A simply astonishing column from Chris Huhne in today’s Guardian, in which he uses the jailing of Andy Coulson as a proxy to whinge about his own encounter with the criminal justice system:
“The custodial sentences are ridiculous; they serve no public purpose. The conviction itself will be the most severe part of Coulson’s punishment.
“Coulson’s sentence tells us more about the vindictive nature of our justice system – and of public opinion – than it does about his crimes.
Apparently custodial sentences are akin to 19th Century public hangings:
“there is something in the British psyche that likes to see others suffer … Are we much different today to the 30,000 people who gathered in 1849 to witness the public hanging of a husband and wife at Horsemonger Lane prison, Southwark?
And if we were in any doubt as to who he’s really talking about:
“Prison is the new public execution, with the tabloids scrambling to take pictures of any imprisoned celebrity and to invent ludicrous stories about their humiliations inside (as I can testify from my own experience).
“Given the gravity of his crimes, and the suffering of innocents, custody must be right for Rolf Harris. But surely not for Coulson and many others on short sentences.
Perverting the course of justice carries a custodial sentence because the offence undermines the very foundation of the criminal justice system, something that is clearly lost on Huhne. His failure to tell the truth also led to the public humiliation of his son, with emotionally raw text messages revealed as part of the prosecution case.
The former cabinet minister served just a quarter of his eight month sentence and was transferred from Wandsworth to an Layhill open prison after just one week.