This is our truth, tell us yours
Simon Danczuk is the subject of huge amounts of social media traffic again.
This blog isn’t about Danczuk. It’s about us, the audience in front of whom the Danczuk melodrama is being played out.
Like a well crafted whodunnit, the outcome should not be clear too early in the plot. It’s still early days, and any rush to judgement risks another nugget of information being thrown into the mix.
Simon Danczuk has gone public with an intersting sequence of claims that he has a drink problem. The fcat that he tells us that is interesting. I have a personal rule of thumb; if drinking leads you to do things you don’t want to or prevents you from doing things you want to, you have a problem. However, having a problem that leads you to drink to excess is not the same as having a drink problem. We don’t know which kind of problem Danczuk has, and if he does, he’s not telling.
We don’t do sidewalk diagnosis. It’s a rule. No-one ever died because someone who doesn’t know the people involved well refused to rush to judgement about what on earth has gone on in a series of linked, apparently dysfunctional relationships.
Quite why anyone would put themselves at the centre of a series of psychodramas like those being experienced by Simon Danczuk is, right now, a conundrum. It might be narcissism, it might be an attempt to manipulate the narrative, or it might be that Danczuk really does believe he is best served by turning his life into a soap opera. By trying to work out why Dancuk is doing this, before we have all the evidence,we’ll find out more about ourselves than we willabout him. What we find out about ourselves will not be good either – we won’t help Danczuk or anyone else by speculating about why he does what he does, and there is no remedy to this problem (if there is one) in our hands.
The naivety of any attempt to manage a news story as large and complicated as this speaks volumes. Not only does Danczuk face being forced to face down the stories coming thick and fast, but the story becomes three dimensional as other papers get in on the action running spoilers, like this story in the Sunday People. It’s a classic spoiler designed to undermine a story, but curiously unsourced in the Sunday People version. Stepping back and waiting to see if Sophena Houlihan was the beneficiary of those websites, or if she even set them up,would be wise. She wouldn’t be the first girl to find her pictures being used for someone else’s financial gain.
At heart, too, is the need to understand why Simon Danczuk is under investigation. As a potential employer, as a political figure talking to someone who had expressed an interest in working in politics, Danczuk was duty bound to think about whether he might be exploiting his position. Apparently, he either didn’t, or he was behaving in such a way, by drinking, that he couldn’t. That’s what he did wrong.
At some stage we’ll find out if Simon Danczuk really has a drink problem. Judging by current performances he’ll tell us himself. He should take a step back. If he doesn’t know now what his problem is, then anything he tells us is likely to be wrong. Rather than focussing on the outside world, Simon Danczuk should focus on his interior landscape, and work out why he’s behaving in the way he is. Taking a step away from the story would be a good start.