Chris Huhne’s career-ending lie

Chris Huhne’s career-ending lie

So now we know for sure what many of us suspected all along. Chris Huhne was lying.

In my blog of 6 February 2012 I wrote that if Huhne was telling the truth, he had a mightily ineffective way of expressing it. His choice of words and his body language reeked of a man under almost intolerable pressure to maintain a deceit. One can only imagine how that pressure must have built, agonisingly, over the past year, as his day in court approached, knowing that the fall he was trying so desperately to avoid, using every legal ploy available, was becoming more likely, longer and harder with each passing day. Perhaps Monday’s admission of guilt came as a relief.

It’s easy to have contempt for Huhne. It’s tempting to kick a man when he’s down – a man who lied time and time again, while lashing out at the motives of his political opponents. Those same opponents might see him head off to prison (which is likely) and bid him good riddance.

Yet my reaction is one of pity. A lie that he concocted ten years ago to avoid a driving ban has ruined his career and, much more seriously, his relationship with his own family. It’s almost unbearable to read the string of texts sent between Huhne and his estranged son over recent years – Huhne desperate to maintain the normality of tender loving contact (“I’m visiting Gran on Saturday, would you like to come?”); his son retorting with violent insults. It’s so very sad.

Nine times out of ten, perhaps ninety-nine times out of a hundred, Huhne might have got away with his lie. He might even have considered it morally excusable; a victimless crime. But then he deceived again, had an extra-marital affair, and, understandably or not, his ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, decided upon revenge.

Most of us learn as young children that admitting the truth right away, and accepting your punishment there and then, is better than gambling with a lie that might get you out of trouble, but might also lead to far worse consequences. It’s the same in the media spotlight, and those of us who coach spokespeople always emphasise that material released to the media must be the truth and nothing but.

Huhne has now learned this lesson. Tragically, he’ll have plenty of time to reflect on it in a cell.

Article date

February 6th, 2013

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer

@RT_MediaTrainer

My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

Comments

  • Robert – greetings – I agree that ‘fessing up’ is always the best course of action. I remember in years gone by when handling a crisis with a client that I was told offline that the crisis we were dealing with was ‘a starter for 10’, according to a younster in the comms department. He was right – there was more shit in the pipe and the decision of the client not to tell us about it meant that he could not excise the issues together and move on, but that he had to do it in stages and die a death of a thousand cuts.

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