Monday, 31 May 2010

Shooting the wrong target

I will not be joining other sites, including the BNP, in attacking ex-Treasury Secretary David Laws, who resigned at the weekend following the revelations that he had for a number of years been claiming expenses to pay rent on a room in a house owned by a rather handsome young man whom, it now transpires, is his domestic partner. This was against the rules as members of Parliament are no longer allowed to claim expenses for property leased or rented from spouses or partners.

David Laws' resignation is significant because he is the first member of the new coalition government to fall victim of the scandal surrounding MP's expenses, and because of his position in the new government. Had Laws been Minister for Culture or Fisheries it would not have been a big issue. However, as Chief Secretary to The Treasury, Laws would have played a huge role in attempts to deal with the country's astronomical New Labour and mass immigration fuelled deficit. Laws would have been the person in charge of implementing the massive spending cuts which will have to be made, and significantly, who would, and would not, be in receipt of tax payer's funds.

That is why Laws had to go, it was his proposed role in the new government which made his position untenable. After all, if you run a company, it is one thing to find that someone in Marketing has been fiddling their expenses, but a very different thing when that person is the Internal Auditor.

Laws is guilty of hypocrisy, and he is guilty of cowardice, this is 2010, he was a Liberal Democrat MP , who cares if he is gay? Seemingly he cared, and that is really rather sad.

However, when it comes to the act of claiming money to cover his living expenses, it is hard to escape the conclusion that, had David Laws been open about his sexuality, or had his partner been a woman, he would have been fully within his rights to claim his share of a joint mortgage. Laws is after all a member of parliament with a constituency in the South West of England, in excess of a hundred miles from London, making it impossible for him to commute after a late night session in Parliament. He is in the position that the second home allowance was designed for.

Under current rules Members of Parliament are fully entitled to claim for his living expenses, and £40,000 over eight years is relatively modest in terms of London rents. However stupidly David Laws acted, in fairness it does appear that his primary motive was to protect his privacy rather than enrich himself from public coffers.

The same can certainly not be said about many of his contemporaries. Some cases are currently before the courts, and verdicts have not yet been reached, but if the allegations are correct. What Laws did bears no comparison to for instance claiming mortgage repayments for a non-existent mortgage, as one ex-MP is accused of doing. At least Laws lived where he was claiming for and the scandal does not approach that of the Labour peeress who allegedly claimed £100,000 in rent for a flat, she never even visited, let alone lived in, and then escaped prosecution on “a technicality” - the “technicality” presumably being that she is Asian.

David Law's also did not express total contempt for the British tax-payer by claiming for home cinemas, duck houses and moat cleaning. He is not in the same league as some of the crooks and scoundrels in Parliament.

What we have is a man who could not come to terms with his own sexuality, if he had done he so, and then claimed the money he was fully entitled to claim, he would almost certainly still be in his job.

Within the wider public there is a lot of sympathy for David Laws, who is seen to have acted honourably by resigning so speedily, also the general perception is that this is a private matter. Like many others, before, this happened I thought that Laws appeared one of the best of the new coalition ministers, who appeared genuinely prepared to put party affiliation aside for the good of the country, and I doubt I am alone in feeling genuinely sorry for him.

Therefore, with the greatest of respect to my fellow bloggers, many of whom I admire considerably, by attacking David Laws we AGAIN appear to be shooting at the wrong target.

It will do us no good to appear to be exploiting the situation, and worse, if it appears we are attacking him because of his sexuality, and that will inevitably be the allegation made against us by some, that will very likely lose us far more support than it gains.

What has happened is a major blow to the new coalition government, it exposes, once again the scandal which is MPs expenses and it also raises questions over the judgement of both Cameron and Clegg, were they really not aware that Laws was being less than open about his domestic arrangements, and not think to check whether he was being any more forthright about his expenses?. However, although David Laws was stupid, hypocritical and had to go, he was far from being one of the worst offenders, in fact he is nowhere close.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a contrast to something like "Culture Shock" you wrote... I take back everything I said.

This fag was exposed like all the rest of 'em that run this country and is no different to someone like Mandelson or that creep on Clapham Common!

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

I am sorry you feel that way. However, Laws claimed £400 a month ($577:000) to rent a room in a London house.

That is chicken feed

He could have legally claimed four or five times that amount in mortage repayments

I will not compromise my integrity by condemning a man who I do not think did much wrong, merely because I don't agree with his politics

Dr.D said...

I realize it might be very difficult to do, but there is still much to be said for appointing truly honorable, straight, intelligent people to government post. I know that trying to fill all three of those criteria eliminates almost all candidates these days, but wherever possible, it really should be done. Having no skeletons in the closet leads to no unhappy surprises.

Lygeia said...

I think this whole "scandal" was a pretext to get rid of David Law, probably, precisely because he would have done a good job. It seems that only the worst and least among us are allowed to rule.

misterfox said...

Firstly, I reject fashionable PC propaganda terms like "Gay".
Secondly, this Liberal nonsense about sexuality being a "private matter" needs exposing for the superficial cant that it is. Sexuality is at the core of personality and behaviour. This leads to the corruption of our culture by homosexuals(and their promoters) in public propaganda, often through film and the arts. It is not private but made public in that way. The rise in Lesbians and "Designer Poofs" show that.
The quaint idea that what goes on in the bedroom is hermetically sealed from the rest of life is facile.
Besides most benders can't keep their dicks to themselves in public lavatories.

AgainsTTheWall said...

Laws knowingly broke the rules and shovelled £40000 of taxpayers money into his partners bank account.

He chose to be a public figure when he wished his private life kept secret. He chose to break the rules on claiming rent. He chose to embezzle the taxpayer. You or i would go down.

Its likely that this came to light because of some sordid political rivalry but that does not excuse Laws.

Sarah your sympathies are misplaced. The man is a scoundrel.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

I acknowledge that Laws knew the rules and that he broke them. As I said he had to go.

However, some of the attacks I have seen on him are entirely out of proportion. He claimed a hundred quid a week over eight years, you couldn't get a third class bed sit for that in most of London.

He was fully entitled to claim for the cost of accommodation. If he had taken out a joint mortgage with his partner he could have claimed considerably more, like most MPs have.

However, he chose to keep his private life private, I do not know what his circumstances are, he may have religious parents whom he did not wish to hurt.

He did wrong, but not very wrong by comparison with a lot of the others.

As to his sexuality, I do not give a damn what people do in bed. Providing it is between consenting adults I do not consider it to be an issue for anyone other than the person concerned.

Other posters are entitled to their views on homosexuality, but I do not share those views.

Anonymous said...

"As to his sexuality, I do not give a damn what people do in bed. Providing it is between consenting adults I do not consider it to be an issue for anyone other than the person concerned.

Other posters are entitled to their views on homosexuality, but I do not share those views."

Sarah if that's your belief you might want to consider detaching the Christian symbolisms on your web page. The REAL Christian faith on which Britain and Europe was originally founded was vehemently anti homo sexual.

Other 'animals' like chimps and dogs practise it but it is not 'natural' in human beings, it is the crux of deviousness.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

If you do not like my blog or my attitudes there are plenty of alternatives,

I will not remove the Christian symbol from my blog, neither will I adopt your view of Christianity means.

AgainsTTheWall said...

As to his sexuality, I do not give a damn what people do in bed. Providing it is between consenting adults I do not consider it to be an issue for anyone other than the person concerned

Im with you on this Sarah but misterfox makes an good point whereby the right to privacy of policy makers is greatly restricted. If their sexuality or ancestry or past experience MAY inform their agenda and decision making then the people who are affected have a right to know.

Anonymous said...

"I will not remove the Christian symbol from my blog, neither will I adopt your view of Christianity means."

Karl Marx aka Mordechai Levi became a "christian".

There are Christians and there are also many "christians".. True believers are aware.

Seane-Anna said...

This is kind of confusing to me as I am an American and don't know how British laws work. But if Mr. Laws did, in fact, break the law and defraud the taxpayer in any way then he should have resigned. And Sarah, I agree that Mr. Laws shouldn't be condemned beyond what his misbehavior deserves.

But I also agree with Anonymous on the Christian symbols on your blog. The Bible condemns homosexuality as sin. That doesn't automatically mean that a gay person shouldn't be allowed to hold public office but it does mean that anyone espousing Christianity can't support the normalization of homosexuality in the culture. This is especially true when said normalization is increasingly coming at the expense of religious freedom.

Sarah, I believe it's possible to remain true to the Biblical sexual ethic and be fair to gays. Part of that fairness is not heaping more criticism on people than they deserve just because they're gay. But in the end Christians are to obey God rather than man, no matter how politically incorrect God's ways may be. If you cave on the issue of homosexuality, what's next? Faith and principle mean we don't cave. As we say in America, STAND for something or you'll FALL for anything!