Reluctantly defending Keith Vaz!


By D. J. Webb

Dear all,

I’ve been busy with work, which from one point of view is a good thing. But reading all this nonsense about Keith Vaz, I have to comment quickly.

I’m not a fan of this physically and politically repellent individual, but it would be wrong to gleefully link his “rent boy” scandal with the unrelated issue of his constant playing of the race and multi-cultural cards in a way that suggests his family were not good candidates for immigration to the UK.

I suppose you can say, with a smirk, “the scandal couldn’t have happened to a nicer fellow”, and enjoy his discomfort. But that would miss the opportunity to make a better comment.

What has he exactly done? Toby Young now says his refusal to show “shame or guilt” shows Vaz might be a psychopath . Er, I’m missing the logical link here.

Do I get the issue right? He ordered the services of some Romanian rent boys — not the Romanians who hang round cashpoints to mug you, but the sort of Romanian young men who are, you know, providing an actual service of a sort. They were adults, and so is he. So where is the scandal? And why did he resign as chairman of a parliamentary committee? Are we supposed to believe that he is the only MP who has paid for entertainment?

I will grant you that he is as physically unattractive as it is possible to get, and in my view having to get up close to him would have been a traumatic experience. I hope he paid well over the going rate. Sounds like they earned every penny. I can’t deny that I’d rather the tabloid sting cash go to the rent boys than see Vaz shaking down the taxpayer for every little supposed expense year in, year out.

But still: as a 59 year old, his choices were to act his age and bear in mind no 18 year old would really want to service an overweight Indian who could be his granddad, or to decide that you only live once, and he would have a bit of harmless fun…

Actually, the choice was his to make — and there is not a bit of psychopathology in it. I’m guessing all 59 year olds hanker after 18 year olds now and then — why is this a secret?

I would have warmed, even to him, to a tiny extent, if he had, instead of denying it all, admitted it was true — and his private business, a harmless hobby that he intended to pursue only when parliamentary work pressure allowed.

Libertarianism is basically meaningless if we can’t have our foibles. That doesn’t mean every libertarian has to approve of all potential lifestyle choices. But in my view, there is much more to be said for a man who keeps his sexuality private and does whatever he wants to to get his thrills in private, than for any of these “gay” men who parade their sexuality in the media. The starting point for me is there is a difference between the public sphere and the private sphere, and there should be: someone who appeared to maintain decorum in public is blameless in my view for whatever he gets up to beyond the public gaze in private.

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16 thoughts on “Reluctantly defending Keith Vaz!

  1. As long as the £400,000 flat was paid for out of his own pocket, and as long as he really did try his best to keep it private, then I would agree, for the most part, if he were a private person. But he is a politician, and such people should be laughed at for whatever reason, and especially when there is genuine cause for levity.

  2. Keir took the words from my mouth. In Turkey, I found the scandal wonderfully funny. One of my observations was that the briefest glance at him explained why he wanted his young friends to bring plenty of amyl nitrate to their trysts. However, there is a question – a question that predates all our present mirth – about the source of the funds behind his property holdings. How has a man with his visible earnings managed to acquire so much property over the years?

    I think we should be told.

  3. Good stuff.

    This for me is the main point:

    [quote]”Libertarianism is basically meaningless if we can’t have our foibles. That doesn’t mean every libertarian has to approve of all potential lifestyle choices. But in my view, there is much more to be said for a man who keeps his sexuality private and does whatever he wants to to get his thrills in private, than for any of these “gay” men who parade their sexuality in the media. The starting point for me is there is a difference between the public sphere and the private sphere, and there should be: someone who appeared to maintain decorum in public is blameless in my view for whatever he gets up to beyond the public gaze in private.”[unquote]

    His behaviour should be tolerated. I don’t personally approve, but what I think about it is of no consequence. It’s legal and the parties are consenting adults.

    I’m reminded, in contrast, of a minor scandal involving Chris Bryant some years ago – he set up a profile on a gay dating site and posed in his underpants. My first thought about it was one of mild bemusement, and my next thought was ‘So what?’ It’s not like he set up a profile as ‘Chris Bryant, M.P.’, so who cares? I’m also quite struck by his bravery in continuing in politics, something that must have been difficult for him.

    But then, activist homosexuals want to normalise their lifestyles, don’t they, and there’s a significant lobby for this now, so Bryant had a political interest in being ‘brave’ and other politicians maybe had a political interest in standing by him.

    Whereas conventional married men like Keith Vaz have to keep up appearances. Is the real problem here marriage and monogamy? Men like Bryant enjoy sexual freedom and can flaunt their true sexuality in front of the cameras, even while only wearing underpants, while men like Vaz have to hide their bubbling frustrations in the shadows.

    Another angle to this is the role of the scandal media. I dislike tabloid journalism, but I support its continuation because we do need to know what these people are doing in their private lives. If you want to be a member of a statist elitist and confiscate a large chunk of my income to fund your various projects and ventures, then you can expect me to set the bloodhounds on you. I want to know where you live, who you are married to, which mistress you’re fucking this week, and what you have for breakfast.

    If you want to tell me I’m a ‘racist’, then I want to know why your wife and kids are white. What’s wrong with a mixed-race family? If it’s good enough for me, then why isn’t it good enough for you?

    If you want to tell me that bright working class children should go to run-down comprehensive schools, then I want to know where you send your kids to school – and while we’re on it, I want to know where you went to school.

    That’s why we have tabloid newspapers in this country. We need them.

    However, I agree with the author of the piece that the latest Vaz affair is not really a ‘scandal’ in the proper sense. It’s more of a minor embarrassment, and has been dealt with properly by Vaz’s immediate resignation from his Committee Chairmanship. That should be the end of the matter, though given Vaz’s record, I do wonder if he is a proper person to be a Member of Parliament? Answers on a postcard. In any event, I thank the media for uncovering his conduct. It’s a cruel thing to do, but we do ‘have a right to know’.

    And I’m pretty sure there is a lot more to know…

  4. He’s a race huckster who’s been profiting from the diversity business all his adult life. The same goes for his wife, who earns £60 000 a year as an immigration lawyer. I’m so overcome with Schadenfreude that I can’t be bothered considering the “public interest” angle of the revelations.

  5. I am inclined to be less charitable.

    The charge here is really hypocrisy; as an MP, Mr Vaz generally took a much more conservative line than these activities would suggest. For example, he has always supported drug prohibition, he recently affected not to know anything about poppers and he certainly doesn’t support proper legalisation of sex work (the latest select committe report carefully avoided saying anything about +clients+).

    If he had always openly favoured all of these things, one could sympathise with his present predicament much more easily.

  6. Well said Peter.

    His private sex life is entirely a matter between him and his family. But his hypocrisy, lies and distortion about public policies which consume considerable resources, e.g. drugs and gun control, make him a poor choice as a politician.

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