Reluctantly defending Keith Vaz!
By D. J. Webb
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.