The love they dare not name…

I am fascinated – fascinated to the nth degree – by the delicate dance that is even now being stepped by our national press.

The subject? Why: the slow motion car crash that looks very much as though it is soon to be the epitaph to the career of our esteemed Defence Secretary, Liam Fox. Did he, didn’t he? And what is it, exactly, that he may or may not have done?

Lots of fine-sounding words about national security and improper conduct. But as further details emerge of the Fox’s apparent need for close male company, the real question, the unspoken question that one can sense our beloved editors are afraid to ask is simple: is the man one of us – or is he, perhaps, “one of them”?

And in these supposedly tolerant diverse days, what’s the story if he is?

How can i put it? As Defence Secretary, Mr Fox has toured the world in the company of a close male friend. Now it emerges, that when, a while back, he was burgled he was not, as he claimed, home alone, but in the company of a young (male) researcher.

If the gender was otherwise – if he’d been accompanied by a woman on both occasions: if he’d tried to cover up the presence of a young female researcher, we all know exactly where the very public speculation would be headed.

Was he having an affair? And then, crucially, the only real remaining question would be: was that affair a danger to national security.

But here, if anything other than bad judgment was involved, it would have been a GAY affair.

And thereby hangs the measure of how far we haven’t come. Because if we were a truly diverse society, it wouldn’t matter. The only question – and even that only tenuosuly relevant – would be whether he had had an affair. The gender of his partner, his orientation, would not have mattered one jot.

But we aren’t diverse. We all know, deep down, that however much Cameron goes on about tolerance, there would be a different public reaction to a gay affair. Hell! It is even possible that Mr F might sue at the very allegation.

Although if it makes no difference, i am not entirely sure whether such a case could be brought today.

It all brings to mind the similarly amusing storm in a tacup over William hague’s sleeping arrangements when it came to light that he was sharing a bed with a male researcher.

To which the correct response was: so what? If there was evidence of an affair in that case, then it might have been a story. But the real unspoken story remained: that’s a bit “odd” and well, it might just mean he’s gay.

Sorry. For me, the oddity in all of this is how sexual orientation is still seen by our newspapers as something newsworthy or, if not newsworthy, something sufficiently serious to tiptoe round.

No. I don’t have the faintest what the man’s sexual orientation is. Nor do i care. If he was shagging the entire Rotherham rugby 15, hats off to him: but the only issues that matter are whether he was endangering national security or dabbling in dodgy financial dealings.

Nothing else.

Though i suspect we’ll see a fair bit of nudge-nudge wink-wink speculation for a whiel to come. Because long after the conservative party has officially gone diverse …our Fleet St editors still see gayness – or non-gayness – as a story in its own right.



6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    The only relevant question is whether he allowed political, business or commercial access not available to other people to someone close, whether the relationship was sexual or not. The nature of the relationship itself is irrelevant. Speculation about that is a nice useful distraction for tabloids who will be only too glad to spin this as a gay mafia story rather than a politerati or old boys club or other corruption story.

  2. 2

    kathz said,

    I don’t think the MP sharing a bed was William Hague. When William Hague shared a room with his researcher the press harked back to another MP who shared a hotel bed with another man. And I think there would be grounds to sue in both cases (however unwise it might be) if anyone alleged more when the MP is married – the courts would almost certainly take the allegation of adultery as defamatory, although the burden of proof on balance of probabilities would be on the person bringing the action.

    I agree that the press reports are atrocious – and there are much more serious matters involved, including who is funding Liam Fox’s office and, more worryingly still, Fox’s unrelated decision to have drones controlled from British bases. See for what that implies.

    I do wish the press would focus on politics.

  3. 3

    Shirley Anne said,

    ‘They are all a pile of faggots’, I hear the masses shout. That it seems is their first priority according to the Media. Well it might be. Heaven knows we all like a bit of scandal, don’t we? The two issues go hand in hand (sorry), one is neither worse than the other. As far as the majority of the public is concerned both issues are equally as bad, I mean being a homosexual is not right is it? Oh and how awful that the security of our nation should be compromised in such a way! I reserve personal judgement for fear of being ostracised…………maybe we should all do the same.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  4. 4

    eclectic chicken said,

    bugger homosexuality (!) maybe he’s simply bisexual… and as its only possible to marry one person at a time he married the one who would give him most respectability. That Wherrity may also be his partner doesn’t mean he can’t love his wife. (I just hope for his wife’s sake that she know about his other relationship -if thats what it is).

  5. 5

    The hierarchy of the Conservative party may have “gone diverse” but the membership sure as hell hasn’t.

  6. 6

    Protesters are being kettled just off fleet street. They are electricians who want to join us but being blocked. Chanting :’let them out!’

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