Thursday, September 08, 2016

Conflict of Interest?

Maybe he was just doing some research - Keith Vaz, I mean.  Obviously.  It's probably his best defence in the wake of the press stories (accompanied by photographs) about him paying rent boys to visit his flat.  Bearing in mind that the Labour MP is chair of a Commons committee which, amongst other things, is looking into the laws about prostitution, it is surely only natural that he'd want to get some first hand experience of the subject, isn't it?  Mind you, that still wouldn't have been enough to save him from having to resign from the committee as, arguably, having been revealed as a user of prostitutes, he was surely guilty of a conflict on interest.  Of course, the press don't like to see it this way, presenting it instead as a 'moral' issue.  The very same press which, not so very long ago, was found to be tapping people's phones, corrupting public officials and generally behaving like utter bastards with no regard for the law or any kind of moral code.  Moreover, bearing in mind that various of the tabloids still like to print pictures of barely legal girls with their knockers out on their inside pages, I really don't think that they are in any position to try and take the moral high ground.

But what is it that Vaz has done that is so scandalous or immoral (aside from the potential conflict of interest, obviously)?  After all, paying prostitutes for sex isn't exactly unusual is it?  Especially among politicians.  It's an activity that many men apparently participate in, for a variety of reasons.  To pretend, as the press try to do, that it is somehow shocking when a public figure is 'caught' by them doing this sort of thing is ridiculous.  It wasn't as if Vaz was doing it in the street - he was trying to be discreet until the press decided to get involved.  Much is made of the fact that he is married with children, but was entertaining male prostitutes.  Surely the newspapers aren't still living in a world where they find the idea of bisexuality shocking?  I thought we were all more enlightened now.  Sure, there's the matter of his cheating on his wife by using prostitutes, which would be no less an issue if they'd been female, but that's something between her and Vaz, rather than somethig that shoud be splashed across the front pages.

The fact is that I don't even particularly like Vaz, but I'm growing weary of seeing people's sex lives exploited by the press.  It's rank hypocrisy for publications who trade in sexual images of women, (even the tabloids without page three girls still like to publish lurid photos of female celebrities in their swim wear or underwear and to speculate upon their sex lives with lip smacking relish), to try and present this sort of stuff as 'shocking' or 'immoral'.  But enough of my ranting.  As a side bar to the Vaz story, my brother told me that when it broke he was left wondering why the press thought it so shocking that the MP had been paying rent boys, as he'd always assumed that Vaz was gay.  He was more shocked to learn that he had a wife and kids.  Interestingly, I'd had the same reaction many years ago when the former Liberal MP for Winchester, Simon Oaten, found himself all over the front pages for paying male prostitutes to (allegedly) urinate on his head.  His excuse was that he'd become depressed after his hair started receding.  Which explains everything.  Anyway, for some reason I'd always assumed that Oaten was gay and couldn't understand the fuss being made by the press.  Which all goes to show, well, something!  I'm not sure what, but it must surely mean something, shouldn't it? 

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