Monday 20 January 2020

Leave the outrage to the wife, please

John Terry was not having an affair with Wayne Bridge's girlfriend, writes Declan Lynch

I THINK I may have missed something there. As I understand it, John Terry, the captain of Chelsea and England, had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the former girlfriend of his former teammate, Wayne Bridge.

I think it's that word "former" which is giving me a problem.

Because, as far as I am aware, it means that Vanessa Perroncel was not the girlfriend of Wayne Bridge when she began her liaison with John Terry. That word "former", to the best of my knowledge, means that something happened in the past, which is no longer happening.

Indeed, I went to one of the highest authorities on this, the Mail, where I read the following: "Friends said Terry's affair began soon after Miss Perroncel, a lingerie model, split from Bridge last summer."

The word that leaps out at me here is that word "after". In its ordinary meaning, this would imply that the relationship between Mr Terry and Miss Perroncel did not start until the relationship between Mr Bridge and Miss Perroncel had finished.

Which is confirmed by the next assertion: "At first it was platonic, but it became sexual in September."

Moreover, "It's understood she became pregnant in October, and had a termination weeks later."

Now, clearly, if you are John Terry's wife, Toni, you have every right to be outraged here -- though it goes without saying that if Toni Terry was John Terry's former wife, the issue of outrage or any other form of devastation would not arise.

And though you may not be directly involved, if you are a member of the pro-life movement, you too may feel entitled to a bit of outrage at the termination, as is your wont.

And that would be it, really, as regards people entitled to be outraged or otherwise devastated -- Mrs Toni Terry and perhaps anyone who is against abortion.

As a reasonable sort of a fellow, I really can't think of any other party who should be coming over all unnecessary about this one.

After all, if there was an explosion of outrage every time a top, top, top, top footballer had it off with someone other than his wife, we'd be doing nothing but outrage for the rest of our lives.

Yet, in this case, several other parties declared themselves to be outraged, even devastated, which is both puzzling on a personal level and far-reaching in its consequences for the people of England in general in a World Cup year.

Wayne Bridge, for example, who is the former boyfriend of Miss Perroncel, which means that he was not her boyfriend when she embarked on her affair with his former teammate John Terry, is said to be "in bits".

And his devastation has been massively endorsed by almost the entire print and broadcast media of Britain, which has in turn whipped up outrage among the citizenry.

As a direct result of all this outrage, Terry had a meeting with the England manager Fabio Capello, during which he was replaced as England captain by Rio Ferdinand, essentially on moral and ethical grounds -- a breathtakingly dangerous precedent there.

Allegedly, it is bad for team spirit if the captain is having an affair with the fullback's girlfriend -- this was the "public interest" bit. Ah, but, as we have established, John Terry was not having an affair with the fullback's girlfriend -- he was having an affair with the fullback's former girlfriend.

There is a difference.

In fact, there is a very big difference.

And the fact that Miss Perroncel is the mother of Wayne Bridge's child doesn't really make that difference any less big.

Indeed, the people who should perhaps have been most outraged by this astonishing scandal have been entirely silent. Feminists have had nothing whatsoever to say about the mind-boggling implication that Wayne Bridge, the former boyfriend of Vanessa Perroncel, should have a veto on her next boyfriend.

So, as a feminist myself, I would like to register my own outrage at this, and at all the other outrage.

And my outrage is grounded in a reasoned interpretation of the known facts, rather than a simple desire to be outraged as a form of recreation.

It is fascinating, too, to observe how the gutter press have sexed this one up, to present it in such a way that it ultimately gives the false impression that Terry was consorting with Perroncel during her relationship with Bridge. Arguably they are just fooling the people, but it is not that simple.

Working on the premise that the people actually want to be fooled, they take a set of facts which by any normal reading would not spark the required outrage, and just declare them to be outrageous.

Throw in all the internet crazies who are on permanent stand-by, wishing and hoping to be outraged, and the mob leaders are pushing an open door here.

Of course, members of the massively remunerated executive class such as top FA officials and Fabio Capello, even in a World Cup year, are expected to be able to resist this mob hysteria and to take a decision based on the actual situation rather than the garbled narrative. But that is not what they do.

Likewise, the BBC executives who gave in to the Mail and their evil internet cohorts in bringing down the finest broadcaster in Britain, Jonathan Ross, should have resisted the mob. But that is not what they do.

Prostrating themselves before the altar of bullshit -- that is what they do.

Sunday Independent

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