Sunday, 3 November 2013

Chris Huhne and the reality of rehabilitation


Chris Huhne, ex-con, liar, cheat and former cabinet minister seems to have landed on his feet. The Guardian, that collector of left-liberal flotsam, has given him a nice column to spout his platitudinous cant. No, I'm not going to link to it.

I have no doubt that Huhne will collect a set of cosy little sinecures, will snuggle onto the speaker circuit and will pop up plugging some sort of renewable energy scam in exchange for loads of cash. It is utterly shameless but precisely what we might expect.

Now don't get me wrong here, I'm all in favour of rehabilitation, of wrongdoers serving their time and returning as useful members of society. And there might be an outside chance of Chris Huhne doing something useful with his undoubted intelligence and (as we now know) unquestioning contacts.

Instead of sounding off in the Guardian perhaps he'd be better served rolling up his sleeves and doing something to help those who have more of a problem with rehabilitation. Most ex-cons don't have mates running national newspapers who'll bung them a favour with a weekly column. They have to go and try getting a job - any job - in a tough old labour market.

And frankly when you've a criminal record, don't read and write so well, maybe suffer from depression and drink just a little too much, getting a job isn't a matter of wringing up the editor of the Guardian. It's hard - really hard. And there's not much help. I don't mean the benefits sort of help - that's there. I mean the real help that takes you from the mess your life's in to the chance of a better place. That will persuade employers to take a chance on an ex-con. And will sit alongside that ex-con, hold his hand a little, as he gets into the job.

This is the reality of rehabilitation. It's hard as Kate Belgrave describes:

“I’ve had my ESA suspended. I was using a care-of address, but they got me down at the social as actually living there. I’ve had no money for the last eight weeks.” That basically left him with his goal. “I’m getting on an emergency script next week. They’ve got me on these meetings – anger management and self- awareness. Then, I’m going to rehab. This time, I’m taking it.”

The tent Darren didn’t mind, although he wanted to move on from it. “I stink of fire all the time (and he did smell of smoke). I’m not usually like this. I’m only dirty, because I’m sleeping on the streets and because of the [cooking] fire. The police come and do a body count [every now and then] and as long as the fires are only under control, they’re not too bothered. I do need to get off the streets – that’s a priority really.”

So Chris, rather than warming yourself with a nice sinecure - get out and help some of your fellow ex-cons. It might make the world think a little better of you.


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