Sunday, 30 May 2010

David Laws: Resigned To His Fate

There's little sympathy for David Laws in today's papers.
Even from those who you'd think would be most sympatico.
In The Observer both Stonewall's Ben Summerskill and columnist Barbara Ellen write that they think he was trying to play the "It is because I is gay" card with no justification.
Summerskill repeated this in The Independent On Sunday just for good measure.
A leader in The Independent On Sunday states that; "His conduct was disappointing, and he was foolish and disingenuous in trying to use his embarrassment about his private life as an excuse."
Ellen quotes Laws' resignation statement; '"My motivation throughout has not been to maximise profit but to simply protect our privacy and my wish not to reveal my sexuality," only to dismiss it; "Maybe Mr Laws would be less relieved to realise that, for some of us, his sexuality has naff all to do with it."
Well, yes and no.
It's hard not to feel sympathy for anyone trapped in the closet - and David Laws was (Though his coming out was apparently as unsurprising to those in the Commons as Ricky Martin's was to the world).
And if an MP doesn't feel he can come out in the "gay-friendlier than thou" Liberal Democrats where can he be expected to?
And, yes, he could have claimed more in expenses if he'd declared that James Lundie was his partner and one house was their second home.
And his claim that he diddled his expenses to continue covering up his sexuality isn't complete pinkwash.
But for a millionaire who was happily taking an axe to the benefits system to be caught out like this - he'd be up in court if he tried that scam with the housing benefit office - seems just.
Lest we forget David Laws' is the brains behind The Orange Book - which argued that the Lib Dems should embrace neo-liberalism. His views on the economy are so right-wing that Cameron tried to poach him for the Tories long before this "coalition".
One of the few points in David Laws' favour is that it's said that the Conservative Party's institutional homophobia was what made him join the Lib Dems instead.
Poor sod.

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