Reports of the incident of common assault by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley on his then partner from the Daily Mail online.
Ending victimisation and blame comment on the news that MP David Ruffley has been convicted of common assault on his now ex-partner.
Ending victimisation and blame comment on the Jeremy Vine interview with local conservative party member defending his MP David Ruffley on his recent case of domestic violence against his now ex-partner.
After pressure from a number of different quarters on what David Ruffley described as a “private matter” of his caution for “common assault” this incident is now being re-branded for what it was, “domestic violence”. As reported in the Independent online, a result of these pressures is that David Ruffley has decided to resign at the end of this current term in Parliament, blaming not his own actions but “the protracted media debate” and “the unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into [his] private life”. The Telegraph online further quoted Joanna Spicer, local party member and former chairman of the Suffolk Domestic Violence Partnership, supporting David Ruffley’s decision to continue in his role until the next election, saying “[he] has been a very good MP for many years and has earned a great deal of affection and respect” and “given the wide debate locally and nationally about domestic abuse and the high standard of expectations we have of our political leaders I feel that he has made a sensible decision.”
Although David Ruffley has apologised for his actions he is not resigning because he believes what he did was wrong. He is resigning because his position in Parliament has become ‘untenable’. What is surprising is that even the ex-chairman of the Suffolk Domestic Violence Partnership is placing weight on the media pressure that has arisen out of his case.
The petitions and media pressure have called for his resignation and although that is being deferred to 2015 they have achieved that initial goal. But what do we really want? Is resignation alone right or enough? Will David Ruffley go off in to the wilderness for a few years, until the current furore has been forgotten and he comes back as a consultant or even an MP again? Will the argument be that he has served his penance in losing his job? A job he apparently loves.
Just consider the question of why anyone would want to become an MP in the first place. Modern politics is a power game. Although not exclusively it attracts men and women who want public recognition and power. Of course that’s only public recognition for being good – as David Ruffley’s case demonstrates as soon as the publicity becomes negative they want to retreat into ‘personal privacy’. But power is another matter. Power can be used for good or bad. Power is behind bullying whether in schools or employment. Power is behind domestic violence.
In his exile will David Ruffley be given the opportunity to consider his actions, the misuse of power, and whether the way he treated his ex-partner was appropriate, whether ‘common assault’ of anyone let alone ‘common assault’ of someone you purport to love and care for, your partner, your wife, your husband, is appropriate. From the comments of her friends this was not an isolated or first incident. Or will he be allowed to fester in his resentment at the public furore that didn’t understand the private nature of his personal life and so forcing him out of a job he loves, embedding in him a sense of self-righteousness?
Just questions? No need to answer them. The answers are pretty obvious. I expect to see David Ruffley back in the public eye in due course, having served his ‘undeserved sentence’ and without having addressed any of the reasons he got the ‘sentence’ in the first place. I hope I’m wrong. In the meantime let’s support the messages from Ending victimisation and blame.