When families fall out ...

Going public is a sign of impotence, says Joan Smith

Share

By the time you reach a certain age, a certain amount of messy emotional baggage is inevitable.

Parents fall out with adult children, people have affairs, new partners live in a state of resentment towards old ones and vice versa. Some of these feuds are resolved, others turn into life-long estrangements, but the modern world offers unprecedented opportunities to take it all to a higher level.

Look at Jimmy Carr, who has spent the past few days trying to calm down a storm about his tax arrangements. Just when it all seemed to be working, the comedian's estranged father popped up yesterday, writing a long article for the Daily Mail. Jim Carr said he had "watched with great sadness as my much-loved middle son was forced to issue a humiliating apology" about a tax scheme that enabled him "to pay as little as 1 per cent tax on his vast earnings". No hard feelings there, then.

At the same time, France's new President, François Hollande, has had his commitment to gender equality in government overshadowed by the behaviour of his current partner, Valérie Trierweiler. She is a journalist and should be a bit more media-savvy, but she recently urged voters to support a political rival to the mother of Hollande's four children, Ségolène Royal, who was fighting a difficult parliamentary seat. Royal duly lost, and now Trierweiler has published a book about Hollande's presidential campaign. Writing about an event when Hollande and Royal appeared together at a rally, she mused on "the François-Ségolène reunion" in terms that suggested she was anything but relaxed. I can't imagine that's going to make life easier at the Hollande-Trierweiler breakfast table.

Meanwhile, a new front has opened in the saga of the marriage split of a wealthy couple, Ben Goldsmith and his wife, Kate Rothschild, who owns a small record company. I'd never heard of them until they exchanged hostilities on Twitter a few weeks ago, and I should think it was a relief to everyone concerned when they agreed to sort out their problems in private. Two days ago, however, a rapper called Jay Electronica, who is said to have had a relationship with Rothschild, appeared to blunder into the dispute via the micro-blogging site. His tweets were so parodic, including a threat to "come see you" if Goldsmith didn't stop talking to the press, that I wondered if his Twitter account had been hacked. Certainly it won't have helped a fraught situation, which involves the couple's three children and an allegation of domestic violence.

The late Princess of Wales went public when she could no longer bear her anger towards her husband's family. If Twitter had been around then, I expect she'd have taken to it like a duck to water – @queenofhearts. But the satisfaction of putting your side of the story may be shortlived, as well as acting as a reminder that there's another side to the story.

When Jimmy Carr's father complains that he's been banned from watching his son perform, it suggests there's been a breakdown of relations on a pretty awesome scale. In his article, Carr Snr refers to a case in which he was arrested on suspicion of harassing Jimmy and his older brother Colin with abusive emails and letters, and taken to court. He reminds readers that the case was thrown out, but acknowledges it was "a hollow victory, because my sons remain estranged".

One of the painful things you learn as you get older is that some estrangements can't be mended. People aren't always reasonable, or able to see beyond their own hurt and resentment. Going public feels like the nuclear option but it's really an admission of impotence, a last resort when all other avenues have failed.

www.politicalblonde.com / twitter.com/@polblonde

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Consultant – Building Management

up to £45,000 + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Green ...

Senior Industrial Energy Consultant

Up to £45,000 + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Green ...

Mechanical Building Services Energy Engineer

up to £45K basic + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Gr...

Building Services Energy Engineer

up to £45K basic + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Gr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Britain's youngest mum is lucky to have a father who is supporting her while society condemns

Louise Scodie
 

i Editor's Letter: Wages are on the rise (so long as you skew the figures)

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal