Monday, June 21, 2010

Jerry Hayes - worth reading

Although Chris Huhne's marital trouble has been the main subject of headlines this weekend, a more tragic story lurks just out of sight. The Tory MP David Ruffley was injured after falling under a train on the London Underground and it has been widely reported as a suicide attempt. Jerry Hayes writes movingly about how for all the whiff of power and the excitement and intrigue of politics, the Mother of Parliaments can be a very lonely and emotionally destructive place.
Because all politicians have to wear a mask of supreme confidence, strut the stage with absolute certainty, show no sign of weakness, be beyond reproach and have the sex life of the Queen Mother, the Commons appears to be the perfect comfort blanket. But don’t be fooled. The disneyland of pretence is the order of the day, because baring of the soul to parliamentary colleagues is like cutting your finger in a shark tank.
Oh, how I wish that the dapper, chirpy little man I used to seat next to had confided in me that he was in deep financial trouble. It may have saved me from reading about his sealing himself in his car with a bottle of whisky and the exhaust hose, and attending his memorial service with his bewildered widow and tearblown children. Oh, how I wish that the tubby Labour MP I used to drink with had told us that he was gay and was being unmercifully bullied by other MPs. I wouldn’t have had to had to read of his distorted body being found with a noose round his neck. Oh, how I wish that the convivial Tory I used to enjoy dinner with had told me that he was desperately unhappy. I wouldn’t have had to read of his body lying unloved and unattended for three days. We didn’t even notice that he had gone missing for three weeks.
Perhaps we find it hard to be sympathetic towards those who choose politics as their vocation, but we should remember that some pay a terrible price for it.

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