i never understand why the media get so shocked when they discover that some one famous is doing something naughty.
just because you are famous doesn't mean you are any better than the rest of us, it might make it easier for them, and it certainly adds to the risks.
the media's outrage is a nice performance designed to get us to buy their offerings. they and the accused do a well rehearsed dance of claim, counter claim, pr campaign, contrite apology and wronged partner agreeing to forgive.
the irony of the weekend's revelation was that it wasn't the one that was supposed to be making the headlines – that was going to be a high level clergy being in a long term gay partnership. instead of being outed he broke the story himself and ruined the best laid plans of mice and editors.
at least with the clergy there was at least an 'in the public interest' argument given the church's stance of homosexuality. it justifies the invasion of privacy.
unlike the recent case of famous gay couple who have an arrangement for one of them to have extra marital sex. grown up adults, making grown up decisions in a grown up way. a couple who don't really make political statements and most of their influence would come from their charity work. so none of my business. none of your business. except the news media thinks it is – so will cram it down our throat (you choose the visual you want for that – but i think i can guess what it might be).
the public interest argument is a funny one in that it is supposed to be a justification for telling tales about well known people in order to generate revenue for the news organisation. just because someone is in the public eye doesn't make it in the public interest if they indulge in a bit of hanky panky – unless of course they have been an advocate for chastity or monogamy. then hypocrisy has to be uncovered.
which brings us on to keith vaz.
luckily for the papers their weekend didn't go scoopless because they had keith in the background, very convenient. i am sure there was nothing cynical about the timing and they always intended to hang keith out to dry at some point or another.
keith was filmed with some male prostitutes. they decided to film and sell their story when they recognised that mr vaz wasn't the lowly washing machine salesman he claimed to be – but a recognisable high profile politician.
mr. vaz was in charge of a select committee that was looking into whether or not prostitution should be legalised and to his credit he doesn't seem to have used the pete townshend defence: 'it was research'. it was his position on the committee that turned his sexual adventures from something that was between him and his family (wife standing by him – probably nothing to do with the family property fortune at all) and squeaking into the public interest.
there are two reasons why i think it counts. firstly he hadn't declared to the committee that he was a user of prostitutes. it really is time that the oldest profession is decriminalised. making it legal means you take away one of the main reasons for human trafficking. if brothels and prostitutes are legalised then they can be monitored to ensure they are lawful, they can be taxed (there is a lot of money in it) sure there are a lot of 'not in my backyarders' out there who would scream blue murder in order to stop it happening in their neighbourhood – but why it is already happening, this just makes it legal. and while making it legal might increase the number of men who visit a prostitute i doubt very much it will be by huge numbers.
because mr vaz hadn't declared he was a partaker of paid for sexual adventures he left himself open to accusations of bias – you are hardly going to make one of your favourite pastimes illegal are you?
but a second more important reason is that by hiding that sort of thing he created the opportunity to become the victim of blackmail.
for me that was the main problem mr vaz believed he was above such concerns, that he wouldn't get caught and their wouldn't be consequences to his actions.
and here comes my third reason why i think it counts.
pretty much if this had happened to a majority of mps i would have thought nothing of it, but keith vaz just rubs me the wrong way (though perhaps not the best choice of words in the circumstances). every time mr vaz appears i am shocked he is a labour politician, as he has enough smugness to place him on the same level as david cameron and george osbourne and that really is saying something.
in fact i suspect there were few calls to defend his privacy simply because so few people like him.
all i think he did wrong was keep it secret and that isn't a reflection on him but more a comment on the puritanical state that certain news organisations think we should be. ironically while mr vaz was heading up a powerful select committee whatever they may have suggested would have had to make it past the judgement of the unelected editors and owners of our national news organisations.
they are the real opinion formers, they are the establishment and judging by the amount of press we see about them being naughty boys and girls (virtually zilch) they are above reproach but we know that is bollocks. that is why i always find 'in the public interest' line so hypocritical because it is not applied to them.
but on the other hand it is keith vaz we are talking about.
so well played mass media.