Saturday, 29 May 2010

What just happened ?

Let's unpick the David Laws story which has unfolded over the past 36 hours or so.  Bear in mind the following:-

  • The Telegraph conducted its expose of MP's expenses over the course of last Summer up to the end of September
  • David Laws appears to have claimed monies inappropriately for the period June 2006-August 2009.
  • That amounts to £15,000 approximately
  • The Telegraph knew this and published his claims last year
  • The story which ran today was broken on the basis that he was 'claiming' (note the present tense) monies for rent to re-imburse his live-in 'friend'
  • He is a millionaire and it was self-evidently not done for personal financial gain
So let's be clear.  He may have made a mistake claiming expenses in the period set out above but it was NOT IN THIS PARLIAMENT and IT IS NOT CURRENT.

So what was the real purpose of re-publishing the expenses claims now ?  There can only have been one - to out him to his family (in particular his elderly parents, who are Catholic).  Virtually everyone in the Westminster village and in the LibDems knew he was gay.

It's a salacious story - nothing more and nothing less.  But the Press has been swift to change their emphasis, now they have got their scalp:  now it's all sanctimonious claptrap about how talented he is, what a tragedy this is for him personally etc.  I do not wish to condone the claims for rent which he acknowledged were wrong 2010, when we smugly tell ourselves what an open society we now live in, how can it be in the national interest either economically, politically or morally to hound someone out of office like this ?

As Iain Dale noted, he is a broken man.

I have rarely felt so much despair about politics and the hypocrisies of our fourth estate.

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