Ross Hussey and the morality police

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 09.00.45

I used to teach Ross Hussey’s brother. It was an in-service course for teachers and while he wasn’t the most gleaming intellect in the room, he was a nice man. But then he had the advantage of being from Omagh, probably the finest town in Ireland to be from.

But that clear advantage in life hasn’t kept Ross himself, now an Ulster Unionist MLA, safe from controversy. Right now he’s being buffeted by a media storm, because he tweeted photographs of himself naked (stop, Virginia) to what proved to be an undercover reporter from The Sunday Life. The UUP MLA has apologized “unreservedly” and says he made a terrible error of judgement. The newspaper reports that Mr Hussey used websites to meet “strangers” for sex.

A whole phalanx of people, from the UUP to Ann Travers, has lined up to defend Ross and call on the journalist to apologise for his disgraceful behaviour. Are they right?

Well, yes and no. They’re right in judging that the story is clearly of interest to a large section of the public – otherwise the sting wouldn’t have been organized and the story printed. But being of interest to the public and being in the public interest are two totally different things. This story has no bearing on Mr Hussey’s abilities as a politician and so should not be used to judge his political abilities. You may have your own thoughts about the aesthetic or moral quality of his photographing himself in his birthday suit and sending it over the ether, let alone meeting with strangers for sex, but in the end that’s his affair. To quote Pope Francis: who are we to judge? And newspapers that thrive on such sleaze are contemptible – but they wouldn’t write such stories if, as I say, there wasn’t a market for them.

What makes me particularly queasy is the speed with which  the morality squad have paraded  their liberal principles – Ross has done nothing wrong, the journalist is beneath contempt.  I largely agree with them, but are they  really concerned for Mr Hussey? Or are they using him to show how politically correct they are?

One final thing: rumours that Enda Kenny will publicly embrace Ross outside Leinster House tomorrow are at the moment unverified.



18 Responses to Ross Hussey and the morality police

  1. billy July 25, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    minding other peoples business is how they sell papers.suppose russ would understand minding peoples business him being an ruc man and all that entailed.

  2. Pointis July 25, 2016 at 9:22 am #

    There is a scam operating where criminals pretend to be teenagers using the Internet to meet other teenagers for sexual relationships. Posing as seductive would-be sexual partners they encourage the young people to take intimate sexual photos of themselves and send them.

    They then blackmail the teenagers that they will send the photos to all their email/ Facebook contact lists if they do not hand over considerable sums of money. A number of teenagers have taken their own lives as a result of the scam rather than face the prospect of public humiliation.

    The only difference I can see in what the so called reporter did was s/he went straight for public humiliation without offering the blackmail payment because s/he was going to get the money by another avenue.

    If the storey were about a nineteen year old girl sending photos in a sting operation by a reporter would it have been reported, and would the police now be questioning the reporter?

    Does it say something about us that we are more critical of the 56 year old man than the 19 year old woman who both did exactly the same thing?

  3. giordanobruno July 25, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    So even though you agree with the so called morality squad (shouldn’t that be the immorality squad?) you want to make it clear you are not one of them!
    The use of terms like morality squad, pc brigade, do-gooders, etc is just another way of playing the man and represent lazy reasoning.

  4. Ciarán July 25, 2016 at 10:09 am #

    Maybe they’ve already met!

  5. Paul July 25, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Omagh? Really? I’d nominate Castletownbere in West Cork personally

  6. Scott July 25, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    I have no interest in this type of gossip journalism. What he or any other politician does behind closed doors, as long as it is legal is there business.

    I have no interest in his sexual preferences and the only measure that you can judge a politician by is how they do there job.

    Unfortunately sex sells and the public by in large is far to interested in personal details rather than public policy.

  7. Sherdy July 25, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    The Irish News seems to indicate that Ross was using a gay site, so in that case, he would be happy having sex with a man.
    But he had previously voted against equal marriage in Stormont.
    That being so, surely it indicates hypocrisy on his part.
    That is the only part of the story I would consider to be in the public interest!

  8. Antaine de Brún July 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    The morality police tend to remain silent on “the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism,” a term now being used in relation to Philip Green and his systematic plunder of British Home Stores. Pension commitments to 20,000 are at risk, however, that did not stop Philip Green’s purchase of a third luxury yacht, The Lionheart valued at $150 million. Two other yachts, The Lioness V and the Lionchase are valued at $50 million and $12 million respectively. Angela Smyth, Labour’s leader in the House of Lords is Jeremy Corbyn’s most recent critic. Ms Smyth is of the opinion that Mr Corbyn’s leadership has convinced her that despite having the “right values” he cannot persuade voters of his cause nor win a general election.

    It would appear that Ms Smyth et al remain of the view that some boats should not be rocked.

  9. Belfastdan July 25, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    The most contemptible part of it is that the newspaper that carried out the sting “The Sunday Life” and the Belfast Telegraph”, which today carries a column by one Mairia Cahill decrying said article, are sister papers in the estimable Independent Group.

    Hypocrisy like foolishness knows no bounds.

  10. KopparbergCentral July 25, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Ross Hussey should be more worried about his weight issues. Getting on an exercise bike, dropping a few pounds and releasing a new life will do him the world of good. Scundered for him.

  11. Wolfe tone July 25, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Well if anything it highlights the ‘judgement’ of some of our so called politicians. These people are there to represent us and to even lead us? Well with all due respect anybody that gets a kick outta waving his meat and two veg in public(that’s what the Internet is no matter how private you believe it to be) shouldn’t be making decisions and laws on my behalf.
    Parents are at their wits end trying to warn their kids about the dangers of the Internet etc. We tell our kids not to take it too seriously; don’t share private thoughts or pictures on it etc. Schools regularly host talks via the police about the dangers of the Internet and yet a public representative is leading the way in normalising taking photos if his lunchbox? Don’t get me wrong I am no prude; I’ll get out the meat and two veg quick as you can say linford Christie. But I’ll do that in the privacy of my own bedroom with a real woman in the room with me……not for a woman on the Internet……and most certainly not while others are watching!
    Btw, a politician should be more wary than most of putting themselves in a position were they they can be compromised by those who have a vested interest in lobbying governments to suit their own agenda. It really is amazing how Camoron got to be prime minister without the pig story scuppering him isn’t it? He was lucky it didn’t come out sooner……or maybe it wasn’t down to luck ar all, if you know what I mean.

    • Pointis July 25, 2016 at 9:06 pm #


      “Don’t get me wrong I am no prude; I’ll get out the meat and two veg quick as you can say linford Christie”. I know this is a serious issue but this made me sore laughing out loud. Not taking away from Ross Hussey, but your comment was funny.

  12. Perkin Warbeck July 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    Now whether Omagh is to Ireland what Omaha is to Nebraska, Esteemed Blogmeister , one is not qualified to comment.

    But, worryingly , the good burghers of Omaha, Nebraska would beg to differ with you, EB. For they have freely chosen to twin with what they presumably assume to be the ‘finest town’ in Ireland. That would be, erm, Naas, County Kildare.

    I know, I know.

    There can be no such disagreement however when it comes to the, erm, Naastier end of the media. Whether to do with its uncovering of the naked truth about the swinging parts of a public figure’s pubics by the cubic square, not least by sleazy stings involving the reprehensible and too easy removal of wedding rings, or not.

    Or whether to do with something which is possibly even more demeritorious on the part of the Fourth Estate. One refers to the sudden, calculated and unexpected revealing of a hitherto unsuspected naked bias on the part of a journalist one had previously placed on a pedestal.

    Sadly, one was subjected to one such anaphylactic shock as recently as only yesterday. This happened on opening that which one had waited, with nail-bitten impatience , all week for: the one, the only reason for purchasing the Sindo.

    -Did a jealous rival murder Raonaid ?.

    Read the headline to a painstaking re-examination of a celebrated cold-case: the murder of a teen-age girl Raonaid Murray who died horrendously of 31 stab wounds within walking distance of her home in leafy Dun Laoghaire.

    In true forensic fashion this dogged journalist left no stone unturned , no whiff unsniffed.

    After a good deal of real detective work involving the need to kneel with magnifying glass and also, the need to steer a wheel on a byepass, all of which managed to reveal a lot of hitherto concealed information, we came to this:

    -Her assailant could have been male or female. That ,sources confirmed last week, remains the case . There was at least one female suspect , a young woman who had family links to the IRA. She was known for her violent and aggressive nature.

    So, were she the one whodunit ? Read on.

    -After Raonaid’s murder, she left Dun Laoghaire and was last reported to have moved abroad. Female DNA was found under Raonaid’s fingernails.

    Welll ? Suspense is mounting . Read on, read on.

    -The female suspect in Raonaid’s case was also believed to have been involved in a relationship with a young man in the area. Word reached investigators that this young man may have been fixated with Raonaid and that may have led to discord in the relationship and anger directed towards Raonaid.

    Real edge of the seat suspense stuff now ; finger nails bitten to the quick by this slow burn.

    -There was, however, no evidence to support this. The couple were questioned and cautioned but both professed to know nothing of the murder. DNA was taken from the young woman but did not match that found in Raonaid.

    Move along there, nothing to see, so ?

    This is where one quite lost the will to continue with this riveting triumph of investigation ; even though the remainder focused on suspect X, suspect Y and even suspect Z.

    One, if the option had been there, would have, instead, probably opted for, say, a quick peek at a snap or ten of a particularly beefy UUP MLA in the All Together.

    The suspense, having become unbearable, the time has come now to reveal the name of the crack crime reporter. He who been held in such high esteem prior to this. The one journalist who had heroically remained impervious to the Sindo’s obsession with arraigning on the parade of a particular organisation with every unsolved crime from the The Zodiac Killings, The Black Dahlia, the authorship of The Fields of Athenry to The Case of the Disembodied Feet, itself.

    He was the very last penman on the staff of the Sindo whom would have expected to lead his faithful, trusting readers up a long and winding road to a nothing conclusion, called, erm, Cusack Cul de Sac.

    Jim (for it is, sadly, he !) does, nonetheless, even in a moment scarcely his finest, manage to expand the reader’s intellectual horizon by imparting a morsel of forensic knowledge.

    It turns out that the sexual fixation linked to repeated stabbing is a perversion known as PIRAism, oops, piquerism.

    Speaking of which there is another unsolved crime which this crack crime reporter might still be interested in obtaining some heretofore unpublished details of, perhaps the greatest Unsolved Crime of them All.

    That is , of course, the Case of Jack the Ripper.

    Anybody who has ever followed on foot the guided trail of the notorious Victorian serial killer will know that his third victim, Elizabeth ‘Long Liz’ Stride was disemboweled in a crooked laneway which is now overlooked by London’s most iconic modern building.

    The Perkin’s inner Sherlock Holmes knows this to have been, along with the other killings of the Ripper, a clear case of PIRAism, oops, piquerism.

    One knows this because of one’s family connections with the district. Indeed, the iconic modern building in question was named in memory of a renowned ancestor. Being London, of course, the building in q. is better known in Cockney rhyming slang as :

    -The Gherkin.

    Right now, The Perkin is keeping the vital evidence, which has been in the shape of a cherished family heirloom up to this, up his jerkin, for obvious reasons. Except to say there is, as of now, an intensive internecine bidding battle being fought over the publishing rights between the Sindo and its more promiscuous sister, the Indo.

    God bless the Free Press.

  13. Gerry mccusker July 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    Well said Jude

  14. paddykool July 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    I think I’d embrace the aesthetic argument , Jude. Going by your delightful photograph , I think it was an error of judgement to publish photographs of the gentleman ,sans vetements. Now let’s put this in perspective …as an art student in my misspent youth the best life-drawing models in the studio ,were those with ” a little meat on their bones”. all that tumescent flesh cast shadows and tones much better than even the prettiest lithe models could ever conjure up. … it’s just what light and gravity do to the human form….but that was life -class …and shall we say …”art”, which is a different thing from sex and beauty. This is something else entirely. Maybe not on the same level as the Sammy Wilson revelations of the past or that other politician caught in a gay massage parlour…his name escapes me at the moment…Paul Berr…. oh yes …got it! What is it with unionist politicians getting their naked secrets into the press?
    Now let’s get this straight , I’d never waste my sheckels on an issue of the “Sunday World” or the “Sunday Life” , if my life depended on it, so i’m obviously not the customer these papers are trawling for….but someone out there must enjoy this stuff..Maybe they don’t realise that they can scope one hundred similar well-fed naked men and women with a simple click of the mouse if they cared to.As for well-fed politicians needing love and sex…..what else is new, eh? I just don’t want to look at their nakedness unless they happen to look like Brigitte Bardot , so I say “keep your pants on” unless you’ve got the body beautiful. Otherwise my delicate sensibilities are offended!

    • Sherdy July 25, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

      ‘A simple click’ – it seems he went for the dick click trick!

  15. Mark July 25, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

    There really is too much humour in this, I’m way too tempted but, ref. what Pomtis said above, was there not some poor gaisun took their own life a while ago because of such? Ross may thank God it was a journalist got him.

  16. Ryan July 25, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    Ross may have done nothing wrong but I have to say I was shocked to find out the activities he was involved in. Sending naked photos online? meeting strangers for sex? it just goes to show what some people get up to. I don’t even have a photo of my gob on the internet, never mind a photo of my naked body. I wonder what other politicians get up to? I have heard many rumours about some politicians, some of these rumours if true would be very illegal but others are harmless but not “socially acceptable”. Iris Robinson having an affair with a teenager is another example of what some of our politicians get up to behind closed doors.

    Are these activities that Ross engages in restricted to just politicians? Of course not. I have a male relative who has used the internet for years to meet girls to date, we in my family often joke about it lol Now my male relative doesn’t post naked photos of himself but he does meet up with women. According to him it doesn’t always end in a sexual encounter but that is what the agenda is ultimately. Most people think that its only “ugly people” who date online but that’s not true lol. I have known girls who are really, really good looking who date online because they cant get a boyfriend in real life, why? well I guess most men are intimidated by them, that’s just my theory. But people also like the idea of literally browsing through prospective sexual partners online without meeting them yet.

    About 10 years ago me and my friend (both teenagers) use to walk our dogs in the Bog Meadows, its along the Falls Road, just below Milltown Graveyard. We always noticed parked cars in the Bog Meadows itself with people in them. We always found this strange and wondered what they were doing. This went on for years and we even told our parents and even they were puzzled: Why would a bunch of cars be parked together in an enclosed area in the bog meadows, each of them full of people? Well the answer came around 3 years ago in the Andersontown News lol It turned out it was a gathering of Swingers, yes Swingers. Married couples, who met on the internet, arranging to meet up and swap wives and husbands and then going off to Hotel rooms, Homes, etc to have sex. I remember pointing the article out to my mother and she couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of the Swingers thinking that me and my friend was looking to swing with them lol

    No, the reality is its incredible what goes on behind closed doors but as long as its not illegal then what is peoples private business should remain their private business.