A good resignation?
David Laws has gone amid much praise from the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister et el. No doubt that Laws did the right thing though the cynical might point out that in this case there is a virtuous convergence between the right thing from a moral standpoint and from a career standpoint. Had Laws clung-on the drip-drip would have made a comeback impossible to manage as split public opinion turned steadily against somebody seen to be having outstayed their welcome in office.
Some of the responses have been truly nauseating. Witness George Osborne who seems to be more talking in quasi-religious terms about the possible second coming of a Messiah:
According to Osborne, it was as if Laws “had been put on earth” to do the job of chief secretary.
Most disgusting is the charge that the campaign against Laws was homophobic. This is what the Daily Telegraph have to say:
Mr Laws’s partner is James Lundie, who is thought to work for a lobbying firm. The Daily Telegraph was not intending to disclose Mr Laws’s sexuality, but in a statement issued in response to questions from this newspaper, the minister chose to disclose this fact.
The notion that the ‘grey area’ with regard to ‘partners’ applies to just those who feel uncomfortable with disclosing their sexuality is, to put things frankly, a joke. Had Mr Laws lover in this case been a woman that he had kept secret for whatever reason (maybe he was having an affair, for example) the judgment on him would have been exactly the same and as I have said before that is exactly what equality actually means; judged equally, by the same standards. The argument that Laws could not regard his ‘partner’ in an ‘ambivalent’ way is demolished correctly in the following terms by The Guardian:
Mr Laws might have been motivated by complex psychological processes, but he cannot have been ignorant of the rules. Perhaps he felt sufficiently ambivalent about the status of the relationship to feel he could not meaningfully identify his lover as a “partner” under the expenses guidelines. But given the length of their cohabitation, that was a tenuous excuse.
The Coalition response reeks of hypocrisy and paranoia. The very same people who defended Chris Grayling are now spraying around charges of homophobia like confetti, meanwhile, Iain Dale and Tory Bear provide us with conspiracy theories a-plenty while Conservative Home turns on the Daily Telegraph, and suddenly, because it has hit close to home, has decided the expenses scandal is a witch-hunt; something that a few people said ages ago. This may wash in the early days of a government but in the long-term it simply wont and people will see through it and both parties will pay the electoral price.