Saturday, January 21, 2006

Oaten and the rent boy

So, Mark Oaten resigns in a rent boy scandal after being confronted by the News of the World. First website to break the story? BBC? ITV? Sky? Nope, Iain Dale's blog.

But, in the big picture element? Anyone care? No, thought not, it's his private life, let him live it. Unfortunately, in this case, it would affect his job as a party spokesman, home affairs brief would cover the forthcoming NuLab prostitution crackdown (make the law harsher all round, but give a sop to us liberals by allowing small brothels, thereby giving the Mail something to fume about that isn't, actually, any help to the situation).

So, is this why he pulled out of the leadership? And is there any chance that UK politics can grow up? Anyone suspect this'll be the main news on the MSM for a few days, despite being, essentially, a non-event?


PaulJ said...

Who cares? I mean really, who cares?

Kennedy might have had to go because the drinking was effecting his work, but I fail to see how this really affects anything job-related in the slightest.

Yes, you could say that it might colour Oaten's view on prostiution, the current hot potato, but then I'm sure that MP's personal beliefs and lifestyles colour their perception of issues every day.

Of course, the real reason why it has so much effect is because this kind of story plays well in the sticks - I'm sure the News of the World is relishing a story about MPs and gay sex being on their front page today, and their readership will probably love it too.

For the rest of us though, surely a wry smile and back to the real world, no?

chris said...

Hang on a minute we're in Torquay. Humming metropolis it may be, but for the London based journalists it would almost certainly qualify as The Sticks and here are three bloggers who all consider this to be a bit of a non-story. Personally there are much more interesting stories out there, such as Iran planing to start trading it's oil in Euro in March.

Raw Carrot said...

While I disapprove of "rent boy" activities, I must say I was surprised Oaten felt he had to go. I suspect he didn't **have** to go, but decided he had better put his family first... and save them from an even larger media feeding frenzy...

Paulie said...

Call me a limp-wristed liberal if you like, (and bearing in mind that I'm a Labour Party member, I'd do it from a safe distance if I were you...) but there's an important point being missed here.

Mark Oaten is a human being who stood for political office. He also found himself in a situation that we can only speculate about. One that publicity will exacerbate, not soothe.

When a man with a wife and children is visiting rent boys, I'd err on the side of sympathy - not the gleeful scorn and mild sadism that's characterised both the MSM and the blogosphere.

If I were a Christian, I'd bang on about 'first stones', but seeing as I'm not, I won't.

Either way, it all adds up to a very poisonous moral fable: No matter how good you'd be at it, don't stand for political office. It's a thankless task.