Is Jami-Lee Ross mentally ill, just behaving really badly, or both?
Amateur diagnosticians are using terms like manic depression, bipolar and narcissism to describe his behaviour.
Former colleague, Mark Mitchell, who is in a better position to know spoke to Mike Hosking yesterday about mental illness and said: “He has to take responsibility for his actions, but he must look after himself first.”
That was before the release of the tape that didn’t appear to be the smoking gun Ross said it would be, but did needlessly insult other people, all of whom responded with dignity.
Maureen Pugh tweeted:
Chris Finlayson said:
“Any suggestion that I am upset about the tape is just wrong,” he said.
Finlayson noted he had said plenty of nasty things about people himself over his career that thankfully had not been taped.
“I can wound with my tongue at 100 paces,” Finlayson said. . .
David Carter was equally untroubled:
Mr Carter also said he was not in the slightest bit bothered by comments made about him by Mr Bridges.
Mr Carter said Mr Bridges was clearly set up by Mr Ross in the phone call.
“Looking at renewal that’s inevitably needed by all political parties, I take no offence at all about what was said by Simon Bridges.”
Mr Carter has confirmed he will not be seeking re-election as a list MP.
“He’s made two contacts with me, one before he was leader and one after, on both occasions he actively encouraged me to stay – he said I was very valuable contributor to caucus discussions and particularly in a mentoring role to many or our new MPs.
“I have told him I will stay and complete this term but have no intention of standing beyond the election of 2020.” . .
These are just three of many needlessly dragged into the mess Ross has made. David Farrar writes of the terrible personal cost:
. . . This self-inflicted scandal is taking a terrible human toll. I’ll focus on the politics in another post, but I find it really sad the damage that has been done.
- Jami-Lee’s career is destroyed and he may not even be employable in NZ. He’s gone from being a newly promoted front bencher to a pariah
- His wife has the humiliation of what should be private matters between them laid out in public
- His children will grow up with articles on the Internet about their father’s relationships with other women. As a father this upsets me greatly. No kid should have to endure that.
- The four women in the article have obviously been through a horrible experience. I’m not the most sensitive soul out there but I found it hard to read the article. It impacted me emotionally. Forget politics. Those women have had a terrible time.
- In at least one case, a marriage has split up and you’ll have a husband and children hurting
- Simon Bridges has had someone who was one of his closest mates in caucus secretly tape record him. That is a huge betrayal of trust. Forget the politics. How would you feel if one if your mates did that to you?
- Maureen Pugh has been humiliated by the release of the tape with a harsh description of her. She is incredibly upset, as is her family. And those who have campaigned for her and supported her are also upset. Maureen’s public response has been magnanimous and classy. But’s let’s not pretend how terrible she must feel.
- 40,000 National Party members and supporters are upset. The vast majority of these people don’t want to be MPs. They don’t expect to gain anything in return for their hard work door knocking, donating, delivering etc. They just think that New Zealand does better when National is in Government. They feel betrayed and disappointed that this fiasco undermines their hard work
So there is a terrible personal cost to all this. It is very sad and I hope it stops. . .
Mental illness might explain the behaviour but it doesn’t excuse it nor justify the hurt inflicted.
As a party member I am appalled that any other member, let alone an MP, could behave in this way and inflict so much damage.
If memory serves me correctly, my electorate donated money to help Ross win the seat in the by-election through which he entered parliament.
The party is strong enough to withstand it and winning the by-election will prove that.
Ironically Ross’s actions have also strengthened Simon Bridges’ position. Even if there was some disquiet about the leadership – and I have no knowledge of any – everyone in caucus knows they must show 100% discipline and unity so as not to reward Ross.
He may well try to release more of what he sees as ‘proof’ but the media needs to ask itself, if it would be in the public interest and safe for his mental health, to carry on publishing it.
Much of what we has become public was not.
Modern media is in a very difficult position, knowing that if they don’t publish something, it can still become public through social media but that doesn’t justify hurting those who will become collateral damage and there is even more need to tread carefully if someone’s mental health is at risk.