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David Laws and the transition to gay equality


2:03 pm - May 29th 2010

by Sunder Katwala    


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Update: David Laws has now resigned. He is replaced by Danny Alexander.

Separately to the finding on the expenses issue, the David Laws revelations might well come to be seen as the close of an era of transition to equality for politicians who are gay.

Some have tonight expressed disappointment that, in the Britain of 2010, the most powerful gay man in the Cabinet did not feel he could be open about his sexuality. That is an understandable instinct, but it is surely legitimate to think that these are highly personal decisions.

Most of us would be reluctant to think we could pronounce, without having lived in their shoes, on somebody else’s choices about their own life.

Not that, until really very recently, there was any choice at all, wikipedia’s resources on British LGBT politicians capture. Matthew Parris’ biography offers a very interesting account of how there was no alternative to the closet for a would-be Conservative MP – he was an MP from 1979 to 1986 and came out after leaving the Commons though Labour’s Chris Smith was the first MP to come out publicly in 1984. Parris’ own his brave speech on gay rights in the House did not take too much decoding.

Few would have imagined that, only twenty-five years later, gay politicians in the Conservative party – like their black and Asian colleagues – would find party HQ so very keen to project them to the national media as proof that the party has changed.

Indeed it can now be that would-be liberalising instinct for positive PR which risks pigeon-holing them as “gay MPs”, though it is to be hoped that this too will pass as the novelty wears off, as we move towards the broad diversity of the nation being represented in politics becoming the unremarkable norm.

Those MPs who did not feel they could be open about their sexuality when entering public life may not have found it easy to do so later. So a couple of generations of politicians found themselves experiencing a much more rapid recent liberalisation of social attitudes than was expected when, for example, Peter Mandelson first worked in a high profile role for Labour in the 1980s or sought selection as an MP in Hartlepool in 1992.

Indeed, it was only in 1997 that Stephen Twigg and Ben Bradshaw (whose opponent campaigned on a homophobic platform) became the first MPs to be elected for the first time when already publicly known to be gay. That 18 openly gay MPs were elected to Parliament in 2010 captures the scale of the shift in just a few years.

David Laws, selected in Yeovil in 2001, may be one of the youngest and it might be hoped perhaps also among the last of a generation of MPs to feel that this dilemma existed in a sharp way.

Strikingly, no gay Liberal Democrat MP was publicly “out” until 2005 and so Laws would have had to have wanted to be the first gay MP in the party to declare his sexuality. Stephen Williams in 2005 and Steve Gilbert in 2010 were elected while acknowledging they were gay, while Simon Hughes in 2006 acknowledged that he was bisexual and publicly apologised for the highly contentious 1983 Bermondsey campaign against Peter Tatchell, saying ” “I hope that there will never be that sort of campaign again. I have never been comfortable about the whole of that campaign”.

Until the late 1990s, a central fear was of a bar to a political career, either through discrimination by poltiical party selectorates or, as often, a feeling among would-be liberal party activists that the public wouldn’t buy it. If that fear of discrimination has receded considerably in the last few years, perhaps a concern about being seen primarily through an identity lens has been a motivation for others to keep their sexuality private.

We can hope that this era of transition towards equality may now be coming to an end.

It may not be too optimistic to think that almost every new candidate for a major party in the next General Election would feel able to be open about their sexuality if they wished to do so – and perhaps to find too that very few people cared about it one way or the other.

———–
A longer version of this post is at Next Left

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About the author
Sunder Katwala is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is the director of British Future, a think-tank addressing identity and integration, migration and opportunity. He was formerly secretary-general of the Fabian Society.
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Reader comments


Sunder – One more brilliant post.

And David Laws must stay in the Cabinet. He has not misled anyone and in effect he has rented accommodation for 950 quid a month which is rather cheap in London standards.

He is an MP fro Yeovil far away from London and does have the right to have a second home.

And, his personal decision should be respected and I hope the Labour party does not go after him for the sake of a scalp – it would be unjust and not in the best interest of the country. And I say this as someone who does not view Lib Dems with any affection.

I sense that the shutters are coming down on the liberation of anything to do with sex:

David Cameron has called for a clamp-down on kerb crawling and said the decriminalisation of prostitution should be “looked at again”.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/10188142.stm

3. Lee Spracklen

The main issue is that under DWP rules for benefit claims, and under Home Office guidelines for working visa, or citizenship applications, he is in a relationship and has a partner.

The rules since 2006 do not allow claims to partners.

It should be dealt with as if they were in partnership as the public would be.

I actually have a lot of sympathy for him as a person, and we need society to deal better with these issues but that hides the point.

Many gay people will know what he went through, will share his anguish, but many will also ask that why he used his status to give him an advantage over others.

Why the hell couldn’t the millionaire former banker Laws afford a second home out of his own pocket, that’s the real question. Another money-grabbing MP who should be sacked but won’t be.

I sense that the shutters are coming down on the liberation of anything to do with sex:

David Cameron has called for a clamp-down on kerb crawling and said the decriminalisation of prostitution should be “looked at again”.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/10188142.stm

Say what? Cameron just said that we should re-consider the option of making prostitution legal, and this is “the shutters… coming down on the liberation of anything to do with sex”? I think you’ve misunderstood what he said – he was saying that prostitution is currently illegal and we should consider making it legal.

(that comment in reply to #2 btw)

7. paul barker

I have been arguing over on LDVoice that Laws should be sacked, I am not going to rehearse those arguments here.
Sunder makes some excellent points, a lot of this generational. On sex, one point that occurs to me is that a lot of gays may not realise how varied straight couples are. There are some that only exist for sex, some that live together but have no sex with each other, only with others, it takes all sorts.
On the privacy point, there are plenty of “secret” straight couples too, embarrasment over differentials in age, wealth, attractiveness etc.
The simple rule is- if you want privacy, dont claim money from the state.

@1

Why the hell shouldn’t the Labour Party bay for Laws’s scalp? After all, the Conservatives and Liberal parties did exactly that for 13 years every time they perceived some wrong-doing by Labour ministers. The argument that Laws should be allowed to remain in his job because it’s in the ‘best interests of the country’ is as laughable now as when Jeremy Browne made it on the Today programme this morning. Come on. Were it six months ago and this was a Labour minister in this predicament what do you imagine the opposition parties would be saying right now?

Secondly, Laws has lied. There’s no escaping that fact. Last week he was asked directly what is his relationship status and he lied. His immediate paying back of the £40000 is a strong indication that he feels that he has obtained at least some of that money dishonestly.

He has to go ..its theft from the public purse …

What a delicious irony! The Lib Dems have been caught out and hoist by their own petard. Now we have to know why he cannot be sacked, is it because that would leave the Lib Dem/ Tory ratio ‘unbalanced’? Is it because they would need to promote a no mark from the back benches?

Let us all agree something here; the fact that this relationship is a homosexual one does not change a thing about this sordid little deal. Laws was claiming an allowance in direct contradiction to the rules. Apparently, the rules were changed to prevent this type of thing, yet Laws knowingly claimed this money in a clear breach of the rules. This is not claiming for a bath plug or claiming for a bigger TV than is strictly necessary or a grey area, this is a black and white issue. There is a line in the sand and Laws is standing on the wrong side of the line. Not 1966 Russian linesman ‘over the line’, this is back of the net ‘over the line. Yet it appears, at the moment at least, that Laws is going to attempt to brazen it out and carry on regardless. Perhaps he wanted to keep this relationship secret, well I have some sympathy for him there. If he was merely being a hypocrite, then I would let it go, but he was being hypocritical with other people’s money and saw nothing wrong in that.

Remember the advert for benefit claimants? The one where the DWP implore citizens, in the best Stasi style, to twitch back the curtains and snoop on their neighbours? The male leaves the house, presumably after a good night’s shagging leaves for work, whilst the ‘feckless’ woman claims dole money. She (and we) are told, no ifs or buts, fraud is fraud.

That is the most sickening thing for me in this whole affair. When the poor claim money like this, we send snoopers round to check out every aspect of their lives. We photograph them and follow them. When two rich men (by all accounts, these men are wealthy, though I hesitate to use the term millionaires) claim ‘only’ 950 a quid month that it is swept under the carpet and we all pretend everything is fine. The fact that he will ‘pay the money back’ means it will be no hardship for him. He didn’t even NEED the money; he claimed it simply because he can. We seem to think that when the poor try to bend the system for a few quid that is morally wrong, I bet Laws would never even ask why two poor people should need to make these claims. However, when the rich turn over the tax payer, then we think the system must be a bit of a grey area and the rules are sufficiently vague enough to allow them wiggle room.

Will he be in court for this? Not if he is rich enough, he won’t.

@5: “I think you’ve misunderstood what [Cameron] said – he was saying that prostitution is currently illegal and we should consider making it legal.”

Thanks for that illuminating correction.

There are noteworthy precedents for making prostitution legal from Germany in 2002, and New Zealand in 2003, with enough time since to assess the consequences.

Making prostitution legal in Britain would be one option for making it easier for some to make the transition from benefits to work and so cut public spending on entitlements but will the Centre for Social Justice approve?

There would seem to be a good case for an early inquiry by one of the select committees in the new House of Commons.

12. Sunder Katwala

Thanks for comments. My argument was that the rights and wrongs of Laws’ expenses claim are a separate issue from the generational shift on gay equality – and the specific effect that has had (and even now continues to have) on those who entered adulthood, professional life or politics before or during this era of very rapid transition. My sense is that the broader cultural impact of the first civil partnerships in December 2005 (and specifically the lack of contention about these) was very important. A few years later, I think we now tend to forget how even after 1997 and in the first few years after 2000, the situation was often more mixed though a gradual sense of being gay as normal was developing, thanks in part to the increasing numbers of people who managed to come out, often being able to do so effectively in a rather undramatic matter-of-fact way.

Having read more about the specifics of law’s circumstances, my sense is that (though the expenses issue should be treated on its merits), it is very difficult to keep those issues entirely apart, which is why I think there would be a large element of personal tragedy in this ending a political career (though I don’t personally much like his liberal economic instincts, and I see the force of the points about benefit claimants).

For example, This Times interview captures just how painful and difficult Laws found the issue of his sexuality, with regard to close friends and family, and not just in terms of a decision about whether to be “out” in terms of his public persona and political life. That now seems slightly out-of-date in terms of the broader culture. But (he was born in 1965) it suggests there was for a great many people a world of difference between being 20 in 1985 or being 20 in 1995 (especially in “establishment” backgrounds and professions), and though this seems a bit surprising now even a considerable shift for those entering politics in a liberal-left party in the mid/late 1990s (in which nobody had yet come out in Parliament) compared to 2010.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7139807.ece

Laws has got to go. We can’t have a thieiving little trougher, for that is what he is, running a key financial portfolio.

Without any delay WotsIsName should get rid of him from the LimpDim front bench (“a real man shoots his opwn dog”) but if he won’t do it then CallMeDave should have him out of the door before the end of today.

There are no extenuating circumstances for stealing from the public purse.

14. Dick the Prick

Great post Sunder. And @Paul Barker – quite agree.

I’m not sure he is the most senior cabinet member who’s gay but that’s besides the point. The timing’s a bit strange – if the Telegraph had known about this from its data records then surely they would have brought this out in the campaign as the Libs (and he) campaigned on being above board on the expenses stuff when that blatantly isn’t the case.

Is this an MI5 operation in that all ministers are vetted and you can’t really have expected them to figure out that he was gonna be so promoted? I doubt it.

Did his neighbours shop him? Etc etc…

Anyway, hopefully, fingers crossed, this is the watershed in that no-one seems to give a toss about his sexuality just about the £40k. Which is cool.

Oh, and big time respect to the lonely and noble figure that is Angela Eagle.

15. Bill Kristol-Balls

Lembit has just said Laws has no need to resign.

He’ll be gone by the morning.

The OP – while very good – surely misses the biggest, most astonishing point of all: that Laws is appealing to his sexuality to detract culpability from his expenses claims.

In other words, being gay is taken as an exculpating reason for his behaviour. This is phenomenal – because his being gay itself is considered no scandal at all. That would not have been the case 15-20 years ago, I think.

The true mark of how far we’ve come is that Laws can say “I did it to hide the fact i’m gay” and that this is seen as mitigating the scandal as oppose to doubling it, as it would have oh so recently.

Progress, this most certainly is.

The special tragedy in the present context is that David Laws – along with Vince Cable – are among the few professionally competent economists on the government benches in the new Commons.

Laws claimed less money than he was entitled to if he had been open about his relationship.

Also, Sunder one thing you missed – Laws comes from a Catholic family and went to a Catholic school, so I expect that was the main reason for his secrecy.

19. Dick the Prick

@16 & 18 – fair points. Is his sexuality a political bluff or a personal affair? Either way it’s either irrelevant or absolutely, without any shadow of doubt none of my business. I don’t wanna know people’s personal stuff – spend most of the time avoiding my own and it’s no way as romantic as his. Hmmm…the end of gay discrimination? Probably just the beginning of the end or the middle of the start. Hmm..see, avoiding personal stuff – do some frickin’ house work Dicky!

20. Sunder Katwala

Paul@16 makes the point very well. You should blog that.

I do sort of touch on that a little bit in the discussion of the expenses issue itself in the Next Left version. But I didn’t want to accuse Laws of playing the identity/sexuality card cynically, because I don’t believe that is his intention.

A related point of progress … one does not hear much “this is what happens when you let the gays get to the top table” stuff. That contrasts with ‘are we being run by a gay mafia’ discussion in the tabloids a decade ago, before The Sun for example decided to change its approach to gay issues.

But it also contrasts with the approach to women politicians – where one still very frequently gets challenges to any individual politician (whether Jacqui Smith or Theresa May) said to demonstrate a generic problem with having women in top political jobs. There was a similarly absurd and unfortunate generalsation from Sayeeda Warsi before the election, arguing that there should not be more Muslim MPs as an extension of her political attack on current MPs or peers
http://www.nextleft.org/2010/05/warsi-keep-muslims-out-of-parliament.html

So.

Let me get this clear.

Laws has claimed £40 of our money fraudulently.

But he says he only did it in order to be opaque about his sexuality.

So that makes him, by his own admission, a thief and a hypocrite.

Excellent. These are perfect character traits for a Government minister and you can check that with Ed Balls.

So.

What’s all the fuss about?

As much as it pains me to defend a multi-millionaire driving through job cuts and cutting support to families on low incomes, I can’t see any other explanation for Laws’ actions other than a desire to keep his sexuality private – as others have pointed out, he could’ve claimed more had he been open about his relationship. That he felt unable to come out is regrettable but entirely a matter for him. I hope but doubt he’ll now be empathetic to the challenges faced by those in receipt of housing benefit etc who evolve relationships and are pursued by the courts for trivial sums of money. As much as I would like to see one of the most right-wing Lib Dems replaced by someone a little more moderate, I don’t think he needs to stand down.

The fact that David Laws’ sexuality was exposed in this brutal fashion against his wishes is completely down to David Laws. Had he chosen to either live alone or simply not claimed for the ‘rent’ for living with his partner, none of this would have happened. He claimed 950 quid a month and has now been exposed as a fraudster and a homosexual. Hard cheese David, thousands of others who have found themselves in ‘need’ of taxpayers money are expected to disclose all aspects of their private life, including their sexual partner. I wonder what he would have said if one of his constituents found themselves losing their benefits in this manner?

#22

Well if twitter is to be believed, let’s try this again.

David Cameron should not stand down. He should not admit his planned cuts are disastrous and ideologically driven and ask Labour to step in and sort it out.

25. Dick the Prick

@Jim. Geez man; that’s the nail on the head. How he now deals with his constituents who approach him in similar circumstances will be the main outcome. Granted, he ain’t got anything to do with DWP stuff and you’d have to be a raving lunatic to try and get involved in it without being ordered to, but, he can do constituency stuff and one would suspect that his constituency caseworker has just walked through about 10 layers of government from what he/she was used to. He’s bagged quite a senior rank. Good, all in all, good.

So it is ok to lie to the nation and take money under false pretences provided you are masking a homophobic secret. What utter tosh! The man has lied and would never have come clean has he not been outed in the Daily Telegraph. Privacy or no privacy he lied and he should go and go now!!

David Law is neither emotionally nor intellectually clever as his friends claim, otherwise this story would never have been made public. What beggars belief is that his desire for power was so great that he thought the public could be fooled again. How foolish he looks now!! No sympathy here becuase he has brought this while sorry episode upon himself. The Gods make great speech comes to mind.

The truth is that the current liberal dem party does not possess a core philosophy which is why the jump into bed with the Tories was achieved with relative ease and commonality of purpose. The truth is that the Lib Dems have split the progressive vote and continue to represent a danger to Labour Party. You only have to look at the recent London mayoral elections where the Lib Dems refused to publicly support Ken Livingstone and so split the broad progressive vote which enabled Boris Johnston to become mayor. A similar pattern emerged during the general election where Nick Clegg and David Laws followed to the letter the historical liberal tradition of splitting the progressive vote. Lack of core phiosophy equals Nick Clegg and David Laws brand of Liberal Democrats. The idea that the Liberal Democrats would join forces with Labour is fanciful, they never have in the past and they never will in the future. Labour needs to develop its own core philosophy. Arrogance leads to lack of attention to detail and that is presciely what has happened to David Laws. For the sake of the Conservative Party, David Laws needs to go and go now!! Mind you I would not be surprised if the Tories were behind this expose!! Even the most cleverest of people slip up. One down, three to go!!!!

The irony for me is, that if he does go, it will move the Government further to the right as a Tory Right Winger will be promoted to the post. The Lib Dems do not have a second string deep enough to cover this job.

Having said that, I have to stand behind my earlier remarks. He has to step down and admit that his claims were wrong, or else what was the point of the ‘New politics’ if he is allowed to openly break the rules, whatever the justification?

The issue of David Law’s homosexuality is being used as a smokescreen to deceive the general public. The point is not that Law is a closet homosexual but that he lied in order to protect himself and his ex-lover. Worse still he thought he could get away with it!! That he is in charge of presiding over monumetal cuts in public services is deeply worrying because despite the general election we have still not had an informed debate on how much and how deep public sector cuts need to be. David Law’s track record in his private affairs shows that he cannot be trusted to carry out such a task

31. Dick the Prick

Maxy – soz

from

‘The man has lied and would never have come clean has he not been outed in the Daily Telegraph. Privacy or no privacy he lied and he should go and go now!!’

to

‘over monumetal cuts in public services is deeply worrying because despite the general election we have still not had an informed debate on how much and how deep public sector cuts need to be’

Quite a lot to take in there.

Lied? He wouldn’t have ‘outed’ himself? Privacy or no privacy? Monumental cuts? Despite the general election? Public sector cuts need to be? (good lad on the last one)

It’s just sport buddy, world cup’s a few weeks away and rain stopped play. Have a good weekend.

The breaking news on Saturday evening is that David Laws has resigned. Whatever else, that leaves a gap in professional economics competence among Treasury ministers.

33. Halloway

@32, yes confirmed on BBC with Danny Alexander to replace.

34. Halloway

Possibly something in the Sundays which prompted the resignation?

David Laws had to go – his position was untenable, especially since the rules were changed ages ago.

36. Dick the Prick

I’ve got more economics qualifications than anyone else virtually possible and I can completely confirm to you chaps here that it’s FUCKING BOLLOX!!!!

BOLLOX!

37. Matt Munro

BBC and Sky news both reporting resignation now

38. Dick the Prick

No such fucking thing as a ‘professional economist’. Chimera. Languaged code. Yes, there exists accuracy but that should in no way dispute the natural understanding that exist between a man and his observance. FUCK FUCK FUCK

39. Dick the Prick

His boyfriend’s a bastard.

40. Sunder Katwala

Have blogged on the resignation at Next Left, developing the theme of this earlier post

http://www.nextleft.org/2010/05/david-laws-and-tragic-failure-of.html

Liberalism, if it means anything, must be about a society in which we all have the freedom and opportunity to flourish, and to realise as much of our human potential as we can. As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty, it is not only law which can oppress this possibility, but also custom, tradition and social pressure toward conformity.

David Laws’ resignation reflects an error of judgement in his expenses claims which the government believe made his position untenable. But its root cause was a lack of confidence in the liberalism of contemporary Britain.

The sad fact is that this liberal politician simply did not experience Britain, even of 2010, as a liberal society in which a gay man who was ambitious in his career in the City and then politics, and who wished to maintain relationships with family and friends, could openly flourish as himself. Sadder still is that there will be a widely shared sense that he was almost certainly wrong about that

I see that Danny Alexander, before he became an MP, was the Communications Director for the European Movement, which might make for some interesting politics.

Btw David Laws is Cambridge economics graduate with a first class degree and had a prior career as a banker in a senior position with JP Morgan.

42. Matt Munro

@38 The problem with economists is that they “explain” things after they have happened. Some things they are unable to explain e.g why uneployment started falling before the economy started to recover – because conventional economic theory says that’s not possible.
I agree with your general point though, economist are charlatans, dealing in theoretical snake oil, they hold influence largely because dim business men and politicians are in awe of them, and they are generally well connected and well educated, just look at the kudos an oxbridge PPE (3 pointless subjects for the price of one) still seems to carry despite being of no practical use whatsover.

43. Dick the Prick

It’s the boyfriend who’s been blackmailed – simples! Unlucky but not too off the wall. He has quite a chequered past. There’s a few case studies been compiled this aft and, well, there are a few discrepancies. House of cards. Still, quite upset about a chap being taken out like this. I live with a chap who pays me rent so someone would have to prove evidence of involvement! Photos. Hmm…gone tabloid.

@42: “The problem with economists is that they ‘explain’ things after they have happened. Some things they are unable to explain e.g why uneployment started falling before the economy started to recover – because conventional economic theory says that’s not possible.”

Arguably, there are many failings with mainstream economics but I have to say that verges on rubbish. A more illuminating critique is this from John Kay:

“The macroeconomics taught in advanced economics today is largely based on analysis labelled dynamic stochastic general equilibrium. The unappealing title gives the game away: the theorists are mostly talking to themselves. Their theories proved virtually useless in anticipating the crisis, analysing its development and recommending measures to deal with it.

“Recent economic policy debates have not only largely ignored DSGE, but have also been remarkably similar to the economic policy debates of the 1930s, although they have been resolved differently. The economists quoted most often are John Maynard Keynes and Hyman Minsky, both of whom are dead.”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/19491372-472c-11df-b253-00144feab49a.html

Kay goes on to say that economics is not a “science”.

HM Treasury publishes regular surveys of independent forecasts of the UK economy so it’s patently untrue to claim that economics can only explain developments after the event. The most recent Treasury survey of independent forecasts is here:
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/201005forcomp.pdf

45. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Sundar
A nice and sensitive post.

46. Matt Munro

@ 44 So tell me bob – how many economist predicted the crash – and how many “work” in the city ?

Calling what I say “rubbish” and then saying the same thing with longer words and a few hyper links is symptomatic of the type of patronising prats who seem to be drawn in ever larger numbers to this blog.

47. Matt Munro

@44 “HM Treasury publishes regular surveys of independent forecasts of the UK economy”

So what ? HMT publishing a forecast doesn’t magically make it the truth.

“So what ? HMT publishing a forecast doesn’t magically make it the truth.”

I didn’t claim that the surveyed forecasts were necessarily accurate, only that it is demonstrably untrue to claim that economics can only explain developments after the event.

If you reflect on it, the Treasury and businesses both frequently make forecasts or projections about the downstream consequences of changing tax rates or prices.

“how many economist predicted the crash – and how many ‘work’ in the city ?”

I’ve often posted links in LC threads of warnings going back years about house-price bubbles. derivatives trading and the unsustainable structural deficits in Britain’s fiscal balances.

Try the book by Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart: This Time Is Different – 8oo years of financial crises (Princeton UP, 2009)
http://www.economics.harvard.edu/files/faculty/51_This_Time_Is_Different.pdf

It’s worth watching an interview by the FT of Carmen Reinhart on recurring patterns in 800 years of financial crises:
http://video.ft.com/v/82349517001/May-3-800-years-of-financial-crises

See also this wiki entry for Nouriel Roubini:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nouriel_Roubini

His new book is just published: Crisis Economics (Allen Lane 2010)

Well Laws fell on his sword, I for one will not shed a single tear for the man. No matter how qualified for the job he is, he has still been swindling us for five years. He was forced to lie to keep his relationship a secret. On one hand it is sad that he feels it necessary to keep his homosexuality secret, but that is a personal matter. However, the fact that in keeping it secret is no excuse for taking money from the public purse by breaking the rules.

Let us imagine that a gay man found himself living with a partner. Let us assume that he ‘pretended’ to be a lodger to protect his mum. Now, he loses his job and goes to claim the dole and puts his lover down as his landlord and claims housing benefit on that basis. If the dole find out, does he get away with it? If David Laws is his MP would he fight for that ruling to be overturned? Does he want the laws changed to allow couples (gay or straight) to claim unemployment/housing benefit on that basis? If I lose my job, can I put my (female) partner down as my landlord and claim the full amount of housing benefit?

Would Laws support such an amendment to the social security bill to that effect? If not, then why does he think he should be treated any different? He has no complaints here, although I accept that his family are now living with a homosexual son they never knew about and that is sad and I hope they can come to terms with it and accept that it is no big deal, but Laws? Nope, not a bit of it

I hope the CPS become involved ..if he was an ordinary punter fiddling housing benefits , his feet wouldnt touch the ground …he’d be in jail faster than a rabbit gets fucked …

52. Richard W

In the circumstances David Laws had to go. I agree with Jim, it is simply untenable to have the Chief Secretary to the Treasury claiming public funds in dubious circumstances. Especially in the week when the same government attacked the poor for doing the same thing. On a competence level I will be sorry to see him leave the government as he was the best one in it. Considering we have an in-bred dribbling imbecile as Chancellor it was quite reassuring that Laws was Chief Secretary.

That’s an extraordinary election we’ve just lived through. The people trussed the political class like chickens for the slaughter.

The politicians thought for a brief time they could go back to their old ways. An ex-merchant banker believed he could cut and cut and cut again. He oh-so briefly became the golden boy of the Liberal Tories, the Orange Book Liberals, and the pro-City Nu Laborites. And then he made one slip.

In the old world of just six months ago the politicians would have just toughed out his greed – stuff the bloody electorate. But this time the political classes looked up and found themselves staring down the barrel of knife-thin parliamentary majorities. You make the tiniest of mistakes in the eyes of the public – like suggest that a merchant banker whose hand’s been caught in the till is the right moral choice to cut and cut again – and you’re out on your arse – permanently.

So the first cut was to David Laws’ neck. And his golden head now rests on a pike on Parliament Green. For all the new politicians to see and learn from. First lesson – don’t diss the public. Now they’re the bosses.

Pure Greek. Hubris followed by nemesis. In under 24 hours.

Brilliant!


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    David Laws and the transition to gay equality http://bit.ly/bcjyDt

  6. Tweets that mention David Laws and the transition to gay equality | Liberal Conspiracy -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy, Rachel . Rachel said: RT @libcon: David Laws and the transition to gay equality http://bit.ly/cDbxJc […]

  7. David Laws and Gay Equality « Bad Conscience

    […] has a good analysis up here (and longer version here). He covers a lot of important points about the way we now view […]





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