Saturday, 29 May 2010

David Laws

David Laws MP, chief secretary to the Treasury, has got in a spot of bother about expenses and in the process of running a story about that the Telegraph has outed him as in a same-sex relationship. 

Spinning their version of event beyond parody, the Telegraph claim that he was the one who chose to come out, they didn't out him, but that is absolute piffle: were they really going to run a story that never referred to the name or gender of the person he is living with and do they honestly think their allies in the hate press would have done the same?  And that a page full of playing the pronoun game wouldn't constitute a big flashing neon sign? 

So yes, let's be frank about this one: they outed him, and it's clear the motivations are nothing to do with sexuality or expenses.

I'm no expert on the MP expenses arrangements so all I shall observe on the rights or wrongs of the case is that people who do know more about it say that if he had been publicly in a relationship then he could have claimed the whole mortgage costs, so leaving things as they were was saving the taxpayer a big wad of cash. Way to go Telegraph, an investigation with a natural conclusion of costing taxpayers more, just as every other move from the Telegraph on expenses has wound up costing us more. Can we have a special Act to close the paper down on the grounds that its bosses are premeditatedly wrecking the economy?

But what I can make some informed comment on is the sexuality stuff. 

As someone who runs a social-support group for people from within the LGBT communities, there are still a steady stream of new people who come along who are not 'out' to anyone around them about their sexuality or sex life: family, friends, workmates, even openly gay, bi or trans colleagues. David is a very long way from alone.

It's something that we see less of as the world moves on but the idea that passing the civil partnerships law and scrapping clause 28 magically undid a century of social homophobia is dotty.  Yes, there are MPs around him who are out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.  I know people who go hang-gliding, that doesn't take away any of my own vertigo and mean I suddenly feel fine at the top of a stepladder.

To mangle a slogan: some MPs aren't straight, get over it. And some people's relationships don't have cookie-cutter neatness, get over it.

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