i Editor's Letter: So, Chris Huhne pleads guilty


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The Independent Online


So, Chris Huhne? The politician who insisted, absolutely insisted, he was innocent, right up until the time he pleaded guilty. Inevitably, he's had to step down as an MP. Excited Westminster is abuzz with rumours about Huhne's Eastleigh constituency: will Nigel Farage run? Is UKIP weakened if he doesn't? What does it say about Cameron if the Tories don't win? How many votes will Elvis Loves Pets get?

I made that up, but only the "how many?" bit. There really is an Elvis Loves Pets party. Sometimes, I understand the frustrated sense of disenfranchisement that leads otherwise sane people to set up a nonsense party – by definition I'm not sure that this applies to Monster Raving Loonies.

We cover politics a lot in i. Some readers think too much, others not enough – despite a 24-hour news media. We take it very seriously and are proud of our top team of political reporters and columnists (Read Dominic Lawson).

But, I wonder. Today, because some reporting restrictions on Huhne's case have been lifted we can shed a little light on why we've had to keep so quiet about him. Notably, his son's texts are heartbreakingly damning. Huhne had twice tried to have the case thrown out, hiring the barrister we all would if we had the money, John Kelsey-Fry (who successfully defended Harry Redknapp).

My hunch is Britain is not abuzz about Eastleigh. Instead, the tawdry saga offers yet another reason for the public not only to mistrust politicians, but to be so cynical as to further disengage with politics. And, that's both sad and dangerous.