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Thursday, January 26, 2006


The Lib Dems continue to reap the benefits of sticking the knife into Charles Kennedy's back. First there was Mark Oaten and the rent boy and now Simon Hughes is defending saying that he was not gay and now admitting to homosexual relationships. What next, I wonder? Will the Sun out Ming Campbell as a secret drag queen?

For the record, this should all be a storm in a teacup. Why should we care about sexual preference when considering someone as fit material for a party leader? The truth is we shouldn't and in the cases above it is more the fact that these men lied that is causing them problems. of course a case could be made for Hughes; when asked if he was gay he said no and it could be true. Just because one has had a homosexual relationship in the past does not make one gay, just ask a vast number of people schooled in private education. He could be bisexual or he could now be exclusively straight. But most importantly it does not matter. As for Oaten, well he is going to have to make amends to his wife and family but remember that there is no alleged prostitution involved in his relationship with this other man; no law was broken on Oaten's part.

What this has done has highlighted the obsession we have with 'private' lives, even those who choose to keep them private. Some have claimed that Oaten brought it on himself by inviting cameras into his home, but my impression was that he never made a big deal of his homelife - he just gave an interview in his kitchen, his family was not on screen. If we had all been so obsessed with the skeletons gathering dust in the closets of politican's private lives in the past then I fear that we would have missed out on a large number of capable and admired politicians.

So I have three pieces of advice:

1) For the politicians:

Don't go on about family values unless you hold to them. Do not use your family in your efforts to get elected, it is your job, not theirs.

2) For the voters:

Do not expect your politicians to be squeaky clean. Look to them to do their jobs not as paragons of virtue in some moral competition for who can look the most homely.

3) For the media;

You are there to report the news, not to make it. Try considering the relevence of a line of questioning. Get over your obsession with sex or have the decency to stop calling yourselves newspapers and instead try 'opinionpapers'.

Oh, Lembit, Lembit, wherefore art thou lembit?

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