JAN MOIR: How long before regret burst Matt Hancock's bubble?

JAN MOIR: How long before regret burst Matt Hancock's bubble?

07/01/2021

JAN MOIR: So how long before the guilt and regret burst Matt Hancock’s bubble of stolen romance?

The things we do for love. Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo have blown up their lives for it, and now walk off hand in hand into the burning sunset. 

One fears that even fortified by the mutual passion that overwhelmed, they will still be crisped like insects in the furnace that awaits.

Few relationships could survive the pressures that will bear down upon them; how soon before guilt and regret bubble alongside the romance and excitement of those stolen kisses and secret trysts? How long before clouds of grief and resentment blot out the sunshine of their love?

The utter enormity of what they have done is a heartbreak all of its own.

Six young children between them. Two homes, now broken. A cuckolded husband, a cheated wife, a million tears, shed and unshed. 

Matt and Gina have abandoned the everyday glory of their former lives to make a go of it together, although one wonders what their options were, realistically.

The things we do for love. Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo have blown up their lives for it, and now walk off hand in hand into the burning sunset (pictured, Hancock and Coladangelo caught on camera in a passionate clinch) 

They went to each other’s weddings. Their respective families are emotionally and socially enmeshed. Some betrayals of trust are just too big to overcome or forgive.

One terrible irony is that perhaps their furtive, socially-isolated relationship might just have fizzled out once things returned to normal in a post-pandemic world. Perhaps in this they are — no, hear me out — two more victims of the pandemic themselves.

Well, it’s too late for any of that now. After the news broke, the dithering Health Secretary was suddenly and lethally coherent, a man of action who swiftly packed his bags and even woke his youngest child to tell him Daddy was leaving home for good. 

He walked out on his family in a Hancock’s half-hour of utter carnage, the consequences of which will still be felt, in tiny but damaging ways, for years to come.

Perhaps this husband and father felt that by proving he was serious about his mistress, his perfidy would somehow seem less. 

And that his decision to leave the family tent, Captain Wild-Oates-style, would lend a sense of nobility to the queasy squelch of the Kiss Door gropeathon.

Well, it didn’t. One can only imagine similar, tear-haunted scenes at the home Gina shared with her husband Oliver Tress and their children. 

Behind the elopers flies the tattered bunting of family life, blowing in the saddest of breezes. 

Home and hearth, Christmases and birthdays, tears and triumphs, skinned knees and sticking plasters; the everyday routines that glue a family together, now melted beyond repair.

And all for what? For what? It takes a hard heart not to feel sympathy at the wanton human folly. What fools love makes of us all! 

He walked out on his family in a Hancock’s half-hour of utter carnage, the consequences of which will still be felt, in tiny but damaging ways, for years to come (pictured, Hancock and wife Martha in 2018)

Yet my balloon of compassion popped and shrivelled at news that Matt Hancock is already plotting a political comeback this year, despite his dramatic resignation from the Cabinet for breaking his own Covid rules.

His bomb-proof bumptiousness astounds, his naivety and optimism even more so.

Friends of Hancock say he hopes to ‘re-emerge’ in the coming months and begin the process of rebuilding his shattered political career.

Can I just say something? His rehabilitation seems a long way off to me. The public might possibly forgive him for the love affair because, for better or worse, such things are no longer resigning matters. 

Dear God, we are practically French these days, swapping antiquated moralities for a deeper understanding of the complexities of life and the frailties of human nature. Yet his unfaithfulness is not why people are properly furious.

There is a wider morality at play here, one in which many thousands had to forego holding loved ones as they died to comply with Covid rules, rules which the Health Secretary himself broke.

That was bad enough. Far worse for me was that, at a time of national emergency, pandemic panjandrum and all-round dope Matt Hancock was not entirely focused on his job, despite its crucial importance.

Amid the allegations of cronyism and dubious allocation of PPE contracts, he was also ensuring that one of his best friends from university, a woman who was perhaps already his lover, was in his arms and on the public payroll.

As Covid ripped through the nation, there was pal Gina in Matt’s office, her high heels clicking down the corridors of power, right at the heart of government. What was she even doing there? 

As Covid ripped through the nation, there was pal Gina in Matt’s office, her high heels clicking down the corridors of power, right at the heart of government. What was she even doing there?

A former lobbyist and marketing director of her husband’s company — the High Street homeware chain Oliver Bonas — what skills did she have that made her irreplaceable, a must-hire whose professional abilities superseded any need to follow usual governmental protocols?

Perhaps it was she who dreamed up the Oliver Bonas company motto — ‘Work Hard, Play Hard & Be Kind.’

Ahem. Perhaps she was also the inspiration behind their £355 decorative neon signs, including one that reads ‘Cuddles in the kitchen’.

Recently, so-brainy-I-must-hire-her Gina even posted the following message on her Pinterest page; ‘the longer the wait, the sweeter the kiss’.

Honestly. The pair of them, acting like silly teenagers on a first date as the crisis raged. It is infuriating and depressing, hilarious and wretched, all at once.

There is always a temptation to mock the age in which we live and the politicians who serve us. To believe that our lot are a bad lot: a worse shower that the abhorrent torrent that came before, vastly inferior to the deluge that will come after.

When it comes to today’s Conservatives, there is still the occasional leaping salmon amid the Niagara of nonentities to sustain our faith.

Yet, increasingly, this lot do seem a sorry intake, bereft of common sense and with no senior figures or elder statesmen to guide and advise them through the worst.

They have done their best, of course they have, but, in my darkest moments, I feel that this country has survived the pandemic not because of Boris Johnson and his team, but in spite of them.

Yet the gaffes and missteps and resignations never seem to have an effect on voting patterns or disabuse Tory voters of their loyalties.

Perhaps that is because expectations have sunk so low that no amount of bungling idiocy or cheating would surprise us any more, we are simply punch drunk on their public folly and private indulgence.

And anyway, whatever they do or do not do, everyone can see that a future shaped by Keir Starmer or Angela Rayner would be even worse.

Still, it says everything that the shamed former Health Secretary is already manoeuvring to get back into the forefront of public life, jostling for position amid this ramshackle hokey-cokey of chancers and former journalists, pocket-liners and chisellers.

Even for him, it might be a high step too far. For when Matt Hancock cheated on his wife, he betrayed us, too. And there is only so much that we are willing to forgive.

Only one victim here… and it’s not you, Lewis

Lewis Hughes, an estate agent from Essex, is angry about being sacked from his job for harassing Professor Chris Whitty.

The 24-year-old was with his friend Jonathan Chew when the pair accosted the famous scientist in St James’s Park, London, grabbing his neck in what they say was an attempt to get a selfie.


Lewis Hughes, 24, (left, and right in the video) an estate agent from Essex, is angry about being sacked from his job for harassing Professor Chris Whitty

Hughes is surprised that people think he is a yob who accosted a hard-working civil servant and, remarkably, has tried to turn the blame on Professor Whitty.

‘If I made him feel uncomfortable, which it looks like I did, then I am sorry to him for that,’ Hughes whined.

‘He is quite a timid, shy person and I think that is why he didn’t say “get off me” . . . he started moving away so my arm ended up going around his neck more.’

Clearly feeling sorry for himself, Hughes says he has never been in trouble before, loved his job and moans that he now has to ‘start from the beginning again’. Poor Lewis. He has no one to blame but himself and must accept that, sometimes in life, there are consequences.

Instead of trying to make himself the victim, perhaps he should be grateful that he is not being charged with assault.

 Kim’s the mane event at Wimbledon

Forget the overpriced strawberries and the cream of the world’s tennis players gathering in London SW19.

Never mind the impressive wingspan of Stefanos Tsitsipas’s shoulders or Roger Federer’s age-defying on-court prowess, the real glory of Wimbledon is Kim Sears’ hair.

Look at that magic carpet of oh-so casual curls!

Like the kind of aces served up by her husband Andy Murray, Kim’s hair has bounce, it has power, it has the ability to smash opponents into the ground and leave them in tears

Like the kind of aces served up by her husband Andy Murray, Kim’s hair has bounce, it has power, it has the ability to smash opponents into the ground and leave them in tears. Who could compete with this artless, sun-streaked halo of splendour?

Amazingly, it seems to get better with every year, despite Kim having a busy life of her own as an artist, plus four young children and Big Andy to look after.

Yet every day she emerges like Venus stepping out of her scallop shell, crowning glory intact.

It’s as big as a flag! It probably needs its own passport, or a saucer of milk every night at least. How does she maintain this mane of glory? I’d love to know.

 The murder of Caroline Crouch

The murder of Caroline Crouch at the hands of her husband Babis Anagnostopoulos was horrific — but there is more than just one victim in this tragedy.

The Greek helicopter pilot also destroyed his in-laws’ lives by killing their beloved only daughter. And he has ruined the lives of his own parents, too.

Not only do Mr and Mrs (both aged 78) have to face up to the fact that their son is a murderer and a possible drug smuggler, but now their beautiful one-year-old granddaughter has been taken away from them.

The murder of Caroline Crouch at the hands of her husband Babis Anagnostopoulos (pictured on their wedding day) was horrific — but there is more than just one victim in this tragedy 

Not only do Mr and Mrs Anagnostopoulos have to face up to the fact that their son is a murderer and a possible drug smuggler, but now their beautiful one-year-old granddaughter (pictured, with mother Caroline) has been taken away from them

After a court order gave custody of Lydia to Caroline’s parents, the Anagnostopoulos family had to hand her over.

Yet amid this emotional wreckage, a beacon of hope and love emerges. 

The generosity of Susan and David Crouch, telling Babis’s grieving parents that they can see baby Lydia any time, is the one good thing to emerge in this heartbreaking story. 

‘The more love the child gets, the better,’ is how the Crouches explain their generous decision.

Both sets of grandparents in the Caroline Crouch tragedy are suffering — but they have put aside their emotions for the sake of a small child. So moving, and so right.

Costello’s sweet note to Olivia

Elvis Costello doesn’t mind if other artists rip off his hits — because he probably ripped off other artists, too.

The 66-year-old took to Twitter after several people accused singer Olivia Rodrigo, 18, of plagiarising his 1978 hit Pump It Up with her song, Brutal.

Elvis Costello doesn’t mind if other artists rip off his hits — because he probably ripped off other artists, too. The 66-year-old took to Twitter after several people accused singer Olivia Rodrigo (pictured) of plagiarising his 1978 hit Pump It Up with her song, Brutal

‘This is fine by me,’ he responded. ‘It’s how rock ’n’ roll works. You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy. That’s what I did.’

How splendid of him! Costello went on to suggest that Pump It Up was inspired by Bob Dylan’s 1965 song Subterranean Homesick Blues, which was in turn inspired by Chuck Berry’s 1956 hit, Too Much Monkey Business.

But not everyone believes that music is organic. Courtney Love complained of ‘rage-inducing’ similarities between Rodrigo’s work and her own. I can’t think of a single Courtney song, or even hum a catchy chorus of hers. Which says it all.

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