris and Vicky to serve their sentences together in the same cell.
    Which of them would suffer more?

  • Rory Carr

    …and let’s not forget he was not only a LibDem but was indeed once a candidate to be their leader.

    Rinka’s ghost will be wagging his tail tonight.

    Let Auberon Waugh, writer and founding member of the Dog Lovers’ Party, remind us, also from beyond the grave, of poor Rinka’s fate and let it serve as a warning to all who would

  • Rory Carr

    …and let’s not forget he was not only a LibDem but was indeed once a candidate to be their leader.

    Rinka’s ghost will be wagging his tail tonight.

    Let Auberon Waugh, writer and founding member of the Dog Lovers’ Party, remind us, also from beyond the grave, of poor Rinka’s fate and let it serve as a warning to all who would feel drawn to unnatural political activities:

    “NEWS of Jeremy Thorpe’s arrest with three others breaks like a thunderclap over the Languedoc countryside. There is dancing in the streets, ceremonial rabbits are cooked and groups of peasants with lanterns are to be found wandering the lanes far into the night, singing at the tops of their voices and beating the hedges with staves.

    All these men are probably quite innocent of the vile crimes of which they stand accused. But it certainly adds to the gaiety of the nations to make them prove it.

    Over here, where people were understandably alarmed by Thorpe’s assertion that “bunnies can and will go to France”, a collection is being made to provide some token of their gratitude and relief over the new development.

    I suggest that this take the form of a monument to Rinka, the unfortunate labrador. Contrary to general belief, the French are even more obsessed by dogs than the English are, and a monument subscribed to by Languedoc farmers to stand at the lonely, windswept spot on Porlock Hill, Exmoor, where Rinka was so foully done to death, would be poignant testimony to the neighbourly way in which Europeans share each other’s sufferings and joys.”

    Private Eye diary, June 30, 1978

  • babyface finlayson

    6crealist
    It may be the judge directed his ire at Pryce because she, unlike Huhne did not plead guilty.
    While he is undoubtedly a liar, I don’t see any reason not to label her also as slippery and a liar. Her vindictiveness was a match for his vanity and ambition.
    Not sure that prison is the right punishment for this type of offence though.

  • Alias

    It might teach other bitter scorned women too think twice about which method of vengeance they choose. I’m glad they both got jail even if 8 months is 7 months too long.

  • Alias

    By the way, you have to love Irish logic. The electorate, in their wisdom, decided that the established political class weren’t fit for purpose and that they should be replaced with an independent political class who were fit for purpose – among them a dope-smoking unemployable and a bankrupt property developer.

  • If the criterion is that Huhne was a serial liar, that makes him a paid-up member of a very large club, of which the LibDem parliamentary party form a substantial cohort. Election pledges on student fees? Or these unspeakable (literally!) “secret courts”? Propping up the most disastrous economic policy in recent history? Double standards on hospital closures? Lynne Featherstone and her sordid “Baby Peter” campaign (it involved a lynch mob at Wood Green Town Hall, with real nooses)? Not forgetting that David Laws is back in government, while Mike “Handy” Hancock won’t be charged. Then there’s the lesser offences: check out Dan Falchikov (“John O’Grady”) — that’s only one of many character-assassination jobs played by LibDem campaigns

    Huhne’s crime was he got found out: the unforgivable political crime in English politics. We are still not to the end of the whole affair — that will be pursued further in the trial, or whatever ensues, of Constance (née Clare) Briscoe.

    Let us assume that Huhne and Mrs Pryce serve half their sentences each: cost to the taxpayer around £30,000. Huhne’s futile trial attempt to abort the legal process last September cost (we are told) another £100,000. Three weeks sweating over what Mrs Pryce did or didn’t do probably adds another quarter million. Heaven knows what it all cost in police investigations — the Essex Constabulary et al. will come up with a vastly-inflated sum (though the Daily Mail did most of the groundwork). And here we are, still wondering if justice was done — or, in the circumstances, could ever be done.

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: Apart from visceral vengeance, what exactly is being achieved by sending Mrs Pryce down for four months (with time off for good behaviour)?
    Vengeance is out of fashion. Therefore the purpose of the prison system these days is deterrence, restraint or reform. In the case of the – no doubt fragrant – Mrs Pryce, I guess the answer is deterrence.
    I don’t think I’ll be swapping penalty points with the wife, that’s for sure.

  • 6crealist

    Malcolm

    add to that glittering list their bullsh*t on an EU referendum: it was pledged in their 2010 manifesto, yet Clegg says today that it would be “madness”.

    He displays all the sincerity and sanctimony of a young Tony Blair.

  • mr x

    Vince Cable is on record as saying the UK should invest more in Nigeria, one of the most corrupt countries in the world.