It’s not how they look – Chris, a cleaned-up version ofToy Story’s Stinky Pete; and Vicky, surely a model for the Boden Senior Range (if they had one). They each share the same contempt for the person the other has become; and this is most clearly discernible – audible rather than visible – in the taped, private telephone conversation made public during court hearings against divorcees Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce (charged with perverting the course of justice re: previous conviction for speeding on the M11). He speaks to her in the rhythm that politicians habitually use when addressing the public nowadays. ‘There/is/no/point/in/going/any/further’. Which is to say (though of course this is not what he/they actually say): I want to you to know that I am separating this out. Into small pieces. So that you can un-der-stand. E-ven you. But even the former minister and ex-MP is still man enough, sufficiently human, to fail in this contemptuously mechanical performance. He continues: ‘All I am saying is that I am going to tell them the truth which is of course that I…a-absolutely deny that [indecipherable because Pryce interjects]’. Huhne cannot bring himself simply to say: I did not. Instead he uses a formula that puts him at one step removed: ‘I…a-absolutely deny that [indecipherable]’. Even then he falters between the ‘I’ and ‘absolutely’. If he were a musician we’d say he’s late coming in, and then he fluffs the note. Conscious that it is a performance, he trips up at the key moment. Whereas Pryce’s showing is all the more theatrical because she does not appear to be performing at all. Her side of their exchanges is anything but rehearsed. It is declamatory, exclamatory. She supplies interjection, intervention, interrogation. Hook lines in the key of spontaneous outburst.‘Who are you going to deny this to?’ ‘Do you not remember?’ ‘Swear to me’. ‘It’s my reputation’. ‘What do I say now?’ This last, a mocking reprise of the very idea that she will take any more directions from him. Soon afterwards Huhne hangs up. But not before she has given voice to a caricature of private life, strictly divorced from the concerns and criteria of public deliberation; while the calculated manner of his performance reveals a man locked in to a travesty of public life, cynical of whoever’s being addressed. On this hearing, public and private are close to irreconcilable.