'Why on earth do people get married?'
Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce may be no danger to the public, says Rachel Johnson in The Mail on Sunday, but both now face jail for lying about a “common and minor infraction” of the law, one even the prime minister has joked about.
At a dinner a year ago, David Cameron said in his speech that he and his wife were worried about being late. “The traffic was terrible. So we had to speed to get here on time. It’s a good job Samantha was driving – or at least, ha ha, that’s what it says on the forms!”
At the same dinner two women told Johnson they’d taken penalty points for their “high-rolling husbands”, and there was talk about “an anointed member of the Establishment” – a frequent guest on Question Time – who had asked his wife to take points not once, but twice.
As Johnson says, the dinner just confirmed what we all know: the world is full of married men with nine points on their licences who have cajoled their wives into taking the next three.
The bitter row between Huhne and Pryce, meanwhile, is a reminder of “how limitlessly destructive and dangerous a disunited couple can be to each other”. One thinks of the remark made by Rod Stewart when, after one of his divorces, he was asked if he still believed in matrimony. “Instead of getting married again,” he said, “I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and give her a house.”
Why on earth do people want to get married in the first place? wondered The Mail on Sunday columnist Liz Jones. “I look at gay people aching to tie the knot and think ‘Are you insane?’ Why would you want what we have?”
It’s a fact, says Jones, that “you cannot trust a spouse. Not when it comes to the smallest thing… And, as the Huhne case proves, wives are just as bad as husbands when it comes to vitriol and betrayal, especially when they become mothers.”
Jones’s bleak view is that it’s best to live alone. Her advice to 30-something career women desperate for a man? If you find one, don’t marry him. “All in all, my view is that families – spouses, siblings, children, aunts, nephews and nieces – are toxic. My motto these days is to trust no one. Not to be generous, ever.”
Money’s power to create misery
In an equally world-weary mood, Sunday Telegraph columnist Jenny McCartney observes that, while money doesn’t usually buy you happiness, it does give you the power to make other people miserable. That is certainly one way of looking at the annoyance Gert-Rudolf “Muck” Flick, the Daimler-Benz heir, is causing in South Kensington.
Flick is hollowing out a huge basement beneath his £30m house, a space that he is planning to use for a cinema, beauty treatment rooms and extra storage.
The whole project will take three years. This has infuriated his neighbours, including the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. I see their point. Maybe Lloyd Webber should wait till Flick has finished then get his own back by embarking on a suitably disruptive building project himself.
Tabloid money… Richard Branson and Ronnie Wood’s poker game
• “Churchill is the insurance company that advertises itself with a hugely annoying toy dog that lives in some weird relationship with Martin Clunes,” says Rod Liddle in The Sun. “I have often wanted to punch the dog. It has a fatuous expression on its face and speaks in a Yorkshire accent. Wrong ‘un. Now Churchill has refused to pay out on a policy for a young girl who was left brain damaged after being run over by a speeding car.
The court accepted the lass had not been remotely negligent and that the driver was 100% to blame. But Churchill is claiming that it shouldn’t pay out because the girl wasn’t wearing a high-visibility vest. Can you think of anything more ludicrous or weaselly? If you have a policy with these money-grabbing monkeys, I’d either check it right this moment or, better still, cancel it altogether.”
• Heidi Montag was offered £3m “to strip naked for her fans”, says The Star. “The Celebrity Big Brother babe was promised the huge figure to pose for Playboy”. But she said no. Her husband, Spencer Pratt, asked her not to, fearing her “gun-toting” dad would disapprove.
“Heidi’s dad is a cowboy from Colorado and carries a gun with him wherever he goes. When she was on the last cover [of Playboy] and she wasn’t even naked you would have thought she was in porno – he was so emotional. I would definitely be killed if I allowed it to happen.”
• Sir Richard Branson lost in a game of poker with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, says the Daily Express. Wood was Branson’s guest on Necker Island in the Caribbean. “We both went all in,” says Branson. “I ended up strangling him – he ended up smiling!” With Virgin Media about to be sold in a £10bn deal, Branson can afford to take the hit.